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Thread: First Ram, DCUA

  1. #1
    Member DJK's Avatar
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    Default First Ram, DCUA

    This year I drew DS203, the walk-in hunt in the Delta Controlled Use Area. I would make my second attempt at a ram. The previous year my buddy and I had made our first attempt (we were both fairly new to AK) to get a ram in the Chugach Mountains on a walk-in hunt. Although went home empty, we certainly learned a lot of important and useful (bring a tripod for your spotting scope! duh!) things about sheep hunting.

    After getting a lot of good input on this forum, as well as from talking to the area biologist and a former guide, we settled on hunting the Bradford drainage. The plan was to bike in as far as we could, each pulling a single wheel BOB cart that had been successful for us on a DC001 caribou hunt a few years prior, then walk it the rest of the way.

    So we left Anchorage late on opening day minus two and got to the trailhead at about midnight. We got an early start on that next morning. The weather was just about perfect for the walk in, overcast, cool, with a slight breeze. It took us about 11 hrs total including stops to make it in the 15 miles or so we went. We plopped down the tent, ate some dinner, and already were seeing rams (10+) two drainages away as well as at least a dozen lambs and ewes on the rolling plateau.




    On opening day we woke to good weather and headed off to the west to where we had seen the lambs and ewes the night before. We didn't think there would be any rams with them, but there were several smaller drainages that fell off the plateau that we thought would be worth checking. They weren't, and eventually by midday, we decided to make the down 1000', up 1000', and down 1000' hike to the Bradford where we could see several rams.

    By evening, we were up 600' on the far side of the creek, watching several near full curl rams feeding below us. As it got later and knowing we had a long march back to the tent, we judged one to be a FC and decided to try and take him. As he was feeding up the hill, I slowly tried to close the distance between where I was and where he was headed by sidehilling slightly downhill and making the most out of the scree shoots for cover.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I'm really glad to have a new sheep story to read this time of year....now keep it coming!

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    Default Opening Day, Continued

    My partner had stayed back to keep glass on the ram the entire time. When I had made it to where I could go no further, I got myself into a weird-sort-of-prone shooting position, laid my hat down in front of the barrel to hold down grass that was blocking my view, and quickly chambered a round. Then it occurred to me I had no idea what the range was and my partner had the rangefinder. As if he was reading my mind, I heard, "360." The ram was about to be out of site, so I wasn't taking my time at this point. I held at the top of his back above the shoulder to account for the 6 inches of drop and squeezed the trigger. Oh yeah, the safety. (Sidebar - I've shot a lot of animals in my life...deer, pigs, waterfowl, etc...and I think this is the first time I've forgotten to take the safety off). Try again and BOOM!

    No sound of a connection. No splash below or above the ram. Just a *** look from the ram that ran uphill 5 steps to a ledge so now he was essentially skylined. This gave me time for a second shot, but not knowing how I missed, I guess that it was low, moved the cross hairs 5 inches higher this time, missed again somehow, and he was off.

    Needless to say, the long hike back to the tent that night was a discouraging one. Even that didn't go well. We know we had one more rolling hill on the plateau to get over, we made it over, and...no tent. And it was nearly dark and getting cold quickly. After some tinkering with the GPS, it turns out we had walked down the wrong finger of a small drainage which added another 45 minutes to the walk.

    >> More to come, including a lot more pictures. <<

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    Member CtP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    I'm really glad to have a new sheep story to read this time of year....now keep it coming!
    ditto that!

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    This is like finding that last energy bar down in the bottom of your pack!

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    Day two of the hunt - clouds had rolled in overnight and it was drizzling. There was a consensus that we needed a "light" day as we were both pretty gassed from the long walk and the previous day so not seeing any rams in the morning, we elected to walk up the plateau about 1000 vertical feet and check down the backside for sheep. On our way there, we saw several rams in the same general area as the day before, but in a much easier place to stalk. And we also could make out two hunters silhouetted on a ridgeline going after them. That was again disheartening to see two other hunters going after the same group of rams we had hunted the previous day, but oh well.

