Hunting in the Arctic
Ungava Bay is located 1000 miles north of Montreal in the Nunavik region of Quebec. It has been my dream to hunt the Quebec-Labrador caribou of the Leaf River herd in this region of the globe for over 30 years. In early September 2013 that dream became reality.
The terrain in arctic Quebec is not the most treacherous Jon (my friend and fellow outdoorsman) and I have ever encountered. It is, however, by far the most varied and unpredictable. Ground ranges from lichen-covered rocks to gravel to crazy, Dr.-Seuss-looking tufts of monkey grass and pot-hole sized pools of water and mud. In five steps, your feet may encounter five completely different types of terrain. No matter the weather conditions, (it snowed the last day of August), the ground conditions were always wet.
Recommended footwear is a knee-high rubber boot, but even the best-fitted neoprene boot doesn’t offer any ankle support and has zero breathability. One bad blister early in the hunt could jeopardize the whole week. The addition of the Farm to Feet merino wool socks filled the voids in the boots, offered a custom fit feel with cushion and padding over bony prominences, and provided much needed moisture wicking.
We climbed to the top of the highest ridges to glass the horizon in search of velvet covered antlers. Once we spotted our target, we began our stalk down the rocky ridgeline, through rugged shrubbery, across creeks, and around small glacial lakes. And always over rocks, rocks and more rocks! Caribou migrate almost aimlessly but are incredibly agile on this rough terrain so sometimes our stalks were several miles in length. Often enough we could not even catch up with the fast moving animals let alone set up an ambush. We did fill all 4 of our tags and after each successful hunt, when the adrenaline levels normalized, we would turn to the horizon to find the shortest route to pack a 300 lb bull caribou back to the boat. Same rugged terrain. Same rubber boots. Now with the addition 80 lbs of caribou hindquarters, tenderloin and antlers I had to be sure that every step was well placed. One slip and all would come crashing down.
I never worried about my feet. They were warm. They were dry. Most of all they were secure even in flimsy rubber boots. When you have to rely on your feet, the perfect sock is the one that you don’t have to think about.
Rob Williamson, MD
Robert V. Williamson MD is an Orthopedic Surgeon and avid sportsman. After serving in the U.S. Army for 12 years he moved to Mount Airy, NC. When he is not in the operating room or with his family, he is out hunting deer and turkey in North Carolina & Virginia and when the opportunity avails itself, he takes trips to hunt Elk in Colorado as well as Caribou in Quebec.