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Thread: crazy ram hunt

  1. #1
    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Default crazy ram hunt

    Sometimes it's better to be lucky than to be good! I got lucky this year and drew the TMA sheep tag. With no hesitation I called 40 mile air and booked right away. Then I had to call and cancel my plans for the brooks range hunt I had planned. Normally I stay active enough during the summer hiking and fishing that I don't have to really train for a sheep hunt. Unfortunately, this year I had to spent the 6 weeks prior to the hunt in the armpit of the south FT Polk LA. So the only real hunting/training I got in was a few birds hunts. If you can keep up with Nitro all day you are either hard headed or in sheep shape. I tend to more on the hard head side.
    I called my normal sheep hunting buddy Jed, even though he no longer lives in Alaska he said he would love to go with me. So he got the time off work and bought his plane tickets right away. Special thanks to Jed, not many people would do that! He's been on a few successful sheep hunt and got the bug and hunting in OK just can't compare. Here's a pic of my wife and Nitro getting me in shape and of Jed and I before the trip.



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  2. #2
    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Default ram addiction

    We drove to TOK, checked in the 40mile, weighed our packs and flew in first thing the next morning. As soon the Leif dropped me off on the strip I started glassing. Right off the bat we spotted two rams together so we grabbed the optics and moved into a better spot to glass. One ram we named Broomer. He was an old ram that was heavily broomed on both sides with very thick horns, he had a tight curl and even though he was broomed was still full curl. The other ram we named Rick Flair was broomed on one side but the other side dropped below his jaw and flared way out. I figured if I was ever going to shoot a 40" ram this was going to be my chance. They fed within 631 yards of us and we watched them from a well concealed spot basically all day at 50X. They finally moved off so we were able to find a good spot to set up camp and figure out our plan for the next day. Since we never spooked the rams I figured they would follow the same routine and hopefully we could intercept them and be tagged out by 0800 the next day.
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    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    The next morning he were up early and used the fog to move into a position that would allow us to glass the area we expected the sheep to come from. As the fog lifted we soon realized that we were surrounded by sheep. I felt like I was in a sheep hunter's heaven. We saw several rams that were probably full curl but the big boys never showed up. By 1100 we had a feeling that it wasn't going to be this easy so we deciding to go find the rams. We climbed up the crazy steep drainage and found more rams but nothing we wanted to stalk on day 1. We hunted hard from there for four more days. Over-the-hill-ites was really taking a toll on our legs. We saw lots of caribou, several nice grizzlies and all kinds sheep but flair and broomer were nowhere to found. We had good weather except the constant really strong wind. On day 5 we packed up camped and hiked several miles to spike out so we could check several other drainages.P9080278.jpgP9050230.jpg

  4. #4
    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Default ram hunt

    After we set up camp and we spent half the day hiking up and up some more into a new drainage. We spotted more sheep but still not what I was looking for. We made our way back to camp and decided to relocate so we would be in a better spot to hunt day 6. As we were working our way up a valley we noticed the same band of ewes on a pinnacle of a ridge that we had been watching. We kept moving closer to them trying not spook them. All of sudden Jed looks up at them with his binos and turns around saying huge ram right there. We dropped down, pulled out the spotter and sure enough there one ewe with two new nice rams just looking at us. The whole time we thought it was just the bandP9070255.jpgP9060243.jpg of ewes. We dropped our packs and tried to formulate a plan. If they stayed put there was nothing we could do. If they fed up or to the right there was nothing we could do but if they went left we had a chance. Of course they eventually fed up and to the right.

  5. #5
    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Default up and over

