Let me see if I can get this hunt down for all to read about. I am not sure how to post pics in the story so will post all at the end. I have also evaluated all the gear we took so if you have any questions on our opinions of the gear feel free to ask..
John and I planned to fly in, float a ways, hike back into a certain drainage and hunt and the float out to a different runway!! 16 hours prior to our schedualed flight we were notified that we couldn't float as the lower runway had been washed out!!
So went the frantic rest of the evening trying to lighten our loads and figure out which gear was absolutely necessary.... Of course John's Wild Turkey made the cut and went into the backpack. Big mistake is what I was thinking, why carry all that weight, however, comma, latter on the hunt I became a believer in a nice cup of wild turkey and lemon lime crystal light. Man was that good after a long days hike and a cold night. And at the end, with sheep over the fire and a good drink!!! Good job John!
So we fly in early in the morning and get all of our gear put together and start the beginning of our much awaited, painstakingly planned sheep hunt. Of course both of us have our own personnal reasons that are fresh in our minds for wanting to kill a sheep!
After day zero, call it that cause of no hunting day of flight rule, we have made it down river and most of the way up the first mountain. Spent about 12 hours following the river and beating brush and climbing and cussing and trying to keep the mesquitoes off of us, carrying packs that just feel way to heavy!!!!! But alas we pitch our tent and settle in for the much needed rest, food and sleep!! We glassed a bit but didn't see any sheep at all.
The next morning we woke, soar as hell, made some breakfast and began to pack up our gear. First part of the trip was downhill a ways to stock up on water and then back up to the top. Saw 7 sublegal rams grazing a ways off so we kept on moving and down into one drainage, up the other side, what fun that was!!! By the end of day one we found what we were looking for.
At first we spotted a nice full curl, we watched him through the spotter for awhile and rested, ate and watched some more. He was down in the bottom of a drainage and we were hoping that he had a friendl. He did a bananna ram, but later to our suprize we spotted him with a nice thick, double broomer!!! NOW were excited!!!! We watch em and the three rams actually bed down low in the drainage, nows our chance. We bomb down the side were on, cross a valley, dump most of our gear and stow it under a tarp, move as fast as we can to get on em but end up running out of time. The sun beat us. We got to within maybe 400yds but the light is gone and shooting is not an option. So what do we do, what all sheep hunters do I presume, slept in the rocks until 330 in the morning, made our way back to a shooting spot in the dark and waited tell light.
Then came the rain and more rain, and the cold and more cold. We were just plain miserable with the minimum gear we brought, but had sheep on the brain. Luckily I carried my sleeping pad with us so we had something to sit on as we hid behind a rock and waited for light! As it was getting lighter John kept peaking with the binos and confirmed the 3 sheep were still there. He even saw the full curl bobbing his head as it slept....... then came more light...... then John peaks again and looks to me and says.... uh those three sheep are just ROCKS!!!!!! At some point the sheep had move up the mountain and I'm pretty sure the lack of sleep had something to do with the events that had unfolded!!
We found the sheep high up in the snow and waited and watched. Eventually they went over the mountain t the next drainage and we made our move, up to the top, dropped packs and started crawling and looking. I crawled up to one spot, threw up the binos and there I was, stairing at the broomed ram, who was also stairing at me!!! I crawled back, told John, and we made our way back to the top. By this time the broomed and bananna ram were running up the mountain. We manuever a bit and John finds the full curl, he is up top looking at the other two rams running up to him....... It is at this time that John saves the hunt. I am ready to pull the trigger, shot is way to far and wouln't have done anything but run the sheep out of the drainage. I look to John for advice and basically got the NO WAY dude, way to far, relax, lets think and come up with a plan look. Thanks John!!!!
The two rams move up the the full curl and all three just kinda hang there trying to figure out what they saw I guess. Well we decide to go for it, drop off the opposite side of the mountain, low enough that the sheep can't see us, and start side hilling as fast as we can. There is one rock that we need to get behind to keep the sheep from seeing us. We do and when we finally get there, out of breath, hearts pounding in our heads, can't hardly see straight, we take a few breaths and get ready.
I peak around the rock and the sheep are close. I tell John, he doesn't know if close is a hundred or three hundred. Wanting to prepared adequatly for the shot I put the range finder on em. 168 yds!!!!!!! Oh yeh. I tell him. The broomed is broadside but the full curl is off to the right and I can't see him from where I am. I can't see him from the other side. A few seconds, or minutes of this goes on and then John looks and says, they are together. Both sheep and getting ready to go, the broomed has been looking at the rock the whole time. Well it's go time.
I move to the right side and tell John I am ready. Oh yeh, I won the coin toss and get first crack. I am going to shoot the full curl and John the broomed. I move away from the rock, take a knee, bad idea, should of used the rock. I put crosshair on sheep chest and as i squeeze I fall into the rock. Booommm, John is not ready when my rifle goes off, he puts his gun up and the rock and sees the full curl running towards us in the scope, wrong sheep, he looks right and there is mister broomed. By the time I work my action I hear his rifle and the unmistakeable thump of the bullet impacting muscle, bone and tissue. I am ready now, steady on the rock, full curl is moving up the mountain, steady I squeeze the trigger and two sheep are down. We both put in a follow up to keep em down, don't want em rolling off the wrong side of the mountain....... We watch and wait. The sheep stay down.
Wow, we turn to each other in astounishment, WE DID IT. Two beautiful, legal rams, at the same time!!!!!!! High fives, hand shakes. Then we move up to put our hands on the hard earned rams.
Of course this is when the work REALLY starts. We manage to make it back to our packs, skin, quarter and move the meat and capes down the ridge to some of our gear. Luckily we carried our sleeping bags with us as we laid out the meat to cool, ate, reminised and slept on the mountain. That night was one of 3 that didn't rain all night so it was good. In the morning we boned the meat, caped the head and readied for the trip down.
HEAVY packs. We made it to the rest of our gear and food and started leap frogging everything up the mountains. Neither of us could carry everything at once so we made a lot of trips getting everything back to the runway. Finally made it back on day 8. Tired, wore out and ready for a big fire and lots of sheep.......
Of course the plane couln't come for another day so on day nine what do we do. REST..... well no, we limp our way to the river, try to catch some fish...... no luck..... so we grab our gear, our guns and hobble a couple creeks over and try to find a nice black bear to shoot.... as we saw one the day before while making the last part of our trip back to the runway. We had left our guns back with the other load of gear. We want to scare the bear away so he won't mess with our capes so we hollar at it..... and it comes a runnin. Right at us, we scramble for a big rock and stick and think we are about to do hand to hand with the bear until it decides to turn and keep on going. That got the blood pumping.
Anyway we had decided that since we were there we would keep on hunting, barely able to walk or not!!!!!!! The things a hunter does!!!! No bears though. That night we had a good fire and ate a ton of sheep meat stuck on a stick and held over the fire. Of course we finished off the WT that was left at the runway when we flew in!!!
Over all it was a great exeperience. One the I will do again as soon as we leave Iraq and get back home. Well first I am taking my wife to hunt brown bear. She really wants to do that.... and of course I am all for it..... Hunting and sharing a tent with Heather...... oh yeh!! John is going to goat hunt when we get back. If everything works out I may also be hunting elk in Wyoming in 2010!!!!!! May try to get some blacktail hunting in in October next year!! That will be great!!!
Anyway this has gone on long enough. Thanks for listening