Webber’s Lodges 2015 Year in Review

by Russ Mehling, General Manager, Webber’s Lodges

As we approach a new year of adventures at Webber’s Lodges, we thought it would be a good time to pause and reflect on some of your 2015 accomplishments.

Musk Ox Hunting

Our new and improved Musk Ox hunts (in partnership with Henik Lake Adventures) got our season started on the right foot. Temperatures were mild and the northern weather affected our time in the field, but we made the most of our opportunities with four Musk Ox bulls, one for each hunter. Two of the bulls made the Boone & Crockett Record Book, one smashing the minimum of 105 inches by almost 10 inches, while the other two missed the record book by less than an inch. Quantity and quality are two words we use to describe this hunt.

Freddy Lagos Jr. with his giant Boone & Crockett Musk Ox Bull!

Freddy Lagos Jr. with his giant Boone & Crockett Musk Ox Bull!

Goose Hunting

Now that Webber’s Lodges has taken over Nanuk on the southern Hudson Bay coast, and construction of the new arctic luxury lodge is complete, we can get back to what we do best. Which means we will be offering both spring and fall goose hunts with unlimited snow geese in the spring and both snows and Canadas in the fall. These exclusive goose hunts are limited to less than 50 hunters per year, all of whom will experience 5-star accommodations and meals, unlike the first explorers who arrived in this remote area over 300 years ago.

Spring goose hunting at Nanuk.

Spring goose hunting at Nanuk.

Trophy Fishing

The fishing remained excellent at North Knife Lake in 2015, at both the main lodge and at our outpost camp. Too many master anglers to list or share photos of, so here is one of the best – a 47-inch Master Angler Northern Pike!

Jeff Knaebel with 47-inch Master Angler Northern Pike!

Jeff Knaebel with 47-inch Master Angler Northern Pike!

Caribou Hunting

Last season will go down as one of the strangest caribou years ever!  The “resident” Caribou (the ones that move in early and hang out waiting for the rest of the herd) were there, but their friends decided to stay up north for an extra month, probably due to the El Niño. There were some quality bulls taken during the early part of the season, especially some archery animals that made the Pope & Young Record Book. We also had a father/daughter team share camp with us and Elizabeth made all the boys jealous.

A great father/daughter moment! Elizabeth Richter’s Caribou bull officially made Boone & Crockett. Thanks Dad!

A great father/daughter moment! Elizabeth Richter’s Caribou bull officially made Boone & Crockett. Thanks Dad!

Moose Hunting

Moose hunting season picked up where 2014 left off and we had some excellent moose action. Especially exciting were the father/son hunts. We also had exceptional success on a hunt out of one of our new outpost camps, and we are excited to be opening even more outpost camps in 2016.

Tom and Gus Glackin sharing a special Father/Son Moose moment.

Tom and Gus Glackin sharing a special Father/Son Moose moment.

2016 Trade Show Schedule

As with most years, the Webber’s Lodges 2016 season will start with our attendance at trade shows. This year we will be exhibiting at the following:

  • The Sheep Show in Reno, Nevada, Booth #361, January 21-23
  • Slam Quest in Las Vegas, Nevada, Booth #514, January 28-30
  • SCI in Las Vegas, Nevada, Booth #5618, February 3-6
  • Western Hunting & Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah, Booth #833, February 11-14
  • FNAWS – Iowa Chapter in Des Moines, Iowa, February 20

We look forward to seeing everyone again at the shows. Please stop by and hi!

Happy hunting and good fishing!

Michael Broadwell with one of the four archery Caribou bulls that made the Pope & Young record book!

Michael Broadwell with one of the four archery Caribou bulls that made the Pope & Young Record Book!

Banana-Stuffed French Toast

Banana-Stuffed French Toast

Banana-Stuffed French Toast. A sweet, tart surprise invades every bite!

A sweet, tart surprise invades every bite of this special breakfast or brunch. It’s a little fussy, but most can be done ahead of time. It is well worth the effort.

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (30 mL)
  • 1 tbsp. freshly grated lemon rind (15 mL)
  • 12 slices brioche OR French bread, 1 ½ inches (4 cm) thick *
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups whipping cream (375 mL)
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon (2 mL)
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg (1 mL)
  • ¼ cup white sugar (60 mL)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (5 mL)
  • Butter OR margarine as needed
  • Powdered sugar
  • Mango, peach OR apricot preserves or jam
  • Chopped nuts
  • Sour cream **

Directions

1. Toss the bananas with lemon juice and rind.

2. (This is the fun part!) Cut into one side of each slice of bread to create a deep pocket. Stuff the pocket with banana slices.

3. In a shallow pan, whisk together eggs, cream, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla. This is as far as you can go in advance preparation.

4. Soak the stuffed bread in the egg mixture until very soggy, turning bread to soak both sides. Drain briefly, then sauté in butter until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a baking pan.

5. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 3-5 minutes, until bread puffs. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with preserves, nuts and sour cream on the side.

Serves 6

* Homemade bread will soak at a different rate than commercial breads, so you’ll have to judge when enough egg has been soaked up. Also, with our own French bread the slices are large, so we stuff the bananas in from both sides. You be the judge.

** Sour cream can be flavoured with almond extract or liqueur for a special treat OR you may prefer whipped cream!

From the cookbook Black Currants & Caribou, the second book in our Blueberries & Polar Bears cookbook series, page 64.

 

Annual winter moose hunt again a success

A moose for Rebecca!

A moose for Allison!

Ahh… the great annual tradition.

