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Thread: Sheep tactics

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    Default Sheep tactics

    I've followed the sheep threads and very much appreciate everyone showing off their mounts, photos and judging experience. I feel like I've been attending a motivational event! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Hope my questions don't cross the line and kill the mood but could some of you share your tactics? I've read Tony Russ's books and have the Tyvek suit in my pack. I've hunted whitetails for 30+ years and know about scent control. I'll be bowhunting so any tricks to get close would be helpful. I figure an ambush will be my only chance so patterning them is my thought but maybe some of you might have a better idea. I assume patterning sheep is like herding cats so maybe luck is all I can hope for. I drew 140 but after seeing all the posted pictures I may also hunt a little higher elevation on the Haul Rd for my moose this year.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    To start.....don't think that because sheep live on top of mountains that all you have to do is get on top with them and wait for one to walk by. Yes, there is always a chance that you will find a ram hanging out on top, or catch one going over a pass, but for the most part rams will be found halfway down the mountain on steep shale cliffs. So that means that's where you have to go too.....then back up, then back down, then back up, then back down.....I think you get the picture.

    Secondly, even though rams rely heavily on their eyesight, don't discount their noses when you get in close. Especially during the early morning hours when the thermals start doing their thing.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    They can see a long way off,, I once saw something shining on a far away mountain top and after a few hours I got my spotter out and started looking for the source. It was the back of a guys hands and the sun was shining out his bare skin. So, be stealthy. Spot them, watch what they do and try to intercept them going from bedding to feeding areas or when they are in a vulnerable place that will allow a stalk. I watched these for several days and was able to get between where they were bedding and catch them on the way to feed.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    I've followed the sheep threads and very much appreciate everyone showing off their mounts, photos and judging experience. I feel like I've been attending a motivational event! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Hope my questions don't cross the line and kill the mood but could some of you share your tactics? I've read Tony Russ's books and have the Tyvek suit in my pack. I've hunted whitetails for 30+ years and know about scent control. I'll be bowhunting so any tricks to get close would be helpful. I figure an ambush will be my only chance so patterning them is my thought but maybe some of you might have a better idea. I assume patterning sheep is like herding cats so maybe luck is all I can hope for. I drew 140 but after seeing all the posted pictures I may also hunt a little higher elevation on the Haul Rd for my moose this year.
    140 as in ds140..wow what a score if thats what you have.Bow hunting changes the game for sure...patterning is a good way especially if in an area with no other hunters. chances are with a mature ram he wont move much unless he is just plain traveling.Get in quick and find a ram and watch his every move. Put him to bed at night and get up before him(be dilligent..no sleeping in sheep get up early..lol) and watch every trail you can in his area learn every rock and crevice that you might be able to get close to. If he comes down for his mid morning feeding be in a position for when he hoofs it back up for a nap. Very big rams seem to at times never move much at all so in that case if they are near the top come over from the back side and use the rocks to your advantage. Always hunt from above, in the eyes of a sheep preditors come from below...escape is to the top.. Pay attention to the thermals..the park has some really good areas for a chance with a bow..Beeee Patient

    when on the final stalk range objects all around the sheep so you know the range when you get close so in case things get sketchy you dont have to fumble around with a rangefinder to know the range and chance blowing the shot

    Dave

  5. #5

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    Good stuff and thanks for the responses. Yes I drew DS140 and several other big draws this year. I'm overwhelmed but plan to hunt from Sept thru mid November from the Atigun to Kupreanof. Be careful what you wish for.

    Would heavier snow on top bring them down a little further looking for the last easy food source? This might make a difference on my entry point depending on the amount of park hikers and hunting pressure from the lake side. No range finder needed just hope the "Force" is with my longbow. Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    Good stuff and thanks for the responses. Yes I drew DS140 and several other big draws this year. I'm overwhelmed but plan to hunt from Sept thru mid November from the Atigun to Kupreanof. Be careful what you wish for.

    Would heavier snow on top bring them down a little further looking for the last easy food source? This might make a difference on my entry point depending on the amount of park hikers and hunting pressure from the lake side. No range finder needed just hope the "Force" is with my longbow. Thanks again.
    Yes snow quite possibly could and will push them down in the later season for sure.But you never know whats gonna happen with our goofy weather. Also keep in mind that these sheep in the park do get used to seein hikers and tend to have a comfort zone..being they get hunted also the zone is still a long distance,i think they more get nervous, say when you are headin uphill and all of a sudden disappear vs a hiker that just pretty much stays in sight most of the time.Ahhh the long bow some advantages for sure lot more available shooting positions..

