2009 Sheep Hunt Report
The 2009 season turned out to be one of the most enjoyable seasons for me yet! Also a very successful one at that. July was the start for the Dall Sheep hunts August was Stones, September and October were Bighorns, November Goat and Bison, and we finish with Desert Sheep in January.
The first hunter in was Hoby Gartner from Idaho, Hobys hunt only lasted 40 minutes but it was a good one! Hoby and I flew into an area known for big Rams, after landing on a mountain plateau he hikes for 12 hours to reach the drainage we wanted to hunt. Once we were there, we immediately spotted a band of Rams which look to have two shooters in it. The time was 9:00 PM on July 14th and the season wouldn’t be open till midnight, July 15th.(Note: Its daylight 24 hours a day at this time of the year there.)We watched the Rams until they feed into a tight rocky crevasse and the hunt was on! We slipped off the mountain top to the valley floor, watching carefully to make sure the Rams we not in sight. When we reached the ridge the Sheep were on we decide to climb to the top of that mountain and come at them from above. 2 hours later we were with in 400 yards of the sheep, We just had to go a bit further and they had to right below us. I decided to take the long way around a bluffy outcropping on the ridgeline to be sure they wouldn’t see us. One step over the back side and I hit the breaks. There were three different Rams directly below us that we haven’t seen before and one was a tank! After a quick look we knew that this was the a Ram we were looking for. Hoby got set up and the waiting game was on. The Rams were bedded at 250 yards and had no idea we were there. With Hoby laying rested on the Mystery Ranch Pack and the sheep sleeping I know he could have shot him in his bed. We both figures we had lots of time and we better not mess this one up. Forty minutes passed and the smaller two stood and started to feed. Only a matter of time. The wind was custing and it was pretty cold up on the ridge top. The Ram finally stood up and had a stretch “Boom” Hoby fired on shot which was placed absolutely perfect and the Sheep crashed to the ground and laid still. Both him and I were almost speechless standing on what felt like the top of the world looking down at what looked to be a Dream Ram of any hunter. We could not wait to get our hands on it!
Hoby’s Dall Sheep measured out to be 40 inches and Scores 167 and Change, He was 14 years old and His lamb tips still on. What a Ram!
The Second hunt was with a fellow British Columbian, Murray Fain from Vancouver. Murray was hunting the Mckenzie Mountains for the second time. The first day we got onto a band of 7 Rams, the Sheep were bedded on a grassy hill side and were impossible to stalk into bow range so we set up camp at a safe distance and watched and waited till the Sheep made a mistake. The Sheep moved off the hill down to a small water hole on the mountain side then went down to some cliffs below to bed down for the evening. We slipped in to position and wait in ambush for the Rams to come back up to feed. Hours went buy and we needed to eat. Mountain House Spaghetti was made and just as we started to fill our face, the Rams decide it was their time to eat also and here they came. We were set up perfect. The Rams slowly walked right towards us and the best Rams turned broad side at 30 yards, Murray drew his bow and settled the pin…
The arrow flew perfectly, over the back of the Sheep. The Rams started to move they had us pinned now. Murray quickly knocked another arrow and I ranged, 40 yards. He took a second shot which also flew over the back of the Ram. Man was that exciting. As we watched the Rams crest a distant ridge we both had to wonder if that would be the last time we would see those beautiful Dall sheep. The next day we packed up our gear and headed in the direction the Sheep had gone hoping to catch-up with them or find some others along the way. After a long, long day of hiking we ended up almost back to where we had started and there they were the same band of sheep with two new ones joined in. The Rams were bedded out on the end of a grassy ridge over looking the river bottom below with no possible way to approach unseen. The waiting game was on again! After a few hours they started to feed and it was time to make our move. We snuck in and by the time we got there they were to far down the hill towards the river to get a shot in bow range. I decided we needed to get ahead of them and wait for them to come back up. We watched them feed to the bottom and drink in the river. Once we saw that they weren’t coming back up our side we had to make a mad dash around the top ridge, cross the canyon and get up the other side and ahead of them before they made it to the big mountain on the other side or else these ones would be gone. Lucky for us the sheep decided to feed on the canyon for quite some time and we were able to get ahead of them. The band of rams slowly walked up the river bottom below so as they moved so did we trying to stay unseen but keep an eye on them at the same time. We had a packer with us on this hunt, Troy. We decided that if they fed any further up the river it would be too open to get close we