Once again Team Webber’s Wild headed north to procure meat for the long winter ahead and judging from the photos it was a successful expedition. The trip began in Churchill with a great snowmobile ride of about two hours along the Hudson Bay coast to our lodge at Dymond Lake, our home base for the hunt.

Nolan had everything prepared for us ahead of time so opening up and lighting the fire was a snap and we were soon on our way to our favourite moose pastures. We only had about an hour of daylight left on the first day and did not see any of the “swamp donkeys” we sought, but fresh tracks gave us inspiration for the following day.

The moose haulers.

The moose haulers.

Day two brought a bit of wind and snow, which was no surprise to anyone, and we were out in the delta marshes by first light. The action was fast and furious right off the hop and by 9 a.m. Riley and Adam had each harvested a delicious calf.

Mike and Allison continued scouting and in less than an hour spotted a cow moose peering out at them from the willows. A few moments of watching brought two great bulls to their feet where they had been snoozing the morning away near their lady friend.

Allison grabbed her trusty 30-06 and a couple of well-placed shots resulted in her first beautiful bull moose, With three moose on the ground, the work began in earnest and it was a very happy albeit tired and hungry crew that returned to the cabin well after dark, stomachs having long since forgotten the hot dog roast…

and hungry for more.

These hot dogs tasted really good!

These hot dogs tasted really good!

Vinarterta! A Webber’s Lodges festive family tradition.

Vinarterta Icelandic Christmas Recipe

Vinarterta! A Webber’s Lodges Icelandic holiday tradition!

Vinarterta comes to us compliments of Helen Webber’s Icelandic heritage. It has been handed down through her family for generations, and is served only on festive occasions.

Ingredients

Shortbread (6 layers):

  • 1 cup butter (no substitute) 250 mL
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar 375 mL
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. cream OR evaporated milk 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. almond extract 15 mL
  • 4 cups flour 1 L
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom seed 5 mL

Prune Filling:

  • 12 oz. pkg. pitted prunes 340 g
  • 1/2 cup water in which prunes have been boiled 125 mL
  • 1 cup white sugar 250 mL
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL

Butter Icing:

  • 1/4 cup butter (4 tbsp.) 60 mL
  • 2 cups icing sugar 500 mL
  • 1-2 tbsp. milk 15-30 mL
  • 1 tsp. almond extract 5 mL

Directions

1. To make the shortbread layers, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well each time. Add cream and almond extract and beat well.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder and ground cardamom and add to creamed mixture a little at a time. You will “need” to “knead” the flour into the mixture. (A dough hook is a great boon in today’s kitchen.)

3. Divide the dough into six equal parts.

4. Line a 9″ (23 cm) square baking pan with foil. Pat one part of the dough into the pan. Remove foil with dough, and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat five times. Bake the final piece of dough in the cake pan.

5. Bake the shortbread at 375°F (190°C) for 10-12 minutes, until just lightly browned on the edges. Turn over carefully onto a cooling rack; let cool with the foil on for a couple of minutes, then remove the foil and let cool completely.

6. To make the filling, cover the prunes with water and boil until soft. Add more water if necessary during cooking. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup (125 mL) of water.

7. Put prunes and 1/2 cup (125 mL) of water in a blender and process until smooth. (Helen’s grandmother never had it so easy!) A hand blender also works well.

8. Add sugar, cinnamon and vanilla to pureed prunes in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let cool.

9. Layer cooled shortbread with cooled prune filling, beginning and ending with a shortbread layer.

10. To make the butter icing, mix together all the ingredients until creamy. If the icing is too stiff to spread, add a bit more milk, 1 tsp. (5 mL) at a time. This icing should be a bit on the stiff side.

11. Ice the top of the cake.

12. Wrap the cake in foil or plastic wrap and keep it airtight for 3-4 days. This gives the shortbread layers a chance to soften up.

Makes 72 slices.

Vinarterta. Best served in slices!

Vinarterta. Best served in slices!

SERVING SUGGESTION: Slice ½ inch (1.3 cm) slices and cut each slice in 2 inch (5 cm) pieces. (Cut in small pieces like a fruit cake.)

NOTE: This will keep for a month in a cool place. It freezes well for longer storage.

From our Black Currants & Caribou Cookbook, Page 198. Enjoy!

Father and son enjoy best moose hunt ever at Webber’s Lodges

A moose for David (Father) and Jackson (Son) at Webber's Lodges

A moose for David (Father) and Jackson (Son)

After 30 years of guiding and countless big game animals tagged, what still sets apart a good hunt from a truly great experience?

Once you’ve seen the best and the worst of weather, eaten everything from gourmet fare to pork and beans, slept in abodes ranging from cozy luxury to bushy comfort, and harvested many spectacular animals, the only real difference is the people you hunt with. That is the ultimate game changer.

The people you hunt with. David and Jackson. Webber's Lodges

The people you hunt with. David and Jackson. Game changers.

Webber’s Lodges had the pleasure of just such an experience this past moose season while hunting with a delightful father and son team from among our many friends south of the border.

The unusually warm and windy weather in September made for some pleasant fishing times which were especially endorsed by 12-year-old son Jackson, who would have happily spent the sunny days chasing pike and lake trout! David however, father of said son and the “bill footer”, was on a mission to take home a Canadian moose.

Nap time for moose hunters. David and Jackson. Webber's Lodges.

Nap time.

So of course so we focused hard on that project and spent many long hours in the field, returning each day past dark and collapsing into bed after a great meal prepared by our personal chef and father-in-law, Doug.