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    Member CtP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Spot them, watch what they do and try to intercept them going from bedding to feeding areas or when they are in a vulnerable place that will allow a stalk. I watched these for several days and was able to get between where they were bedding and catch them on the way to feed.
    That's a great piece of information to remember. With my limited sheep hunting experience, it was spot, and go after them but those were both 1 day plus an overnight on the hill type hunts. Although on the second hunt last year, we spotted them at about 5500 feet in super steep shale with great visibility. We climbed to level elevation behind a shoulder and waited while watching through the spotter. The three rams got up, walked around the corner to feed. We beat feet over the ridge and came down on top of them. They never knew we were there.
    This year with 7+ days on our side, I'll remember this. Work smarter not harder.

    Heres a pic from the wheeler. They're in the steep, dark, ravine on the left of pic about 500' below the top. We climbed up the gradual shoulder on the right, crested the ridge and were watching them through a notch in the rocks. they ended up around the corner on the far left to feed. That's where we got'em!
    # 2 is through the Swaro from the bottom.


    IMG_5707.jpgIMG_5708.jpg

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    Default notch in the rocks!

    Sat here for a bit waiting to see what they would do.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CtP View Post
    That's a great piece of information to remember. With my limited sheep hunting experience, it was spot, and go after them
    From my experience you did what you should do. Meaning.......when opportunity presents itself, you'd be wise to make every effort to take advantage of it. You never know what may come the next day....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Cool pics Ctp. Thanks for sharing

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    From my experience you did what you should do. Meaning.......when opportunity presents itself, you'd be wise to make every effort to take advantage of it. You never know what may come the next day....
    Back in the day, I was hunting the Brooks with a partner. I helped him get a Ram then I hunted alone as he was "tired"
    I came back from a ridge hopping trip of about 12 hours. Dog tired and super hungry. Jack says, look up there that might be a Ram. He didn't have a spotter and only cheepie bino's. Well, with my spotter I see what Jack O'Connor once said. "You'll know when you see a 40" " something like that. anyway, dog tired and starved I just could not go another step.
    Next morning fog halfway down the mountain. So, 4mer said it right Go GO GOOO when you see it. Thinking back MAYBE I could have done it. You know 4 days later I harvested a 39 1/2 with 36 on the driver's side. Mighty happy BUT this 40+ still is seen in my mind.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Like the great one said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"!

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    Member lab man's Avatar
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    Ugh, you guys need to stop talking about sheep. You're driving me nuts. I laid in bed for hours last night thinking about everything from former hunts, bow repairs, gear lists, and visions of 40 inch ram.

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    Gents keep in mind the OP in this thread is bowhunting not gun hunting. Two completely different sets of rules in my experience,with a bow you have to be much more calculated and precise . The run up the mountain a shoot a sheep just plain dont always work with archery gear.Dont get me wrong I take every oppurtunity that comes along and I have more then one 1 day sucessful sheep hunts and also several hunts where sheep were taken under 50yards.Patience is key when it comes to archery you dont want to just rush in there and ruin what could be your one and only shot...With a gun when you spook a sheep he will most likely stop at a couple of hundred yards out there to look back and you still have a shot with a bow you just blew it and go home with that "what if "feeling.If it was that easy the record would be bigger then a 171(still huge)but only 1 inch bigger then the all time minimum for gun

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    Gents keep in mind the OP in this thread is bowhunting not gun hunting. Two completely different sets of rules in my experience,with a bow you have to be much more calculated and precise . The run up the mountain a shoot a sheep just plain dont always work with archery gear.Dont get me wrong I take every oppurtunity that comes along and I have more then one 1 day sucessful sheep hunts and also several hunts where sheep were taken under 50yards.Patience is key when it comes to archery you dont want to just rush in there and ruin what could be your one and only shot...With a gun when you spook a sheep he will most likely stop at a couple of hundred yards out there to look back and you still have a shot with a bow you just blew it and go home with that "what if "feeling.If it was that easy the record would be bigger then a 171(still huge)but only 1 inch bigger then the all time minimum for gun
    I know by saying take advantage of the opportunity, I wasn't inferring to rush in blindly. Bow hunter or not, opportunities don't always present themselves. Yes, you need to be more calculating using only a bow, but you also have to get after one to get in range. A couple of the rams I killed I could have killed with an arrow.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    I know by saying take advantage of the opportunity, I wasn't inferring to rush in blindly. Bow hunter or not, opportunities don't always present themselves. Yes, you need to be more calculating using only a bow, but you also have to get after one to get in range. A couple of the rams I killed I could have killed with an arrow.
    Dave wasn't trying to point any fingers just point out to everyone the direction this thread was going. Bow hunter are unique and lots of guides won't even guide bow hunters and lots of bow hunters won't even go with a lot of guides unless they are experienced with bow hunters. Besides guiding I used to shoot pro archery so I do have an understanding of their needs. I don't disagree with your stance on opportunities at all just wanted to remind folks the op was bow hunting so maybe some of those who have done it would possibly chime in with tatics that worked for them