    It was a long shot but we decided that we had a chance to go up and over the mountain and cut them off. We dropped our packs and took all camp gear out to make them light as
    possible. I didnít think we would have time or the leg strength left to
    work our up the mountain, find the rams and make a stalk before dark. Jed
    said itís a nice ram we have to give to try. So up, up and away we go. We
    got to the top and worked our way over to where we though the rams were
    headed. We finally spotted the ewe and sure enough the rams were behind her
    butting heads. There was steep scree field of flat rocks we had to work our
    way across. Luckily there was a mound that the sheep fed behind that allowed
    us to start dropping down without us being spotted. The wind was howling so
    I wanted to get as close as possible. We edged out to look down as the rams
    fed towards us. We had plenty of time so we set the spotter up and I build
    up a rest of rocks to give me a comfortable spot to shoot from. As the rams fed into view
    I ranged the biggest one at 297 yards. It was steep downhill shot and the
    wind was gusting to at least 30mph. I had a rock steady rest and I had practiced a lot out to 400 yards. I wasnít nervous at all I felt 100% confident I could make the shot. Jed asked me several times if I was sure but I told him I was ready. My 270wsm is zeroed at 200 yards and normally
    drops 6.5 inches at 300. I knew with the steep angle that the bullet would
    only drop a couple inches and I figured the wind would push the bullet a few
    inches. I waited for the ram to get completely broadside I held a touch
    high and just behind the shoulder. I figured if the wind moved pushed the
    bullet at all I would hit the front shoulder and it would drop a few inches for a double
    lung shot. At the shot I saw a huge puff of white hair in the scope. The
    ram took off and I shot at it running. It got with the other ram and I
    couldnít tell the difference between the two so I just helplessly watched it
    slowly go up over the mountain. I didn't want to take a chance and shoot the wrong ram.



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  6. #6
    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Default Make the shot count

    I was sick to my stomach. We had a spent so much time and effort getting to
    this point and I screwed up the shot. I absolutely canít stand to hit an
    animal and not be able to recover it. Jed had watched it all at 50x and he
    told me that I hit the pocket below the spine and above the lungs hitting nothing vital. We
    looked for blood until it started to get dark. We had no desire to have to
    go down the mountain in the dark to take a chance of breaking a leg or worse. We made it down
    to our stashed gear and set up camp in the dark. I couldnít sleep at all
    and had crazy dreams about a ballistics expert explaining my shot and about
    a sheep expert explaining the anatomy of a sheep. We awoke to clear skies
    and sore legs. We packed up camp and the plan was to move camp to a better
    spot and then continue to look for the ram.P9070250.jpg

  7. #7
    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    We had made it about maybe a ľ mile when we noticed a ram working his way down
    the mt. We kept working our way towards it and finally set up the spotter.
    Right away I noticed it was walking funny but it was still eating grass. I
    had Jed take a look and as the ram turned enough to see his right side Jed
    practically yelled that it was the same ram. He noticed a little blood
    streak down his right side. The ram was going directly away from us and the
    wind was blowing hard in his direction. We knew that with the packs we
    would never get within range. So we waited until it moved out of sight and
    dropped our packs and took off. We went as hard as we could. Once we got
    on the same level as the ram there was several high and low points of land.
    When the ram would go into a low point we would take off, when it hit a high
    point we would lay down and wait motionless. I finally got to a 468yards but
    the wind was blowing hard and I was out of breath so no chance for a shot.
    There was one more dip the ram had to go down and after that he would be up
    high which would put us in the wide open. As he went down that dip I took
    off in a full sprint. I didnít make it more than 50yards before I dry
    heaved and felt like I was going to get sick. I slowed down but I knew this
    may be last chance so I just kept going. When the ram popped up in sight
    again I laid down and ranged him at 168 yards (my kind of distance). He
    walked straight away for at least 50 yards (giving me plenty of time to catch my breath) before he finally turned enough to give me a good double lung shot. At the shot he hunched up and ran just
    over the hill. I jumped up and ran over to see him down for good. No screaming, hollering or fist pumping I just thanked God and turned to give Jed a thumbs up.P9100308.jpgIMG_0373.jpg

  8. #8
    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Our packs where over two miles away but thankfully Jed had a pocket knife. We took a few pictures and gutted him so he would cool down. Then we made the trip to get our packs and move camp back to the airstrip and then go back for the ram. Thankfully, the whole ordeal ended up putting the ram almost straight uphill of the airstip.P9100322.jpgP9100339.jpg

  9. #9
    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Default heavy pack

