Well we got back last night from the most magical 5 days of sheep hunting that a guy can ask for. Let me first preface this by saying that this was my first ram with a rifle, I was luckenough to score on a Brooks Ram in 2004 with my bow and have been trying to get one wih my rifle ever since. I was skunked on a fly in last year and then had some obstacles that kept me from scoring later in the season on a walk in. Snyd and I walked into this particular area (grin) on Wed afternoon last week. The water was a little high walking up the drainage from the previous weeks rains so the 100 creek crossings were a little treachorous ( although Snyd remembered his gaitors and I didn't) we both got to feel the wrath of wiping out in the creek with 45-50 lbs on our backs. However mine was a little worse. I ended up sokaed from teh waist down in the first hour of our sheep hunt. (both boots full of water that sucked) As we are sloshing up the creek Snyd looks up and says hey is that a sheep up there, and we get out the glass since we werent prepared to be looking at sheep for a while. And low and behold its 2 rams laying on the rim of a bowl at aout 5500 ft or so. o as we go sloshing up the creek I tell Snyd that if we dont stop and stat a fire and let me dry out my Lowas I am gonna be in for a hurtin. So we decide to hike up far enough that we would be well enough below the rams we saw that the next morning (day before opener) we can hike up high and get a better look at the 2 rams we saw off in the distance on the way in. It starts to rain a little and Snyd had the fix for that, he put on his pack fly and the rain stopped <grin>. We made camp, got a fire going and I dried out my boots. We got a good night of sleep kinda you know how it goes sleep for an hour turn around in your bag, sleep for an hour turn in your bag. You know how that goes.
Day 2 (day before opening day) Snyd and I hike up to the top of this mountain above us in hopes that we see the 2 rams we saw the previous day. Once on top we spot a few rams and when all is said and done we are now watching and naming 4 rams for the better part of the day. We end up naming them "Strange guy" this is a ram that likes to bed sprawled out laying on his side looking like he's dead. He sprawls out on his side chin forward and literally looks like he's dead (he might be legal). Then theres old Broken Horn, this ram has his right side broke off maybe 10 inches from his bases and has a good looking left side (he might be legal). Then theres Junior, he's a ram that has a tight curl, not a lot of mass but looks under the right angle like he might be legal but most likely isn't. And then theres little guy, hes a young ram not quite 1/2 curl. These rams put on quite a show for us all day, ramming heads, displaying the pecking order thing and even watchingthe two dominant rams "strange guy) and (broken horn) kind of show each other teh respect two older rams would when its not teh breeding season.We go to bed with the 4 of them about a mile away from us and still in sight and bedded.
Day 3 (Opening Day) We wake up around 4:30 am, finally begin to stir and get out of the tent around 6 am. Snyd looks out his side of the tent window before getting out and says to me ,theres a sheep still on the mountain. I am like no way! He gets his binos out and points them out of the tent fly and says, "its a ram". So we get up start boiling water, get the spotters on this sheep and its not one of the rams we had been watching the previous day, and he looks good. So we decide to go after this ram, we eat breakfast swallow some coffee and take off at 7:45 am for this ram. We decide that if we sidehill the mountain he's bedded half way down on we'll end up directly above him shooting down, plan sounds good and off we go. Half way up the mountain we look back towards camp and see that at some time some other hunters have hiked up the dranage we are in and are camped not 300 yards from us, but we are in a little depression so they proably never saw our camp. That was not a welcoming feeling to see, but we see they are hiking up the spine of a ridge on the other side of the drainage from us so all is good for now. We keep heading forward. As we begin to circle the backside of the mountain the ram is bedded in we spot a bunch of sheep in a bowl behind us with lots of Ewes a few sublegal rams and a couple rams that look pretty good. We decide that we are committed to the stalk and probably cant get on those sheep without spooking them since theres like 60 eyes looking all around. We stay the course leaving them for later or tomorrow. At 10 am or so we crest the top of the mountain and are looking down into the bowl this ram was bedded in and we are sneaking along peeking down. We get to where we think he is and look down and no ram! We look at each other and whisper back and forth "where did he go?" I decide to shimmy down a little further on the spine of this draw when all of a sudden I spot the big white butt of the ram behind some rock outcropping. I signal to Snyd that I see him and we both start crawling further down to get a look at him. I saw the tops of his horns just before he went behind the rocks and he looked GOOD. I start crawlng down a little further when Snyd starts signaling to me that he is in the open. I quickly grab my binos and am looking straight down at 163 yard at this broadside ram and determine he's legal. I grab the gun put it on the ram, Snyd hears the safety come off and the Kimber Montana booms the sky sending a 165 grain TSX through both shoulders of the ram. The TSX walloped this ram, literally knocking him off his feet. He falls and wiggles for 20 or so yards downhill and dies. We do the celebtration thing , high fiving, and I just kinda sit there and absolutely cherish the moment. The ram is no monster but a beautiful specimen, we aged him at 10 years old and about 34" on both sides give or take. This pic is of me right after the shot taken by Snyd with the ram in the frame below me.
We climb down to the ram and get to work after taking some amazing photos. With loaded packs we are heading down the mountain with heavy packs back to camp. We are back at camp by 4pm and eating hours fresh sheep heart and ribs over a fire by 5pm! Unbelievable.
We wake up at the same time as the previous days and start to get ready for the day, I sense the urgency in Snyds every movement that its his day. We decide after some coffee and oatmeal/granola that the best plan for the day is to go after the rams we saw in the backside bowl on our ascent to the ram I shot the previous day. As we head up the drainage hoping to get to a vantage point to see the sheep in this particular bowl we get about half way up this ridge and we stop to glass and take a break. I look across the bowl and dont see any sheep but I do spot something that looks strange. I look closer and I realize I am looking at hunters 2-3 of them. Snyd gets the spotter out and looks and says , "Yup 3 hunters and one dead ram" and there arent any other sheep around. I have to say that Snyd is a very compassionate man, cuz I would have been pissed, he simply looked at me and said "hey, the 2 of us got one and the three of them got one, its all good!". I must admit those werent the same thoughts going through my mind but I settled into the idea though I really wanted Snyd to get one of those rams badly. So we change plans halwfway up this ridge and decide to go up top of the large basin that I had shot the ram on the previous morning in and glass the entire basin from above. The day was unbelievebaly beautiful, the sun would come out and really warm you up and then the clouds would slide in and cool you off, the views were insane from up there, none of which we really looked at the previous day while racing to catch the bedded ram. We watched some sheep for the better part of the morning and midday but saw no rams. In the early afternoon we decided to work our way around and see if we could find a ram hiding in the craggs of some of the drainages but to no avail could we find one. We decided to head down in the late afternoon and kind of accepted that the rams were in no mans land and that all the other hunters in the area had removed their lacsadasical demeanor they had the previous few days We hiked down and ate some sheep backstraps accompanied with Mountain House and got a good nights sleep and decided there would be next year and the next morning we headed out.
We simply had amazing weather, great views, and some great conversations about everything in life you can imagine. This was no super callenging sheep hunt by any stretch of the imagination but one I'd gladly do again with my new found sheep hunting buddy (though I'll be in better shape next year than I was this year...grin). I would absolutely say (and Snyd will understand this) that we were truly blessed with all the good that one can ask for for a fall sheep hunt. After last years spectacles I went through this was true redemption! I did shoot this ram, but this ram was as much Snyds as it was mine, we did the same amount of work and we were both right there as seeing the same thing as the trigger was squeezed , anyone could have done that part the experiencewas equally shared! Thanks Perry!
Here are a few pics from the trip.