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Thread: TMA Sheep part 2

  1. #1
    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    Default TMA Sheep part 2

    I got back from my walk in hunt a couple days ago. Just got the time now to write about it. I ended up not getting a sheep, but had the opportunity. I talked to the Tok F&G office and got some pointers on where to concentrate my efforts on a walk in. Then went down to 40 mile air and bought a couple topo maps and made my decision on where I was going to go.

    The F&G guy told me to walk up an old quad trail, "it's really easy walking back into the mountains" he said. Well, I got to the spot and found his quad trail that led through some really spongy stuff, and spooky stuff (thick brush and bear sign every where!) and started walking. The trail ended about 3/4 of a mile up and thankfully got me above the trees but not the alders. I ended up fighting my way up through the alders for a few hours before I finally got above those. Then I found myself on a boulder field overlooking a beautiful drainage. I pulled out my binos and started looking up at the tops and instantly spotted 3 sheep on the lookout about 2 miles away. I pulled out my spotting scope and got a better look and found they were all small sheep. Maybe 1/2 curls, but I didn't see any bigger rams with them. So I packed back up and started looking at my plan of attack for the drainage.

    I decided I was going to descend down and try to get over the top to hunt the drainages on the other side, the F&G guy told me there would probably be some good hunting on the other side. As I was descending down the drainage I saw a couple white spots down low in the distance. I pulled out the binos and found they were sheep. Then I got my spotter back out and got a better look. They turned out to be a ewe and a lamb feeding. I packed up again and got down to the bottom. Filled my water supply back up and started up the other side. When I did, I noticed 3 more spots close to where the other two sheep were. I pulled the spotter back out and zoomed in and finally saw a ram! Unfortunately he was maybe a little over half curl, feeding with a ewe and a little baby. I watched them feed a while, just enjoying seeing them do thier thing when I notice some movement to my left. A single white thing running along the cliffs. I put my binos on it, and see a big ram running my direction. I then swung the spotting scope over and my heart instantly starting pounding. He had huge bases, really wide curl and his horns dropped below his jaw. But he was looking my direction and I was out in the open, I was stuck!

    He started feeding up hill and I was stuck where I was until he went over the top. I was watching him in the spotter but still couldn't judge if he was full curl, or broomed. I just had really bad angles. He got over the top of the hill, and I grabbed my rifle, and binos and headed up after him. I got about 300 yards and he came back out in the open about 400 yards away. I dropped down and he hadn't seen me. I side hilled over and peeked over the top trying to get a better look at his horns, but still couldn't tell. He started feeding away, so I side hilled over some more and got a hill between us and continued trying to close the gap. I finally got a peek over that edge and had him at about 300 yards. I had the cross hairs on, and was just trying to get that final determination on legality. I watched him in my crosshairs for about 20 to 30 minutes and still couldn't be 100% sure. By that time it was almost dark, and I thought to myself, that it was not worth the risk of shooting if I wasn't 100% certain. I decided I would back off and try to find him again in the morning with my spotting scope and get a better look. Unfortunately I never found him again, nor did I find any more rams.

    I ended up not shooting a ram in the TMA this year. But I learned a lot, and have got the sheep fever really bad now. I worked harder to try to get a sheep than I have worked for any big game animal I have ever hunted. I can honestly say I did everything I could to get one. I got within shooting range of a big ram, and he had no idea that I was there. I was pretty happy about that. That big ram was probably legal, and I was probably being over cautious, he has been the only thing in my head for the past couple of days. He will probably be haunting me for the next year.

    After caribou next week, and a couple days of duck hunting I am going to try to get one more walk in done. Just gotta go pick up a harvest ticket now, and get back after it!
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
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  2. #2
    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    That's pretty cool...sounds like a great experience. As for "the ram" haunting your mind, enjoy it! There's a lot of guys out there that never even get that close. I have a 60+ inch moose stuck in my brain that I let walk 5 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

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    Member DucksAndDogs's Avatar
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    That's awesome that you even got within range and had a good trip having done it yourself and walking in. I hope to find myself in that position one day, but until then, love hearing stories like these!

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    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    Awesome job taking two stabs at it! Sounds like you are 99% there. The 1% will come

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing that story! It sounds not unlike the experience my wife and I had this year. We were within spitting distance of a really close ram, but he just wasn't there and we weren't willing to pull the trigger in hopes that the 8th ring was there or that some F&G tech would call him full. It's tough to walk away knowing that your season is going to end without a ram, but as mod elan notes, that time will come - and it'll be oh-so-sweet when it does. Good luck on your upcoming caribou hunt!

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    Member GDinAK's Avatar
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    Duckslayer, that is darn cool that you pulled off two sheep hunts and one being a solo that is awesome. Your time will come and with that persistence, I would bet it will be sooner than later! Nothing would ruin a great hunting experience like setting in the tent are driving to F&G and worrying if your ram was legal or not! When I was sealing my ram in Fairbanks there was two guys in there that doubled up and one was clearly and the other clearly not, it was a bad deal and you could tell the guy who had shot the sub-legal was just sick to his stomach as 4 different people told him the bad news. You add the right decision in my book!

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    Duck, thanks for the update and good job holding off.

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    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    The worst part is that the ram keeps growing bigger in my mind. Right now I am pretty convinced he was at least 40 inches!
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by duckslayer56 View Post
    The worst part is that the ram keeps growing bigger in my mind. Right now I am pretty convinced he was at least 40 inches!
    He probably was

  10. #10
    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    One other thing to add, to this thread. Please remember to pack out your garbage. I ended up packing out several mountain house bags and nutragrain wrappers from an old camp. Apparently somebody thinks thier mother is out there to clean up after them, or was just too lazy to add the couple ounces to thier packs on the way out. Not cool!
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
    I am a shoveler's worst nightmare!

  11. #11
    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Yes, if you pack it in, pack it out...don't trash Alaska!

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Good job getting back out there and giving it another go! Tough call to make on legal sheep but I think you did the right thing since you were not 100 percent sure on that ram. It is a lot of fun being up in the mountains and I am sure you will give it another shot this season or next.

    So there is a little bit of difference in what an easy walk is to a Valley guy and a guy in Tok?

  13. #13
    Sponsor Duckhunter01's Avatar
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    man, can't imagine the blow that must of been...what a hunt to endure to get that kind of news.


    Quote Originally Posted by GDinAK View Post
    Duckslayer, that is darn cool that you pulled off two sheep hunts and one being a solo that is awesome. Your time will come and with that persistence, I would bet it will be sooner than later! Nothing would ruin a great hunting experience like setting in the tent are driving to F&G and worrying if your ram was legal or not! When I was sealing my ram in Fairbanks there was two guys in there that doubled up and one was clearly and the other clearly not, it was a bad deal and you could tell the guy who had shot the sub-legal was just sick to his stomach as 4 different people told him the bad news. You add the right decision in my book!
    President of Alaska Waterfowl Assoc.
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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    You are to be commended on your ethics and thanks for sharing.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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