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Thread: Solo Hunt

  1. #1
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    Default Solo Hunt

    What do you guys think about hunting sheep solo? I mentioned it to my wife and she said I spent too much time in the shed with the cap off the gas can--father of three kids, sole provider etc., can't do things that might get him dead thing. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Default buy insurance

    Lots of it.
    Why do you want to go solo? There are things I do on my own, but being remote in difficult country is not normally one of them. Conservatively I have to agree with the wife. Ouch! That hurt just a bit.
    Stacking the odds in your favor makes sense. That includes a capable partner. It also includes getting into shape (round is not the shape I am talking about) maximizing gear options, having a plan and sticking to it, and making good choices.
    Weigh out the pros and cons. Be fair not only to your personal needs, but to your family.
    Good luck either way.

  3. #3
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    Default solo

    I have hunted sheep a number of times on my own and never had any problem. However some of the places I would have gone to look I didn't go because of the safety factor. On the other hand I am not married and do not have kids. If you do go just be aware that you are on your own.
    You might also look into a satallite phone. I have rented them just for solo sheep hunts.
    Take care

  4. #4
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    Default

    ...and besides, it's great to be able to share the experience with someone. Not to mention having two guys to pack sheep. Two guys, one sheep, one trip out. 1 guy, 1 sheep probably not depending on the logistics of your hunt. Last year 2 of us got 2 rams and it took us multiple trips to get both rams and out gear out.

    I have a good friend who was born and raised in Alaska, a very experienced outdoorsman who had a near death experiecne on a solo sheep hunt. He was happy he had his beacon. He got picked off the mountain by a chopper after getting hit by a bad snow storm in the Wrangles for days. He was literally blown down the mountain in his tent. After that he won't go solo anymore. In fact he asked me to accompany him on his DCUA walkin 4 years ago. He shot the ram and we both packed it out. 20 miles one way on that one. It was awesome to be able to share that experience with him.

    This year I'm going with a guy who went solo last year but suffered a small injury on the hike in. He had to turn around and was fortunate he was not too far in and was not hurt too bad. This year he's not going solo, he asked me to go along with him.

    There are lots of guys around here who love to hunt solo and will give you the pros of it and some pointers too. But, in your case you've your family to think about.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  5. #5
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    Default ditto gmc hick

    As long as you up your safety factor which means you don't end up in the same type rocks you would with a partner, its doable. I have done it a few times as well but with the above in mind. My pack is heavier with a sat phone or vhf radio and nobody to split misc. gear with so I don't do it unless I have to. Its pretty dang rewarding to get a sheep on a solo hunt and the solitary hunt is a great experience itself.

  6. #6

    Default Solo

    I've been contemplating a solo hunt for sheep also. Most people I talk to are against it, including my wife, father, inlaws, etc. I tend to agree that for safety you should have a partner, but the challenge of going solo is intriguing. Where are you thinking of hunting solo?
    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

  7. #7
    Member bgreen's Avatar
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    Default

    There is something to be said for the old saying "If momma aint happy, aint nobody happy". If your wife is really against it, would a few days of enjoyment be worth a lifetime of heart ache? Would a nice trophy be worth hurting your wife?
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    Default Solo Hunt

    I had a party tag for Kodiak this spring and lost the coin toss for first shot, and lost the shot at by far the best bear we saw. Not wanting to settle for less than my goal of a 9 foot bear, I came home without one. I do not want to lose a shot at a sheep to a coin toss--I know it may make me greedy, but that is how I feel. I have good friends that hunt, but none that will take 10 - 14 days of vacation to watch me shoot a ram they have to carry!

    Momma ain't happy, she contacted a buddy of mine in SD and told him she would buy his plane ticket if he would come up to hunt with me!

    I'm in trouble....

  9. #9

    Default Where?

    Where are you hunting? Not specifics, just what range/area?
    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

  10. #10

    Default solo sheep

    I think I am going to go solo also. Reason being is because of my schedule, its hard to find other friends (that i would go sheep hunting with) with the same time off as i got, especially in Alaska during this time of year. I know that I will need to think and rethink every move I make for safety sake. If a sheep is taken then thats a whole other story.

