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Thread: The TMA sheep hunt of 07

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    Default The TMA sheep hunt of 07

    Ok its been a while since I got back and Im now calmed down enough to even talk about it. I was a lucky individual that drew a TMA sheep tag, actually a partner hunt tag with my buddy. We went in for 7 days. You know, its funny how as you get older the more inexperienced you get. I made some mistakes and had some bad luck. Ill take them one at a time and tell the story as I go. Maybe some of you guys can learn from my troubles and have better hunts because of it.
    1. I/we, hired a local air charter who gave us no choice where to go into, just got the old "Its a great spot, youll love it" routine. This is the TMA remember. (Mistake 1, No recon) If your going this route AFTER your paid in full for the hunt and IF theyll do it, pay extra to get a recon flight so youll know what your getting into. Local charters have secret strips and secret names for drainages. Even after your paid up they are VERY reluctant to show you in detail on a map where your going into. In fact they wouldnt.
    2. Crooked Air charters. OK this is my second unsuccessfull and my last attempt to use a local air charter. In my opinion several are crooked. they wont put locals in good areas that are reserved for high paying guides or clients from elsewhere. When just as a test, you tell your charter on the day of the hunt that you have more money than you had planned, could he put you on a better spot? And he replies, How much more are we talking? Your hornswagled, now its just a question of how bad. If you dont pay what the big boys pay, your not going to get what they get. Me and a buddy a couple years ago ran into this . A charter wouldnt put us into the sheep area we wanted because it was reserved for the guides. Then a few seasons later he got put in the area only after all the legal rams were harvested out. Enough said.
    3) Hunting conditions.
    Heat drove the rams HIGH. We only seen 1 legal ram 4 sure on the last day. More later. Drainages to skirt, wow the creek was so high we could neither skirt of cross. They put us where we had to climb a mountain in order to get to sheep country. Took us 2.5 days to get 6.9 miles from the drop off point. according to the GPS Charter said just skirt the creek and youll get in through the gorge OK. Yea, right.
    4) Legal rams
    I think we had a miscommunication. I said Legal Rams, charter must have thought we said Legal Lambs. They put us in 2 day striking range of ewesbekestan. Ive always been told the rams hang out not with the others but high in the crag rock and bowls close to them. So what do you do when even the Lambs are on top? Ist day of season we saw a 7/8 curl that I tried all manner of voodo majic to make legal but no matter how we looked he wasnt. We counted annuli and concluded he was legal, but I wasnt about to take a just "close enough" ram out of the TMA. F/C or nothing. Not another legal ram till the last afternoon. probably glassed 30 sheep lambs ewes and sublegal rams. Last afternoon we saw old dad. The biggest sheep Ive ever seen in any movie, fullcurl and a half double broomed, 56" ,OK maybe not 56" but huge anyway. He would have been a book ram Im sure. We would have never seen him if it wasnt for the USAF who was out chasing sheep with a C-130. He blew over the ridge we were glassing at no more than 100'. He spooked the sheep and caused old dad to stand upand give us the look that will torture me for years to come. Now talk about security, this guy had it down. He was bedded down at the base of a vertical cragrock mountain that went above 7K his bed was on top of the left side of a 100' vertical highwall above a crevass infested blue ice glacier. to his right were 4 sublegal rams, to there right were 10 ewes and lambs all on the same level spread out over 500 yards leading down the shale slide trail. at the midpoint of the slide trail was one bannana ram all by himself. (forward lookout) Needless to say he will grow old there as far as Im concerned. They had us busted sooo bad. Couldnt get over, under or around. As for the trojan sheep trick,HA they held up signs rating our performance, thanked us for playing and inviting us back next year. Dont ask where there at, I wont tell you. If I cant have him. Im not sharing. Other than that, had a great trip, weather was if anything too hot.
    5) Comfort
    One tip for you over 45 guys. I dont care what the hard core sheep hunters say, this is the last time I take a POS cut off light wt. sleeping pad. I have arthritus in my back and that makes a miserable hunt. Next year its going to be my thick macdaddy comfy pad even if it does weigh 5 lbs.

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    Default Amen Brother

    i hear ya on the lightwight pad issue - leave it, get the Bigun! I'd rather go in heavy and be comfy than go in light and be miserable. Alot Sheepers like to mire in being miserable, some say that it makes you a tougher hunter...not me - I'll be the first guy to say - my pack weighs more than 50, yea its a little tougher, but when i get up there, I'll be warm, cozy and comfy!

