George River Caribou Herd
The world’s largest caribou herd isn’t in Alaska or the Yukon. It roams the muskeg barrens and stunted forests of northern Quebec and Labrador. The George River herd numbers approximately 750,000, and the herd at Leaf River contributes another 430,000.
Once the herds begin their southern migration in early August, the entire landscape appears to be a moving quilt of hides and antlers. The best hunting for these woodland caribou is through October along migration routes.
You’ll need an outfitter, mainly to get you to the remote caribou camps along the Quebec/Labrador border northwest of Goose Bay, Labrador. A guide is useful, but the main hunting strategy is to get in the way of the epic migration of this huge herd, then wait for the right bull, or “stag” as they’re called here, to walk past. The limit is two stags, and since caribou sport the largest antlers in proportion to body size of any big-game animal in the world, most hunters are tickled to shoot a mature bull.
Hunting trophies requires a little more work. Book an outfitter equipped to boat the confusion of freshwater lakes and rivers and put you in position. Once you select a worthy bull, stalk through the tundra to get within range.
Most hunters fly to Montreal, then take a regional flight to either Goose Bay or Schefferville, where they meet their host and begin a long drive or flight to camp. Expect to pay from $3,000 to more than $4,000 (U.S.) for a week-long guided hunt, which often includes black bear and ptarmigan along with lake trout and char.