These are the biggest caribou kills currently entered into the Safari Club International record book.
Known in Europe and Asia as reindeer, caribou are a medium sized species of ungulate (hooved animal) that inhabit the vast swaths of Alaska and Canada.
Though big bulls can reach weights up to 700 pounds, they are not as big in the body as elk or moose. However, caribou typically sport massive headgear that are surpassed in size only by moose.
Safari Club International recognizes six North American sub-species of caribou: Arctic Islands Caribou, Woodland Caribou, Central Canada Barren Ground Caribou, Quebec-Labrador Caribou, Mountain Caribou and Alaska-Yukon Barren Ground Caribou.
Using the SCI measuring system, the length of the main beam of each antler is measured, along with the length of all tines, the circumference of the main beam at the smallest place between each typical tine, the circumference of the upper palm at its widest point, the with (or diameter, if not palmated) of the brow tines, and the greatest inside spread of the main beams.
Only tines greater than one inch long and longer than they are wide are measured. All of the measurements are added together for the final score of the caribou.
SCI accepts entries taken with a rifle, bow, muzzleloader, shotgun, crossbow, and handgun. All animals that rank in the Top 20 of the SCI Record Book must be scored by a master measurer at least 60 days after the hunt.
Arctic Islands Caribou
Due to the extreme cold and lack of plentiful food in their habitat, Arctic Islands Caribou are the smallest and lightest in color of all sub-species of caribou.
Also known as Peary Caribou, they inhabit the extreme northern regions of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in Canada. They are the least migratory of all sub-species of caribou and have the smallest antlers.
The current #1 Arctic Islands Caribou was taken by Rick Taylor with a rifle near Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, Canada in October of 2009.
The main beams of this caribou both measured over 40" and he had an inside spread of 25". One antler had 23 points while the other had 22, for an impressive total of 45 points.
It scored a very solid 416 4/8" overall, which was a full 27" larger than the previous #1 Arctic Islands Caribou.
Woodland Caribou tend to have lots of points, but shorter, wider antlers than other sub-species of caribou. They're found in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland Island.
Though they do migrate seasonally, Woodland Caribou tend to have fairly small home ranges and live in small herds compared to the other sub-species of caribou.
The SCI #1 Woodland Caribou was taken by Charlie Sims with a rifle on Newfoundland Island in September of 1998.
This old caribou had one main beam that measured in excess of 40" and the other was over 43" long. He had a stunning 36 6/8" spread and a whopping 43 points.
This caribou measured a very impressive 429 5/8" overall. To make this even more of an outstanding accomplishment, Mr. Sims hunted this caribou on his own without the assistance of a professional outfitter.
Central Canada Barren Ground Caribou
Found in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in Canada, along with western Greenland, the Central Canada Barren Ground Caribou are found over a very large range.
Slightly smaller than their cousins in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, the Central Canada Barren Ground Caribou are highly migratory and travel hundreds of miles in gigantic herds of thousands of caribou during their seasonal migrations.
The current SCI #1 Central Canada Barren Ground was harvested by Lee Bohner with a rifle near Lake Providence in Canada's Northwest Territory in September of 1989.
Both main beams of this excellent caribou specimen measured over 45" long and he had a very nice 34 2/8" inside spread. With 27 points on one antler, and 19 on the other, this caribou had a total of 46 points. He scored an outstanding 493 4/8" overall.
What makes this even more interesting is the fact that there were four other caribou that all scored in excess of 430" taken in August and September of 1989 in the Northwest Territory. Apparently 1989 was a very good year for the caribou in that area.
With medium sized bodies, Quebec-Labrador Caribou often have very visually appealing, though not always well scoring antlers. They live in northern Quebec and most of Labrador and have well established seasonal migration patterns that they follow each year.
The current #1 SCI Quebec-Labrador Caribou was taken by Stuart Shaft with a rifle near the Clearwater Lakes Region of Quebec, Canada in October of 2005.
Both of his main beams measured in excess of 53" and he had an incredible 46 2/8" inside spread. This caribou also sported a relatively rare double shovel antler configuration.
One antler had 23 points while the other had 22, for an impressive total of 45 points. It scored a very solid 416 4/8" overall, which was a full 27" larger than the previous #1 Arctic Islands Caribou.
Mountain Caribou are the largest bodied of all sub-species of caribou and big bulls typically weigh around 600 pounds. They tend to gather in smaller herds and migrate much shorter distances than their barren ground cousins.
Mountain Caribou reside in the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories,British Columbia and Alberta. A handful of Mountain Caribou live in extreme northern Washington and Idaho, but may not be hunted.
The current SCI #1 Mountain Caribou was taken by Pete Cintorino with a bow in the Yukon Territory in September of 2004.
This grand old caribou had main beams that measured over 41" each with an inside spread of 40". However, he had an astounding 52 point on his antlers!
This caribou measured a very impressive 547 2/8" overall, which was a full 23" larger than the next largest caribou in the books.
Alaska-Yukon Barren Ground Caribou
Alaska-Yukon Barren Ground Caribou are the largest antlered sub-species of caribou and are probably the most commonly hunted and the most widely known. Present is most of Alaska along with the north and northwestern portions of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, Alaska-Yukon Caribou migrate for hundreds of miles each year in groups numbering in the thousands.
Though they do not have the largest bodies of the various sub-species of caribou, big bulls will still weigh around 500 pounds.
The current SCI #1 Alaska-Yukon Barren Ground Caribou was taken by Charles Pedrotte with a rifle near the Salmon River in Alaska in October of 1980.
This double shovel caribou had main beams that measured over 47" and 49" respectively, and he had an inside spread of 41 1/8". He had an impressive 49 points and scored an astounding 588 7/8" overall, which was over 20" larger than the next largest specimen in the record book. This record has stood for over 30 years, and it may well continue to stand for a very long time.
Related articles you'll enjoy
- The Biggest Mule Deer Kills From the Record Books [PICS]
- The Biggest Moose Kills From the Record Books [PICS]
- The Biggest Elk Kills From the Record Books [PICS]
Do you have any cool photos of trophy caribou that you'd like to share with us? We'd love to hear about it in the comment section.
Featured Image Courtesy of Flickr