    Sorry to hear about your flight troubles, and your hunt.

    hopefully you got one of those Delta Cow tags - at least you'll get some meat for the freezer

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    Default

    Jim: Thanks for the funny as **** story. You must be one great hunting partner cause you sense of humor is hillarious!!! Sorry about all the mishaps. But its not too late, you could do another fly in or hike in off the road on weekends or something. Typical of sheep hunting that big boy will haunt your dreams forever, and maybe thats how it should be. I saw a group of four rams a few years ago that I can picture clearly whenever I want to that maybe never will be harvested. They had a PhD in hunter behavior and made us look stupid (it wasnt that hard). I dont think I will ever see such big sheep again, but I can whenever I close my eyes. They must have taken you to a good spot if there was a huge sheep there, but it sounds like the hot weather might have swelled the creek and such. Those big sheep I am talking about I think were spooked by the 10 straight days of blistering hot weather we encountered on a sheep hunt and were on top of one of the taller peaks around. So your area may be better in more inclement weather. Oh about the pads. My ridgerest at times hurts like hell. I cant wait until I get a new inflatable as they are now even lighter than the foam so you get to sleep on air.Good luck the rest of the season.
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

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    Default hard lessons

    Jim, thanks for sharing. You made some classic mistakes, but welcome to the club.
    Your sharing will certainly help others.

    After Roland's woes with his air charter fiasco of last year one would think you would have avoided that "air charter will hook me up" thing. <smile>. But again, it happens to many. That air charter has no concern for you or your hunt other than your safe drop off and return--and your numerous dollars.
    And just because it's TMA doesn't mean there is a 40" ram on every mountian!
    I'd go back if you have time. Screw the air drop off--go hike in and bust that ram of a lifetime.

    Did you email anybody about where to go? I know Fullcurl (Stephen) and his pal took a dandy or two last year in there.
    As for that monster ram, and the "secret spot" well, I think there are many of those big guys there, One has to work and go get 'em. I have to razz you about being so cryptic about him.
    Ask for help (and give help.) That ram you saw will be dust long before you are drawn again!
    Obviously just my .02.


    I always take a magnum sleep pad, they are worth the extra weight.
    Frank

    One other thing, Jim. I'd report that fella who was chasing the sheep with the chopper.
    I personally know of fellas who made it a habit to use multi-million dollar equipment for hunting recons around Fairbanks and the White Mountains area. They were way out of line.

  5. #5

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    Dude you Kill me!, I just pissed my pants!

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    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Default

    Jim

    Atleast you had a great trip.
    Your number #4 remark all most had coffee come out ny nose !!!!
    Thats just funny !!!!!!
    4) Legal rams
    I think we had a miscommunication. I said Legal Rams, charter must have thought we said Legal Lambs.


    Go back and get that big one .

    RR
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


    USS SARATOGA CV-60

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v5...ex_2-1-1-1.gif

  7. #7

    Default great

    That was some funny stuff! Too bad it didn't work out the way it should. Would love to know the "fly out service". Saw a ram like what your are talking about 3 years ago. Still see him in my dreams! Got hit it again. September coming, get the atv and give it another shot!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post
    Got hit it again. September coming, get the atv and give it another shot!

    Absolutely, and exactly what I told you to do!

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    Default sheep hunting

    Yup, sheep hunting at it's best....and worst. When you finally do "bust the big one" it will all be worth while. I know it is easier to say then do, as most everything worth while is...but I also would echo you're giving some second thoughts to having a second run at Mr. Curly...as the marines say, "can't do never got 'nothin done"!

  10. #10

    Default CUB

    Wish I could hit it again. I am one of those teachers that can only hunt the first part of sheep season and then I am screwed! I could do a kamikazee weekend sheep hunt, but just don't have it in me this year. I could do an evening jet boat ride up braided channels, have to get up balls early to get the 7 hours walk up the creek and then climb to hunt, HOPING that there would be sheep to shoot. Or I could hit the other side of the river, spotting for them at about 5 miles and hope to see I would have to do it this weekend if I was going to do it, but committed the weekend to my kids and taking them to the state fair in Palmer and to visit my brother's family, so I guess I will just have to "stew" for a year and hopefully get the drive back to do it again. I need to focus on getting my daughters sheep and then call it good. The last open weekend in September is always for moose, so the sheep God's will be in my dreams until next fall. I have an area that will be getting researched extensively by phone and super cub come next spring! I am dying for one of the mid 40" slobs! Then I will be content.... probably not!

  11. #11

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    northway that was directed at Jim, he and I have spoken about his trip and his options. That does suck that you cant giver another whack this year though. The sheep bug is a bad one, and I commend all those who have it! <grin>

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    Default peepee

    Rolan piss's his pants all the time so don't be alarmed!

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    Default Transporter

    Just in case I ever draw, I would love for you to PM me the name of the transporter. Thanks and hope you have better luck next time. You still got time ...
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim in Delta View Post
    5) Comfort
    One tip for you over 45 guys. I dont care what the hard core sheep hunters say, this is the last time I take a POS cut off light wt. sleeping pad. I have arthritus in my back and that makes a miserable hunt. Next year its going to be my thick macdaddy comfy pad even if it does weigh 5 lbs.
    I'm one of those "over 45 guys" and let me tell you. The Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pad is the hot setup. 2.5 inches of air filled comfort! Rocks??.... what rocks... And they don't wiegh that much. In fact I had hard time keeping Roland off it!

