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Thread: Sheep necessities

  1. #1
    Member ruckus's Avatar
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    Default Sheep necessities

    I have read all the books, but you cant ask books questions. I am doing a sheep hunt on a budget and need to know what one item to spend the money on. I am already wrapped up in $$$ for fly ins, but have the money to up grade one piece of gear. What is indespensible? What should you spend the money on? Spotting scope, boots, pack, rain gear, cramp ons...?
    "Next time you feel important, try telling someone elses Chesapeake to do something"-- anonymous

  2. #2

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    Probably the boots. If your feet are hurt, are you tear a hole in them, you aren't going anywhere, so the rest of the stuff will be irrelevant.

  3. #3

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    Tough question. It really depends on the quality of everything you already have. Assuming you have the boots, clothing and tent/bivi that will keep you warm, comfortable and dry, I'd look next to optics. A good spotting scope (Swarovski scopes rock, but will run you north of $2k) can save you a lot of time hiking after a few rams that might be borderline legal. I actually almost abandoned an 11 year old ram a few years back because he looked too small at 800 yards through my 9 power rifle scope (it was all I had) as he was heading into the nasties. Thank God it was the last day and I decided to check him out anyway. Ended up being a nice 36" ram, now on the wall.

  4. #4
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Depends on what you have now. For me Boots are number one, you won't make it far if you can't walk. If it is a this year, in the next 2 weeks hunt I hope you already have good boots!! I know a few people that pack w/ a cheaper pack and just gut it out when it is heavy and uncomfortable. How far are you going? If you can make a trip or two you can get by w/ a cheaper pack. I have used marmot precip packable rain gear and it is not super spendy. I have a new eVent jacket now but it was one of the last things I "upgraded" and honestly the precip did fine. Glass is always a good investment for finding/judging animals. I have 6pt crampons and have never actually worn them on a hunt.

    Hard to say what to upgrade without knowing what you have now.

  5. #5
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    If your boots fit, then it is too late to upgrade. Too late to break in new boots.
    If you do not have a spotting scope, then Its time to get one.

    But if you have boots that are well broken in to your feet, or feet that are well broken in to your boots, and if you have already have a spotting scope--then invest your money into a super light tent.

    Forget the crampons, unless your a crampon guy, unless you know you will need them.

    Better yet, invest your time into more physical (and therefore also mental) conditioning.

    Have a great ram hunting adventure!
    dennis

  6. #6
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    The very nature of sheep hunting demands quality gear, not necessarily expensive but good. I would say it is too late to buy new boots, taking new boots on a walking hunt is a mistake IMHO. Your boots are your tires and your feet will be your only means of transportation, neglect your feet and you will have a short hunt. Most sheep hunts require side hilling, this is best done in boots made for it. NO FLAT LAND BOOTS.

    If you are successful you can expect boned out sheep and cape to weigh around 120 lbs give or take, add some gear and you get the picture. You need a pack that can haul this or make multiple trips.

    If it rains everyday like I have had on a sheep hunt and your rain gear in junk you will tap out before long.

    If your hunt involves crossing ice in anyway then IMHO crampons are a must.

    Quality glass will save you more effort than you would believe, heed the advise already given. Quality spotters sell good, you can always sell it after your hunt. Critical piece of gear IMHO.

    With a fly in help may be awhile in coming, all you will have is what you brought, the weather in the mountains can be extreme. Can you afford not to be prepared???

    I would add a sat phone to your list. A few years back a father and son were sheep hunting and the son went after a ram, he fell after the shot and was badly injured. The father had to cover him with rocks so that the ravens would stay off him while he made a desperate hike out to call for help. What took many hours to do could have been done in seconds with a sat phone. I have never forgot reading that story in the paper and learned from their misfortune.


    Good Luck

    Steve

  7. #7

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    Tough question with out enough details for an answer really. What do you already have? How much are you spending on your one upgrade?