    At the top and looking west, we could see several lambs and ewes much lower in elevation (we are at about 6000’), but no rams. It looked like good ram country (see first picture below), and there very well might have been rams below us, but none that we could see.

    This next image is a picture of the scenery looking east towards the Donnelly Dome.


    Day 2 resulted in no luck but on our way back down we could just make out the two hunters through the mist / fog a few drainages over and could tell that they had killed a sheep. Good for them. We would run into them as they were on there way out the following day.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Yeah Baby,..and looks to be a long and Pic Heavy Version,.....

    panting,...for more
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Ram, DCUA

    Ready for more!

    sent from my igloo

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    Come on.....come on....come on!

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Boooooo.........left us hangin' big time.......lol
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  11. #11

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    Good story so far. Let's hear more! (But, I think your Map is upside down. )

  12. #12
    Member DJK's Avatar
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    Supercub - You mean you can't see the words "from the" between "looking" and "east"? I used REALLY REALLY small font...

  13. #13
    Member DJK's Avatar
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    The rest will come tomorrow!

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    Haha!!! Just messin'... Let's see some more pics, doesn't matter which direction!!! ha

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    Default First Ram, DCUA

    You're going to make us wait to 'eat the rest of this energy bar' tomorrow?!?

  16. #16
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andweav View Post
    You're going to make us wait to 'eat the rest of this energy bar' tomorrow?!?
    What do you think, fellas? Should I ban him? Turn his name bright pink until he follows through? Seriously....in August I can handle this, but in January? Cruel to make us wait like this.

  17. #17
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    What do you think, fellas? Should I ban him? Turn his name bright pink until he follows through? Seriously....in August I can handle this, but in January? Cruel to make us wait like this.
    That would be too nice. I think you should make him a "special" moderator in charge of keeping a certain person that frequents the saltwater fishing forum in check.

    DJK, keep the pics and story coming.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Change his name to PETA Brian!!!! That'll get his attention

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    What do you think, fellas? Should I ban him? Turn his name bright pink until he follows through? Seriously....in August I can handle this, but in January? Cruel to make us wait like this.
    Bright Pink!!

  20. #20
    Member DJK's Avatar
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    Day 3 was fairly uneventful. We made the call that starting and ending each day with a 2-3 mile hike to and from our tent was not preferable so we decided to move our tent closer to where the action had been. After packing up camp, and filling water from a puddle, we hiked up in elevation slightly and closer to the headwaters of the Bradford drainage. Just as we were getting there at about 1pm, we saw the other two hunters from the day before with there packs fully loaded and just about to make the long walk out. They guy that had shot the ram was OLD. Think Jack Hoffman, the old guy with a white beard on Gold Rush, and that’s about what this guy looked like. I hope I’m still sheep hunting 40 years from now. The guys gave us encouraging news that they had flown the area 3 days ago, there are a lot of rams, and they had see probably the same group we had been seeing that morning.

    About 30 minutes after they left and 5 minutes after we got our tent set up, we got dumped on. We were thinking about how their walk out was probably not especially enjoyable and then we took a nap.

    That evening, aside from being nearly run into by a retarded caribou, we started seeing rams reappear on the far side of the Bradford.



    Here’s a not very good picture that I took through my spotting scope. Just hanging out for the afternoon/evening about killed my buddy. He doesn’t sit still very well (I swear sometimes I think he confuses hunting with exercising), and in that way we compliment each other nicely. Me – “If I sit in this spot and glass for 6 days, eventually a ram will come into my field of view.” Him – “If we run up this mountain twice in the morning and once after lunch, maybe we’ll see some rams.” And with him being a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada and an avid runner, guess which one of the two of us is usually more tired at the end of the day.



    Day 4 would be the big day.

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