It’s a pretty good rule of thumb that those who work the hardest have the most luck and few worked as diligently as this father and son team while in pursuit of their quarry. Also, no little pressure was being received via SAT phone from the other camp, where hunting friends already had a bull down.

Lunch time!

Lunch time!

And so, as it often does, it came down to the afternoon of the last day before a bull was spotted on a distant ridge and dispatched with some very good marksmanship from hunter David (while being coached by Jackson)! The team was nothing short of ecstatic and many high fives where dealt out around their first ever Canadian big game hunt. And a very successful one at that!

Fall colours.

Fall colours.

Now of course, moose is one of those rather large animals that can slightly deflate the exuberance of the catch once the packing out of 600 plus pounds of meat and antlers begins. Thankfully it was less than a mile from shore, and a few short (okay, long) hours of struggling through the burn had all the meat, cape and antlers back in the boat by dark.

Okay, bring the moose :)

Okay, bring the moose :)

All that remained was an incredible boat ride back to the lodge across a glass lake fully illuminated by a three-quarter moon and stunning displays of Aurora Borealis. For both the hunters and their guide, it was a soulful and memorable finish, to a fine Canadian hunt.

Sunset at Webber's Lodges.

Sunset at Webber’s Lodges.

Diary of a Muskox Hunt with Webber’s Lodges and Henik Lake Adventures

by Russ Mehling

Mike and guide Don with Mike's extra wide flaring bull.

Mike Rauschenberger and guide Don with Mike’s extra wide flaring bull.

Day 0-1 Warm Welcome to Winnipeg

The muskox hunt begins in Winnipeg. Hunters fly into Winnipeg the day before the adventure starts. There is a beautiful hotel attached to the airport and the weather is generally pleasant this time of year (late April), so a short walk from the terminal to your hotel is a welcome treat after your flight into Winnipeg.

This is a day to relax and go through your equipment one last time. Within a short cab ride of the airport we have a Cabela’s, Wholesale Sports and Wal-Mart, just in case you missed something while packing. Our group ran to Cabela’s to pick up some last minute hunting supplies. We got back to the hotel and called it a night in preparation for an early start the next day.

Part of the adventure on a hunt like this is just getting to the hunt location. Early in the morning (5:15 a.m.), we walked across the street to the departure terminal. All our bags were weighed, so make sure you follow Calm Airs baggage limitations… or have your wallet handy. Once through check in, a quick stop at security and we were on our way to the gate. The small jet was parked on the tarmac. We were called to board and since it was “rush” seating, we entered as a group so the four of us could sit together and talk hunting during the flight.

A pleasant surprise on the flight was the meal option. In this day and age of a complimentary snack and beverage consisting of two peanuts and a half a glass of soda, it was great to be served scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, yogurt, and granola.

The travel consists of three flights. Winnipeg to Churchill (1.5 hours), Churchill to Rankin Inlet (40 minutes), and Rankin Inlet to Baker Lake (40 minutes). The good news is these are all small airports and the layovers are measured in minutes, not hours.

We arrived in Baker Lake right around lunch time. We were picked up from the airport (along with all our luggage) and brought to the hotel that would be our home for the next six days. We were assigned our rooms, dropped our luggage, and headed to the restaurant for a great meal. At this time, we were introduced to our guides and discussed plans for the week.

The rest of the day was spent preparing for the next day’s hunt. Ok, some of us took a nap as the early morning and travel had sapped some energy from us.

 Day 1 – Bad Weather, Welcome to the North

Dave from Saskatchewan with his deep, long curling bull.

Dave Chaykowski from Saskatchewan with his deep, long curling bull.

One thing you can count on during an adventure this far north is bad weather. Unfortunately, weather can’t be controlled and we learned this on the first day. We awoke to heavy winds and intermittent snow that reduced visibility to near zero. This is bad on two fronts. First, safety is our main priority and zero visibility can not only be dangerous on the tundra, it can be life threatening. Our guides live in the area and they are the toughest people I know. If they say it’s a no go due to the weather, don’t plan on leaving the hotel. Second, just like sheep hunting, muskox hunting requires glassing at long distances (several miles) and poor visibility will undoubtedly lead to poor hunting conditions.

Fortunately, the weather is in constant change, and near the end of the day, it started to break. This was an excellent time for us to jump on the snow machines and take them for a test drive. When we left town, we realized even in the improved conditions, the visibility could be measured in yards, not miles. Good call staying in town.

Speaking of snow machines, every hunter gets to drive their own! No bone jarring rides in komatiks! We’ve heard from many former muskox hunters that that was the worst part of the hunt. We understand not everyone is an experienced snowmobile driver, but you learn quickly. It is similar to driving a very stable ATV. Our group had one person who had never driven a snow machine, and two that had spent less than 10 hours on them. By the middle of the second day, we were all experts. Well, maybe not experts, but we were very confident and covered a lot of miles every day.

The temperatures for the day ranged from a low of minus 10˚F to a high of 20˚F.

Day 2 – We’re Actually Muskox Hunting!

Mike just excited to be on the tundra. And pretty jacked about his bull as well!

Mike just excited to be on the tundra. And pretty jacked about his bull as well!

Day 2 saw the weather improve. We sat down at breakfast (our choices of eggs, pancakes, French toast, hash browns, ham, sausage, bacon, omelets etc.), excited to get out on the tundra.

Our excitement waned slightly as we started our trek. The weather was still not cooperating, and we could only see several hundred yards in front of us. The sun was trying to shine through, so we hoped it would burn off the heavy fog and let us get to glassing.

