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Thread: Lessons learned on my first sheep hunt!

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    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    Default Lessons learned on my first sheep hunt!

    I just got back from my unsuccessful TMA sheep hunt...well unsuccessful for getting a sheep anyway. I learned a ton. I am heading back up in a couple days for a last ditch 5 day walk in hunt. I talked to the Tok F&G office and they gave me some areas to look into. I am probably going solo since my partner is unsure if he can afford to go back. I figure I will probably never draw this tag again, so I am heading back so I can say I did everything I possibly could to fill it.

    Anyway Lessons learned:

    1. Take all the basic gear you need to survive, then cut about half of it out of your pack! I guess this is something that every rookie sheep hunter has to learn the hard way.

    2. Get more info from the air charter on the area you are hunting so you are prepared for everything. We went into an area right off of the end of the Roberson glacier, and found out while we were sitting in the office that we had to get around a lake with alders growing right along the shore line. (It was the biggest pain in the rear to get around that thing). I would have packed glacier socks and a machete if I had known that!

    3. Mountain house desserts are a HUGE morale booster when you are beat down and tired

    4. Make sure you can actually get into the mountains in the area you booked. I think the hot weather kept the sheep up high, and we had no way up due to the terrain. All we could do was walk the glacier and drainages in the mornings and afternoon and hope they came down to eat, or hit a mineral lick.

    5. A tripod with a ball head would be a huge plus to have, I HATE!!! my cullman tripod now, and am in the market for a new tripod.

    6. I am not packing a tent this time, getting a bivvy and sleeping on the side of the mountain.

    7. Barneys needs to make a water bottle holder for their waist bands on their packs

    8. I am really glad I got in shape before I did this

    9. Trekking poles and my koflach boots were the best investments I made before this trip

    10. Never climb unless you know there is something up there! We climbed up 3 drainages only to find some unpassable barrier at the end. And the walls were too steep to go over the side.

    11. Crocks are something I will not go sheep hunting without. It was so great to pull off my boots and let my feet dry out and recover, and not have to go around bare foot.

    12. Don't let failure get to you. It was crushing to find those barriers at the end of the drainages, and only seeing ewes and lambs started to get to us. I would get really depressed after a while, and want to pull out, but I just kept looking at the bright side and got back into it. We did eventually have to pull the plug on the hunt because the glacier was deteriorating really fast, and we had a few big land slides happen while we were there. We were afraid we would not be able to get out of there without being rescued.

    Hopefully I will have a successful report after next week. F&G said there was a 41 incher taken in the TMA this year. Congrats to the guy or gal who got that! Headed back up on Thurs or Friday!
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
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    Member danmiotke's Avatar
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    Default Lessons learned on my first sheep hunt!

    Try a platypus bladder in your pack, not having to stop to hydrate is a huge plus! Good for you not giving up, hopefully it will pay off.

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    Member DucksAndDogs's Avatar
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    That's tough to hear. Stay after it. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna draw TMA next year so learn as much as you can and then you can come with me!

  4. #4

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    Roberson Glacier, one of the many places my hunting partner and I almost died. Good luck on the second hunt.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    It ain't over yet! The only sheep tag I ever drew (eagle river), I had a similar experience as you did....and I went back for a second go at it a week later and scored. You either have to give it everything you have or live with the fact that you didn't.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duckslayer56 View Post
    I just got back from my unsuccessful TMA sheep hunt...well unsuccessful for getting a sheep anyway. I learned a ton. I am heading back up in a couple days for a last ditch 5 day walk in hunt. I talked to the Tok F&G office and they gave me some areas to look into. I am probably going solo since my partner is unsure if he can afford to go back. I figure I will probably never draw this tag again, so I am heading back so I can say I did everything I possibly could to fill it.

    Anyway Lessons learned:

    1. Take all the basic gear you need to survive, then cut about half of it out of your pack!

    When I said you may as well go ahead and cut off that top button off your shirt because you won't need that added weight.......I wasn't kidding.

    We tried to tell ya..........but live and learn.

    Good Luck next time...!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    LOL! I tried to cut the button off, but found out my shirt had a zipper instead. Then I tried to cut the button off my pants and found out that didn't work out too well, then ended up having to sew it back on.

    I have one of the MSR Dromedary bag instead of the platypus. It's basically the same thing. I also carried a Nalgene bottle. The great thing about hunting on the glacier was that there was plenty of water around. Hopefully there is plenty of water in the area I am walking into.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
    I am a shoveler's worst nightmare!

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Duckslayer on your return to the area make camp as high up as you can without getting too far away from water. Be prepared to move higher the following day. The advantage of a bivvy is you can hunt all day and sleep wherever sunset finds you.

    Best of luck! Fill that tag!

    Big second on a bladder system--you get used to 98.6* water after a while.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Member mtnclimber's Avatar
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    You hate your cullman tripod? or the head? Because i love my cullman nanomax 220 but the head does suck. I plan on replacing it. Stuarts photo in anchorage has a really nice/inexpensive ball head made by sirui. Thanks for posting even though not successful, YET.

  10. #10
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Welcome to mountain hunting. The mental game is so much more important than the physical. Drive on, and on, and on, and on. Your an apex predator in those hills, act like it.

    I commend your desire to return,Good luck! I've done solo hunts and appreciate their nuances. Good things come to those that work.

  11. #11
    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    1. You did good if your rookie pack weight was allowed on the plane. My first solo pack in weight was 80 pounds.

    2. Always get as much info as humanly possible. This is a once in a lifetime hunt so don't stop by thinking you are bugging anyone by asking too many questions.

    3. Raspberry crumble. Mmmmmmm mmm good!

    4. Hard to believe there was absolutely no route to get up high, but you were there and not me. Wonder how all the other folks do it that hunt that area?

