Sheep hunt Writeup 2013
Day 0 – 6 Sep left anchorage for our walkin sheephunt. Parked at 2200 and racked out in the subie
Day 1 – 7 Sep 0750 we woke up to wind and light rain. We made eggs and blueberry pancakes at the car and talked to a moose hunter that camped next to us that night. 0930 we departed the parking lot. 2 hours of walking through the swamp and creek for a mile and Meredith didn’t feel good from her previous couple nightshifts and was sucking not knowing what was ahead. We saw a river otter 5 feet away. We finally put our hiking boots on and start the climb through the alders. Both of us are cursing our way up but we found a game trail and made our way up the mountain. We finally start climbing and hit the first false peak and there is a little ermine jumping around and working his way towards us. He must have met a hunter that fed him before because he came a foot away from us and Meredith doesn’t know what it is and says “go away, I don’t like you” since she thought the 8” long little guy was going to attack her. After laughing we keep pushing until I spotted four rams at 1600 a mile across the valley from us. Biggest was maybe ¾ curl with 2x ½ and a ¼ curl and we kept walking. 1830 hit and the weather was pretty crappy, mer was worn out, and the next ridgeline we had to hike was getting socked in and we didn’t know if we would hit it by dark so we stopped and setup camp at 5800 ft. We ate and talked and I broke out a Chugach Session I carried up the mountain. At Camp 1 we could see the rams bed down. That evening it snowed and the wind beat us up pretty good. Mer didn’t like the wind thrashing us. We hiked 4.5 miles and climbed 4340 ft
Day 2 – 8 Sep 0730 I woke and there was a light snow around us with more snow at higher elevations. Good visibility and got a text on the sat phone from Vic. Both of us have high motivation. We spotted the 4 rams from the night before and 2 more young rams joined them. We watched from the tent looking for anything bigger and kept walking. We dropped down into the valley and it was a moist and super windy day. We tried to stay warm and ate lunch behind a rock. I was overcautious glassing everything before we pushed through. We setup Camp 2 and took a 2 hour nap then pushed to 18 ram valley and glassed. Seeing nothing we returned to camp at 2030 (dark) we saw 10 ptarmigan and there were few blueberries. Cold nights and can see breath, lower winds and no rain for the moment
Day 3 – 9 Sep Up at 0730 and completely socked in w/ light wind and rain. We ate and hung in tent until 1030 then packed up camp and headed for the valley of 18 rams. All movement was concealed moving through the valley and we didn’t see anything yesterday walking there so figured it’s a good time to move. Saw 75+ ptarmigan and I managed to kill on that was injured/couldn’t fly by chasing it down and stepping on it. Meredith though me throwing my pack down and chasing this bird wildly through the alders was soooo funny. We got to Camp 3 and the clouds never broke. We setup camp ate ptarmigan and Mer napped. Couldn’t see more than 100 yards at the bottom of the valley and worse up top. 1630 I finally got back out of the tent and went to walk up our Camp Valley. 2 white spots looked promising for a second but the clouds rolled in and I never got to ID Them. I was pretty much socked in all day with no chance at hunting. I tried killing 2 more birds but had no luck. At 2045 we were still socked in. We had good talks today on gear and life and hoping for better weather.
Day 4 – 10 Sep Up at 0630 excited for the new day to bring good weather but was quickly discouraged. Slightly better but by 0700 it was back to nothing with rain. Thought about just hiking into another drainage to see if the weather is the same. I still can’t figure out how to send a sat phone message but can call out. 0930 we got out of the tent and started hiking because we could see for short periods with the wind blowing the clouds through. We ended up not seeing the mountain and picked berries and got soaked in the rain. We ate lunch and rested until 1630 and got out to walk. Weather started breaking and we climbed a 5800 ft ridge (2000 ft gain) and found sheep beds and some sign but no sheep. Came down the mountain and walked into 4 ptarm. I was throwing rocks at them and finally hit one and broke its leg. So I chased it back and forth along the mountain finally trying to get mer to pounce on it and it flew away. We didn’t want to give up leaving a wounded bird so found it again with one of its buddies. I hit his buddy with a rock and killed him then walked over to the wounded bird and hit him with a rock. Mer was impressed. Daily we have to cross a swift over knee deep creek to get to our valley that’s kneed deep. I started piggybacking Meredith so her feet would stay dry. Back at dark and had a great night but still no sheep.
