I went to Newfoundland in 2012 to try for a woodland caribou with my CVA Accura. I also had an Apex with a .300 Win Mag Bergara barrel. I had asked my guide if he would carry the .300 Win Mag, while I carried the 50-caliber blackpowder rifle. I knew that sometimes caribou don’t come in close enough to get a shot with a 50-caliber rifle. I felt comfortable shooting my 50-caliber out to 200 yards, but past that 200-yard mark I felt more comfortable shooting the .300 Win Mag Bergara barrel. By having both, I knew I could reach out and touch a caribou at any reasonable distance. I scheduled a 5-day hunt for the caribou. Newfoundland is an island, so the caribou there don’t migrate like the caribou in the rest of Canada and Alaska do. The guide knew where they were before I arrived. These caribou were holding on a remote section of the island.
A friend and I flew into St. John’s, Newfoundland. We both had caribou tags. When we arrived, we loaded up in a truck and traveled about an hour to the lodge. The next morning we got up early and drove about 2 hours by truck and then took 4-wheelers to reach our hunting area. That 4-wheeler ride was one of the most-brutal rides I’ve ever taken. My jaws hurt for almost 2 months after the constant pounding we took on the 4-wheelers. There were no roads into our hunting area; the guide just drove the 4-wheelers cross country, and we followed. Finally, late in the afternoon after we had left the 4-wheelers, we found two caribou bulls sparring with each other. They pushed and shoved each other back and forth before drifting away from each other.
Then the nice bull I wanted to take started coming toward us. So, I prepared to make the shot with my CVA Accura 50-caliber. My guide had a range finder and continued to give me the yardage to the bull. The caribou got to about 100 yards and then turned and walked away from us. When the bull was at 275 yards, I handed my guide the 50-caliber Accura. I took the CVA Apex with the .300 Win Mag Bergara barrel.
I hand-load my cartridges, and I use a Hornady 270-grain bullet. I have Nikon scopes on both my guns, because I like the circle rings inside the scopes instead of crosshair reticles. Once you get your scope mounted, you can go to the Nikon website (www.nikon.com), enter the caliber, bullet weight and the muzzle velocity you’re using and get a trajectory chart. Then you know the bullet drop from 100 to 500 yards. With that information, I can set-up the circle rings inside my scope to aim according to the bullet drop at various ranges. I got a perfect double-lung shot on the bull, and he only traveled 20- or 30-yards before he went down. My friend also scored a caribou on that same day. By the time we got the animals caped out and quartered, both 4-wheelers were loaded down. My caribou was a Safari Club Gold Medal caribou.
I was trained in the military and taught there that 90 percent of the second shots a shooter takes are misses. Our instructor always told us, “Make that first shot count.” I’ve used that philosophy throughout my hunting career. This was one of the reasons I didn’t have a hang-up about using a single-shot muzzleloader rifle like the CVA Apex. Having the advantage of a range finder and having done my homework on my riflescope and at the rifle range, I didn’t hesitate to take the 275-yard shot. Even though I reloaded after the first shot, I didn’t have to take the second shot. I believe hunting with a single-shot rifle tends to make you a better hunter, since you have to know that you can make the shot.
By Joe Sebo CVA Pro Staff.