  11. #11

    Default I've sheep hunted solo

    and enjoyed it. I've done it several times. You are a lot more careful when you are out there alone.

    But that was before I was married and with kids.

    With my belly now I wouldn't make it up the mountain anyway, but I don't think it's a good idea for a family man.

    I do know a guy here in Palmer with a wife and kids that didn't come back from a solo sheep hunt. That's pretty devastating. I don't think he was ever found.
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  12. #12
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    Default A Wife's Point of View

    Okay...
    I won't say that I have a whole lot of experience in being a wife of an avid outdoorsman, but I will tell you my own personal experience.
    Last year, after being married for only a month, my husband got stuck without satalite phone with his 70 year old hunter guided hunt he was doing. I didn't hear from him, but what I did hear from his outfitter was,
    "-Insert Husband's Name- is doing fine and we had to send him out on another hunt. He said go and enjoy Anchorage."
    He was stuck because of massive rain that hit our area and the creeks rose quickly that they couldn't send over ATVs or Horses. They had to wait it out. Some other guide was having some emergency, so when my husband was able to make it back to camp, he was immediately sent out to cover this other guide and finish not only one guiding trip, but two.
    He was gone 14 days. No phone. No communication.
    Our children had 2 birthday parties (turning 6 and turning 4) and almost started school without him being here. Even though now that's not such a big deal, to me back then it was because we had been in Alaska for less than a month and married for just a little over a month.
    Now... this is my actual response to you.
    I like to do my climbs solo, too. Honest. I do. But... hunting is obviously more different. If you plan to completely cape and pack out a Dall Sheep, are you prepared to carry a heavy pack (160lbs +). The ONLY reason why I know this is because my husband and I had dinner last night with his hunter he guided for (here in Denver) and they both agreed that they couldn't have made it if my husband didn't carry most of the meat, the cape, the horns and actually carried the hunter across the creek.
    You may not be 70. You likely won't need a guide, either...
    ...but keep in mind that preparation is everything and wanting to do a hunt without thoroughly thinking through all obstacles is wishful thinking.
    My husband didn't think that the rain would keep up.
    He didn't think that he would have to be sent out on another hunt.
    If he had only had a satalite phone, it would have put my nerves to rest.
    He was prepared. I was completely uneducated.
    If you could give your wife specific details and a timeline on your hunt with an expectation that you will be in communication with her by a certain time period or she could contact search and rescue if need be would be your best bet if you really wanted to do it solo.
    *If you want to do it solo, please be prepared*
    This year, if you don't mind me sharing, I have learned that my husband will be doing 2 sheep hunts (originally I thought that it was only one). He would like to take some time off guiding towards the end of hunting season and hike/climb with me to show me where he guides. He asked how I felt about him actually hunting and I told him that it was fine, only if I could watch and act as his sherpa and help him take the meat and cape down the mountainside. I don't want to be responsible for the horns... so it's kind of exciting, from my end at least, being able to see where he is going first hand so that if something happens to him, I know exactly where to scour, climb, and scramble.
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  13. #13
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    Default Solo Hunt

    I plan to hunt the Chugach, in 13D. I have hunted goats in the Chugach and sheep in the Wrangells, so I understand what I am in for. As for packing out a sheep, if it takes two trips, so be it--it's only hard work! At this point though, I think the Boss wants me to have a sat phone, PLB, convict ankle bracelet, and my own satelite.

  14. #14
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    Default EPIRB and Sat Phone

    Morning!
    I hunt solo a lot! I keep a epirb in my front thigh pocket and a sat phone in my back pack. It's only about 1.5 lbs total weight for both. I usually check in at night. It keeps the home front happy and frees me up to do my thing without anyone thinking I should be laying on a couch talking to a guy smoking a pipe.
    The phone stays at spike camp, but the epirb is in my thigh pocket 24/7. If I fall it falls with me, than I at least have a chance to flip the switch. The whole package cost a bit of money, but hey! What's a life worth? A phone call to check-in at night is pretty simple to do and it gives the loved ones enough comfort to support you. Try it once. You might be surprised at the results!

