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Thread: My second once in a lifetime sheep hunt!

  1. #1
    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    Default My second once in a lifetime sheep hunt!

    As the title says, this year I set out on my second solo sheep hunt even after I told myself that I would never hunt sheep solo again... I have been in Alaska for 10 years now and got the sheep hunting bug 5 years ago. In that time I have gone on 6 sheep hunts. Four of them were with hunting partners and during each of those hunts I had never seen a legal ram. Two seasons ago I retired from the military, had a few hundred hours flying a Citabria under my belt and a little bit of time off before I would be starting a job up on the slope. After a hunt with a good friend of mine failed to yield a ram for either of us I came home and regrouped. I told my wife, this time I was going to fly myself in somewhere and hunt until I took a ram. 14 days later that actually happened and I had my first ram under my belt.



    It was the most difficult and trying hunt I had ever been on in my life, and it was a pretty darn nice animal! But I had told myself that I would never do that again. I think my wife appreciated that decision...

    Now fast forward to this year and after a new sheep hunting partner had some last minute conflicts I made the decision to once again set out in my new plane on my own and try a repeat of my success where I would have no one but me to blame if that didn't happen... Here is how it unfolded.



    I Got the plane dug in as soon as I landed and started driving in the tie-downs. The weather report looked good for the first 4-5 days so I was really hoping I wouldn't be much longer than that!

    I parked next to these bushes so I could use them as tiedowns along with the duckbills and a deadman that I dug in. It wasnt going anywhere! I hoped! ;-)


    I Got the pack all loaded and prepared to head for higher ground!



    But before I took off blindly, first I had to take a quick look around!



    And seeing a few pretty decent looking rams from the strip put an instant smile on my face! That never happens! I wasn't sure if they were even close to full curl, but they were definitely rams.



    I set out on my hike to try and find a good spot to base from, and I Still had that smile on my face two miles into the trip... I suppose that was because it was still early in the adventure!


    I got up towards the head of the valley and set up camp before I headed up the mountains to do some scouting.

    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

    To follow my photography adventures check out my facebook page

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Keep it comming
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  3. #3
    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    But before I took off, right next to camp I found this spring fed waterfall! Perfect! Some of the best tasting water I have ever had!



    So I drank as much as I could, and then filled my bladder and bottle for the scouting trip!



    I found out really quickly that it was going to be some really steep loose stuff! Going to be slow going, and even worse coming down...



    I saw a few rams, and several groups of lambs and ewes, but nothing that I was overly excited about. I don't think any of them were full curl. The next day though was a different story... It didn't take too long at all to find a small group of big rams. But after looking them over for almost two hours, the smaller of the 3 was the only one that was for sure full curl.



    I studied the other two as hard as I could and they gave me some pretty good looks, but I just could not make either of the two larger rams legal. They both looked to be 7 1/2 years old by rings I could see and I am way to leery to shoot based on rings... They continued to feed up the mountain away from me and then dropped down into a drainage out of sight. I expected them to continue to feed their way up the mountain so I ran ahead to try and close the distance. I got about halfway to where I last saw them when the ewe popped out of the drainage about 80 yards away. One by one the whole group popped out and I was pinned.



    As they started to walk away after they saw me, I had to make a quick decision. I looked them over very quickly and carefully to make sure I had the right ram in the scope. I braced my rifle against the top of my ice axe hiking stick, and I made a perfect heart shot on the full curl ram. He took one quick step and fell over. And after 1 kick he was done and just like that, my second solo hunt was in the bag! Day 2.... that never happens for me!



    The other shocker for me was that it was only 2 1/2 miles to camp and then 2 miles back to the plane and it was all completely downhill... Sure beats my last sheep hunt!



    I spent more than a little time admiring him, the surrounding scenery and the accomplishment, before the work begins! It was pretty surreal with it ending this quickly into the trip.



    It took quite a while to try to set up a decent shot with just my phone and walking stick! Lots of trial and error!









    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

    To follow my photography adventures check out my facebook page

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    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    I couldn't have asked for nicer weather for the whole hunt, so I took my time and got several angles and shots!



    I got it all cut up and packed in a little over 3 hours. Now the real work begins.


    I am really not sure why I was still smiling at this point... Knowing all the work I had ahead of me...
    Actually, who am I kidding, I don't think anything could wipe that grin off my face!

    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

    To follow my photography adventures check out my facebook page

  5. #5
    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    That is at least until towards the end when it got real steep! At this point I decided to lighten the load a bit and make two trips down.



    Once back at camp I relaxed a bit, and started working on trimming the skull a little better.



    And then I couldn't take it any longer. I went over and soaked my feet in the ice cold creek beside camp!



    I knew once I got back to camp I didnt have time to tear it down, make two trips to the plane and then fly out, so I just relaxed for the evening and glassed for more sheep!



    It ended up that I couldnt sleep at all that night from the excitement and aches, so I got up, had breakfast and then got an early start with the first load.



    And after what seamed like a pretty short trip, I was never so happy to see the cub!



    And the flight out was absolutely gorgeous! Pretty surreal all the way around!



    Until next year sheep mountains! Until next year!
    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

    To follow my photography adventures check out my facebook page

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    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    And that smile will be there until then too!

    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

    To follow my photography adventures check out my facebook page

  7. #7
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    [/FONT][/COLOR]

    That right there is one super cool looking photo. Good job!






    [/QUOTE]




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8

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    Thanks for sharing the story and photos!

  9. #9

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    Congratulations...........nice story, nice ram, nice custom rifle, & nice stupid cub.

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    Nice work!

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    Fantastic update, I love all the photos. What camera/phone are you using for them?

    Congratulations on your second solo ram, that's awesome!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  12. #12

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    Another nice ram. It takes a lot of balls going into them mts by yourself. More than I have . Lol congrats on your 2nd

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    Superb! Thanks for the nice report

  14. #14
    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven_JR View Post
    Fantastic update, I love all the photos. What camera/phone are you using for them?

    Congratulations on your second solo ram, that's awesome!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
    It is actually just an iphone 6. Not the latest one. I think the camera is quite a bit nicer in the newer one.
    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

    To follow my photography adventures check out my facebook page

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    Great hunt and photos. Its nice to see it all come together - especially for a solo hunter. What is your rifle setup?

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    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knikglacier View Post
    Great hunt and photos. Its nice to see it all come together - especially for a solo hunter. What is your rifle setup?

    Thanks! It is a custom .280 Ackley that Derrick Moffit of Last Frontier Custom Guns in Palmer put together for me. Just got it put together and dialed in right before the season! It is a shooter!

    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

    To follow my photography adventures check out my facebook page

  17. #17
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    Very nice, thank you.

  18. #18
    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing, great story and pictures.

  19. #19
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    A nice clean kill and nice clean photos......great job!

  20. #20
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    Congratulations on a very handsome ram. Great pictures too. Thanks for pictures and story.

    L.W.

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