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Thread: Kenai Mts. Walk-In. Ram Double.

  1. #1

    Default Kenai Mts. Walk-In. Ram Double.

    We dubbed it Mission Impossible. Walk into the Kenai mountains and score a ram double. The Kenai Mountains have been my nemesis. Low numbers of sheep, high hunter pressure, high predator numbers and lots of poaching have left this range chronically devoid of legal rams. No other mountain range has been so reluctant to give up a ram to me. There are many better places to go, but in order to fulfill a special sheep hunting goal I'm working on, I needed to get one from the Kenai's. Not only did I want one, but my partner Scott is on the same quest. So in a unit that historically sees zero harvest some years, we were attempting mission impossible: double up on a walk-in, do-it-yourself backpack hunt in the Kenai mountains. I think Scott had calculated our chance of failure based on past harvest stats for this area at 97%. This year would be my fourth attempt in this location and second year in a row. Scott and I have been keeping tabs on the same group of rams for three years now and hoped desperately that this year there would finally be a legal one and hopefully two. A July scouting trip by Scott revealed three legal rams, but would they still be there? Would we have to compete with other hunters? Would the weather allow us to hunt this year (last year we spent an inordinate amount of time tent bound by heavy fog and rains)? So it was with a lot of anxiety that we headed for the mountains.

    We began with a two hour drive south out of Anchorage on August 7th. On the trail it soon started to rain. Oh no, was this going to be a repeat of last year? We carried on and made the big climb past treeline before dark. August 8 greeted us with scattered clouds, but fairly good hiking weather for the approximately 10 mile hike we had ahead of us. Every time we stopped for a rest though we were glassing our back trail, anxious of other hunters. When we reached the pass the rams were right where they were in July. We made a beeline for some cover in the form of a small rock gully and spent the rest of the day glassing them, trying to stay out of sight, and trying to stay warm in the spitting snow. There were 13 rams and three appeared full-curl. We were in great position. Legal rams found, no other hunters, but still a day before the season opens. By evening the fog and clouds enveloped us, which actually was perfect because it gave us cover to move to a good camping sight out of sight of all the sheep. We dove into our tent just as a full-on storm struck. August 9, the rain continued and visibility was near zero. Tent bound again! August 10th, opening day, 4am: drat! Still socked in with fog, but at 8am it started to break, the hunt was on! And amazingly, miraculously, no other hunters had shown up. We had the valley and the rams all to ourselves, at least for the time being. With just a little searching we found the rams on the side of a mountain that was a jumble of gullies and rock slides. Our stalk had us climb to the top and begin edging our way over the rim trying to locate the rams below. We peeked over several places before we found them. The biggest full-curl lay bedded at 250 yards. Several other rams fed far below in pastures at the valley bottom, including the second largest full-curl. We decided we better at least get the one in hand. I had first shot this year so I lined it and sent up and sent one through the shoulders. At the sound, the other rams began working their way to escape cover. The problem with that for them was that meant they were working up the mountain closer to us. The other big full-curl topped a small plateau at 280 yards and Scott shot his Kenai ram. We'd done it. Doubled up in the Kenai Mountains. It was now evening. We finished butchering by the light of headlamps and set off for camp at 12:30 in the morning. Scott and I can't seem to do a sheep hunt together without one good hike in the dark. It was treacherous and steep, but God directed our path in the dark through the crags. With moon and stars shining overhead and heavy loads on our backs it was glorious. We finally crawled into sleeping bags at 3:30 am. Tired, but content. The weigh of anxiety lifted off our shoulders, replaced by an overflowing sense of accomplishment.

    My ram: 37.5" 8 years
    Scott's: 35" 10 years

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  2. #2

    Default Mission Accomplished

    Kenai Mountains. Check.

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  3. #3
    Member Kotton's Avatar
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    Wow...You guys really put in the work,that is dedicated to watch a group of rams for three years!!!I have never heard of a double pulled out of there.You guys have done the impossible!Man I love the curls from those kenai sheep,my first sheep was from there and at only 36" it is my favorite one on the wall!!!

  4. #4
    Member Kotton's Avatar
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    Some one give this guy some rep my button wont work!

  5. #5
    Member Steve Springer's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Way to go guys!

    That's a great story. You guys did all your homework (scouting) and it paid off. Congrats and what is your next goal? I want to hear about this goal of yours

  6. #6
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Awesome, if you are going for a sheep from each range, then I would say the hardest part of your quest is complete
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

  7. #7
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Wow !!!! Amazing hunt !!! and to do it in the Kenai Mtns........ You guys got my vote for sheep hunt of the year !!!! Those are some phenominal rams, the 10 year old has some nice tight age rings !!!...................Congrats to you both !!!!

    This year is proving to be a good production year on rams throughout the state, hope it keeps up.......Lujon should get lucky next year.....He's due !!!

  8. #8
    Member GDinAK's Avatar
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    Congrats, wow... that is going to be hard to top.

  9. #9
    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    Tremendous job! Those two look like fighters. Anymore pix? Rep points sent!

  10. #10
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    Absolutely awesome job!!! Congrats on two fine, well earned rams.

    You are both trying to harvest a sheep from every range in Alaska, eh?

  11. #11
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    Fantastic trip, hunt and write-up.

  12. #12
    Member markopolo50's Avatar
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    I agree with all, great hunt and story. Glad it all came together and you didn't have to stay holed up in the tent too long. I can't imagine hiking back to camp in the dark. You guys are living right. Thanks again. Kotton, reps sent per request, very well deserved.

  13. #13

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    Congratulations, Very well done.

  14. #14
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Beautiful animals - I would think walking in 10 plus miles eliminated much competition - great job!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  15. #15

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    Well done.

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    great story and photos guys. nicely done

  17. #17
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Nice! My first ram was from the Kenai Mountains, but I haven't laid eyes on a legal ram in that range since that first harvest. You pulled off something pretty special there. Congratulations!

  18. #18
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Now that is stellar!!! I hadn't spent much time in the Kenai Mts until the past couple years and yea, 2x nice rams- that's a very unique harvest.

    Well done!!
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  19. #19
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    That is an awsome story! Also proves hunting is more than pulling the trigger.... Hard work leads to success...

    great job and congrats

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    Looking good Steve

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