had to make something happen soon. There was one big cliffy spot on our side and the sheep hadn’t seen us at all so we figured we would try a push. Im not a big fan of the push but the way it was set up it had to work, if we could do it more like a, let them see Troy from 300 yards or so on the other side, they should slowly go up into the cliffs on this side where we would be waiting for them. Troy ran around the ridge down the canyon, up the other side and slowly walked into the open above the Rams. If you know what sheep are like, it didn’t take long and they had him pinned. It was working the Sheep did almost exactly what we had wanted they started to climb straight towards us. Troy had to do a bit of bull dogging ,but they went straight to us, it was perfect! The Rams decided to move a bit fasted than we wanted after Troy put some pressure on them and came running. It happened quick, we were making sure to stay out of sight and all of a sudden there they were 30 yards and coming. We had set up on a little grassy bench where a trail came up from the bottom and hid behind a big rock. All the Sheep had to do was keep walking and they would go right by us. The wind was swirling but I figured with them getting away from Troy they would just keep going right on by. But no. The rams stopped just below us and to the left only 30 yards away but all we could see was the tops of the backs, we had to move and make it happen NOW. Murray and I quickly snuck around the rock past a bush and popped over a little rise. They were only 20 yards stopped looking back across the canyon at Troy with no idea we were there. Murray drew back and touched it off on the snow white sheep whick was quartering away. Opps. The arrow sailed just over his back and into the gourge below. With surprise of the bow going off the Rams blew and went right back down where they came from, not giving any time for another shot. I was over, they weren’t stopping to ask questions. We never seen them ones again. Murray Fain is a great shot he shot constantly, practicing on dirt clumps, bushes and even a few rocks on the trip. Its hard to watch a big Dall Sheep running away after you do all that work and but all the time in but its also very rewarding to so how excited someone gets when they get one inside 30 yards. Murray was down at himself but I looked at the missed opportunity as another chance to do it again, besides it was only a few day into the hunt and we were having a blast, tones of sheep and lots of action, I call it catch and release hunting! The plane came and picked us up the next and after a quick shower and home cooked meal at main camp we were back out. We landed at a small lake on a plateau and had about a 3 hour walk to there we would set up camp. This spot we were hunting now was like a soccer field, almost flat. The sheep feed on the top of the river canyon and go down for safety a bit different then were all use to. For bow hunting these type of spots work very well it allows you to patturn them and set up in just the right ambush spot. We found a band of sheep within the first day but they were way out in the middle of the grass. Again the waiting game was on, for two days we watched the sheep waiting for them to make a mistake. They finally did, the Rams started to move towards us and we had to get to the edge where they were heading down before they got there. We made it to the edge but when we looked up they were gone. We slowly peaked over every little ridge and looked in all the cracks. There they were about 80 yards to our right they had gone down a bit farther than we thought but we were on to them now. After about an hour of sneaking we were within 45 yards and only had to pick out the right one and wait for them to separate. There were seven rams 3 nice ones, one of which was beautiful about 38 inches, tight cured and flared but he was only 6 years old and one was old and narley. Murray had his bow ready he drew his bow and slowly popped up over the last little hill, it was 45 yards to the Ram he was about to shoot. Just before he shot, a small 2 year old ram that we hadn’t seen before blew out below us and took the other rams with him. They only ran about 100 yards but was well out of bow range. We couldn’t believe it! The Sheep stood there at 145 yards looking around, they had no idea we were there. At this moment I got the “Give me your gun” with quite some shock I said “NO” Murray and I were both disappointed how that played out after watching them for days, then getting in on them just to have some little ram show up out of nowhere and spook our sheep. Murray said “Dust im tired of chasing them around your doing your job and Im not getting it done, Give me the gun.” I replied “ We will get back on them we got a few days left.” “Give me the gun.” He was serious, and tired and it was his hunt. He got the gun. We decided that if he shoot it with the gun he would have to shoot the old ram not the big young one. BOOM! One shot and the sheep tumbled down the hillside. Murray and I had a lot of fun on this hunt, the bow was back 4 times and we were within 45 or closer of 22 Rams in 6 days. What a hunt. Murray and I are hunting Desert Sheep in Mexico, Bow in hand in January 2010.