    For me, gear falls into three categories, Life saving, time saving, and comfort. IMO tent, sleeping bag, clothes and boots all fall into the life saving category. If what you have is good quality and you feel safe it won't fail then move on to the time saving such as spotting scope, binoculars, etc. If that is all squared away then move on to the comfort gear.........wait, your sheep hunting, you're not supposed to be comfortable so go back to life saving

    BTW, I have scaled a mountain or two in, crappy boots, good boots that weren't all the way worn in and good boots that were worn in. All be it the latter is the best option, partially worn in good boots are still WAY better than worn in crappy boots any day.



    Ryan
    "If you are not working to protect hunting, then you are working to destroy it." ......Fred Bear

  8. #8
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    I just reread the originating post for this thread. My take is that you have all the necessities covered but are looking for input as to of all the requisite gear you now already have which single item should you now allow yourself the luxury of UPGRADING. I agree good boots are important but that would not be my first choice. A premium spotting scope is always a plus but for me a spotting scope is used AFTER the game is spotted. No, I think I would recommend you upgrade your binocs first. First and foremost your sought quarry must be located .... and then everything flows from that point. Again, I am assuming that you have all the needed equipment for a sheep hunt and tho perhaps not top of the line, everything is serviceable. Then, next year after your hunt you can better decide what for you, in YOUR experience would be the next item you should consider for upgrading. One caveat - there is no end to upgrading - there is always something every year that comes along that claims to be better than anything else on the market, so you might want to start getting used to the concept. Good luck on your sheep hunt - for many, one is never enough!!!
    "Actions speak louder than words - 'nough said"

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Ruckus can you list what you have?

    That would be helpful in guiding you to the most cost effective upgrade.

    I agree with the others that it's too late for boots, especially if you're hunting the Aug 10 opener.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  10. #10

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    I've done sheep hunts in crappy boots, in tennis shoes, had crappy back packs, had crappy tents, had crappy optics, had crappy everything. I was successful in them all, but learned quickly that the best equipment will make the hunt more enjoyable. Good boots, a barney's pack, good tent, good sleeping bag and pad, and good spotting scope are all necessary. But the one thing that I've seen put a stop on a sheep hunt is crappy foot wear. Tear your feet up and and you are done. I bought a pair of Lowa's and took them out of the box on a sheep hunt. Never had an issue. By the way, it wasn't my feet that got torn up, but was a person I know. They were done. Had a chance to go after a ram and just couldn't do it. Good advice given in this post, but it is much easier to upgrade equipment year by year than all at once!

  11. #11
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    Default gear

    lots of good advice. I too have seen a sheep hunt end due to bad boots. The Lowas like northway has are very popular with sheep hunters now and they are good but until you have worn a pair of Limmers you havent seen good mountain boots IMO. Mine cost 300 bucks and were worth every penny. Optics of course and for me my binos are more important than a spotting scope. I do carry one but it is an old Baush lamb.
    My best addition in years to my mountain gear is an OR bivy sack. I used it last year instead of a tent. It weights next to nothing and takes up very little room.
    I would consider taking a SPOT but not a sat phone. Just to heavy. Every ounce counts sheep hunting... last year my pack with ram was 92 lbs. I had to carry that 12 miles so dont want any extra gear. I used a walking stick for the first time last year and would never go without one again. Good luck you will enjoy yourself!

  12. #12

    Default Boots

    Quote Originally Posted by ruckus View Post
    I have read all the books, but you cant ask books questions. I am doing a sheep hunt on a budget and need to know what one item to spend the money on. I am already wrapped up in $$$ for fly ins, but have the money to up grade one piece of gear. What is indespensible? What should you spend the money on? Spotting scope, boots, pack, rain gear, cramp ons...?
    Between binoculars and spotting scope - binoculars the most important, but spotting scope with good tripod running a close second.
    For boots best we've used have been the LaCrosse Burleys or hip boots made by LaCrosse. Make certain they are new for the hunt and with the right combination of socks. Regardless of what foot gear good to have either mole-skin or duct tape.
    Probably more important or at least as important as the boots will be how the walking is managed. Since it is a sheep hunt in most cases you shouldn't be doing much climbing until time to go after a particular sheep.
    Best of luck on your hunt.
    Joe (Ak)

  13. #13
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Joe- I have the utmost respect for you. But, Burleys? Seriously? Great boots for the flatlands, but the sheep area you guide/guided in must be totally different than the sheep hunts I have done.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon254 View Post
    I used a walking stick for the first time last year and would never go without one again. Good luck you will enjoy yourself!
    What took ya so long?
    Mandatory equipment.


