This hunt had been in the works since catching sheep fever after drawing Idaho Bighorn a few years ago. I'd always dreamed of hunting Dall sheep and I put considerable time and planning into it. I'd chosen Jake Jefferson from Black River Hunting as my guide. I liked the fact that he run's a small operation and only 1 sheep hunt per year. Talkeetna mountain rainge in Alaska was the place. He encouraged me to pick up a grizz tag as it's the norm to run into one or two on sheep hunts.
My hopes and expectations are high. This is a once in a lifetime deal for me, while I understand what often happens with hunting, I'd be thrilled with a chance at a ram. A grizz would be a bonus, but white sheep is what I have my hat set for.
Friday August 8th- Finally, it was go time. After working a few hours in the office I pointed the truck towards Billings airport. I chose to fly out of there vs. Rapid City as a result of the Sturgis Bike Rally. The airlines heavily overbook all outbound flights during the rally due to the large number of no-shows, so I chose to avoid the hassle and drive to Billings.
I dropped my pickup off with a buddy and he ran me to the airport. Alaska/Horizon had a goof with a database upgrade months ago and somehow my reservation made 10 months prior was lost. The fella at the counter worked for over an hour juggling options and actually got me scheduled to arrive in Anchorage ahead of schedule. Myself and my bags arrived in Anchorage without additional problems.
I checked into the Econolodge motel late and found a large clean room where my guide Jake would pick me up Saturday morning.
Saturday August 9th- The plan was that Jake would pick me up at 10 am, we'd stop and buy license and tags (Dall and Grizz) and then head to Talkeetna where the airtaxi service would fly us out to the mountains.
License and tags were obtained at Wally World, but a phone call brought news that storms had made flying a no-go. We went to Jake's house and I looked at pics and videos of prior hunts. Evening came and went with the same news of bad visibility-no flying.
Jake put me up at the Big Lake motel and I spent a fidgeting night hoping that we could fly out on Sunday.
Sunday August 10th- Opening day of sheep season! Best case scenario we'll fly out this morning and we can find some sheep and start hunting tomorrow.
After a heavy breakfast in the local cafe, Jake picks me up and we get the word to get to the airplane fast as there appears to be a brief break in the weather.
We arrive at the base camp of the Air Taxi and load up the Cessna.
Weather is spotty on the way out and for a minute or two the pilot was saying "boy, I don't know..." with the limited visibility.
He presses on as the weather lifts enough and we land on the high lake below some awesome looking snow covered sheep country.
Upon landing we double check the packs, check zero on the rifle, and start marching up the valley toward the peaks. We're sheep hunting!
We stumble on the remains of winterkill full curl ram. That could only be good luck right?
After a few miles we near the beginning of sheep country, set camp and venture into the canyon and glass.
I consider myself a fair hand at spotting critters, and quickly impress Jake with my ability to call out white rocks as sheep. I'm brilliant. I need to calm down.
We spot a ewe and nothing more. We back down to camp and get set for the evening. Mountain House for dinner fends off the harsh wind and rain. It's darned chilly. I was already wishing I'd of brought a warmer bag instead of my 30 degree rating. The night was a bit cool, but not uncomfortable.
I'll write more later