Day 5 – 11 Sep up at 0800 and still fogged in. back to sleep until 1000 and ate bfast and prepped bags for a hike today. We are going with or without fog. Both are ready to get out of the tent and see sheep. We went through all of our food documenting what we have and stretching our meals out through Sunday (2 extra days) since we were worried on ever hunting with the weather keeping us from seeing. Crossed the creek, piggybacking mer at 1300 and we were on our way. We were up the 5800 foot ridge in 75 min and didn’t see anything. We pushed to 4 fingers bowl and still nothing. It was windy so we could only sit so long in the cold. Meredith especially had trouble sitting through the wind. We were pushing over the side when I saw 7 white things in the bottom of the valley well over a mile away. They were in the green moss surrounding the lake/creek in the upper part of the bowl. It was getting kind of late and we dropped down the mountain and got out the spotter and binos. I worked the spotter and mer would tell me what the bigger ram was so I could age him. We thought a 7/8 curl was the biggest but mer said we should go in closer so we did. As we got closer we almost got busted when the big ram popped back over a little hill and we were on an open face 200 yards away. I eventually got the spotter out and watched him till he fed back down. We immediately got up and pushed at him but were worried about the wind. So we circled downwind and peaked over and they were closer than 50 yards. They fed to the base of the mtn and bedded down. We were well within 200 yards with an easy shot and they bedded at 300. The question wasn’t can I hit it, it was is it legal. There was a light mass 7/8, big mass ¾, 3x ½ and 2 smaller. Every now and then the wind would swirl and I had 5 rams staring my way. They just stared at 300 yards till the big ram got up and moved up hill. This was a perfect stalk with mer with no camo. We worked great together, her on the binos and me on the spotter trying to judge full curl. I found a shirt in the bottom of the valley (Halliburton night crew 2009) that looked to be from this year. We were back to camp at 2030 and I washed up in the creek (cold). We were making a new plan for the next day.
Day 6 – 12 Sep We could not fall asleep until after 1230 and I was up at 630 rolling around from the previous night’s excitement. It was foggy with no visibility, but I was doing maintenance on all the gear to include gun, optics, socks, and boots feeling excited about the previous day. We were out of the tent by 1000 and pushed up our Camp Valley attempting to circle the last of the bowls we hadn’t seen yet to find our ram. We were both worn out and luckily the hike wasn’t too bad. I found a broken sheep rib bone probably carried to the top of the mtn by a bird. We sat in the saddle glassing and of course nothing wanted to show. We pushed up to where the rams were from day one and we couldn’t see much so we pushed up another large peak. At this point not seeing anything I was getting disappointed so we set the packs down for a second and walked 300 yards for another angle. As soon as we started walking I said I should get my pack and said it again right before we stopped. As we sat there sure enough mer says “theres 4 sheep” and they were 800 yards away working at us. There was a 2/3, 1/2 , and 2x banana rams. We had no gun and didn’t know what was coming behind them so mer said lets push across the mtn in plain view. I was worried they would see me but mer said they won’t look up I have a feeling. So we blew across the mtn and I grabbed the binos and of course they must have only saw slight movement cuz 2 of them looked up for a minute but went back to feeding. We watched them for 45 minutes and were about 600 yards away. We could have put a stalk to within 100 as they bedded but they were too small again. We got to the backside of the ridge and moved away unseen. We saw the rams around 1600 and were back to camp by 1830. We were dragging ass and I was ready to go. But mer for some reason motivates me and we made a last ditch plan not wanting to give up.