For the third hunt of the year I was hunting Stone Sheep in the Yukon with bow hunter Tom Hoffman, and good friend of ours Mark “Gutz” Gutsmield who was filming the hunt. The hunt started off a bit shaky, when Tom arrived in Whitehorse nothing else did, No bow, No sleeping bag, noting but his carry-on with his video camera. He flew into camp after buying a wal-mart sleeping bag and hoped it would be there and Mac would fly it in. Day Two with all Toms stuff coming in we headed out from the remote strip. That day we hiked about 5 or 6 miles north and camped on top of a ridge with lots of ground to glass. The next morning we woke up a pick everything we could see apart for hours. Nothing, so we decided to walk the long range staying on top and head to some new ground to see. That early afternoon I spotted a band of 5 Rams across the main valley floor, probably about another 5 miles away. It look to have two great Rams in it and a couple other that were close to being legal. The one that stood out to me was a very light color. I couldn’t tell from there exactly what but I figured over 38 inches. We were on the move. It was seven hours or so by the time we made it over there set up our camp and hiked up to where I thought the Sheep would come up to feed. They had bedded in the rocks way below a grassy ridge, this grass was the first place they could feed from where they were so I figured if we got there before them we would be in a good position to get a shot with the bow. If they decided to go below this ridge and across the hill we would be better to be above them then below so it was a win-win for us as long as we got there before them we were golden! We reached the top of the grass just in time, we had no longer got there and I heard something walking up through the brush, Mark spotted some willows moving, they were coming and at a fairly steady pace. We quickly set up as we could see them moving through the small opening in the brush. Tom asked if the lead ram was the good one, all I could see was the top of his head, he was the light one and looked good to me. He was only 25 yards with only one more bush to walk by and he was in the clear! The other Sheep were still coming up and we could only see pieces of them moving in the bushes. I new this was a good Sheep so we focused on him. The big Ram stopped just behind the last bush only 19 yards away. Tom said “I can kill him now” I replied “well kill him then” I about half a second the bow went off with a big whack, as the sheep one by one filed out of the brush to our right into the open we could see the blood running from his vitals as his legs wobbled. The other Sheep had no idea what had just happened a stood there allowing Mark to get some awesome video of 5 grat Stone Rams at 40 Yards or so. About 10 seconds went by and the sheep disappeared over the ridge below us. We quickly got to the edge and looked for them, they were side hilling away but only four were there. We fallowed the blood trail and where we lost sight of them at the ridge he had went down and rolled about 200 yards and was finished. It was a unreal Ram! The whole thing was filmed on HD Video and turned out great. Toms Sheep is 38.5 inches long and scores right at 160 at only 6 years old.
Hunt Four was in BC with My Parents operation again for Stone Sheep. Steve Crandell who was finally hunting with us after we cancelled his hunt the year before due to bad weather, arrived in main camp to hear we had already seen some good Rams. The next day we hike in and found a band of 9 Sheep, 2 legal ones. We knew what Ram was the shooter right away. We hiked to the top and snuck into with in 200 yards. Kent my other guide was along and set up the video camera. Steve rested his rifle and waited for the rams to get out of there beds. The big rams stood and started to feed. BOOM, “you got him, hit him again” I said. BOOM. The Stone Sheep stumbled and fell over and laid motionless. We couldn’t believe it! First day Steve killed a great big old Ram. The Sheep was 38 inches. What a beauty!