    For you gear junkies:
    Havlon knife- worked excellent but broke a few blades due to rushing and cold hands
    Kenetrec light boots- Not as much support as higher boots but light and got the job done
    Winchester model 70 wsm- Rifle did everything it was suppose to do but it's just too heavy (almost 9 lbs with Leupold VX 2 3x9x40)
    130grain Barnes tripleshocks- did their job as always (as long I put them in the right place)
    Northface Cat's meow 20 degree sleeping bag- worked like a charm (I wish it was a little more compact to pack though) Buddy took part of army sleep system and was cold every night
    Kuiu 6000 pack- Awesome pack but I wish it was bigger or I just need to learn to pack better. It handled the 49lbs of gear comfortably but not much room at all left for Sheep etc. Luckily I was able make a trip with camping gear back to air strip and then make another trip with 1/2 the sheep plus cape and horns
    Big Agnes air core sleep pad- Worked excellent but a lot of time/effort to deflate and blow up every time we moved camp
    Big Agnes SL3 tent- just under 6lbs with fly and stakes, had plenty of room but didn't handle the winds very well, may need to upgrade for late season hunts
    Minus 33 merino wool base layer- excellent- wore shirt for 7 days and it never even started to smell. Love the zipper.
    Sporthill jacket- last minute purchase simply because it was on sale at Barneys. Worth every penny due to its ability to stop the wind and the zippers down the back are awesome when carrying a pack
    Swaro binos- essential and the best I've ever used
    Leica televid 65 spotter- absolutely awesome. Sometimes I felt like I needed the ability to go to 60X but 90percent of the time 50X was all I needed
    Marmot Scree pants-worked like a charm
    Helly Hansen raingear- never rained but there has to be lighter more compact rain gear that works as good
    black Diamond hiking pole- lifesaver++
    Jet boil- Still got the job done but had some problems getting it to work in the wind and on cold mornings (fuel seemed to gel up)
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    I know it's a long write up and I normally don't take the time to share but I love reading stories on here so I guess it's only fair I try to contribute. Next year, I'll be in land far away so this forum will probably the only hunting I get. So next year, please post plenty of pictures and hunt stories. Thanks


  10. #10
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    Awsome ! Great write up, great goings on!!

    New Rule; Post your brains out in one long heavily pictures post, its been a couple weeks now that those who allow have allowed, no more 4 pix per post anymore

    I posted a bruiser in my last one and I think this place will see much more and higher quality storys because of it, after all a picture is a Thousand words!
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  11. #11
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strangerinastrangeland View Post
    Awsome ! Great write up, great goings on!!

    New Rule; Post your brains out in one long heavily pictures post, its been a couple weeks now that those who allow have allowed, no more 4 pix per post anymore

    I posted a bruiser in my last one and I think this place will see much more and higher quality storys because of it, after all a picture is a Thousand words!
    The 4 picture limit was only lifted for those posting pictures that are hosted off-site (photobucket, etc.). For those posting thumbnail attachments, we can't get around the 2 per post limitation.

  12. #12
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Sir, that was an absolutely incredible hunt report. Thank you for sharing that! I'm really impressed at your dedication to finding a good ram and then, more importantly, in sticking with it when things went bad. My hat is off to you. Very, very well done.

  13. #13
    Member FishKing's Avatar
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    Congrats. nice story.

  14. #14

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    Beautiful!!! Way to follow up on him. How big was he?

  15. #15
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Good on ya!
    I had the same thing happen to me this year. Shot my ram at 390 yards, missed!! Couldn't believe it after all the range work and load development, but there it was. The Sheep took off.
    I thought to myself "I couldn't have missed" so off I went over the hill and there he was. One more shot finished him off.
    I know what you mean about letting a wounded animal get away. It is not a good feeling.
    Nice work.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

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    That was a great story to end my work day with, Thanks! Wow!

  17. #17
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    Very nice write up and great pics. Thanks for posting and GREAT JOB!! Nice ram.

  18. #18
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Gotta say, I've never dry heaved on a hunt. That must have been intense.

    Enjoyed the read at the end of a long day of work. Sorry to hear you have to leave. Hurry back...that haus 10 yr old ram is 7 now and waiting to run you all over the sheep hills.

    I only got 6 or 7 yrs out of those anulli. Good 3rd and 4th year growth. I'd guess 12.5" bases x 33". Everyone guesses on moose, why not a ram?

    Mammoth effort hunt, good-on-ya!

  19. #19
    Member CtP's Avatar
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    Good Push! You definitely earned your ram.
    Congrats!

    Good story to reminisce upon while your gone.
    Stay safe.

  20. #20
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    Congrats on a successful hunt and for your dedication in finding your wounded ram. The wind and angle can be brutal. It sounds like you did your part preparing for the hunt by shooting and getting in shape and it paid off. Great memories!!
    ďI come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. ď Fred Bear

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