The travel from town to the muskox area is between 20-30 miles and takes somewhere between one to two hours. With the weather the way it was, we took our time. We had an early lunch while trying to stay out of the wind. Lunches are prepared for the hunters at camp, and everyone receives a couple of sandwiches, a piece of fruit, dessert, a bar or chips and a juice. After the first day, lunches can be more customized depending on what we liked or disliked in our lunch bags. We packed up after lunch and continued on. The visibility had improved and shortly we located a group of caribou.

While the hunters stood staring at the caribou, the guides located a large group of muskox, three small herds all in one valley. The hunt was on!

For this hunt, we were all traveling together, as two of us were there as “observers” as well as hunters. The other two hunters decided who would shoot first and we closed the distance. At about a mile away, we glassed over the group and located several bulls, including a giant old bull that had broken off his entire left horn. It was decided there were two different bulls that would make either hunter extremely happy. Those hunters and their guides moved in closer.

A short time later, after some quality marksmanship, we were all celebrating over two great muskox bulls! Plenty of photos were taken and laughs shared. Now the real work began!

Taking care of a big muskox bull is a daunting task. Anyone who has ever field dressed a whitetail, can only imagine what working on a 700 pound creature with 18” hair would be like. Since one of the hunters wanted a life-size mount, extra skinning time was taken to ensure the taxidermist would have a quality hide to work with. Once the hide was off, the guides expertly broke down the bulls into healthy sized chunks of delicious, healthy meat.

With the other hunter deciding on a “European” or skull mount, the guides asked if they could keep the hide. Nothing gets wasted in this part of the world. The hide would be tanned for leather, while the guard hairs would be harvested off of the fur to create and incredibly insulating material.

Once the animals were taken care of, they were loaded on the wooden sled and the slow trek back to town began. We got back to the hotel around 7:30 p.m and supper was waiting for us. It needed to be heated up a bit, but was excellent from the salad, the main course and of course, the dessert!

An incredible discovery of the vastness of the north was realized on the way home. At one point, we stopped to rest our thumbs (the throttle on the snow machines is operated by a thumb control), and we could see town. We didn’t believe our guide when he said it was an hour away. We checked our GPS and realized as clear as we could see the town, it was still over 20 miles away!

Today’s temps were a low of -10˚F to a high of 25˚F.

Day 3 – 2 Muskox Hunters and 2 Wolf Hunters

Freddy and guide Jason with Freddy's giant-bossed bull. Freddy's the bearded one...holding the rifle.

Freddy Lagos and guide Jason with Freddy’s giant-bossed bull. Freddy’s the bearded one…holding the rifle.

When a muskox is tagged, the hunt is not over. The next phase of the hunt is just beginning! The tagged out muskox hunters have wolf tags to fill. We went to an area where the residents had been caribou hunting, hoping the hunting activity may have attracted some wolves looking for an easy meal. These caribou hunters also mentioned seeing muskox in the area, so we all headed in that direction.

It didn’t take long before more muskox were in our sights. We had a bowhunter in camp who was hoping to get his muskox with a bow. We approached the herd, and even at a distance of several miles, noticed how skittish they were. The wolf hunters got excited as nervous herds generally mean a predator is near. They headed to a high hill to try and locate some wolves while we tried to close the deal on the muskox herd.

The muskox would only let us get to within a few hundred yards before they would move off. After a long game of cat and mouse, we decided the bow may not work on this group and the decision was made to grab a weapon with a slightly longer effective range.

This group had a giant bull in it and we were fortunate enough to get a clean shot at it… actually two great shots. The bull dropped on the spot and we walked up to a legitimate Boone & Crockett contender. A great bull for someone who had never seen a muskox two days ago!

Our wolf hunters never spotted the wolves we assumed were making the herd so nervous. They also traveled to the previous days’ kills to see if any wolves had moved in on the kill sites. There were tracks of Arctic fox, but no wolf sign.

A valuable lesson was learned today. The hunt for muskox was long, and was being filmed. This left two of us going without eye protection for several hours. That evening was uncomfortable and red and watery eyes reminded us that sun glasses or polarized snow goggles need to be worn at all times other than when actually taking your shots.

The bull was taken later in the day and with only one guide to work on it (with the help of the hunters) it was a slightly later homecoming. As the night before, an excellent meal was waiting for us. After supper, we “green scored” the bull and we were correct. It will easily make the Boone and Crockett Record Book. Sleep came easy tonight.

Today’s temps ranged from 0˚F to 30˚F.

Day 4 – 4-for-4 on Great Muskox Bulls

Russ with his old warrior of a bull.

Me with an old warrior of a bull.

Day 4 dawned warm and beautiful but caused some other issues. The warm weather was creating fog. Our wolf hunters and muskox hunters went in different directions to cover more ground. The muskox hunters continued to the area we killed yesterday as many other groups of muskox were seen. Our wolf hunters went in another direction to see if more wolves were present in a different area.

First the muskox. We encountered heavy fog off and on most of the way to the hunt area. Late in the morning we drove up a high ridge and could see the sun shining up top. We stopped here in the warmth of the sun and had an early lunch. While eating, we located a group of muskox. We finished lunch and marked where the herd was. We wanted to head in another direction to the herds seen yesterday by our wolf hunters.

Unfortunately, as clear and sunny as it was on the ridge, once we tried glassing the valleys, all we could see was fog. We tried to work around it, but to no avail. We couldn’t see far enough to glass any animals, so we headed back to the group we saw at lunch.