The next hunt was back down south for me I had hunter David H Wright (Hank) hunting Rocky Mountain Bighorns. The day before the season opened (Sept 9th) Hank, Kent and I hiked into a spot we normally some good Rams. There they were 10 Mature Rams had just filed out of the timber and fed across the basin. We split up hank and I went closer and Kent went up the other side to keep an eye on them. They fed across and bedded on the ridge. Kent watched them till dark. The plan was to wake up and kill the best one at first light. This spot is known for having really good sheep and other local hunters also hunt here. Its usually a race of sorts in this hole but we were always in it. Daylight came on opening morning and we were only about 400 yards from the top. We had camped on the last flat spot possible and were up a first light glassing. If the rams were not in the basin, they had only one place to be on the back side of the ridge where they bedded the night before. After looking over the basin we decided we better get going to the top and get on them on the back side. Just as we were about to put the packs on I spotted two guys climb over the ridge right where the sheep had been the night before. There was only one place the sheep could be. I couldn’t believe they didn’t see the rams. YET. I signalled the guys we were already over here so they wouldn’t come this way. We grabbed the gun and started to walk over to where I figured the sheep were. It took about 30 minutes trying to get up to the top after trying to climb through the cliffs. All of a sudden BOOM,BOOM and my heart sank. I couldn’t believe it, we had them. Then 3 rams came running over the top and right below us. I looked trying to tell if one was legal, “The back one Hank the back one.” he tried to get on it but they were running through the rocks and now away to fast, Hank couldn’t get a good bead on it and never fired a shot. I still couldn’t believe that happened. I had to look and see if they got it or not. It took only 5 minutes and I was standing on the top looking down the backside where I knew the rams were and there stood the two guys starting to skin what looked to be a big ram only 250 yards away. From where we were when the shots went off to the dead ram was only about 400 yards. Again I couldn’t believe it. It was only 8:00 AM opening morning and this spot was spoiled. We hiked to our tent packed up and were hiking out to the truck by 10:00 AM. I know the hunters who killed the sheep, a father/son combo who are known for killing lots of big sheep and have hunted her for many years. Their ram was 40 inches and scores 188 Boone and Crockett. We were close, but that’s hunting! The next day we hiked into my other spot this time Kent had Hank and I was going up the opposite ridge to spot for them. Day three I spotted 12 Rams and after hooking up with Kent and Hank they made the stalk. It was an all day ordeal trying to getting range. At last light the ram we were after finally presented a shot. BOOM, one shot and he tumbled down into a dry creek bed. Hank worked very hard and had a great attitude after being scooped on the ram opening day. I think his positive attitude was a big factor in his success. Hanks ram is a 170 class, great representative of a BC Bighorn Sheep.
Since we had a few days off till our next hunt my guide Kent and I decided to do a bit of hunting for ourselves. 1st day we went out we hiked into a valley looking for an elk. About 2 hours in we had seen some good elk sign and decided to slit up and try and call one in. I let out a bugle and instantly a bull lit up. Within ten minutes a huge 6x6 came walking out on a slide and I rested the cross hairs on his chest, BOOM ,BOOM, BOOM. All three shot hit and we had an elk, So we thought. We fallowed the blood trail thinking he would be dead some where close. The blood trail was good at first then as it got darker out it got harder. We decided to spend the night and search for it in the morning. All day we looked with no luck. The blood trail got smaller and finally we lost it. We still have no idea where I hit or what happened but we didn’t ever find him. The day after that we decided to go look for some sheep about 100 miles from where we usually hunt. We got up before daybreak and were ready to spot by light. When the sun came up it was foggy and you couldn’t see so we went to look for an elk. We bugled elk all morning but couldn’t seal the deal. At 12:00 we drove to the spot we wanted to look at and Kent spotted some sheep at the top of the mountains. They were Rams. We got closer and took a better look. There were 9 Rams and 2 looked to be close to legal but we would have to get way closer to be sure. We decided if we went now it would be tight for time. We figured it would be 7 hours or so by the time we packed our gear and hiked up. But, we went any ways we packed light. Bivy sacs and only the necessities. By the time we started it was past 1:00. He and I are in good shape by this time of the year so we went hard. 6:00 and we were 340 yards from them there was one shooter, easily legal and a great sheep. Were we were if Kent shot and the rams move only a few yards to the left we wouldn’t be able to get another shot off before they got behind a ridge so we snuck back and tried to move closer and to the left leaving us a second opportunity if needed. Ten minutes later we were set up only 200 yards from the sheep. We had to craw up on a big ledge to get a rest which meant we would be in plain sight. It was a gamble but if we did it slow we figured we would get away with it. Kent and I slowly move out. Down below us there was a few ewes and one spotted us and started to move out, this got the other sheep attention and things were going to happen. The rams started to file out and as the big ram cleared the rest and stopped Kent shot BOOM. The staggered and laid down the rest of the rams stood there for a bit then took off. Kent had finally killed a sheep for himself, after guiding lots and missing two big stones he had finally gotten one to hang on the wall, and what a sheep it was! Three days later I was out with a buddy and we spotted a mule deer buck that was one I was after. With my bow in hand and the camera in Shawns we took off. I went one way and Shawn the other. The buck stopped in a thicket as Shawn snuck in. He then turned and came running right by me. I drew my bow and I gave him a whistle he stopped only 25 yards away. I touched it off sinking the arrow into the vitals. He ran down the hill and died in under 30 seconds. My Mule deer is a 4x4 with a sticker on both sides of his top fork he is 26 inches wide and scores right at 180 Pope and Young Typical.
