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David Matasic

Young Hunter Spotlight
David Matasic

David Matasic, 12, takes Quebec Caribou With X-Bullet.

A Northern Quebec caribou hunt is the perfect choice for a young shooter. For those living in the United States, travel distances aren’t extreme and the early season begins before school starts. The regulations allow each hunter to take two animals. The terrain above tree line is remarkable, and when the migration is in full swing, the action can be very exciting as herds move to winter grounds. The key strategy is to position yourself to intersect a well-traveled route, then marvel at the procession of bulls passing just a few hundred yards away. The animals can appear suddenly, even though a moment ago you saw nothing for miles, leaving you wondering if the caribou had taken the day off.

For a young hunter, boating across wilderness lakes, seeing artic wolves and ptarmigan, flying in float planes, and living in very basic camp setups are highly memorable experiences. A day on the tundra in the early season will bring less harsh weather than later in the year, but even then you’re likely to see plenty of varying conditions. There will be hot days with little wind and droves of hovering black flies, followed by hard-driving rain and fog a few hours later. At night, stars fill the sky. In the morning, you dip your tin cup in the lake for an ice-cold drink of water to start your day.

David is a safe, skilled hunter who takes his time before making a shot. Consequently, one-shot kills are the norm. David handloaded 140-grain Barnes X-Bullets for his Remington ADL Youth Model in .270 Winchester chambering. Under the careful supervision of his father, he used 50 grains of IMR 4350 to produce velocities of 2875 feet per second.

Before making the trip, David spent time at the shooting range practicing from different positions. He took a solid rest on a rocky outcropping before taking his caribou at 65 yards. There were several other animals in the herd, so David waited until he had an absolutely clear shot to prevent an unintended kill. Because migrating caribou can be seen at great distances, the excitement created by an approaching herd is high. It can easily take 20 to 30 minutes of suspense-filled repositioning before you’re in range. In the early season, caribou are still in the dark velvet stage, which makes the antlers appear even larger. David has also hunted whitetail deer and waterfowl, and enjoys the outdoors.

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