    Joe Want...hip boots in the Sheep country? Donno about that advice. Maybe for low land hiking...bear, moose...Kodiak deer, but for sheep cpuntry the with that weight and bulk? Forget it.
    Proud to be an American!

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    Member oakman's Avatar
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    If I were you, I'd make a list of everything you have, what you think of it, and what it weighs. In the next column, make a list of what you could upgrade to, why it would be better (weight savings, higher quality, etc), and what it will cost you.

    Some items are a lot better, but will cost you 2 grand (like a new spotter), other items will make you life a LOT better (like better boots or a tent), and only cost you a few hundred bucks.

    A few years ago I upgraded from a pretty good tent (2+ person Walrus) that weighed 7 lbs to a great tent (Nallo 3GT) that is much roomier, and weighs only 5.5 lbs. I seem to remember it cost me about $600. So it made me much happier than a scope upgrade for about 1/3 of the price. Another word on spotters, those nice spotters are spendy and heavy. You might want to consider a smaller, lighter spotter. Something like the Nikon Fieldscope 50mm (weighs only 1 lb).

    I'm sure if you post a list of what you have and what you're thinking about going to here, you'll get a LOT of suggestions.

  16. #16
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Ruckus,

    Someone mentioned a walking stick. If you don't already have a pair of quality trekking poles, definitely get some.

    I have a pair of Leki Makalu's, a good mid-range pole for about $75, but there better ones available.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Fullcurl I guess I used to think the walking sticks were for old guys ! LOL .... well Im gettin there! Love them use them for glassing as well as hiking.
    guess my country is different from yours Joe, I am climbing from the get go! Hippers.... not where I hunt sheep.

  18. #18

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    Yeah, no hippers for me either! We wade through MILES of creek with shorts and tennis shoes though! Tried the trekking poles last year and REALLY like using one, so they are in the arsenal. Going to be putting stuff together soon for the back pack, will lay it all out and shoot a picture of what I take, minus the food. You don't wan to see what I pack for sheep hunting!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    Joe- I have the utmost respect for you. But, Burleys? Seriously? Great boots for the flatlands, but the sheep area you guide/guided in must be totally different than the sheep hunts I have done.
    Thank you for the compliment.
    Without suggesting "right" or "wrong", I suspect it probably has more to with how we hunt sheep rather than where. During most seasons I would guide between 8 and 10 sheep hunters and 2 or 3 combination sheep/moose in September. During the first week of moose hunting we probably did as much or more climbing as during the first month of sheep hunting.
    For a variety reasons it is more effective, though certainly not the "only way", to hunt sheep from the valley rather than the ridge lines.
    The "Burleys" or hip boots provide for greater flexibility in route selection both while hunting and when making the stalk. This is especially true when the animals are being taken from below (about 80 percent for us).
    Rubber boots certainly do not eliminate or reduce the necessity for good fitting foot gear, good SOCKS (and plenty of them) and proper management of what and how walking is done during the hunt. A pretty strong argument can be made that the softer sole reduces the chances of especially ankle injuries as they make it easier to "walk with your feet rather than your eyes".
    Now having said all that - I have to admit that for real technical rock climbing rubber boots really "suck".
    As always - appreciate your posts.
    Joe (Ak)

  20. #20
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    My only experience is in the Talkeetnas and the Chugach. Both hunts were 90 percent in the rocks. Thanks for the response.

    Also, a good trecking pole probably saved my life once. I use them on pretty much all hunts now.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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