They had separated, with some heading over the ridge. We parked the sleds and got to within 750 yards. From here, we could only see six animals, with the rest of the group on the other side of the hill. We stalked in closer, to 500 yards. We saw at least two very good bulls in this group and decided we didn’t need to see the others. We got ready for the remainder of the stalk, grabbing our shooting sticks, preparing the rifle and watching the bulls.

The bulls were relaxed, and only trotted off once during the stalk. We were able to get to 285 yards and then it was decision time. After 10 minutes of looking over the bulls, we realized there wouldn’t be a bad decision, so we selected the one with the best “eye appeal”. It was a great shot and we had just completed a 4-for-4 week on trophy muskox!

Again, one guide worked efficiently on preparing the hide and cutting up the meat. It was loaded on the sled and we were off. Our drive slowed as we hit ever increasing fog. At times, the rear snowmobile could hardly see the front machine. We took our time, choosing safety over speed. At around 9:30 p.m. we stopped to rest and check our GPS. We were within a half-mile of town, and couldn’t tell! We even heard someone’s dog barking. It was incredibly thick fog!

What made us feel safe was that every guide has equipment with them to not only survive, but to stay relatively comfortable for a night or two out on the tundra. Not being prepared out here is a matter of life and death. The guides live in this country and will not take even these day trips lightly.

Our wolf hunters cut tracks of at least seven different wolves, and got close enough to see one beautiful white wolf, but with hunting going the way it does sometimes, it wasn’t meant to be. They never encountered the fog that we did, but realized when they got back to town we may be a little later. Their guides had also formulated a plan to look for us if it became necessary. All made it home safe and sound.

Today was a beautiful day with temps ranging from 20˚F to 40˚F.

Day 5 – Bad Weather or Bad Weatherman

With the heavy fog of the night before fresh in our minds, the morning fog had everyone checking their weather pages today (yes, there is WiFi at the hotel!). It was calling for the fog to clear off, but with very high winds and snow following. Discussions were had between hunters and guides. There was also a severe storm being called for Day 6, our departure day. Normal departure is 9:15 a.m. After waiting an hour or so and checking the forecast, a decision was made to call off the day’s hunt and try to change our flights from tomorrow to today.

Calm Air is excellent and if there is room, only charges a $50 change of flight fee. We made our bookings and packed our gear. Once the gear was packed, we headed to the local conservation office for our Export Permits. This took slightly longer than expected and going forward, we will book the afternoon flight at 1:15 p.m. out of Baker Lake on departure day. This will allow us time to complete the paperwork during open office hours.

We arrived at the airport with our bags, trophies, meat and export permits. Calm Air is reasonable with the oversize, overweight and extra baggage fees. We ranged from $150 to $250 in excess baggage fees. Our muskox trophies were wrapped in tarps while our meat was vacuum sealed, frozen and boxed for the trip home.

Unfortunately, just like anywhere else in the world, the weatherman is the only person who can be wrong most of the time and still keep his job. As we headed to the airport at 3 p.m. the weather was still fine for hunting. We could have spent a few more hours chasing wolves, but made a decision based on the forecast. The good news is that they were correct about the next day’s storm and had we not left today, we would have been in Baker Lake for two more days, stuck in the hotel.

Our flight path took us from Baker Lake to Rankin Inlet to Churchill to Winnipeg, same as the trip up to camp. We arrived back in Winnipeg early in the evening. We collected all of our luggage, including our game, and walked across the street to the hotel. The hotel was excellent and allowed us to place our hides and meat in the walk in freezer on site.

Today’s weather in Baker Lake ranged from -10˚F to 5˚F. It was 70˚F in Winnipeg when we landed!

Day 6 (Actually Day 7) – Wrapping Things Up and Going Home

The next day, our recommended taxidermist picked up the trophies and discussed what work was required on each hunter’s head/hide. He will do everything from prep and ship to the hunter’s preferred taxidermist, to completing any taxidermy the hunter wishes. He has worked on many muskox and is familiar with the unique anatomy of these creatures. He also takes care of all the necessary paperwork for the animal parts to be shipped outside of Canada.

Once he has left, all that’s left to do is pack up, collect any meat for the trip home and walk back across the street to the departure terminal to begin your journey home.

Thanks for joining us on this journey. We hope to see you all on the great white tundra soon!

Additional Notes

  •  Normal guiding ratios will be 2 x 2. Every hunter will have his own guide, but for safety reasons, we will be traveling in groups of two.
  • We lost two days due to weather, but safety will always be the number one determining factor in making decisions for the day.
  • Any time you can spend on a snow machine prior to the hunt will benefit you, but as we learned on this hunt, it is easy to learn to drive.
  • Practice with your firearm, the better you can shoot at longer ranges, the higher probability of success you will have. Shots of up to 300 yards may be encountered.
  • There are a couple of gift shops in Baker Lake that provide opportunities to share a part of your experience with those you left behind.
  • Alcohol is severely limited in the community, plan to celebrate prior to leaving Winnipeg, or on your arrival back.
  • Things may appear to be moving slow at the beginning of the hunting days, the guides are not only packing for a hunt, they are packing for a survival trip, they will always take time to make sure they are well prepared.
  • Any meat you leave behind will be donated to the community and it is greatly appreciated.
  • While we experienced mild weather during this hunt, the normal for this area at this time of year is -10˚F to 15 ˚F.
  • Next season’s muskox hunts will be conducted April 18-24 and April 24-30.

Lost caribou hunters found in bowhunting forum

Merle and Scott Meszaros

The Caribou Hunters: Scott and Merle Meszaros.

