April/May 2014 EHJ (Issue 142) - It was late afternoon on the sixth day of my 10-day combo hunt for moose and Dall’s sheep with Arctic Red River Outfitters. Strangely, I found myself resting comfortably in base camp. My feet were propped up on a wooden bench a few feet from a small stream and my hat brim was over my nose, shading the folded arms of pure relaxation.
That warm af ternoon in the Northwest Territories, nothing but the sound of the stream seemed to matter. For 20 years I had planned, saved and dreamed of hunting moose and sheep at Arctic Red. Every spare moment and spare dollar was dedicated to that dream and finally I was there!
Tavis "Tav” Molnar and I have been good friends for 20 years. Our friendship started when he guided me on a caribou hunt at Arctic Red in 1993. Now, as we loaded our gear in the Bushmaster f loatplane I was thinking, what an adventure this will be! My outfitter, guide, pilot and friend are all rolled into one.
At sunset, Tav had the Bushmaster high over the peaks and headed toward a lake located deep in the Mackenzie Mountains. He called our destination the "heart of sheep hunting at Arctic Red.”
As we came through the last pass above the lake Tav said, "Cody, your ram is waiting for you down there, I feel it.”
We made camp near the lake that evening and witnessed a brilliant show of the Northern Lights. Twisting bands of emerald green stretched across the horizon and seemed to fall over the mountains like rain. They backlit the spine of the Mackenzies and filled the jaws of the canyon below. I felt like I was standing outside myself, witnessing my own dream.
The next morning, we traveled up the valley for a couple miles and spotted three young rams and a group of caribou bulls along the way. We were following a caribou trail near the stream bank when Tav paused and raised his binoculars. I followed his gaze but didn’t pick out anything unusual.
For a full account of Cody's adventure, go to page 16 in the April/May 2014 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.