Its time to go back to work now!
The next hunter was John Shannon form Iowa, a 7 footer that can go! John and I spent a lot of time by a fire on this cold , cold , foggy hunt. Day 3 we jumped a nice ram in his be while trying to get through some cliffs. Never seen that one again. Day 5 we hiked to a spot I always see sheep. Seeing six 4x4 Mule deer bucks , two really nice ones. We moved a bit more and started to glass and heard a “hello.” another hunter was sitting only 20 yards from us. We talked with him and he explained that they were just leaving had their horses packed and on the way and took one last look and saw a band of 3 come over the top with one that looked big. For the second hunt in a row I saw other hunters in my honey hole. We sat a talked for about 30 minutes because he said any minute his partner would be killing it. BOOM, yep he got it. This Ram scores 175 and is incredible. John and I were a bit bummed but again that hunting. We hikes up the ride to my camp spot and set up the tent. The next day was foggy so we sat by the fire. Day 6 we woke to blue sky and the hopes of a good sheep. We glasses and glasses all morning, nothing. Early afternoon I saw a ewe and a lamb come over the ridge about 2 miles away. She was looking back constantly so I kept my eye on the ridge, 10 minutes later 5 Rams came trotting over with one that looked to be pretty good. Away we went and 3 hors later we were 550 yards away from the sheep, they were bedded on a grassy slope and we were at the last cover with darkness only a little ways away and a big canyon we hadn’t seen stopping us from getting closer. John said “Dustin I can kill him from here” we talked about it for a bit and I believed him. We spent about 30 minutes building pretty much a shooting bench out of the bank and John was rock solid. The ram got up and turned sideways. “Take’em” BOOM. I watched in the spotting scope as the bullet entered his ribs. BOOM he shot again and the sheep his the ground. Two hole two inches apart at 550. I was impressed and we were really happy. For the second time this year id been scooped we manage to make it happen again! And John had his Rocky Mtn Bighorn.
During this hunt Kent had a Sheep hunter also, Todd Frank. They spent about 8 days in a tent due to bad snow and fog. They were hunting a different area. Todd and Kent saw no sheep in the snowy first 8 days but on the 9th they day a few rams but weren’t big enough. Day 10 was his last day and they saw some more but still no shooter. Todd stayed 2 extra days and they hunted hard but were unable to find legal ram. That’s how it goes and is why they call it a hunt not a kill. Todd is going to hunt with us again in 2010. He will get one.
The last 10 days of this Bighorn season was Sara Brandenburg a 15 year old girl and her Dad Rod from Colorado. Sara killed a Dall sheep in September in Alaska and is trying to kill a Grand slam of sheep in under 365 days! This Bighorn was the second sheep hunt. Day one through five were filled with very little excitement. Fog and Rain day and night. On day five at 2:00 Kent spotted three rams from our trusty camp and one looked to be close. Kent put on his pack and ran to the next ridge to get a better look. There was no way we would make it to the sheep by dark so Kent was just going to see if it was legal and put it to bed so we could find them the next day. The next day we started just after light. The rams were still there and all we had to do was hike a long ways and it should be an easy one. Wishful thinking! FOG again. It took about 4 hours and we were on the same side as the rams but the fog was to thick we decided to stay below tree line so we wouldn’t bump them and wait for the fog to lift. We build a fire and waited. The fog started to break and we started to look for the sheep. We knew they were about 400 yards to the left and maybe 400 yards higher but with the fog it was hard to see. As we were glassing I spotted yet another guy, he was by himself walking right where the seep were to be. I could just see his outline through the thick fog and he was walking our way. We stayed in the trees hoping he wouldn’t see us and praying he wouldn’t see or spook the Rams. I couldn’t believe it. Were like 6 miles back in and usually never see anyone. The guy walked by above us at about 200 yards and just as I was trying to point him out to Rod, Rod said “That’s not a guy, it’s a ram!” I said “No Rod I just watched him walk like 200 yards towards us.” Then I looked again. Just as the guy walked out of my sight I saw what he saw. It was a ram , the guy walked right below another sheep that we hadn’t seen with the fog