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Thread: First Trek into the Brooks Range for Sheep

  1. #1
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    Default First Trek into the Brooks Range for Sheep

    Regarding the Brooks Range, all I can say is- wow....

    My friend Silvertipgriz and I headed up the haul road saturday the 8th, started hiking in at 4:40pm, hiked in till we were tired and pitched the tent. There was smokey haze in the air but in the middle of the night the weather moved in and the wind ripped up the drainage and the next morning it was clear skys and cool weather.




    Sunday the 9th the plan was to continue on with our trek the additional miles to possible "Sheep Camp 09". Well, on the way we stopped, soaked it all in, marked waypoints, changed sweat soaked socks, I did some blister treatment, etc. We didn't make it as far as we had hoped. No biggie, we pitched the tent, we were more tired then both we realized. At this point we had only seen two sets of human footprints that had hiked in maybe 5 miles and then turned around. We were all alone. Perfect.


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    The morning of the 10th we humped it up to about six thousand feet and the wind was just howling. It had to have been sustaining 30 plus and gusting to 50. Plus it was COLD. All the waterfalls in the area were frozen as well as the muddy ground. Not very good hunting conditions, bitter cold wind and pretty tough to shoot accurately in those high winds as well. We made it to our destination area and had a look into 3 different bowls and saw about 100 sheep within the first hour. With the high wind and bitter cold I could not do much in the way of spotting. We did not identify any possible shooters that afternoon but felt this was an area we needed to hunt. We decided to pitch the tent in secluded spot in a bowl where we found a flat spot and some running water near by. Plus we were only about a 5-10 minute hike from the heads of the bowls where we saw sheep. By the time we did all this it was about 3 pm or so and the wind had not let up. We called it a day, rested and ate and figured we'd give it a go the next day.



    Notice the little red dot?!

    Last edited by Snyd; 08-19-2009 at 11:35.

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    Morning of the 11th we crept around the ridges glassing and watching sheep.




    The wind had settled down quite a bit. We now had conditions we could hunt in. We saw tons of ewes, lambs and banana rams everywhere. We noticed massive sheep trails on ridges, across bowls and a saddle that kept attracting sheep. I finally spotted some rams near some cliffs about a mile or more away. Two about 3/4 curl, a youngster and two "mystery rams" that I could not get the spotter on because of how they were moving, the terrain and the wind bouncing the spotter around. One of the 3/4's and the youngster got up and headed across the drainage on one of the trails. Shane kept an eye on them with his binos while I tried to ID the mystery rams. No go. They seem to have disappeared. By this time the two rams made it to the saddle. We decided to see if we could get a closer look. I have heard that brooks range rams can reach age long before reaching full curl so we thought we'd see if we could get close enough to try and count rings even though he looked thin. Well, during our stalk there was an open area we had to cross. We had other choice. They busted us about 50 yards before we could get to our cover AHHHH!!! bummer. In hindsight maybe we should have tried whites. (TNF Venture raingear turned inside out.) I got the spotter back out to see if I could find the mystery rams, no luck, but, I watched the other ram get up and get on the same trail the other two took to the saddle. Now was our chance, we got to some rocks near the saddle, I set up my spotter and we waited. In the meantime a ewe and lamb showed up about 50 yards away and the ewe and Shane had a stare down for about 15 minutes. She kept trying to get him to move, he held fast and cramped up I was on the other side of the rock and all the sudden there was the ram! We had him in a perfect ambush at 165 ranged yards. I looked at him through my spotter at 52 power for an hour counting rings and could only get six maaaaaaybe 7. ugh.... I settled on him being 7. But, how cool it was. We ended up sitting on him for two hours while other ewes, lambs and banana rams came and went. What an awesome day it was. I spotted another ram in some other rocks that was probably the one that busted us. He was quite a ways off in some craigs but defineatly not full curl or broomed and I didn't feel I could commit to a stalk on him to get close enough to try and count rings. He was probably about 6 or 7 like this one.






    We watched a steady stream of sheep hit that saddle for the next couple days. They would come from 2 or 3 drainages away. I spotted another sublegal in another bowl. I counted 65 sheep in that bunch before I lost count.

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    We ended up learning a TON about an area, saw tons of sheep, set up a text book ambush, saw tons of sheep, saw two Golden Eagles and I found a lamb carcass on a high precipice over 6000 feet. All the bones were there and some hide. We really think we found a lamb that was killed by a Golden Eagle. We also saw two lambs with radio collars and a ewe with one also.

    It was an awesome cold windy trip in the Brooks Range. Many only dream of going there. At 49 years old I've been able to finally hike into sheep country in the magnificent Brooks Range. I feel truly blessed beyond my wildest dreams. I am so blown away by the experience. I can honestly say that this was the most successful hunt I have ever been on where no one pulled a trigger. My friend Shane and I both feel the same way. We did not kill nor even see a shooter but the hunt was a huge success. There is no other way to describe it. From the time we left the truck to the time we got back we saw no one. It was a true Alaskan Wilderness experience. We can't wait to go back ! Here are a few more pics.









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    Default Time well spent.

    It was a true Alaskan Wilderness experience. We can't wait to go back !
    Time in the wilderness is [almost] always better than any alternative, regardless of whether there is a harvest or not. Glad to hear you guys made it back safely. Thanks for posting the pictures...I need to make it up to the Brooks one of these years.

    Are you finished for the season, or are you going to have another chance to chase sheep closer to home?

    Bryan

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    I'm glad to hear you and your partner feel the way you do about your adventure even though neither of you killed a ram. There is intrinsic value for many of us in the wilderness experience alone. Much has changed over the last generation with respect to hunting, and finding space/solitude/wilderness is certainly one of them. Glad to know you found at least some of what you were seeking on your hunt.

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    Default the brooks

    Thanks for the wonderful pictures and write up. I was in the brooks three years ago for caribou and it left quite and impression on me. I will get back there someday, but for now your pictures provided a bit of a fix.

  8. #8

    Default Nice Sheep hunt

    Thank you so much for the awesome pictures. It look like you had a great time, and it looks like you were in some amazing county. I hope that you will still be able to connect with a sheep. Thanks for posting the pitures.

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Sounds like a fun trip and a great experience in some new country!

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    Member FALCON's Avatar
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    Perry,

    Thanks for the update, and all the pictures. Its a good thing to hear how great a hunt was without putting the hammer down. I dream of going to the Brooks Range someday. You are a blessed man to have experienced it with your good friend.

    Best of luck the rest of the hunting season !

    Bryan

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Default Brooks Range Sheep Hunt

    Perry,
    Thanks for sharing all the pictures and stories of a great hunt, The Brooks Range is Always dear to my heart, I practically lived up there after I retired from the Air Force in 2007. Took my son up there where he took his first Big Game animal---A Griz, and took my first sheep, and Moose there.

    Remember Like I said before, It's not all about killing a sheep or any big game animal, but the experience you shared with a friend in one of the most spectacular areas in the state!!!...the sheep is just a bonus.

    Nice Looking tent, someday I'll be able to afford one of those. And at still a young age you look like your in Dang Good shape...so many more years of chasing those White Rams!!!!

    Chuck

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Perry,

    Really great hunt report and pics. Man you guys did look cold! What beautiful country the Brooks is, and so cool to see that many sheep and find a possible eagle-killed lamb. Kudos to you and Shane for hoofing it in there, glad you had a good trip and got to see some new country.

  13. #13

    Default Nice

    Perry,

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful story and photos! Great trip without the kill!

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    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your story and pics bro!!!!

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    Default Thnx for sharing

    Great report! Almost Hemingway in your discription nice!

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    Very neat looking country. Thanks for sharing the photos and the details. Those of us who rarely or never get to do that really appreciate it.

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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Nice write up of a well conducted hunt. Sounds like you obtained some good scouting information for next year. I hope you guys are able to get up there again and tip over a couple of nice rams.

  18. #18

    Thumbs up

    Sounds like last years sheep hunting TV episode. No ram but a ton of fun. Great story, thank you for sharing.
    Alaska Outdoors Television ~ Outdoor Channel

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    Great story and thanks for the write-up.
    Don

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    Default Great Thread!

    Thanks for taking the time to write about your experience! Believe it or not, it gives those of us that cant make it out this year alot of motivation! I was up in the brooks last year later in the season. I bet we saw over 100 sheep in 7 days, not a single shooter though. I had gotten some info about an area that was supposed to have several legals in it, turns out alot of other people got that word also. Although, we saw a couple different groups of people and a few planes taxiing hunters from point A to point B, to this day it has been the most amazing experience of my life. The Brooks is truly the gateway to an epic adventure. Thanks for posting your thread and pics. So, jealous!

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