Long story coming so thanks for your time!
It was a couple years in the making but Marshall and I were finally able to put our sheep hunt together. During my last deployment I was researching new gear and finalizing the packing list when I had time.
Marshall was busy with work and not sure what to expect or what gear he needed. At the beginning of the year he made his big ticket purchases and found out just how much quality gear costs! Haha, after an arm and a leg he was wondering how he was gonna get up the mountains!
Deposits were put down to hold a flight for us
Fast forward to August, we were pretty close to finalizing the packing list.
Of course I am always second guessing so I was dumping stuff the night before. We both ended up bringing too much food anyway.
We met at Marshall for some good food prior to rolling out. Our flight was in the afternoon.
Soon we were at the service and with a small hiccup taken care of we were off to the mountains. Needless to say the excitement was overwhelming. 4 years since my last sheep hunt and this was his first.
At the airstrip all went well. Unloaded the gear, set up a base camp tent and left our excess supplies. To include the smooth tasting Stella we brought for the inevitable celebration time!!
We were undecided on which side to hunt, that is until we saw the rams from the landing strip. Cross the river and up the mountain we went!.
Sure wish it would have been as easy as it was to just type that.
After a few hours we made it to our first camp spot. What a view! This is the reason I love the mountains. No real word issues out here. Just us and mother nature. Doing what we do and figuring out how to defend what she does.
We spotted Marshall's sheep before bed. Got up in the morning and found him again.
Was really cool as we were closing the distance we would watch for a bit. At one point while looking through the spotter I cought movement to the right of the sheep. The sheep were on a small knoll and a wolf comes walking by. All three see each other at the same time. The sheep jump up, the wolf keeps going and while walking by he just turns his head and looks at them, as if to say “I'm not hungry now but I'll be back!” Very cool, but this made the sheep move up into some steep rocks, to the top of the mountain.
We were across from them and moved down our side, crossed the valley and got to their side.
Here is Marshall looking him over.
After a very steep and long climb we made it above their hiding place. In doing so we saw some pretty nice caribou!
Enroute we also so a band of sheep across another valley. We took the time to look them over and found another full curl. At least we were pretty sure from that distance. Problem was below us in the valley we saw a couple horses and hunters. Guided outfit I assume.
Well we got above Marshall's ram and looked and looked but couldn't find em. Then rocks they bedded in were very large boulder type and we knew he could be behind any one.
We went around the other side and just as I was cresting the top, there he was, 129 yards below us. Him and his partner had got up to feed.
Marshall's maneuvered into position and put the smack down on him. To see how excited he was was awesome! I have taken part in many many hunts with him and this was just as fun as all the others. He was shaking and overwhelmed. We made it down to his ram and picture and work time began!
so we got the work taken care of and moved the ram back to our next camp spot. Was a pretty good deal as we set up camp semi close and stayed for the rest of our trip.
We had dumped most of our food below this spot, WAY below! Kept 4 days and stayed up here the rest of the trip. From here we were able to find my ram. Water was scarce and at on point we dug holes in the dirt and let the water seep in so we could filter it. Didnt taste to good but what ya gonna do? ahahah
We spent the next day cleaning up the meat and fleshing his cape. Got it salted by that night. Left the meat on the bone for now. Wanted to open as little as possible to bacteria. Would bone it when it was time to go down. We would let weather dictate when to leave, but I got me sheep 2 days later so all was well.
We built rock caches to keep his ram cool. Was pretty neat.
We set out to find the other ram and not sure what happened during that night but the rams on the other side of the valley had made their way to our side! We found two near shooters and watched them for a long time from just over 300yds. To close to call with the angle we were at so we left them until we could get a different look.
Found them again that evening and I was able to get just over 100yds from my ram. I watched him through the spotter until he gave me the look I needed. Full curl! He was up and alert by then, facing me. One through the chest and that was all she wrote! High fives and more work and pictures to start!!
super wide! The cool thing was that both our rams were 35 on the long side and 32 on the broomed. Within 3/8's of each other on both, just opposite horns. 13 4/8 on my long side and 13/3/8's on his.
Back at camp we finished the work and would move the next day. While boning and caping the meat we had a small ram walk right into camp! 4 bull caribou did the same thing and below us coming up the drainage was a sow and cub. It was getting dark as they were headed up so I made enough noise to get their attention. We watched em leave the valley. Very very cool to see all of this in one place!
Micro rocket worked well but this thing guzzled the fuel down. Back to the jetboil.
This is a very cool find Marshall's had. The true reality of the wild. A sheep hoof sticking out of a weathered wolf turd.
We made it halfway back the following day. And then to the river the next. We got stuck at the river as it had risen and we made it there pretty late. Neither of us had much left in us to try cross it then.
Next day we made it to the strip. 6 trips across the river and all was said and done. Got picked up on the 7th day of the hunt!! wow what a great time.
AAHHHHHHH Stella!!! hahahah
Headed home to process meat, rest a minute, repack and head up north!