and because the fog lifted a bit we were not able to see it. We watched the ram watch the hunter walk right below him. They had to only 200 yards apart. How he didn’t see it, I don’t know but it was crazy. We looked at this ram and decided he was legal and we should definitely make a play on him. We had to drop further down in the trees and make it to the next gully and if we did we were in the clear. If the sheep didn’t get seen by the other hunter and didn’t spook, I knew we had him. It took about a hour and we were set up only 150 yards away. Sara was laying prone with the backpack holding her gun steady. The ram was sleeping facing straight away and didn’t know we were there. We were at the same height as him and he had nowhere to go. About 30 minutes went by and we decided to make him stand up. I tried to whistle, and then I started to roll rocks down the hill and finally we got his attention. I stood on skyline then ducked down. It caught his eye and he stood up, but he was still quartering away hard. I said “Just wait” and let out a sheep BAAA. The rams turned broadside and look our way. “Give it to him Sara” BOOM. “Reload. Shoot again.” BOOM. The sheep turned to run but the first shot was a heart shot and the second was right through both front shoulders and he was hurting. The ram started to tumble, and tumble it did. He ended up rolling to about 75 yards from where we had the fire down at tree line. She had done it. Sara killed a Rocky Mountain Bighorn on a backpack hunt in BC. Ask me if I was impressed with this little girl. If only I had more hunters with the work ethic and attitude of this kid.
Sara is now half way there. Desert Sheep in Mexico January 1st.
Sheep season was done, all my hunters taking great sheep and we had some fun too!
November 1st my wife and I drove to my parents Northern operation. It was almost the end of the Bison hunts but I was going to guide the last hunt. My bud Mark “Gutz” who was filming on Tom Hoffman Sheep hunt had book a Free Range Bison hunt with us. Mark and I started up the trail at 8:00 Am on his first day. We saw some cows along the way but no big bulls yet. We got to one of my little spots and there were 3 nice bulls feeding in a open meadow near a natural sulphur creek. Me stared the stalk on was bigger than the others so that the one we wanted, naturally. Just as we got to the last bit of cover and they decided to start to walk away. We had to change the plan. We went up and around and tried again. We were sneaking in and out of nowhere two mule deer does spooked and we thought for sure it was over but we just stayed still and the bull went back to feeding. Slowly we snuck into position. We were only 19 yards from the second largest one then there was a smaller one then the big guy at 27 yards. We waited and waited then the two other bull step clear of the massive Bison bull. Mark drew back and took his shot. Perfect! In only a few short minutes the bull died and Mark had his bull. It was 12:00 noon on day one and we were done! The bull measured 17 inches long and scores right at 110 P&Y a top 10 score.
November 18th my friend Josh and I went out looking for a Mountain Goat. Josh drew a tag for an area near home and we figured we would see if we could get on in one day. He had drawn five years in a row and hadn’t killed one so I really wanted to get him one. We drove and spotted all morning seeing 11 goats but no big Billies. At around 10:00 we found three Goat together, a Nanny and Kid and a nice Billy. The packs were on and off we went. It looked to only be about one to two hours up but when we got going it ended up to be a bit longer. We got bluffed out and had to do some back tracking. In knee deep snow and windfall things always take longer then you would think. At 3:00 Josh was lined up on the Billy. He had a good rest with the packs and a steady hand. We couldn’t get closer because of the cliffs and the shape of the mountain. Josh had to shoot now or never. At 420 yards you have to be rock solid and know your gun. He did. BOOM. The Goat reared up and jumped out of sight away from us. I was looking in the scope and the shot looked to be right where it needed to be. Now we had to try and get there and find it before dark. It took an hour and a half but we got there. The Billy had fallen off the cliff on the backside and rolled into an avalanche chute. Josh was pretty excited and so was I. His shot was right on. He had to hold for a 10 mph wind drift and with my wind meter he was able to hold perfect. This goat was only 3 years old and was already 9.5 inches long. I will be hunting this area with some hunters in 2010, I hope!
