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Caribou in North America are found in Canada and Alaska. Reindeer are found in Norway, Finland, Siberia and Greenland. These consist of two major groups: tundra reindeer and woodland reindeer.

Figure 1 “Photo” A Caribou in it’s natural habitat, photo from ©

Both sexes grow antlers. Typically two separate groupings of points consisting of a lower and upper group. The color of fur depends on the season. Northern populations are smaller and more white. Southern populations are larger with darker fur. Females tend to be 170-260 lbs (77-118 kg). Males or bulls are larger weighing 200-460 lbs (91-209 kg). Some subspecies tend to be smaller.

Caribou mainly eat lichens (ie. Moss) in the winter. They will also eat grasses and leaves of willows and birches.

Some locations in world where Reindeer existed decades and centuries ago are working to reintroduce herds. Locations include Iceland, South Georgia and Kerguelen Islands.

Nature Status:

Caribou are not endangered.

Natural Predators:

Grey Wolf, Brown Bears and Polar Bears will attack Caribou of all ages. Wolverines will attack calves, birthing cows and weaker animals. Golden Eagles will prey on calves.

Life Span:

Average life span is up to 15 years.


Arctic and subarctic locations consisting of both resident and migratory herds.


The glass and stalk approach works well on migratory and resident herds. The optional stand/blind approach will also work with resident herds.

Figure 2 “Photo” A great example of a mature Caribou taken while hunting in Alaska, by WJ Team member, Wayne Davis.

Figure 3 “Photo” An alternative to traditional taxidermy, the simple mount.

Caribou (Reindeer) (Rangifer tarandus) Action Card

Caribou populations are widespread and numerous. Known as Reindeer in Europe and Asia. Herds consist of both migratory and resident populations.

Preferred Caliber:

.270 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield, 7mm Remington Mag, .300 Win Mag, .308 Win, and .338 Win Mag


Personal preferences of hunters vary extensively. Bolt actions are a common type of rifle used.


Compound Bows with a 50 lb. draw weight. Broadheads with a minimum 7/8 inch cutting diameter.


High quality optics is recommended. Distant shots are available. Recommend using a range finder along with a spotting scope to locate herds.


Glass and stalk approach for migrating herds. Best opportunity to hunt resident herds is during the rut.


Late September to early November is when matting occurs. Migratory caribou travel 10-35 miles per day.

*Disclaimer: Please contact the local game management office for exact details and regulations pertaining to the area you are hunting.

By Erich Held, Field Staff Member

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