Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 29

Thread: Talkeetna Ram Deferment - 2012 Hunt

  1. #1

    Default Talkeetna Ram Deferment - 2012 Hunt

    Steve asked me to share the sheep hunt story from my perspecetive this year, so here goes:

    Winning the coin toss prior to kick off in a football game often ensues with a deferment to the second half when you hope to capitalize off momentum. However with Dall Sheep hunting, there is typically no second half. For most of us with families, commitments, or limited vacation; your initial excursion to the high mountain sheep trails often gives you your best realistic opportunity at success.

    Steve and I had the Talkeetnas on the mind, the maps, and research as soon as we got back from doubling up in the Kenai Mountains in 2011. Summer scouting was going to reveal a lot for us…but then the boy needed to be born. With my son arriving at the end June, summer scouting opportunities were going to be limited. One opportunity to get after it on a long weekend proved a wearisome access trail was no good and ended in a blank stare at a 12 mile bushwhack. A new alternative route was found to be golden but time and weather prevented further exploration. A few ewes in the near vicinity hinted of better things further in.


    The Start.jpgMountain Lake.jpg

  2. #2

    Default

    August 8. Evening. Steve and I start the long trek back to where we planned to hunt. We were going off intel that was close to 30 years old. We had high hopes that were completely dashed as we crested the saddle of the far blue mountains, and glassed beautiful country that was completely void of any recent presence of dall sheep - no scat anywhere, and not one track or trail in the shale slopes that our glasses could reach out and inspect.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3

    Default

    Nothing like waking up on opening day and starting a long walk back to the truck! We did impress ourselves by covering in less than one day what just prior took us 1.5 days. Who else does a 30 mile warm up hike before they go actually sheep hunting!

    Our backup plan soon proved to be a good choice. Bands of lambs and ewes dotted the meadows and trails crisscrossed the slopes before us. We had gained the high country and now it was time to search for the rams that had to be around somewhere. It felt great to be hunting sheep where there are actually sheep.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4

    Default

    We started a valley to valley search of the area, climbing up to this peak then to that pass. Cut through that valley, climb up that peak, pray like crazing coming down the backside, scary! We were in some of the roughest country we’d ever been in. Ridge walking was very limited due to towering spires, gut sinking cliffs and technical caution just to proceed a little further in order to see into one more drainage. It was tiring work. It was sheep hunting.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5

    Default

    Heading down another rough spot I saw three sheep off in the distance working their way into a broad basin we dubbed the “playground.” Binoculars up had us catch a brief crashing of heads as two of the rams squared off in the distance. Found ‘em! Too late in the evening to do anything, we watched them till all light faded and we crashed for the night full of anticipation.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6

    Default

    Morning . Clouds. We sat in the hot sun up high while clouds enveloped the rams below until two in the afternoon. Most of my day was wrought with thoughts of “you know you’re probably giving away your one chance at a ram this year.” Other negative ideas filled my head. It was demoralizing, but we’d already discussed and decided upon the factors prior to the hunt. I wasn’t about to go back on my word. Mentally I refocused. The clouds lifted and we were both excited for the stalk, the rams were right below us.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7

    Default

    Full Curlage was confirmed as the rams sought beds in the coolness of a snow patch. One ram was a dink ½ curl and the other, while only 6 years old and 3/4 curl, appeared to have just as much horn as the full curl.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8

    Default

    We crept down the side of the finger ridge hoping to cut the distance just a couple hundred more yards. Rock formations prevented us from spotting them in their beds. Suddenly I grabbed Steve. The rams had moved out and were now feeding from under the cliff below. Range, 290 yrds, which was ten yards within Steve’s personal shooting range. Steve scored a perfect shot despite the steep angle. There was some confusion as to the hit and the ram stood after running off a few yards further. Another shot and the ram was anchored.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9

    Default

    I still smile thinking of that look on Steve’s face when he turned to me. A huge grin and eyes wide open with exhilaration, relief and the moment of glory. And that’s what I felt, he had to have been on another level. It was the 7th ram and the completion of his quest for a walk-in ram from each of the seven major mountain ranges…and it was exciting. Lucky me, to be there and witness it. Especially after now sharing in four of the seven mountain ranges with him.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10

    Default

    Darkness was threatening as we shouldered the packs, so we put the headlamps on for our annual hike in the dark. We love saying it: it doesn’t seem like we can ever do a sheep hunt without at least one good hike in the dark on steep mountain slopes.

    After packing the ram in a snowfield we continued to search the back reaches of the area. On a distant peak in the evening we both decided it wasn’t looking like we were going to pull another ram out of this area. Might as well pull out and check one more spot we know holds a few rams.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11

    Default

    Packing out with just one ram was kind of depressing after doubling up for so many years that it seemed the norm. But we enjoyed the not quite as hard work together. Two more nights out into the third area turned up 8 more rams but only one that would make 7/8s if we stretched him. Writing my thoughts in my journal the last evening, camped among the high peaks I thought again of my choice for a ram deferment this year. I still had some hopes for a late season ram if chance afforded. But in the midst of letting my eyes fill my heart with the mountain splendor, I heard God say, “I’m proud of you.” That was rewarding enough along with the gratitude of a great friend who I just shared 66.5 miles and climbed over 33,000 vertical feet with to gain one impressive ram. 38 x 14 and nine years old.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12

    Default

    Side note;
    A late season hunt back into the Talkeentas was cut short by snow levels being too deep on the mountain slopes for me to want to tackle by myself. One night out in mid-September found 5 more sub-legal rams and I headed back to the truck in the pouring rain and along the rising rivers, already starting to think on next year’s scouting trips and where I might find a Talkeetna or Chugach ram as I look to complete the Alaska “Walk-In” Slam myself.

  13. #13
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,396

    Default

    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing that story with us. I love pictures of the process involved instead of just jumping to the kill. Congratulations to both of you!

  14. #14
    Member bigdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    243

    Default

    Another great post guys, thanks for the pictures and sharing with us...

  15. #15
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    4,670

    Default

    That is one amazing hunt and a great ram! Loved the scenery shots and story, thank you!

  16. #16
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    5,767

    Default

    Well done, Scott. Truly.

    I wish you both the best on next year's pursuits. And congratulations on being a new father!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  17. #17
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Ketchikan, Alaska
    Posts
    2,032

    Default

    Right on man! Next, walk in only goats. You guys are animals, graceful talented animals. I enjoyed the perspective you brought. Thanks!

  18. #18
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush
    Posts
    4,363

    Default

    Great to get your perspective on it too Scott, thanks for sharing and congrats,

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    73

    Default

    Thanks again for sharing. I've done a few walk ins without success. Nice to see it is possible!

  20. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    739

    Default

    Thanks for another excellent account. What caliber rifle do you fellas use?

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •