Got back from DCUA sheep hunting yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't have a tag, but my buddy that did got his ram! I don't have pics to post yet, but once I get some I will post them. Here is the rundown of the hunt:
9 Aug we hiked in 20 miles. Camped at the base of a creek whose name I will not mention in hopes that I draw a tag in the next few years . 10 Aug we start up the creek bed. After a few miles and several hours of creek crossings, brush busting, and general torture, we decide we need to ascend the mountain and find a flat spot for the tent before nightfall. So we go straight up. We finally find a flat spot above tree line and set up the tent, eat a quick meal, and bust out the spotting scope to see what we can see. We see 10 or 15 sheep, but nothing we can clearly identify as a ram before the clouds roll in. We turn in for the night, with a plan to head up and around to the head of the creek the next day.
11 Aug we put some miles in, and come up to a nice saddle between mountains from where I quickly spot 10 or so sheep in some fairly easy terrain about 2 miles away. We can tell a few of them are rams, but don't know if they are full curl. We also spot a few more rams on the ridgeline above the others. So we formulate a plan to set up the tent on the backside of a hill between them and us, and then sneek closer. We sneek to within 1 mile of them undetected, but the group of 10 we saw earlier is gone. But we see 4 rams, two of which are very close to full curl. But we decide the biggest is only 7/8 curl, so we look over the rest of the area very carefully and then head back to the tent.
12 Aug we decide to keep pushing on toward the top of the drainage we have been hunting since opening day. At this point, we are at roughly 6000 ft and are running out of up. We decide that if we don't see anything today we will have to retreat and hunt another area. Well right off the bat we spot 4 nice rams bedded, but they are a long ways off and on the other side of the drainage. My partner wants to take off after them, but I convince him that we need to stick to the plan and push on to the top of the drainage. Then if there is nothing there, we can turn back and pursue the 4 we spotted. He finally agrees, and we make it to the head of the drainage about noon. What a beautiful area. A huge bowl in each direction, divided by a high ridge in the center. Well, lo and behold, we spot 4 rams in one of the bowls in the ONLY area that is not sheer cliff and completely unapproachable. Two of the rams are worth a closer look, so we eat a quick lunch and then back away far enough that we can't be spotted by the rams. We head around to their side, fearful that the wind will give us away, as it will be blowing directly at them for part of our stalk. But we didn't have an option to go downwind. We get around to their side and low crawl to the rim of the bowl, and we got lucky. They're still there. We position ourselves so my buddy can get a shot, as he determined at least one was full curl. The first shot is good, but he shoots again to try to anchor the ram so he won't be able to fall. Second shot missed and sure enough the ram rolls down. But fortunately not too far. No damage to horns and very little to fur. We secure the ram so he can't slide down any more and go back for the packs, knives, etc. Finally get him caped, boned, and pulled up the mountain just in time for dinner, and the wind and rain to come in.
13 Aug we finish skinning the head out and sawing the skull plate off from the rest of the skull and put about 6 miles in on the way out. We decide to take a different route out to save time and brush busting. 14 Aug we have a marathon day, hiking at least 15 miles and finally make it to the truck about 11 pm. Dead tired, with blistered feet, sore shoulders, but back safely and successfully. Couldn't really have asked for a better hunt. Weather was generally very good, especially considering the summer we've had. No one got hurt. Saw same beautiful scenery. Also saw lots of caribou. I had a caribou tag, but didn't see any big enough to be worth packing out. Didn't see any bears, which I was disappointed about because I wanted to get a bear, but I still had a blast!
Pics will be coming ASAP.
Sound like a great time. Looking forward to the pics.
Sounds like a well executed alpine team effort. We should all take note how this went down between two individuals working towards a common goal.
I'm looking forward to the photos too. Thanks for sharing.
We all need to be thown a bone ever once and awhile. A good hunting partner really helps dreams come true.
Did you guys see any other hunters, or did you have the drainage to yourself?
Great report. I will look forward to the pictures.
How bad were the creek / river water levels up there? I know there's been a lot of rain / early snow up that way lately and I'm heading up for my DCUA hunt later this week. Thanks and congratulations!
Congrats to your buddy on the sheep, sounds like a great trip.* Hurry up with those pictures!
Mtn Wx, we saw one other group of hunters on our way in, but once we got into sheep country we didn't see anyone else. (Really nice, in more ways than one. No hunting pressure plus the solitude sure was good for clearing out the mind).
Standdup, where we were, the water levels weren't too bad. We didn't cross any rivers, so I can't really comment on that. The creek that we walked up was deep enough that when we needed to cross it, we had to take our boots off and use water shoes to cross. It was about knee deep, and of course freezing cold. I imagine most of the creeks in the area would be similar, so I would suggest taking some water shoes or sandals or something just in case.
Sorry about the pics. My buddy, who has the camera, left for Valdez to go fishing the day after we got back. Once he gets back, I'll get pics.
Wow, thats what a friend does, nice story.