In late September of 2014, Merle Meszaros and his son Scott hunted barren ground caribou with Webber’s Lodges and Henik Lake Adventures. We thought they’d had a good hunt with us, but it had been awhile since we’d seen or heard from them. Until…

We found them in this hunting forum at Bowsite.com! And we’re glad we did! They had nothing but good to say about their caribou hunt with us!

Merle (Dad) goes by the name of BIGHORN on the Bowsite Hunting Forums and Scott’s handle is MatthewsMan. They too, were hoping their hunt would be memorable based on their early forum posts.

It was.

The father and son team flew by private charter from Thompson to Nejanilini Lake and then jumped on a Super Beaver for their final flight to the Caribou Camp at Baralzon Lake.

Merle got his first bull early and Scott got his on the second day of the trip.

“The Guide had to get the boat and tow him to shore,” said Scott. “Getting it out the velvet came off like crazy, so we pealed it all clean and then took the photos right on the shore.”

Scott Meszaros with caribou Bull

Scott Meszaros with caribou bull.

The weather on the trip was cold and windy with a few hours here and there of sunshine and warmth. There wasn’t a single bug all week, and the wind, water and waves also cooperated.

Caribou Camp Baralzon Lake, Webber's Lodges, Henik Lake Outfitters

Caribou Camp at Baralzon Lake.

“My second bull I was hoping for a real monster,” said Scott. “Like some of the ones the rifle hunters in camp were putting on the ground, but the fourth day I went ahead and took this guy for a skull mount.”

Scott Meszaros with second caribou.

Scott Meszaros with second caribou.

“The meals (our camp cook was Jody) were phenomenal,” said Scott. “And the guide we had (Jason) was really well versed on ecotourism due to his polar bear tourism stuff. Our Camp Manager Troy only got a few hours while hunters were out and shot this bull on the small island camp was located on. This was maybe 300 yards behind camp.”

Camp Manager Troy with caribou taken 300 yards from camp.

Camp Manager Troy with caribou taken 300 yards from camp.

After harvesting out, Scott said there were some nice bulls that actually came by camp, even with six or seven guys standing in full view on a hill. In total 23 hunters harvested 46 bulls. Hunters at a highly reviewed competitor’s camp weren’t so lucky, with six of their eight hunters not even managing to sight a caribou.

Caribou at Baralzon Lake.

Caribou at Baralzon Lake.

“When I shot my Shiras Moose last year Dad asked me what I still needed to get to finish the ‘Super Ten’ with archery,” said Scott. “And I told him I still needed a caribou. He sort of shockingly said, ‘That’s all you still need?’”

With the oldest of three children leaving for college last fall, Scott thought it might be as much as eight more years before he had chance to hunt caribou, but Merle wanted to see his son achieve his “Super Ten” milestone. Dad set up the hunt that made Scott’s dream goal become a reality.

“I feel very fortunate to have experienced this hunt with my Dad,” said Scott. “I am really thankful for all he and my mother have done for me in my life. I hope that someday I can do the same for my children. Our hunt was fantastic. It really was a trip of a lifetime for us.”

Caribou on Baralzon Lake.

Caribou on Baralzon Lake.

“I can’t stop thinking about this hunt,” said Merle. “I have had guided hunts in Alaska, Colorado, New Zealand, Namibia and South Africa, but this was the best one yet. All of the hunters, guides, cook and camp manager got along famously. The two hunters from Australia had everyone laughing. I have gone on six guided hunts and this was the best one without a doubt.

“Scott forgot to mention that our drinking water came straight out of the lake. It was some of the best water I have ever tasted.”

Merle also had a few tips to pass on in the forum.

He said to watch out for the Jodi, the cook, if you’re into cribbage. Jodi lost the first seven games in a row to him but she came back to take six straight. Breaking camp to go home probably saved Merle’s bacon.

Baralzon Lake Caribou Camp Crew

Baralzon Lake Caribou Camp crew. Can you spot the cribbage player?

Merle was also happy to have purchased a new pair of LaCrosse 800 boots to take with him, and that WindShear clothing and a rain suit were a must to fend off the weather. He added that a spotting scope would just get in the way and that their 8 x 30 Swarovski Binoculars were okay but 10 x 42 would have worked better.

“I gave my range finder and a pair of GORE-TEX gloves that I had not yet worn to our guide,” said Merle. “I got a big smile and a hug from him so he obviously appreciated getting them. Here is a picture of our guide with my bull.”

Henik Lake Adventures Guide with caribou

Guide with Merle’s caribou.

“My happiest times I have ever experienced are hunting with my son,” said Merle. “Bar none! I can’t imagine a hunt being better than this one.”

Merle will be 70 in a few months and he mentioned in the forum that his body was starting to give out on him. He’s hoping to harvest a couple of big bull elk this fall with his son.

“Because this may be our last hunt together,” said Merle.

It was an honor to host you and your son, Merle, on what may have been your final caribou hunt together. We’re so thankful you found us.

And each other.

Baralzon Lake colors

Canadian Muskox Hunt/Arctic Wolf Hunt set for late April 2015 in Nunavut

Webber’s Lodges, in partnership with Henik Lake Adventures,  is pleased to announce that our Barren Ground Muskox hunts and Arctic Wolf hunts will take place from April 24-30, 2015, east of the Thelon Game Sanctuary in Nunavut. Success rates on these hunts to date have been excellent!

