I just got back from my DCUA sheep hunt and thought I would share my story. I admit that up until a few months ago, I knew absolutely nothing about hunting sheep in Alaska. I put in for sheep in the drawing expecting to apply for many years before I got the oppurtunity to hunt them, and then went about planning hunts for caribou, moose and bear. When I found out that I drew the DCUA tag, planning went into overdrive and I started reading books, talking to biologists and guides, learning how to judge legal rams, and absorbing as much info as I could to have a great hunt. I was lucky to have a co-worker who drew this tag so he helped me out with picking an area to focus on, and getting my gear ready for the hunt. I tried my best to get my gear down to 50 pounds, but in the end I weighed my pack with gun and water at 67 pounds. My buddy stressed to me that I needed to drop some weight, but I am hardheaded and chose to go with what I had. Now I understand why sheep hunters get so crazy about every ounce of gear they have....lessons learned I guess!! So here we go....
Day 1: Saturday August 7th
John (my sherpa!) and I got off the ferry from Kodiak at 8am, our destination was the Gerstle River campground about 10 hours away. We made it to the parking area at 8pm, with the only stops being for gas and a bite to eat. There was one other vehicle at the parking area, which had me worried for a second, but I figured we had plenty of time to get up into sheep country and get away from other hunters. We brought along two mountain bikes and a cargo trailer to get us in as far as possible before we would start hiking. We loaded up our packs in the trailer, filled up our water, and off we went. By 10:00 pm we had made it 7.3 miles in and set up our camp for the night. The bikes and trailer worked perfect in getting us in that far in such a short amount of time, without them it would have been a long boring hike down the trail.
Day 2: Sunday August 8th
The alarm went off at 6am, a small rain shower had passed though during the night but the sky was blue this morning and the sun was starting to poke through. We had breakfast and laughed about how awesome the mountain bikes and trailer were, and decided we would try to get them in another mile or so before we would start hiking. We packed up camp and hit the trail by 7am. The trail started to get nasty after about 3/4 of a mile, and after I wrecked the bike in a mud puddle and threw out a couple of F-Bombs we decided to stash them in the woods and hit the trail on foot. We passed through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen as we made our way up to 4200 feet to our second campsite of the trip. We had seen a few caribou along the way, but no sheep yet. I looked at my gps over dinner and reviewed our route for the next day, we would be in sheep country at our first glassing area by 10am. We sailed off to sleep just as another rain shower began passing through.