Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Firsts #7 Donovan's Ram

Well, after the double Scott and I scored in the Brooks Range last week, my sheep fever was still not satiated. So I invited my buddy Donovan (he's the guy I went to Argentina with in January) to my secret honey hole to see about getting him his first ram. We left town on Wednesday evening and we're back by Saturday evening with a beautiful 36 inch flaring full curl. It was a good hunt that entailed overcoming some really bad weather. But the rams were there like they always are. What a season! The bucks on Prince of Wales Island better watch out!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Anatomy of a Sheep Hunt #7

Here are some of my favorite scenery pics from the long hike out.

Anatomy of a Sheep Hunt #6

But killing a ram isn't the end of a hunt. We are now 20 miles into the back country with approximately 130 lb packs full of meat, hides, horns and camping gear. It took us approximately 17 hours over 3 days to hike those rams back to the road.

Anatomy of a Sheep Hunt #5

My ram down it was Scott's turn. His big ram was 300 yards away. The .300 WSM spoke once and we had completed a double on big rams in the Brooks Range.

Anatomy of a Sheep Hunt #4

It worked! We snuck past approximately 20 sleeping rams to get into position for a shot at first light. One shot from 150 yards put my ram down for good.

Anatomy of a Sheep Hunt #3

Finally on day four we topped a ridge in the evening and discovered Ram Nation. We counted 23 rams in this hidden bowl. About half of them appeared to be legal full-curls and a couple of them were real bruisers. But there was a reason the rams loved this valley so much. They were virtually unapproachable. Two failed stalks got us no closer than 700 yards. We needed to employ some extreme tactics to get on these rams. We pulled back to base camp and decided a night stalk was our only chance to sneak within range. This stalk required a long hike up a knife edged ridge. At the top we huddled in our sleeping bags for about 3 hours waiting until darkness. At 1 am we entered the valley through a notch in the ridge we dubbed the sheep gate and descended 1000 feet down a steep rock chute to the valley floor in the near darkness.

Anatomy of a Sheep Hunt #2

We started the hunt with a day of good weather, but the skies opened up that evening and it continued to rain most of the hunt. We spent several days tent bound as fog shrouded the mountains. We hiked when we could and found scattered bands of lambs and ewes but after three days of searching we hadn't found any rams and were beginning to get anxious. By this point we were 20 miles deep into the back country.

Anatomy of a Sheep Hunt #1

Scott and I are back after a successful walk-in hunt for trophy Dall sheep off the Haul Road in the Brooks Range. We both took great double broomed rams on the same morning. It was a typical extreme sheep hunt. We were cold, hungry and tired the whole time. it was a great hunt. Here is Scott and I on the afternoon of August 8th before beginning the hike in, and a couple pics from along the way.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sheep Season!

We leave tomorrow. It's like Christmas eve! Hopefully there will be a tremor in the force on Sunday, August 10th, opening day! Be watching for a full re-cap in about 2 weeks. Wish us luck!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

House for Sale

We're really moving. The house is for sale.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Countdown to Sheep Season 2008

All the planning, scouting, training and detective work come to fruition in 9 days. August 10 is the opening day of sheep hunting season in Alaska. Scott and I are heading out in less than a week, August 7th to make the long trek north to the Brooks Range. This will be our second time chasing rams in the high arctic. Wish us luck, we've got high hopes of doubling up again on monster rams.

Half Curl

PS 127:3 Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

It's official, I'm getting a new hunting partner! First week of March the Bethune family adds one to the flock.