First sheep hunt

BearFoot

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Jun 6, 2018
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329
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Alaska
break time.JPG
I've lived in Alaska over 40 years and the sheep bug was planted early on. Bought my first scope. A Bausch & Lomb Discoverer and a Barney's pack frame, per recommendation from a sheep hunting co-worker in the early 80's. Yet I've never gone. Life happens, families form. Moose, Bou, Bear and fish, is what I've spent most of my outdoor time with. Joining this forum, and reading the stories, the dreams, adventure, with trophies won or lost, rekindled that sheep bug within me. Inspired, by sheep posts, Randy's and Marcus success, Bambi's. I bought a couple of Tony Russ books, watched every video on the subject, updated some gear, and hit the mountains this summer for a first hand look. Best part is, being an Alaska resident greater than sixty, life time hunting & fishing. No fees. Mrs Bearfoot says I've retired but haven't told anyone.
 

BearFoot

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Jun 6, 2018
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329
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Alaska
Checking out gear
gear check.JPG
Meal Plan for ten day trip
Meal Plan.JPGcreek crossing 1.JPGcreek crossing.jpg
Planned a ten day trip, going in four days before open. I wanted to get a get a feel for the area and find where Rams might be. Creeks were up from evening rains.

First night, set up camp on a bench overlooking a drainage. Ewes and lambs were scattered about the valley. The air was cool, felt good to be in the mountains.
camp 1.JPG

Next day we gained some elevation for a better look around. Rained on and off. Spent the day scoping five valleys, watching banana horn rams, ewes and babies. Toward evening, heading back to camp, we shared our disappointment with the lack of big rams. With that spoken, a mile and a half away they showed up. Nine beautiful rams! Spotted till to dark to see.

9 rams.jpg
 

BearFoot

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Jun 6, 2018
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Alaska
Morning light brought better viability. A bluebird day. We hiked out of sight up the adjacent drainage and climbed a ridge to view from above. One ram was over full curl. Named him twister. Another with darker thick horns, was double broomed, called him broomer. Two other rams were looking good also. We watched as they fed up the mountain across from us and disappeared into the next drainage. They were so awesome to watch. Some head butting, one butting the ground. A concentration of testosterone. We made our way back to camp, and prepared to hike down our valley, around a mountain, and over to that drainage.
Sheep group.jpg
 

BearFoot

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Several miles later, making our way up the left side of the drainage, we spot a camp, on the other side of the valley. Their scoping us. Ahead are about 40 ewes and lambs. Staying out of site, we advanced to a great observation point. After a while we located the rams! Dropping into the creek, we stayed in the brush, out of sight, as we slowly advanced up the valley. Setup camp and verified where rams had bedded after dark. The valley ran straight back to a mountain slope. The rams were half way up, with a full view of all below. We ate dinner at midnight, opening day. The plan was to get up at 3:30am and move up the valley in the dark. There was a glacial moraine that ranged very close to the sheep. That's where I wanted to be. We did not get moving until 4am. Late start. Staying along the creek side, I felt the water movement would provide cover. Sunrise is somewhere near 5am, and with light coming on we took cover short of my goal. After a while, Broomer was first up, and they started to move. The rams walked horizontally across the slope, being quite frisky. At best 460 yards. I'm not a long range shooter, and this was my first chance at a sheep. I held above Twisters shoulders, held my breath and let one go. The rams startled but did not move far. I had know idea how the bullet landed. No indication. Twister offered a second chance, I held higher and Twister jumped in the air. Like spooked at the hoof.legal rams.jpg
The rams trotted out to 600 yards and started feeding away up hill. We watched as they moved higher and were joined by some ewes. The boys were feeling the morning sun and enjoying the ladies, and I repeat, enjoying the ladies, to where the girls got tired of kicking them away and disappeared. The rams crested the far ridge and were gone. Right then we spot a guy across the drainage looking down our way. He turns and marches to the highest point on the ridge.The dude is a stud. Outfitted in the best. His partner follows away behind. I see "mountain Jock" hand signal, "over there, down, full curl". We determined later, a guide and his client, they took one sheep.
We moved our camp to a higher elevation. That evening we spotted many rams on distant ridges. Broomer was 4 miles away with another nice ram.
 

BearFoot

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Alaska
Day two of season, another bluebird sky, Two rams walk our way while we have coffee. One is a nice almost full curl. Seemed about an inch short. Could not count rings with heat distortion. We had a great spotting location. It really gave us a feel, a pulse, of the area. Their were rams in vertical cliffs, rams miles away, and two camps newly established. Things were getting stirred up.
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From our perch, we could see a lot of country and where rams were. We planned to get up very early and move camp many miles. Then a wind storm came up about 3am. I hopped out of the tent and secured everything tightly down. The wind was brutal. Everything held, but my gaiters had blown several hundred feet down hill. By nine the winds eased and we packed and moved. We slid down scree slopes, made our way though a canyon and passed three valleys to arrive at our next campsite.

valleys.jpg
 

BearFoot

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Alaska
running sheep.jpg
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After pitching camp we set off to climb 1,500 ft for a look into two valleys. 2/3 the way up we spotted two rams looking down on us. Each of us froze and had a 10 minute stand off while the rams where looking our way. They were awesome! Finally the rams turned around and walked away. Took us another 45 minutes to reach the top. Rams where 900 yards out. One about 7/8 curl, the other really nice, with a slight flare out. From our vantage point, the weather was bringing a grey hammer our way. The sky started to drop. Clouds rolling in and the rain started to dump. We started bombing back to camp. That's where we spent the next day socked in. Rained all day, locked inside a marshmallow.
 