  15. #15
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Winchester View Post
    At this point though, I think the Boss wants me to have a sat phone, PLB, convict ankle bracelet, and my own satelite.

    Sounds like someone is trying to tell you something. You just have to ask yourself if the price you pay after the trip is worth the price of going at it alone. Solo trips have their benefits and rewards, but so does sharing it with a partner. If the primary reason for going solo is to make sure you get the first shot. Just make sure your partner knows up front. You set up the trip, you asked him/her to go. If I was asked to go and I knew this up front, I wouldn't have an issue with it. I'd just be glad to be there.

    For me the descision is simple. I now have two little ones at home. No amount of insurance would replace the fact that my kids would grow up without me around. Insurance only makes sure your kids and widow live in a better house after you're gone. The thought of my kids not having me around keep me from hunting solo. And in a few years, I'll have two more hunting buddies.

    Just my $0.02... take it for what its worth.

  16. #16
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    Default choose wisely

    I weighed in earlier generally in favor of going with a buddy. But, here is the caveat. I would rather go solo than babysit. I would rather be alone than worry about my partner. Focusing on what I do is better than worrying about the other party in camp. Note I don't say guy. There are a lot of capable women out there that, even though I am happily married, would be a hoot to hunt with.
    Nothing can ruin a hunt faster than the other person's attitude, lack of preparedness, fitness, morals, etc. Choose wisely friend. Maybe Blackfoot wants to walk through the Wrangells this year, never know til you ask.
    I am looking forward to not only your stories later this year, but everybody elses too. I do have a couple of trips planned, but this way I get to live vicariously through you.

    Success is not measured in what you carry out on your back, it is measured by what you bring back in your mind. True success is internal, not external. I hope your trip is "successful".

  17. #17

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    I participated in the search for an overdue solo sheep hunter several years ago, in the Thunder Bird Creek drainage above Eklutna. The first time he was overdue his wife called 911, the troopers sent up a helicopter and found him on Thunder Bird Peak with his newly-downed sheep. He was okay and told them that he was packing up to head out, i.e., back to the trailhead at the Eklutna campground. They left him to it and informed his wife of his plans.

    A few days later, he was not back and his wife reported him overdue again. This was the time that I was involved. We knew that he was probably carrying a bloody sheep from the earlier trooper contact. In two days of searching with a couple dozen searchers, half a dozen dogs, and two or three helicopters, we found no evidence of him. (I did find some fresh brown bear excavations for rodents midway down one of the tributary drainages, flushed a couple of wolves and saw my first wolverine tracks.)

    He was located at the end of that second day of searching when he walked up to a house -- in the Peters Creek valley. In other words, he went out a completely different way than his announced intention and away from his vehicle. From what I heard, he did it because he thought it was an easier route out with the load. It took him "slightly" longer than he had estimated.

    What's the point of all this? Not to vote against going solo -- all of my outdoor recreational time is solo and has been for many years. But if you're going on a solo hunt in AK, whether sheep or moose or whatever, you should pack the satellite phone at minimum, IMO. The PLB is a very good idea as well. The phone would have saved us lots of needless effort one September, and it might save your own bacon some day.

  18. #18
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    Default Solo

    If you're worried about something happening to you while hunting because of your family, why stop there?

    Give up driving, way more chance of something happening to you driving than hunting. A woman friend of mine was driving from Anchorage to the Valley last fall on a rainy day. Guy going the opposite direction was speeding and hydroplaned jumped over the median and hit her head on. She should be dead, but miraculously she survived but was horribly broken up. Her sister wasn't so lucky a few years back. She was hit by a gal who'd lost her license and was on drugs. She didn't survive.

    And why drive anywhere with your spouse in the same vehicle? If, God forbid, something happened and you both died, your kids would be orphans.

    Why let your kids ride bikes? I think more kids are hurt and killed riding bikes than any other way.