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    I bowhunted sheep in the chugach in 2010. Another forum member gave me some great advice before going in on general sheep patterns in this area (bedding areas, feeding areas, etc.). Patience was key but nonetheless after four days I'd probably gone charging off over excited one too many times. I was pretty sure I'd run every ram out of the drainage I was in and feeling pretty dejected. So my hunting partner/ fiancée an I settled in for a siesta. Crawling out of the tent at 6 pm I looked up and saw three rams feeding on a saddle 1700' above me. Although stalking from below isn't ideal I realized that if I made it 50 yards to the base of the ridge I'd be out of sight the rest if the way up to the rams. Something in my head just screamed "GO!" I left Laura with the spotter to keep tabs on them and started up. ( unknown to me the rams soon thereafter bedded on the saddle and one of the rams spotted Laura- they stared at each other the entire 45 minutes it took me to climb up). Finally recognizing some light white shale I knew I was close. I slowed down and started ninja stalking. As I got close I started ranging landmarks (as Bear advised above). Then I saw horns peaking above the ridge 25 yards above me ( the ram turning to look at Laura every few seconds). With nowhere else to go at that point I drew and stood up. The ram who's horn I could see didn't present a good angle and stood up. A second too late I realized I caught the other two rams sleeping less than 20 yards to my hard right. Before I could turn to shoot things went south and all three rams blew out of their beds and ran out to a point about 45-50 yards away. Despite pre-ranging it I still shot high. Nonetheless in that situation my gut instinct told me not to wait on those sheep and I was able to get within 25 yards of three mature rams from below and I feel pretty good about that. A little better shooting and it would have worked out for me.

    Anyway, be patient, patient, patient and pattern the rams. Hike into the nasty country other people don't want to hunt so you are alone and have the time to study them. But when an opportunity presents itself - go!

    Good luck!


    Cheers,
    Rich
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Rewind a couple of days. After getting up early and watching sheep all morning Laura was taking a midday nap and warming up after 3 days of rain and intermittent fog. I spotted a ram crossing the valley 1/2 mile above us and took off on a course to intercept. He was feeding up a chute towards a spur ridge. I managed to get above him- put on a white suit to possibly buy myself a few seconds and settled in by a boulder. Fog rolled in and never saw the ram again. Decided to wait out the fog so not to blow out any sheep. When the fog finally cleared I heard something above me- way up high a different ram was standing up in these brutal rugged spires. We called this whole ridge line "the wall" (unoriginal I know) because there was no way to get up to where these rams would hang out. Anyway this ram saw me but I just kept doing my bedded ram deal by this boulder thinking "how in the hell does anyone ever kill one of these things?" a couple hours passed and the ram disappeared. Around 730pm by now. All of a sudden I hear some shale falling and look down to see thaw two rams appear 1000 feet below me, cross the moraine, and beeline for a green grassy side hill across the valley. The ram above me had been dutifully checking fit danger before the pair dropped out of their safe zone to feed. I stripped my whites and climbed down the backside of the spur ridge hoping to circle around and ambush them on their way back up to their beds after feeding. But one of them saw me picking through the moraine a couple hundred yards out- they both gave me the "stare" and then walked out of there away from me. I learned a lot that day.


    Cheers,
    Rich
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    Awesome stories Rich thanks for sharing....
    Dave

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    Member lab man's Avatar
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    I've had good luck bow hunting in fog and cloud cover. If you have a general idea of where the sheep are hanging out when the the clouds drop down, just move slow and take your time and you might find yourself within range for a shot. On my last sheep hunt I ended up 30 yards from a double broomed ram that I ended up passing on. Bow hunting takes a little creativity. Use your imagination.

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