    BigAgnes Insulated AirCore

    Good to hear you guys made it home safe. Shoot me a pm if you want. I may have some 411 for you on a TMA spot.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

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    Quote Originally Posted by fullkurl View Post
    I personally know of fellas who made it a habit to use multi-million dollar equipment for hunting recons around Fairbanks and the White Mountains area. They were way out of line.

    As a moderator speaking against military pilots, there's a few things you should understand.

    1) The U.S. military owns some really amazing hunting and fishing real estate. These lands are reserved for training and are open to the public when not in use by the military.
    2) Harassing wildlife is against Alaska state law and is strictly forbidden by military regulations as well. I am a fairly senior pilot in my unit, and I can tell you that no one harasses wildlife on any mission I am involved with. There are RARELY a few "bad" ones who go in for a closer look at times. It's hard to explain outdoor ethics to some people... especially people who didn't choose Alaska.
    3) As far as hunting recons go.... I'm guilty as charged. I fly the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. My job is to perform reconnaissance and attack missions at low altitudes within handgun range of the enemy. When I go to Iraq/Afghan, I live 50' over top of our convoys trying to keep our boys safe from ambushes.

    So translate that to training back here.... We invent bad guys and missions... then we practice our craft. We do reconnaissance and we practice shooting stuff - most of the time we don't have any ammo to practice with. It's like dry firing your rifle while riding a motorcycle and talking on 4 radios. I happen to be hunting this fall in an area that I train in about once a week. I would have to be stupid not to notice all the moose in the area that I see every day. If I was wealthy and flew this area in my own airplane, would it be different?

    4) I have the latitude to conduct training missions pretty much anywhere I want within 100 miles of Wainwright. I have restrictions regarding airspace, private residences, harassment of wildlife, and flying low level in an area I'm unfamiliar with. I file a flight plan every time and get approval from my command. Don't be mad just because my job as a reconnaissance pilot has perks. The thousands of people attempting to kill me on the even years should more than make up for it.

    I partly understand where you're coming from, but you have to realize... we're training. We happen to have a really cool training ground here. I apologize to anyone whose hunt is inadvertently affected by my training. I will make sure to fly as friendly as possible during this hunting season - but I will continue to do my job.

    Cavflyer

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    I'm one of those "over 45 guys" and let me tell you. The Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pad is the hot setup. 2.5 inches of air filled comfort! Rocks??.... what rocks... And they don't wiegh that much. In fact I had hard time keeping Roland off it!

    BigAgnes Insulated AirCore

    Good to hear you guys made it home safe. Shoot me a pm if you want. I may have some 411 for you on a TMA spot.

    He aint lieing that BA was thick! He kept shoving back to my side. <grin>

  17. #17

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    I hear ya cavflyer but C-130's flying 100ft over a cragg cliff isn't in the training or part of the sortie requirements either. Them boys was playing around! And they werent on military land either.

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    Default Whatever he says....

    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaCub View Post
    I hear ya cavflyer but C-130's flying 100ft over a cragg cliff isn't in the training or part of the sortie requirements either. Them boys was playing around! And they werent on military land either.
    You forgot the medi-vac guy's AlaskanCub! Eeverytime I see them they brag about the things/games/etc they do to wildlife.

  19. #19

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    You forgot the medi-vac guy's AlaskanCub! Eeverytime I see them they brag about the things/games/etc they do to wildlife.
    CZ, what are the "medi-vac guy's AlaskanCub"? I am not familiar with that.

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    Just for the record, Im not hackin on the C-130 crew. If I had one Id probably be guilty too. Heck Id have never seen the big sheep If they hadnt jumped him out of his bed.

    I have to get me one of those pads snyd. If you and roland slept double on one it must be really cumfy. ;-) Ill PM you about the spot. I dont know If I can get another trip past the old woman or not this year. If its reasonably close, maybe. No more fly ins for me though.

    As for the Air Charter, Im not going to tell the name and slander the man. Just listen to my advise , ask more questions and do more homework. I was along for the ride on this one. My partner booked the air charter, it was out of my hands untill the nonrefundable deposit was paid. Then its a done deal. If I had known it was a sneaky,sneaky deal I couldnt get info on Id have done it different. From the AC point of view, I can see why there carefull with locals. Once we go in ,then there secret spot isnt a secret anymore. Everybody at the dinner downtown now knows where the strip is. (Not really just what iffing) Locals just need to be more,,,,,,investigative.

    As for my sense of humor,,,,when you hunt as bad as I do, you need one just to keep trying year after year after year,,,,,,,,,,,whew I depressed myself again.

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