    Why do people live in flood zones or hurricane alley or areas with lots of tornados? Why go near the ocean? There could be a tsunami. Or why live in Alaska? There is probably going to be another massive earthquake here someday and I'm sure many people will have bad things happen to them.

    I'm not trying to make fun of Winchester's wife's worries. I'm only trying to point out that sometimes we fixate on one worry, when there are things all around us that we should probably be worrying about more. I would suggest talking with her and finding out what it is that worries her, and trying to do your best to alleviate her worries. Maybe she sees you take needless risks around the house so she's worried you'll do something foolish in the woods. Do you eat peanut butter off a butcher knife? Do you refuse to ask for directions when you're driving? Do you try to feed wild animals out of your hand? Do you tell the biker at the bar, "You don't look so tough."? If you do a lot of these or similar things, maybe your wife has reason to worry about you.


    I've never understood letting fear keep you from enjoying life. I'm not saying to go about things recklessly, just that you can't spend your life being afraid of what might happen. It's usually something you never expected that gets you.

    When I hunt solo, which is quite a bit, I let my wife know where I'm going to be, when I expect to be back, and I try to contact her during the hunt to let her know I'm OK, but she also knows that isn't always possible. I also assure her that alltho I will try to be back when say I will, if conditions aren't safe, I will be hunkered down someplace and as soon as conditions improve, I'll be on my way home or trying to contact her to let her know I'm OK. I do everything to be safe I can within reason. I've found the more info she has about what I'm doing, the better she feels and I'm greatful she's comfortable with me hunting alone.

    Actually tho, she probably worries less about me hunting alone than working alone. I gillnet on the Copper River Flats, one of the most dangerous fisheries in the world. I'm sure the odds are worse for me working than hunting. I've lost many friends in this fishery. Small boats in 50 to 80 kt winds can lead to all sorts of bad things. Last year my neice's father died in a bad storm. I was nearby when it happened and was part of the search after the initial mayday. Things like that are terribly sad, but I still have to go to work. And my wife has learned to accept that risk. Again, I try to alleviate any fears she may have by checking in with her when possible and being as safe as I know how. But nothing is 100%.

    Maybe your wife would like to be invited along? Then she could make sure you're safe and comfortable. At least she'd know what you were up to.

    One last thought, I've heard about way more people being shot by their hunting partners than having something happen while they were hunting solo. Could hunting solo actually be more safe?

  19. #19

    Default solo sheep

    I have hunted solo many times. The only time I hunted sheep solo, I took a sat phone and checked in daily, giving coordinates, weather, health, etc. It is always good to have somebody that knows the general area you are in, so if they do not hear from you the next day, they have an idea where to start looking. I noticed I was very careful, every step.....Yes, it was a challenge and very rewarding....Yes, I will do it again.....

  20. #20
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    Default Issues

    Couple of things to consider...

    A solo hunt will/should limit what you can or will do. Less risks are taken and that can hinder your opportunity to take a ram. Depending on the country you are hunting that may not be an issue. There are a lot of places to hunt sheep that are not all that sketchy to get around in.

    The fact that your wife is so concerned about it complicates things because you know she'll fret the whole time you're out. The fact that you have children further complicates the problem. Limits to the calculated risks taken in the field should again be decreased out of love and respect for your family.

    I don't know what your health is like. Several years ago I would have gone solo in a heart beat. Since some temporary back issues that were rather crippling in recent years, I would not even consider it today.

    Regarding your partner and the coin flip... I'd suggest looking for a better partner for your future hunts. My partner and I are completely okay with the other guy being the trigger man because we both know that just means this years trigger man will have the others back next year. Doesn't matter the cost - just the fact that you support each other with total commitment. My partner's success is also my success. I will be on the same stalk he is on and just as much a part of the hunt as he is, with the exception of the actual shot and the bragging rights when others see the trophy on the wall for years to come.

    Best wishes and be safe. If you go take the sat. phone for your wife's sake. The money you spend to rent one and buy the minutes will be well worth a little piece of mind to her.

    -Carnivore
    Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.
    Genesis 9:3

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