Right after Christmas I headed to Loreto Mexico on the Baja california Sur, I was hunting with Sara Brandenburg again, She was after that 3/4 Slam Ram and the Desert was the prey. The started of with some excitement as they missed their flights from LA to Mexico and didn’t end up on the mountain till two days later then we planned. After a long 6 mile hike into base camp we were set to go!Â Day 1 of hunting we hiked and glasses but only ewes were found. Day two we went up a new drainage i hopes of a good Ram. Lunch time Sara took her homework out and tried to do some algebra questions, we were sitting eating a Burrito I finished mine and snuck down the hill to look back up the basin to the right of us where we couldn't see. There he was a nice full curl Ram bedded only about 400 yards from us and 3 ewes feeding away. I quickly got Sara and her Dad Rod, We decided to sneak around the back side of then and shoot down on the bedded Ram. After a short 20 minute stalk, Sara lined up over my pack and steadied. Rod was dinkin' around trying to get ready to back up his 15 year old daughter and the Ram spotted him. The Desert Sheep stood and turned broadside. Sara asked me "Should I shoot" "UH YA" I quickly replied! BOOM... The Ram turned and started to run away, then fell over in only 40 yards or so. Sara had made a perfect shot at 250 yards. That kid can Shoot! I probably dont need to tell you but again, there was a very proud Papa and also a proud Guide. on Day two Sara had killed a beautiful Desert Sheep at almost 5000ft over looking the Sea of Cortez. I feel blessed to be part of this kid making history!
After the hunt in Loreto Mexico I had one week before my next hunt to spend some well need time with my new wife. As you have seen Iv been very busy all year and leaving only 2 weeks after being married in June to go hunting in the NWT, this was a good time to do something special for her. We went to Mazatlan Mexico, which we call this our Honeymoon! Spending a week on the beach and staying in the most beautiful condos in my opinion in Mazatlan, Terria Sands, with a gorgeous woman was something I needed after a crazy hunting season! But... one week was good enough! Tiburon Island here I come!!!!
I landed in Hermosillo Sonora, and met up with the crew, Murray Fain who I had guided in the NWT invited me to guide him on his Desert Sheep hunt that he purchased at the WSF Auction in Feb, 2009. The hunt was on Tiburon Island, property of the Seri Indians and known for have some big Desert Sheep. We boated across on a small fishing boat where we were greeted by the Mexican Military to check permits. The Military has a base on the shore to watch for low flying aircraft and drug runner using the canal to make there trip north shorter. We took a truck to base camp and went to bed. The next day we woke before sunrise, ate breakfast and headed out in the truck. We drove for nearly an hour and then parked the truck. We hiked a small hill in the desert floor to get a better look at the mountains which were being lit with the morning sun. Many sheep were seen and a few miles hike looking in every crack we could find but on day one no rams. Day two he went into another valley. one of the other guides and I hike a hill to look into the back of the one side draw as the hunter and the other Mexican native stayed in the bottom and worked their way up the valley floor also looking. In no time I spotted a Ram and he looked to be a good one! After determining he looked like he was a shooter we ran down and caught up to the rest of the guys. Murray and I started the stalk at 10AM on day 2 the rest of the crew hiked up the other side of the draw to watch the action and keep an eye on the sheep for us. To make a long story shorter we were with in 100 yards at 2PM and then it was a slow deliberate stalk the rest of the way. At 2:45 we were 22 yards from the feeding Ram that was below us. The brush was thick and at 22 yards there was no shot. I said come on Mur lets get to that cliff and shoot down on him, it should be 12 -15 yards. We snuck to the cliff and as i looked down there he was, I ranged him, 10 yards. The rams was still feeding. Murray had two step to go and it was a slam dunk! whoops! a small rock rolled and the Ram BLEW OUT! I had the video camera on and ready to go but the Ram was running away, I dropped the camera and grabbed the range finder. BAHHH... The ram slammed on his breaks, he thought we must have been a sheep when I called to him. "30 yards Murray" Murray was already at full draw and settled the pin... the arrow flew true and disappeared behind the shoulder. It had happened. Murray killed the first Desert Ram we saw on the first stalk. It was truly awesome. Let me tell you when you are 10 yards from a ram like this you can definitely hear that heart pounding! Murrays Sheep un-officially scores 179 2/8 (scored by the biologist in Hermosillo) which make it the pending NEW WORLD RECORD! P&Y.
That was a great ending to my fall sheep season, maybe after the shows I can get back down to Mexico for 1 more hunt but if not Ill look forward to killing some big Grizzlies in the Spring!
Id like to thanks all the awesome hunters, some of you old friends and all the new ones. It was a pleasure! You the hunters are why I am able to have the best job on earth.
Thank You and Happy Hunting!