BearFoot

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Jun 6, 2018
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Alaska
socked in.jpgmarmonts.jpg
Following morning, rain dumping hard. I had slept plenty and just enjoyed hot coffee, under the tarp. After a few hours, things cleared up enough, we geared up and started to climb. Clouds and fog rolled in and out, up and down the mountains. At one rest point, while fog covered the slopes, I joked about how cool it would be to see rams appear. Then one did. Just a half curl. Awesome! Further up our assent, we encountered two hunters descending opposite our side of the draw. They did not spot us until well below our position. They told us "nothing to see over there" and we watched them descend over 1,200 feet.
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These guys are mountain hiking, climbing studs, observed over a few days. The first day I scoped this hill climbing duo, I was impressed with physical ability. Those guys could march anywhere, any altitude. What became apparent, they had no patience or spotting scope. Only binos! These guys had great endurance, but lacked long range optics and patience.
Within an hour, we gained the ridge, for the best view around. Spotted sheep, near and far. A couple of miles up the ridge, four rams were bedded.
full curl.JPG
 

BearFoot

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This was our ninth and last day. One ram was something like an inch from full curl. We decided to move closer. ewes lambs.jpg

The heavens turned grey and rain was coming. We climbed knife top ridges and scree slides until we could hide no more. The big rams were still bedded, while two younger rams fed below. As clouds/fog/mist allowed, we got closer. The weather dropped hard and rain dumped. This gave us an opportunity to clear a lot of ground. Lifting clouds had us against vetical rock, with steep scree for footing. Our big ram appeared to be a solid nine year old. Must be eight to be legal. As fog rolled in we advanced to were we were able to stay on the back side of the knife edge, out of site of the rams. All up hill. Wind and rain joined us, as we slowly climbed. Weather was very wet! Rain was blowing up hill, with the wind gusts. We could see the bigger ram standing through the fog. Our plan was to climb up two more draws, then drop behind one and down. They were gone. The world was white. Wind and rain in abundance. We were up next to a glacier.
Coming down scree is kinda fun. Make great time! It rained all the way back to camp. Got worse the next day. We were done. Each of us very proud of our ability and awesome time spent in the mountains.
 

BearFoot

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Joined
Jun 6, 2018
Messages
329
Location
Alaska
legal ram full curl.jpg
This was our ninth and last day. One ram was something like an inch from full curl. We decided to move closer. The heavens turned grey and rain was coming. We climbed knife top ridges and scree slides until we could hide no more. The big rams were still bedded, while two younger rams fed below. As clouds/fog/mist allowed, we got closer. The weather dropped hard and rain dumped. This gave us an opportunity to clear a lot of ground. Lifting clouds had us against vertical rock, with steep scree for footing. Our big ram appeared to be a solid nine year old. Must be eight to be legal. I was ready for this. As fog rolled in we advanced to were we were able to stay on the back side of the knife edge, out of site of the rams. All up hill. Wind and rain joined us, as we slowly climbed. Weather was very wet! Rain was blowing up hill, very hard, with strong gusts. We could see the bigger ram standing through the fog. Our plan was to climb up two more draws, then drop behind one and down. When we got there, they were gone. The world was white. Wind and rain in abundance. We were up next to a glacier.
final stalk 2.JPG
final stalk.JPG
Coming down scree is kinda fun. Make great time! It rained all the way back to camp. Got worse the next day. We were done. Each of us very proud of our ability and awesome time spent in the mountains.
 

Dave N

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Feb 20, 2013
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Illinois
Nice story and better pics! Sorry you didn't connect, but it sounds like you had fun regardless. You must be an early riser. I know what time it is up there and you always seem to be posting around this time. :sleep:
 

Randy11

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Jan 12, 2009
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5,620
Wow, what a handful of awesome threads to come back to after the weekend. Thanks for the in depth write up and pictures. Way to make the hunt happen after wanting to do so for so long!

#makinghunttalkgreatagain
 

Addicting

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Jan 19, 2017
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SW Michigan
Congrats on a memorable time in the mountains!

Were you able to take the buggy out and hike in or did you have to take a bush plane?

I always look forward to your moose trips and seeing the places you take the buggy.
 

JMG

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Jul 1, 2011
Messages
636
Location
Billings, MT
Wow. Great read and pictures. I wouldn’t discount your ability to cover that terrain. Thanks for sharing.
 

SnowyMountaineer

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Dec 11, 2009
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WY
About as good as a trip report can get imo, great details photos. Thank you for sharing.
 
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