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Thread: New to Sheep Hunting

  1. #1
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    Default New to Sheep Hunting

    Hey I am trying to plan my first Sheep hunt and I think that I am beginning feel the bite of that sheep hunting bug. haha. I have yet to even see a live sheep! So I guess I wanted to run a couple questions by some experienced Sheep hunting enthusiasts. I am a resident, and I am young and dumb, willing and hopefully able to walk and walk and walk until I find a sheep. Is going in from the road still a viable option for someone hoping to have an adventure of a lifetime without seeing crowds of other hunters and possibly even seeing a legal ram? I was looking into the Brooks Range and the Wrangell Mountains, but from other threads it seems like some of you believe that it is getting harder to find yourself alone in the Brooks. Anyway, any advice on how I should narrow down my future hunting area would be very welcome. Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Go to the Kenai.....

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    Member Kotton's Avatar
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    Or the talkeetna's

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    Maybe even try the hills across the bay from Seward, they are kind of steep & rough in places; should provide ya a good workout?

    Quote Originally Posted by kahahawai View Post
    Go to the Kenai.....

  5. #5

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    Here's a general approach...get an Alaskan atlas and the hunting regulations. Then, cross off all areas that require a permit. They're not that many areas that is feasible to reach from a road by foot that will be open to harvest tickets. That'll narrow it down for you.

    Next, plan to spend this summer hiking in those areas. The next best option is to spend time in the hills East of Anchorage (if you live in that city) and observe sheep. Do this because 1) they are a beautiful to watch and observe behaviors and 2) getting to the sheep is only part of the quest.

    My last advice is to not train for getting to the sheep but train for the pack out. My partner and I double bagged sheep a few years ago. We made one trip off the mountain so we each carried our own sheep (boned meat, cape and horns). My pack was easily 140 lbs if not more and walking down is harder than climbing up.

  6. #6

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    Find somebody who is older and more experienced. There are many people on this board who will help you if you are earnest and honest.
    Buy Tony Russ' Book. It is dated but it will start you on the right path. There are training groups in the bigger urban areas and you can find people who are addicted to it. Joe Want has a class on identifying and hunting trophy sheep. He posts here often. Those classes and seminars are great places to find other sheep hunters.
    You can never tell a sheep hunter from their outward appearance but when when sheep hunting is mention they get at once excited and then they get that fogged over-1000 mile stare- lost in the memories of the hunt and you find somebody who is not completely egotistical then you will be on the right path. Its truly harder finding a good sheep partner than a wife. Don't spend all of your money on top items except for the best quality boots that fit your feet. You can build the rest of your gear rack up overtime.


    Sincerely,
    Thomas

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Or maybe don't be too egotistical yourself and offer to help another gentleman out and go hunt sheep and experience the mountains.

    I think there was a guy looking for a partner into DS103 recently. A 50/50 meat split on a ram is a good deal.

    Be careful doing your own first solo trip. Make sure your filing a trip plan and have communications in case of injury.

    Using this forum was a good start. Look over the gear lists some guys post. At the same time, you can make do without the latest and greatest gear swag that gets sported around here. Boots +1 and a good pack are important among other things.

    Please share photos here when done.

  8. #8
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    if you've never done a sheep hunt going solo is a scary proposition, can be done, but its a big risk. not sure how much mtn time you have but there are situations that'll get ya killed when your not ready for it. overloading yourself with a ram and all you camping gear...that could very easily be one. good advice above, find someone to go with. better yet go pack for a sheep guide for one fall..you'll get more experience that you ever dreamed then. multiple hunts, different situations, you'll be ready when the seasons over.
    other wise its alot of trial and error for sure.
    trying to pull of a cheap sheep hunt is just about everyones dream. Theres sheep in hatchers pass on occasion....
    best of luck to you!
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
    Master guide 212

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    Thanks all for the good advice! Yeah I am working in Kodiak so getting into sheep country is out of the picture for now, but I can and will get some quality time in with my hiking boots! (With weight on back too) As far as finding a partner, I have done some hunting for deer down here and I really understand where you are coming from, Kaboku, when you say finding a good hunting partner is harder than finding a wife. I vowed never to take a complainer hunting ever again! Sooo. . . shy away from Brooks?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mak of the woods View Post
    Thanks all for the good advice! Yeah I am working in Kodiak so getting into sheep country is out of the picture for now, but I can and will get some quality time in with my hiking boots! (With weight on back too) As far as finding a partner, I have done some hunting for deer down here and I really understand where you are coming from, Kaboku, when you say finding a good hunting partner is harder than finding a wife. I vowed never to take a complainer hunting ever again! Sooo. . . shy away from Brooks?
    They are being sarcastic on spots, email biolgists! I don't think waterboarding would get information from sheep hunters. Good luck!

  11. #11

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    All great info given above. Sheep are taken every year with guys hiking in from the road in general harvest areas. Getting out and exploring some areas this summer is key. I enjoy hiking and exploring all summer MUCH more than salmon fishing (in fact been 2 years since I caught a salmon in anything but a dipnet) But investing time/sweat into finding an area with sheep is going to be the key.

    Being in shape is MUCH more crucial than having uber lightweight expensive gear. If you pack is 60 lbs going in for a week long hunt is less important than a guy that had to work all summer to afford the gear to get you down to 45 pounds. Getting out and knowing what areas hold a potential chance for you to bag a ram is the man thing. That is the case no matter what animal you are hunting. Luckily if you are out exploring different mountains every weekend this summer you will be on your way towards getting in shape for sure. Get out and start exploring. Bighorse' idea of being a packer on a sheep hunt for an experienced guy would be a great idea as well.

    Boots are #1 for gear items like Bighorse mentioned. Can't go anywhere if you have blisters on your feet. Find a pair that fit and hit the hills. Good luck man.

