I had a great fall - 29 days off in a row to do what I love to do!
My 2nd sheep hunt (solo) of this season was equally as difficult as my first successful sheep hunt (2004) which nearly killed me physically! On Sept 7, I found myself 15 air-miles from the truck with a dead ram! I was seven miles from camp when I shot the ram, it was raining, I was soaked, and it was 9 p.m. when I headed towards camp! I did have a change of dry clothes, lighters, and fire starter, but never used them. I had mixed emotions as to the outcome of that night: would I make it camp that night or have to bivwack out under some brush, would I get the meat to camp or have to drop it off and retrieve it the next day, would my headlamp batts die before I reach camp, would I eventually be so exhausted, cold, and wet that I would get the shakes and be in real trouble?
Well, let me tell you, I found a real hero on that dark and rainy night, my 6 yr old black lab named Tikka! You know how a good horse or sled dog will lead you back to camp under poor conditions? Well, Tikka did just that and to say I was amazed, overwhelmed with pride, and truly thankful would be an understatement. She led me down the creek and when we would cross a sand bar there would be my boot track from earlier in the day, and there would be the old moose and caribou shed we passed by earlier! I fell twice due to the darkness, slippery rocks, and heavy load, which was a harsh reminder me of the predicament I was in. What blew me away was when she left the creek bottom to cut up the bank and cut across the tundra as we had earlier, heck, I couldn't have found that tiny trail leaving the creek in the dark or in the daylight! Simply amazing. I did have a gps, but she put us on the exact same trail which was easier walking. I say trail, but it was more like a "hunt and peck" kind of trail or route. Anyway, by 1:30 p.m I was getting pretty exhausted and worried my headlamp might die. I decided to drop the meat in a creek (in a HD trash bag) and hike the remaining 2.3 miles to camp with a lighter load. I arrived at camp at 2:52 a.m - that is a first for me! I spent the next 3 days hauling meat and camp back to the truck - I was physically wasted.
The moose hunt was spent with a great friend and hunting partner in beautiful country. The weather was nothing but blue sky and sunshine for 8 days. This hunt was also very physically challenging.
Since someone will ask, the sheep was north of FBKS and the moose was south!