    5. Which cullman? You selling it?

    6. No tent? This time it will rain the entire trip. That's usually the way it goes.

    7. Get a camelback bladder. Drink on the move and don't have to mess with carrying a bottle around all day.

    10. Luck of the draw but now you will be able to judge terrain better. Every once in a while a tight gorge will not end up in a waterfall or other barrier and just be a tight squeeze and open up. Not very often though.

    11. Feet will swell at the end of a long day so I usually loosen the laces and lay down with my feet elevated for 10 minutes or so. Or however long until I wake up from accidentally falling asleep!

    12. Some folks go in two or three times and still get skunked. Remember it's not about the kill, it's about the adventure.

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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    I've done two major trips of 9 days and 8 days with a two day follow up solo trip and still have no sheep to my name. On all my hunts I would have gladly grabbed a shower and a home cooked meal then headed right back into the mountains.

    It wouldn't be a first sheep hunt if half way through the trip you weren't pulling random items out of your pack and asking yourself why the heck you brought this or that.

    I don't know what's more frustrating; not being able to get back into the sheep area or actually getting to the area and watching sheep way up in the rocks with zero way to get to them. I had a few on my last hunt just hanging out in no man's land with food, water, and no reason to come down.

    Ditch some weight, get back in there, and give it hell. Good luck. Posts some pics when you get back.

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    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    It sounded like they were doing the same thing we were from the 40 mile air guys. Basically all you can do is hope the rams come down to the glacier or down to the river in the drainage.

    The area we hunted started with rain lines that ran up to the mountains. The problem was they were all lined with about a 20 foot drop off, we also tried climbing up rock slides but the ground was very loose and almost resulted in my buddy losing his life in a landslide. Then we got to deal with about 1000 to 2000 feet of alders. We got up to one meadow in the river drainage but it was surrounded by cliffs on all sides, and the rest of the drainage was lined with straight up and down cliffs. We were able to walk along the glacier for about 1.5 miles before we were unable to go any further do to drop offs in the ice. It was a nasty area.

    I guess I should have clarified that I need to get a new head for the tripod. If I can find a carbon one for a decent price I am selling the cullman. Its a 220. Hopefully I can find a new head tomorrow. But I am going to have to use this tripod for the rest of this season.

    I found a one man 3 season tent at sportsmans that weighs around 2 pounds. If my buddy confirms that he isn't going I am picking it up tomorrow.

    The Blueberry Cheesecake was great too.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
    I am a shoveler's worst nightmare!

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    Did you guys see some sheep on the way in? How about topos of the area?

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    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    We saw sheep on the flight in. We had to walk in about 4 miles to get to the drainage we were hunting. We camped at the half way point after fighting our way around the lake. I pulled out spotter and saw 4 ewes and lambs that evening. In the morning we saw 3 rams. One may have been legal, his tips started flaring out so he would have been a good candidate for a closer look. The second ram with him looked like he was 3/4 to 7/8s and very thin. The last ram was about 1/2 curl. All we saw was 3 more ewes and lambs. We never could find those rams again. We got below the area we spotted him and there was no way up. Even if we had got to him I don't think we would have been able to recover him in his location which is something I am not willing to do.

    The topos of the area need to be updated beacause they didn't show those rain lines, and the area is constantly changing due to the glacier. It changed while we were there! We saw a few chunks of ice break off that where about the size of a house, and a couple landslides.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
    I am a shoveler's worst nightmare!

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your sheep hunt and hope you are able to get back out there and connect with a ram!

    What would you cut from your first packing list and what would you add?

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    Duck, good luck and stay safe if you go solo.

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    Sponsor Duckhunter01's Avatar
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    hang in there, be safe and keep making those sound judgement calls when it comes to safety...good luck
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    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    I am cutting:

    1. My long johns and only taking the puffy suit
    2. 2 man tent and going with a 1 man tent
    3. liquid fuel stove and going with my jet boil since I don't have to fly
    4. Wool socks
    5. less food
    6. not taking sheaths or cases for my folding knives, multi tool, water filter and range finder
    7. cutting my big camel back bladder and going with a smaller badlands bladder
    8. soap and toothpaste, just packing a few colgate wisps
    9. cutting the rifle sling
    10. go pro
    12. whites
    13. extra chapstick
    14. bug net
    15. mosquito repellant


    Adding:
    lightweight machete for alders
    moisture wicking sock liners
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
    I am a shoveler's worst nightmare!

  20. #20
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Lessons learned on my first sheep hunt!

    Quote Originally Posted by duckslayer56 View Post
    I am cutting:

    1. My long johns and only taking the puffy suit
    2. 2 man tent and going with a 1 man tent
    3. liquid fuel stove and going with my jet boil since I don't have to fly
    4. Wool socks
    5. less food
    6. not taking sheaths or cases for my folding knives, multi tool, water filter and range finder
    7. cutting my big camel back bladder and going with a smaller badlands bladder
    8. soap and toothpaste, just packing a few colgate wisps
    9. cutting the rifle sling
    10. go pro
    12. whites
    13. extra chapstick
    14. bug net
    15. mosquito repellant


    Adding:
    lightweight machete for alders
    moisture wicking sock liners
    I still carry thin long johns but I run very light pants, just works for me.
    1spare set of wool socks for me
    I don't carry a multitool at all
    I have more trust in the 3liter platypus big zip Than the badlands bladder. Add a sawyer in line filter and forget the pump as well!

    I am not a fan of the machete. I take a good saw and call it good. Thinking positive I will usually just cut a decent trail in with the hopes that it will be needed for a heavy hike back out! I have a woodsmans pal that is wicked in the brush but one bad swing could be seriously debilitating or worse in the field. I have gotten a cut or two with the saw but not likely to get anything serious.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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