While the hunts are all-inclusive from Winnipeg, Manitoba, the home base for the five days of hunting will be Baker Lake, Nunavut, located 320 km inland from Hudson Bay at the mouth of the Thelon River on Baker Lake. Near Canada’s geographical center, Baker Lake is notable for being Arctic Canada’s sole inland community.

Temperatures for this muskox hunt are expected to be at least 20 degrees milder than on previous hunts which took place in March, but the opportunities for trophies remain high. These hunts have an excellent success rate and over 50% of the muskox bulls score high enough to make the Boone and Crockett record book. Arctic wolves range from 120 to 140 pounds and their pelts come in a variety of colours, from almost white to black with most having a grayish blue tinge to their fur.

Barren Ground Muskox are up to 15% larger than their Greenland Muskox cousins and this area is virtually un-hunted. We stay in the community of Baker Lake to take advantage of comfortable lodging not generally associated with muskox hunts. This also gives us the flexibility to head out in whatever direction the muskox are. The ability to travel in any direction is key in giving the hunter excellent opportunities to harvest trophy muskox bulls and Arctic wolf.

“Each hunter will have their own snow machine and we’ll venture out from Baker Lake every day in search of muskox and Arctic wolves,” said Russ Mehling, General Manager at Webber’s Lodges. “We’ll be staying in a hotel, so we’ll have a good breakfast before heading out for adventure, and we’ll be back in time for supper, a hot shower and satellite TV.

“We have a very healthy population of muskox and we only take eight hunters on this trip each year. The Arctic hunting experience is something rare and special even for seasoned hunters. You’ll see a black dot on the horizon beyond the snow-covered sand eskers and there will be a herd of 10-100 muskox there. You would never believe they could live out there. The Inuit have been hunting muskox here for centuries, and they’ll be our guides. Muskox also make unique trophies and are a fantastic mount.”

Muskox meat is similar to caribou and other wild meat, but muskox are also prized for their lightweight underwool or Qiviut (pronounced “kiv-ee-ute”), which is eight times warmer than wool and one of the finest natural fibers on the planet. “Muskox underwool can warm your hands instantly,” said Mehling. “It makes wicked insulation.”

The Barren Ground Muskox/Arctic Wolf hunt is all inclusive from Winnipeg and includes:

  • Airfare from Winnipeg to Baker Lake and return
  • 7 day package, including 5 Full days of hunting
  • 1 x 1 guiding
  • 7 days/6 nights hotel accommodations at Baker Lake
  • All meals during hunt
  • Muskox license, trophy fee, and HTO fees
  • Wolf license
  • Small game hunting
  • Snow mobile rental
  • Trophy and meat prep

Hunt does not include:

  • Travel to and from your location to Winnipeg
  • Meals and accommodations in Winnipeg or Southern stopover
  • Licenses for hunting small game
  • Shipping of trophies and/or meat
  • Gratuities
  • Any taxidermy charges (we are using the same taxidermist and he is familiar with working with muskox)
  • Personal items including excess baggage charges, any costs incurred by delays due to bad weather or mechanical problems.

Travel Details:

Entry into Canada

For guests travelling from the United States:

If you are a U.S. citizen, ensure you carry proof of citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, a U.S. Permanent Resident Card, or a Certificate of Indian Status along with photo identification.

For international guests:

The Government of Canada requires that all travelers carry a valid passport because it is the only reliable and universally-accepted travel and identification document for the purpose of international travel.

You will need to arrive in Winnipeg the day before your hunt starts and overnight. The next morning we will fly you up to Baker Lake. We recommend the Four Points by Sheraton at the Winnipeg International Airport for your overnight in Winnipeg.

What to Expect:

Arrive in Winnipeg the day before your hunt date and spend the night. We can help you with booking rooms as required.

The following day you will be flown to Baker Lake, Nunavut on Calm Air. We will send you the flight itinerary once we book your flight.  There are 3 to 4 legs to the flight, so it will take a good portion of the day. You will check into the hotel at Baker Lake. The guides will already be there. We have a 12-hour waiting period in Nunavut so you will not start hunting until the next morning. However, your hunt includes 5 full days of hunting.

Day 2 through 6 are your hunt days:

• Breakfast and supper will be served at the hotel. Lunch will be packed for you and taken onto the tundra. You will leave town on snow machine. You will have your own. If you have access to one in your area, it would be good to get familiar with riding it. They are simple to learn to drive.

• You will target muskox first, but any wolf you see on your travels is fair game! Once your muskox is down, you will go after your wolf!!

On your last day you will fly to Winnipeg. Because of the multiple legs of the flight, you will spend most of the day travelling, which is why we recommended flying home the following day. Again we can help with booking rooms if needed.

Once your hunt is complete, your guide will prep and pack your trophies for shipping to our recommended taxidermist. They will also quarter out the animal (muskox) and get the meat back to Baker Lake.

Trophy Care:

We recommend Mr. Fish Taxidermy for handling of your trophies. They will take care of the permits, brokerage, etc. You can call them direct for pricing: Ask for Wes Wall at 1.204.755.3474

Mr. Fish Taxidermy

73 Myrtle Street

Hazelridge, MB R0E 0Y0

We can ship your trophies to Mr. Fish Taxidermy for fleshing, salting and shipping to a U.S. based Taxidermist. You will incur extra costs for this service as they apply for the USDA permits, etc. but this is the most convenient option and you are assured that your trophy is in good hands. We recommend this option but please call Wes Wall with Mr. Fish Taxidermy at  1.204.755.3474  regarding delivery time and costs involved. Mr. Fish Taxidermy can also do the taxidermy work and ship to you direct when complete.

