So here is the story. I'll keep is simple as I like to share as little info as I can! Fullcurl will post pictures when he gets time.
Headed up to our area on the 8th after a night of drinking too much the evening before! Got to our area on the 9th-- (which is now named "Globetrotter Valley"). Got to our camp site and started spotting. Spotted a 3/4 curl solo on a ridge and the spotted two rams up on Grinch Mountain. They were very low and grazing, so we got camp set up (decided to tarp it this trip, so no tent) and spent the rest of the day watching the two rams graze back up to the "top" of the mountain and bed down on a perch with a 1,000 foot drop on one side! One ram was VERY nice (fact is, I said was the best ram we have ever seen up there) and the other was a 3/4 curl.
Got up early the next morning and found the two rams bedded down in the same place and also spotted the 3/4 curl. We decided to check on the 3/4 curl as we rarely see rams by themselves and it was on the way to the other rams. The 3/4 curl spotted us, ran into some craggly stuff and stopped. We peeked on the other side of the ridge he was on and it was empty, so he was truly solo.
So we found a comfortable spot and watched the other two rams. We watched them for about 2 hours bedded and then they finally got up and headed in the WRONG direction! They went out on a ledge only about a foot wide and started leaving the mountain and then they disappeared! We were like where the hell did they go??? Well after putting the spotter on them, we found a series of caves up there and both rams were in them eating, hiding, and rubbing themselves on the rocks! So my buddy and I named them the "Bin Laden" rams! This went on for at least 3 hours and then they kept going into no mans land and then stopped. They did a 180 and came back to where they were bedded down for the night and bedded down again! My buddy and I were like, "crap", what to do?? We decided that it would be best to just watch them for the day and see what they were going to do. No sooner did we get relaxed and the big ram got up and started heading down the mountain! It appeared that they were headed to the big green patch we had seen them the afternoon before which was only about 50 yards above the creek! We then made our move to cover about a mile and a half to close the distance. We used a series of rolling ridges to get as close as we could. We simply couldn't get any closer then we were and ranged them at 383 yards. I would like to have cut that to 300, but there was no way. So we settled in and got great rests. I only had 6 bullets with me and my buddy 12. I fired and the ram jumped. My buddy shot and the ram jumped and ran. He didn't know where it was coming from, so ran up a bit. We kept shooting and one shot it looked that the ram was hit, but he kept moving. I fired my last shot and saw where it just missed in the rocks below him. He was around 430 by this time. My buddy shot his 8th bullet and stopped. The ram stopped running and got on this little perch and tried finding us and what the hell all the noise was that disturbed his lunch! The ram stood there for about 10 minutes without moving. In hindsight, I thought this was pretty darn strange, but figured maybe he just wanted to find what was making the noise! I put the range finder on the ram and it was 428 yards. My buddy only had 4 bullets left, so I told him that he could make that shot (he is a good shot). So he got a good rest and fired. I thought I saw some white fur fly off the sheep. The ram moved into a cut and all I could see was the head. It looked to be hit and wasn't moving, but was standing. I said to wait and about 2 minutes later, the ram began rolling down the mountain! After a celebration, we headed over to it. (Yes after 16 years of shooting sheep, we still get excited!) I told my buddy to head up and roll it down the mountain to a patch of grass.
After about a half hour of climbing and wrestling it down, he got it to a good spot and we got some pictures. I got it laid out to start caping. Then I noticed the cut on the back of its neck. My buddy was like, yeah the shale cut it. I said hell no, your bullet did. One of his shots had hit the ram in the horn and when it excited, pierced both ears! You can see this in one of the pictures. An inch lower and that ram was dead instantly, but it must have gave him one hell of a headache! Maybe that is why it didn't climb! I caped it and began taking out the front quarters when I saw a bullet. It was mine! I had his this ram behind the shoulders and took out the lower part of a lung and it kept going! We couldn't tell it had been hit. My buddy's last shot had hit a little further back! This became a serious learning moment for us as we simply did not realize the animal was hit and if we would have just left without watching it, we would have lost a great ram. I really don't like shooting past 300 yards, but we simply had no way to get closer.
We got it caped and boned out and got it packed back to camp. Got the meat into the creek to cool and went to bed. Got up early again and headed for a saddle to get a better view and be able to see many places. It sure seems that as we get older (and larger) that the mountains are also doing the same! Took a couple of hours and we were at our spot. We commanded a view of 360 degrees and could see for miles. We didn't see a single ram as far as the eyes could see! We figured that there really was no reason to stay here and "hope" that a ram would show up, so we climbed down and decided to make the trip through hell to get back to the boat. Got back to base camp about 7:00 pm and met a couple of other sheep hunters that were great guys! Then about 9:00 pm our buddies showed up from their sheep camp with nothing.
We decided to go to back up plan which found rams, but we just couldn't get it done as they were in a great place. The last day, myself and my buddy stayed at the base of the mountain so help our other buddies as they climbed after the rams we found. At about 11:00 am, we had wolves howling behind camp! I told my buddy to grab his gun and lets go out to the creek. I told him that if I can get them to howl back, we might have a chance. Well, I howled and heard and answer. I could tell my buddy was like, "he is crazy!". Well about 10 minutes later is see a wolf pop out and it is locked in a stare in our direction. I tell my buddy right there and try to get him pointed in the right direction, but he couldn't see it, so I got the scope on it and fired. Hammered it hard and it went down. We popped up and headed over to it and as we were walking, it jumped up and ran off. We spent a couple of hours looking for it, but couldn't find it. I told him it was dead, but probably got out far enough that would be impossible to find, plus we couldn't find any blood in the woods after it left the creek bed. There was a bunch of blood on the rocks until that. About 8 pm, the serenade of wolf howls came! I told my buddy that I am betting that the other wolves came back and either found the wolf or were calling for it to come along. Sucked not finding it, but with all the wolf tracks around, maybe a sheep or two will be spared.
We ended up not getting another sheep, but had a great time. The weather was incredible the last couple of days and was in the 80's! Sure made climbing HOT!!!!
I am hoping to make it out for another sheep hunt over Labor Day, so hopefully will have a report on that one!
By the way, I am not really interested in the internet hunting/ethics police here. My buddy and I have been sheep hunting since 94, so we kind of have an idea of what to do to be successful. I learned some things on this hunt as I do on every hunt. I rarely post my hunts here, but decided to with some prodding and realizing that this was a ram that I got after turning 40. My partner will be 50 next year, so hoping it works out the same!