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Thread: Brooks Range Grizzly, Flash Floods, Sheep and Big Caribou

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default Brooks Range Grizzly, Flash Floods, Sheep and Big Caribou

    This Sheep hunt started as many do with the planning starting a year out. I responded to a request for a partner for a sheep hunt from forum member big27. As it turned out we had a mutual friend, we got together and started to gather the info and gear we would need to pursue those majestic white beast that tend to make grown men act crazy. As is often the case the summer was over and it was time to head into the mountains ready or not. Just a few days before the opener Coyote Air called and told Tim that our selected drainage air strip was washed out and we would have to go to another drainage. Our best option was to hunt the Ivishack River drainage, we knew that this was going to be a tough hunt. As many know this drainage gets hunted hard and we would be in for a tough hunt.

    The day finally arrived and I drove over to Tim’s house to head north. Tim works nights on the slope and headed home as soon as he got off work. Since Tim had not slept I drove to Coldfoot to meet up with Coyote Air to be flown in. We arrived at the Coldfoot Truck stop around 1am and tried to get some sleep. After a few short hours of dreaming of sheep we headed over to Coyote Air after eating breakfast at the truck stop. Once at Coyote Air we checked in and weighed all our gear, the Brooks Range weather was in full effect and we got a chance to chat with the other hunters all eager to get into the field. Dirk and Danielle did a great job and are great folks. The weather lifted and we loaded up the beaver and headed north to continue our adventure.
    %%%

    Last edited by stid2677; 08-25-2010 at 11:59.

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    Once at the airstrip we unloaded and setup our basecamp. We stored and sorted out our gear and got ready to spike out. Not long into our hike it started to rain and the ceilings dropped to just above river level. We continued to push up the drainage until we spotted our first sheep. The weather continued to worsen as we set up our spike camp. As the light faded we crawled into our tent to escape the wet and cold.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Kick them typing fingers into gear!!! The story is just getting good and then.....

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    We were eager to get at the sheep early the next morning. After some quick chow we headed up the drainage to see if we could glass them. Tim quickly spotted a Grizzly near where we had seen the sheep the night before. Tim had never taken a mountain Grizzly and was eager to get a shot at one. We assessed the situation and planned out our stalk. As we watched the bear we noticed that he was digging in the side of a small ditch. We continued to climb and close the distance. All the while the bear was head down and digging like a backhoe. We were within 200 yards from him when all of a sudden he charged up the mountain. I was sure he either saw us or got our wind, then he suddenly turned and charged straight at us. As he neared us he changed direction and started heading from our left to right. This is when I saw that he was chasing a ground squirrel, when he caught it he stopped and that is when Tim dropped the hammer on him with his 270 weatherby magnum. The bear did not go quietly into that good night, most likely because he was fired up from chasing that squirrel. However in the end he was no match for our combined firepower.


    Like I said the bear did not give up his ghost without a fight and as we approached him I could not resist the urge to growl and scare the crap out of Tim. We admired beautiful color and thickness of his hide. I ask Tim if he had his knife and he said that he did not. So we could climb back down to camp and climb back up or we could use the only knife I had on me, a leatherman. So I skinned his bear with my leatherman and Tim packed his trophy back to our spike camp. Once at camp Tim fleshed the bear and removed the skull. The rain increased and the ceilings again dropped.

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    Another great story. Sounds like there is more to come. I like the way you tied off the corners on the bear fence for support. Great idea. I'm gonna do that this year.

    Don Mulligan

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Yes there is and he is off dorking around posting about food instead of finishing!!! It is 1am here and I want to read the rest before bed time which was an hour ago!!

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    Another good story....can't wait to hear the rest!

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Tim had not reset his internal clock and was still struggling with getting used to being on a day cycle. He crawled into the tent to escape the constant rain.
    As the day wore on the rain only got harder but by the afternoon the ceilings started to lift. By late afternoon the rain and cold had soaked into my old bones and I had to move to get warmed up. I could hear Tim snoring so I knew he was sleeping, this is when I made a serious mistake. I decided to take a short walk up the drainage to have a peek around the next side drainage and I failed to inform him where I was going. I only intended to take a short walk there and back and took only my rifle, binos and range finder.

    When I reached the side drainage I spotted a lone Ram on the side of the main drainage. I’m not one to believe in any mumbo jumbo stuff, but when I saw that sheep I knew it was a Ram and that he was legal, “inner voice so to speak” I could also see that he was in a position that would allow me to get close. I mentally prepared myself for the ascent, and began my climb. The initial climb was uneventful, I found a sheep horn on the way up and stopped to take a quick photo and to catch my breath.