Day 7 – 13 Sep Of course we wake to fog at 0800 and we committed to staying. We got out of the tent and were across the creek at 1200. Weather looked like it might give us a chance so we pushed up 18 ram valley and sat waiting to see. It was windy and cold and of course it never cleared so we pushed back. We took an hour break in the tent and packed up camp at 1500. We pushed out a different way then we came in up and over where we saw the 4 rams from the night before. Our new route saved a ton of time but we could not make it by dark. So we camped in the valley concealed enough hoping we would see the rams again although that didn’t happen. We were tired and mer took a rough slide down some rock that was like concrete.
Day 8 – 14 Sep We woke up ready to get out of the mountains and low and behold the sun is out in force. We were up before it peaked over the mountains but it was the only time the sun was out like that in the whole **** week. We only had 3.5 miles to go that morning and were ready. I threw as much in my pack to keep mer moving quickly and **** it worked. She was quick. We went down the valley and hit the alders and found our moose trail still cursing because the alders are a pain. We dropped down into the creek and had .7 miles to go when we put on our running shoes. I blew through the swamp/creek knowing we were close but mer hated that part and she was frustrated. We were done in 3 hours for the day and back at subie. Man we were glad to be done, took some pics and drank a beer.
Thanks for the write-up. You two certainly get an "A" for effort. I wonder what you missed seeing with all the bad weather you had to fight!
Will you go back again to the same area next year?
Awesome write-up, sorry you didn't connect, but I sure enjoyed reading the story. Thanks for putting in the effort to write it up.
I always appreciate everyone elses stories. Now that ive been in this area twice i have it down to where i can run it on a long weekend. So im planning for a new area for opener next year and maybe a labor day backup to here and then ill plan my moose hunt for the last week of sheep in case i connect on a moose earlier i can have a backup backup for sheep.
And we definitely had those times where you think what am i doing wrong, where are the sheep, but we found some of them and know there are legal rams.... we just missed them somewhere.
Good thing is that the new partner is in on next years opener and we will get her better at shooting a little longer ranges and hopefully she gets the first shot.
This might help some guuys for planning considerations. we planned for 7 days in and ended up stretching it 8 and planned on stretching it to 9. also not that It was myself and little gf that we ate this amount of food.
I generally plan for one person, 1x oatmeal, coffee, drink mix, probar, bagel with peanut butter and honey, mountain house and something sweet.
Actual Food usage for hunt for 2
day 1 blueberry pancakes & eggs (car), ham/cheese roll, 1x probar, 1x PBH bagel, 2x MH, bacon,parm, 1x beer, candy bar
day 2 1x oatmeal, 1xprobar, 2xcoffee, salmon, 1x ramen, 1xpbh bagel, 2x MH, bacon,parm,1x probar, 1x MH Dessert
day 3 2x coffee, 2x tortilla, 1x MH skillet, boullion, ptarmagan, 1x pbh bagel, 1x ramen, 2x MH, bacon,parm, 2x tea, 1x candy bar
day 4 2x coffee, 1x oatmeal, 1x ramen w/ weeds, nuts, 2x tortilla w/ pbh & berries 2x MH, bacon,parm, 2x probar 1x snickers, 2x ptarm, 1x boullion
day 5 2x coffee, 2x tortilla, 2xMH egg and bacon, 1x granola, nuts, 2x MH, bacon,parm, 1x MH Dessert
day 6 2x coffee, 2x oatmeal, 1x granola, 1xpbh bagel, salmon, 2x MH, Parm, 1x ramen, 1x candy bar
day 7 2x coffee, 1x MH Skillet, 4x tortillas, 3x bagel, 1x ramen, 2x candy, 1x granola, 2x MH, 1x Ramen, 1x Candy Bar
day 8 2x coffee, 1x oatmeal, 1x granola, 1x probar