Being not as nimble as I once was, I really didnít start out with white ram fever. However, a friend asks me if I would baby sit his sheep mount while he was deployed. I agreed and he was welcomed into my home. Well, after living with him for several months it was at last time for him to go home. After admiring that ram I decided that I had to have one. I asked Jake if he would go with me, he was reluctant because he has bad knees from years as a paratrooper. He told me that the side hilling and going down hill was hard on him. As a gift to me, which I am forever grateful he agreed to go with me and help me pack one if we were so blessed. He gave me the book Sheep Stalking in Alaska by Tony Russ, I read it front to back. I again dug into this forum and read everything I could.
I bought a Cabelaís Extreme Alaskan Outfitter Pack with Frame and a new pair of Danner boots and as soon as the snow melted we started training. We trained all summer and by fall I was fairly sure that I could get into sheep country. A bought a MSR Mutha Hubba tent as our base camp and he had a mountain hardware single wall tent as a back up. I was eager to start our hunt; we had spent months training including numerous trips to the range. I was sure of myself to 450 yards. We got together and laid out our gear and double-checked each other. We each brought a stove and water filter to have backup. We weighed and tagged each bag with the weight. I practiced setting up my new tent and made sure I had all the parts. I replaced the stakes that came with it for lightweight MSR stakes. We had never hunted together but, both had military training. At this time I had only done hunts from the road system. Jake had been on 2 other successful sheep hunts. This would be my first fly out.
Aug 8th I drive over to Jakes and we leave for Talkeetna. We arrive at Alaska Bush Float Plane Services to check in and they offer to let us leave Jakes camper on their place, really great folks. We drive into Talkeetna and have a beer and some pizza and back to the camper to get a good nights sleep. I was so excited I could hardly sleep, I kept thinking, was I up to the challenge??? Only time would tell.
Aug 9th We wake early and carry our gear over to the dock and get it all weighed. We go in and they tell us the weather donít look good. We do the old wait around the flight line thing. I was a helicopter crewchief in the army and so was Jake, so we are used to waiting on the weather. At last we get the thumbs up and we stuff into their Maul on floats and off we go into the Alaska Range. We fly west and can see the weather coming in. The thing that sucks is the pass to get into the mountain lake is over 2 hours away from Talkeetna. We get to the pass and have to circle for a while to get under the clouds.
Once in the pass the weather clears and we see sheep on several ridges. Iím completely stoked at this point. We land at the lake and taxi over to the shore and get the plane unloaded and we get my Mutha Hubba setup, awesome tent with tons of room and a double vestibule. We setup a cook tarp and get camp organized and get our packs ready for the opening day hunt. There is already another tent at the lake and we saw a pair of hunters breaking camp about Ĺ mile from the lake. So, while we are having dinner another pair of hunters arrive and we welcome them, then try to figure out where to go now with so much pressure. There are four pairs of hunters around the lake by dark. We only have a plan worked out with one pair. We look at the map and change our original plan because the pair we saw on the flight in are in the area we were going to hunt. My first lesson, the plan is only that a plan, have more than one. We do a map recon and decide what we will do the next morning.