    Opps just saw you said you live in Kodiak and can't get out and explore. Will then your best options other than going in blind would be to find a hunting partner and be willing to pack for him in exchange of showing you a sheep hunting area or glean what you can from area bio's. Heck I went sheep hunting into an area I had never heard for sure there were rams or been to last year with a guy I met for only 10 minutes before the hunt. Worked out well and he managed to bag a ram. I learned a lot from that hunt being the first sheep kill I have been involved with. Packing for sheep hunts is just as fun and only miss out on the pull the trigger part which is about .001% of the actual total whole hunting experience, especially if the guy you are packing for is willing to split the meat 50/50.

  12. #12

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    A good place to study Dall Sheep is just south of Los Anchorage. If you get to the mainland you can spend days studying animal behavior in the Mc Hugh Creek/Beluga Point area.

  13. #13
    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=. shy away from Brooks?[/QUOTE]

    LOTS of hunters working the Brooks from the Rd, for those willing to do some walking Id look at the Nebesna Rd

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    Cool! Good to know. I might just be able to do that.

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    Just a heads up, the Nabesna Rd area is pretty busy too. I was there a few years ago and there were hunters everywhere. Beautiful area and some of the easier sheep country that I have been in, but way too crowded for me. Plenty of opportunities in the other ranges. Just try to find somewhwere that is tough to get to. That will cut down on the competition quite a bit.

    As mentioned above, there are places pretty close to Anchorage where you can hike in easily and see sheep. This is good training. I'd suggest bringing your pack with hydration bags full for weight (good training). You can drink the water at the top before you head back down. Cans of beer work pretty good too.

    I can give you a little more help as well. If you're interested, send me a PM. I'd suggest searching this forum for "sheep". You'll turn up more posts than you can shake a stick at.

  16. #16
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    MAK/WOODS,
    Some good information provided by our forum members for you. All good. Do especially pay attention to post #6, by KABOKU68.
    Living on Kodiak is gonna make your learning curve especially steep. You need a mentor.
    Personally, for walk-in hunts I would only consider the north slope walk-ins in game management unit 26B if you are a proven 20+ mile hiker, or north of the road to McCarthy in game management unit 12 if you are an experienced and tremendous mountain hiker.
    Again, personally, I am not a Kenai or Talkeetna Mountain guy, for mature, legal rams. Different strokes...
    These are all tough hunts for first time solo hunters.....find a mentor. Get those great boots well broken-in.
    Next year, apply for the quality drawing-permit areas.
    Or get a second job and pay somebody for a fly-in....

  17. #17
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    You know, I was just thinking the same thing when I saw post #11.
    A few things. Lists are easier for me, so I'll post it this way.
    *Gear
    Have you considered what kinds of gear you'll be taking in?
    Be prepared for rain.
    Have good boots, stable ones, with lots of ankle support.
    Do you have a tent that can withstand the wind?
    How about your feet? Do you have waterproof or wicking socks?
    How about your base layer?
    Do you have Nalgene bottles?
    There are a few spreadsheets offered here on AOD regarding weight management and your sheep pack. I would highly recommend making yourself aware of what everything will weigh.
    *Optics
    Do you have a good scope?
    Do you have good binoculars?
    Do you have a range finder?
    Do you have good covers for your optics?
    *Sheep Shape
    There is nothing worse than not being able to keep up or get in because you are out of shape.
    Now is the time to start getting into shape for sheep season.
    Strength training, cardio, and start keeping your sheep pack filled with rocks or weights to walk for 30 minutes during your lunch hour.
    If you could lose 30lbs between now and then if you have that much to sacrifice, it would be in your best interest to try for that because that could easily be the weight or your pack.

    I know that you were specifically discussing your interest for an area to hunt, though. My recommendation is to visit your local Fish and Game office and see if they have recommendations. Post #5 is also a great resource for your sheep hunt. I would definitely recommend finding a sheep hunting partner that is familiar with an area. I can climb mountains solo, but I don't think that I can hunt for sheep on my own, especially that first year of sheep hunting. If my sheep hunting partner wasn't with me, I don't think that I would have been able to even view sheep let alone hunt them.

    One thing is for sure. Be prepared for anything and everything. Read up on the weather and what's happening in that area during the season in past years. This will give you a good definition if there are falling boulders because of erosion, waterfalls, or even high/flood water zone or areas before your hunt. Wouldn't it be terrible if you planned your hunt and then couldn't get in because it was in flood stage? So.. education and preparedness are great ways to approach this. You have the time and resources to start on that now.

    ...but first... find a partner. One that you can trust your life with.

    ...and don't degrade yourself by calling yourself young and dumb. You are smart enough to follow through on your yearn and desire to be outdoors which is far more than what most people can say or do. You are going to do it because you have the motivation to learn and get out for the adventure and experience. So... you aren't young and dumb. You are willing to learn, become educated, and develop your experience.
    Lurker.

  18. #18
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    Yeah thanks again everyone. Oh, by the way, is anyone looking for a sheep hunting partner?

  19. #19
    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    Default Let's not overlook ...

    One VERY important detail....

    *

    Last edited by Brian M; 04-11-2011 at 13:45.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

  20. #20

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    There is a lot of Great information in this thread for a sheep hunter to learn by. Make no mistakes however, with the hunter competition in the field these days, quality time should well be spent in learning how to identify a legal ram of 8 years old or older, or one that makes full curl. The sub legal take is on the climb in some areas by many well meaning hunters. Enjoy it while you can Chances are that Sheep hunting will soon be by draw only in a few short years.
    Last edited by squab; 04-11-2011 at 12:05. Reason: post already quoted by other.
    squab (probably of Scandinavian descent; skvabb, meaning "loose, fat flesh") is a young domestic pigeon or its meat

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