    As I gained more elevation I came into the view of a bedded ewe and lamb that I had not noticed from the valley floor. They were watching me but staying put for now. As I got higher I could see that my approach had some obstacles that I did not see from the ground. Before long I was running out of both cover and stable ground. I would be forced to cover the last several hundred yards in the open over a loose scree field. I was pushing myself hard and the ground beneath me would give and I would slide a few yards every so often. I planned to get into a position to glass him and let my heart rate come down, but as I neared the edge the ewe had enough and started to move. This flushed the Ram and he suddenly burst into view 150 yards below me. I brought my binos up to glass him just as he turned to look at me. I could see without a question that he was beyond full curl on the right side. He turned his head enough so that I could see that he was also legal on the left side. I was in a terrible shooting position laying on my firing side in extremely loose scree. He bolted into a run and stopped at 296 yards. Doing my best to control my pounding heart and rapid breathing, I settled into the best shooting position I could and settled my 300 yard reticle on his last rib as he was quartering away hard from me. I slowly applied pressure to my trigger finger and felt my 325WSM recoil into my shoulder. The recoil caused me to slide in the loose rock and I struggled to make a follow up shot. I did see the Ram react to my first shot and was sure I had hit him. He ran as I fired another shot and missed. I fired one more round as he came in and out of view. Still in the loose rock I scrambled up onto some better ground. The Ram was now out of my sight, but was moving slow with a bow in his back. I was sure I had scored a good hit but wanted to see him go down. I reloaded and ranged the next spot that I though he might appear. Within a few moments he appeared on a high spot and was rocking back and worth. He was 427 yards. I had a solid rest and a known distance, I had total confidence in my rifle and hand loaded 200grain accubonds. I placed my 400 yard reticle high on his shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger. The bullet left my barrel at over 3200 FPS and I was rewarded with a resounding WHACK as the bullet stuck his shoulder and knocked him off his perch and out of my view. I waited and waited to see him come rolling down but all was silent. There was no way to cross over to where I had last seen him without descending. The next several hundred yards were pure scree hell. I slide down several yards at a time, as the rock under me would dislodge. At last I reached the slide directly under where I had last saw him. Totally lost in the stalk I had failed to down dress and was soaked from both the rain and sweat. I had pushed myself to the point of almost total exhaustion, but would not stop until I either reached him or physically could no longer climb. The rotten rock was conspiring to defeat me, as I tried harder and harder to claw my way up. I finally gained enough elevation to see him. My heard sank, he was on his back with his nose and horn tips buried in the scree. From my vantage point he appeared to be way short of full curl, I had to reach him now and clawed and scratched my way up, fighting for very inch and on the verge of passing out. I was dehydrated, overheated and just plain exhausted and my prize was 15 yards just out of my reach. I had no choice but to cling to the only solid rock there was and catch my breath. I looked back in my minds eye and was sure that he was full curl, yet there he was appearing to be way short. With the last of my strength I finally reached my Ram, he was on his back like a dead roach. I reached for his horn and pulled it up from the scree, the emotions flowed over me like a wave as I saw that he indeed was beyond full curl and nine growth rings were visible. I had my Ram. My jubilation quickly turned to terror as he started to roll almost taking me with him on a downward slide. I had no choice but to let go and watch him roll down. I took a few minutes to recover and reflect on the effort and preparation that made this moment possible. I scree slid down to him and took a few minutes to just take it all in. I covered him with my stinky shirt and headed back to camp to gather my gear to recover him and to get Tim to help me.
    Last edited by stid2677; 08-19-2010 at 09:36. Reason: spelling

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    It took me about 45 minutes to reach our spike camp. The calf deep Gin clear river that I crossed on my way up was now a raging torrent as dirty as chocolate milk, I could hear boulders bouncing down river as I looked for a safe place to cross. When I reached our camp I found flood-waters running through our camp and Tim was gone. I quickly moved our gear and tent to safety and drank some water to recover. I was soaked and shriving from the wet and cold and post adrenaline rush. I changed into dry clothes and waited for Tim to return. When Tim returned he discovered that his bear skull had been washed away by the raging water. We searched for it but the raging water was only getting worse. We gathered our gear and headed off to pack my sheep back to camp.
    Once at the kill site we took a few photos and caped and quartered him and packed him back to camp. I stashed the meat and cape in our new cache and went to bed exhausted.

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    man! awsome story loved it! congrats on a sheep hunt of a lifetime, only one ? did you fly west or east into the brooks, heading out on a combo hunt myself from coldfoot.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I'm thinking that he's not yet done, mr.Montana. His title mentions a caribou, so I think there's more to come. Besides, Steve usually includes photos of the successful camp meal, so I'm expecting that here as well.

    Congrats! It's eating me up inside not being in the sheep mountains this fall, but this makes me ecstatic reading about such a beautiful ram.

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    LOL.. brian just seen that, man im getting a little jealous, oh and thanks for the info on howard, just checked my email, thanks stid..now im waiting for that big bou.

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    Are you sure you didn't wound any other sheep? A little more skill and you could have gotten closer! Just messing with you as I figure I would try to ruin your post before the ethic's police does!

    Great story so far, so looking forward to reading the rest!

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    Dude, that's a nice ram! Mature and heavy!!! Congrats on that bruiser.

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    Very nice Ram, heavy....Great story also. Thanks for posting.

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    This is shaping up to be an epic - great so far - how could it possibly get any better?

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    Steve,
    Great story and photos. I know there is more but need to get up early for muskie fishing. I'll catch up later.

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Very nice ram and bear. Surprised the Politically Correct police have not arrived for "both" of you shooting the bear. Good job!
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    Member akaviator's Avatar
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    Way to go, nice ram and bear!

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Looks like a lifetime adventure up on Mystery Mountain, due north of No-Name Creek.

    Dennis

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