You can also make the necessary arrangements with a Taxidermist of your choice in Winnipeg and we will ship direct to them.

Hunt Price:  $13,500 plus GST (2.5%)

Hunt Dates:  April 24 to 30, 2015

Deposits & Payments:

  • Deposit – $2000 per person non-refundable deposit is required within 10 days of booking your adventure.
  • 2nd Payment – $2000 per person non-refundable payment is due November 1 prior to your adventure.
  • Final Payment – Final payments are due 90 days prior to your adventure start date.

Once a deposit is received, your reservation is considered confirmed contingent upon receipt of subsequent payments IN FULL and ON TIME. If payments are not made by the due date outlined on your invoice, your reservation may be cancelled and deposit withheld.

Payment Methods:

We accept Visa or MasterCard for deposit payments and personal cheques, certified cheques or money orders for final payment transactions. Credit card may be accepted for final payment however, a 3% service fee will apply. Please make cheques payable to Dymond Lake Outfitters.

Send your deposit to:

Webber’s Lodges
P.O. Box 10
Ile des Chenes, Manitoba, Canada
R0A 0T0

If you would like more information about our rates, please contact us Toll Free 1-888-WEBBERS (1.888.932.2377) or by e-mail: info@webberslodges.com.

Happy New Year and Thank You from Webber’s Lodges!

Reimer and Webber Family - Enjoying life in the north!

Happy New Year from the archives!

Is fishing season over? What about hunting season? REALLY? You mean we don’t have to send a weather report in the morning? Or check the boats, motors, fishing rods, tackle boxes and emergency kits? Or stoke the fires, pump/haul water, unload an airplane, gather firewood and prepare (delicious) meals. Maybe we’ll do that anyway. The holiday season demands it!

You know…

Seems like just yesterday plans were being made for various projects, aligning of logistical needs, finalizing bookings, hiring of staff etc. and in the blink of an eye another year is behind us.

The hunting and fishing at Webber’s Lodges was excellent again in 2014 and resulted in so many adventures that it’s difficult to encapsulate the year with one overlying description. To recount all of this year’s escapades would undoubtedly have most of you snoozing before we could get halfway through them!

June snow in Manitoba

After the snowstorm at North Knife Lake. June 4, 2014.

They say — whoever “they” are — you don’t have to know how to do everything well, you just have to surround yourself with people that do, and judging from guest responses, Webber’s Lodges has done just that. We are blessed with a lot of amazing talent and it’s the hard work and dedication of our lodge staff that produce the glowing guest reviews we receive.

We’re also fortunate to have a rock solid mission control center in place at our new (bigger!) office. Moving into a much needed new office was a real treat, but it’s the people in it, our team on the ground so to speak, that are the real backbone of our operational success. The amount of planning, marketing and paper work that goes on behind the scenes before a guest actually gets to the lodges is mind boggling. Thank goodness we have an amazing support system that can make it all happen!

It is obvious that without the dedication of all our seasonal and year-round employees we would absolutely not be able to achieve the success that we do.

Ron Malech Lake Trout catch and release method

Ron Malech displays his new catch and release method for trophy lake trout at North Knife Lake.

And thank YOU, our lovely guests, who always leave us with new friendships to cherish and new stories to share. You make all the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile and we look forward with great anticipation to more exciting adventures with you in 2015.

Happy New Year, Good Fishing & Happy Hunting!

On behalf of the entire Webber’s Lodges family,
Doug & Helen Webber, Mike & Jeanne Reimer

A successful caribou hunt with Webber’s Lodges. Al Maki tells it like it is (was).

Al Maki with one of his two caribou bulls.

Al Maki with one of his two caribou bulls.

Guest Post by Al Maki

Ryan St. John is a well-established outfitter for all of the Arctic species of game. He recently merged with Webber’s Lodges to handle all logistics. Hunts leave by charter flight from Thompson, Manitoba and land at a float plane base just over the Nunavut line. From there hunters board Beaver float planes for a 1.5 hour flight to hunt camps located on the shores of the abundant lakes.

Flying in I was struck by the high percentage of water. It seems that 90 percent of the area is covered by lakes and ponds extending for miles. It didn’t look like any caribou habitat I’d seen or hunted. Camps are comfortable lakeside tents with a mess shed and resident cook. Hunts would leave each morning at daybreak in open skiffs traveling several miles in all directions in search of caribou.

The guides are all Inuit and are very familiar with the area and game patterns. Soon we began to see a few caribou in groups of two, three or more moving along the lake shore and crossing the water at will. My hunting partner and I drew straws for the first shot and I got the draw.

We saw a large bull with his harem of four cows on a small ridge so we beached the boat and made a stalk. They were moving our way but the wind was bad so they winded us and about-faced into the lake to swim to another peninsula. Our guide seemed to know where they were headed so we hopped back into the skiff and traveled down the lake a couple of miles.

Beaching again we scrambled up a small ridge and waited. Sure enough here they were, but they were out a full half-mile with no chance for us to close the distance. Back to the skiff and after a few more miles we rounded into a long bay and beached again.

After hiking a half-mile we crested a small ridge, and although I had my doubts, I was amazed to see our group of caribou moving down toward us. They would pass about 400 yards out. I rested over a small rock pile and waited for a clear shot. I ranged it at 417 yards and took the shot. The bull was hit hard but continued to move off. I shot again and he dropped.

I took another fine bull a day later and all of the hunters in the camp had a great time taking their two bulls by the fifth day of the hunt.