Moosie's sheep hunt...per T Bone

T Bone

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2001
Eastern Idaho
Friday 09/03 Fly out of Reno to Boise. Flight is delayed because of some drunk passenger that got too rowdy in L.A......

Arrive in Boise about 4:30 PM. Oscar picks me up and we drive to the Sourdough lodge for some eats. Windy twisty roads, I think I'm gonna hurl....but don't. We arrive at the Crags Campground trailhead around 11:30. We double check our gear and I notice Moosie's awesome backpack. It is slightly larger than my sons' school backpacks.....BUT it has the Boy Scouts of America seal of approval....So it kicks any other pack's butt.

Oscar finds he has omitted several items by error.....Belt...Knife....The knife I have, but no way am I sharing my belt.

About midnight we go to sleep in the cab of his pick up. I'm dimly aware of him getting in and out of the truck 2 dozen times before I wake up at 4:00 (my normal wakeup for work)...It turns out he was on the brink of puking all night and has got no sleep.

Thats a fine way to prep for a LONG day of packing. We are on the trail @ 4:30 hiking the granite scaped trail be moonlight. We hit the 12 mile mark and the end of the trail by noon. We talk to a lone backpacker from New York state. He thinks we are nutzo.

We go offtrail, straight up and over a pass. We are both tired by this point. And see we only have one more huge pass to go down and back up.....By the end we are both leaning into the harnesses and have to take frequent breaks.

Arriving at the pre-planned semi-flat spot where I camped last year, we hurry and set up camp. Moosie is talking in chopped up sentences. His gear from his BSA approved pack is spread out over a 20 yard area....And I want to go hurry and glass!

With the plan of eating while we glass he grabs an armfull of spotting scope, water, and other crap while muttering something about sleep....

We get to a glassing area and he forgot to grab his freeze dried meal packet from his pile. I have an extra.. We eat, he turns and starts stumbling back to the tent. Recognizing that we are in sorry shape we hit the tent early hoping to let the bodies rebuild...

Sunday 09/05 We wake up pre-dawn and get to this glassing knob where I saw sheep from last year...They appear on cue. Moosie lays his eyes on his first bighorn sheep. Although they were only ewes and lambs we are excited. I thought I saw a ram but he went out of sight before I could confirm (1/2 mile plus distance with 10x50 binos).

We go back to camp, pack up and go straight down to where I base camped with my Dad last year. We stumble on a black bear munching on berries and Oscar get him on video. We continue up the other side. This puts us in striking distance of the bowl where I had five rams close last year. No sheep there. There is a ton of water up high and I think it changed their range a little. Though there is sheep sign all over, I believe it is from ewes and lambs. We camp on a high saddle that night with plans to move lower on X mountain the next day.

Monday 09/06 We wake up pre-dawn and plan that we need to be one ridge over by the time it gets light. We take longer than expected and get to our spot late. We glass and I spot a couple sheep way out there, but they are too far to identify sex...Moose can't locate them....He doesn't believe me.....We take naps during midday discussing the game plan for this short hunt.

We look at the map and decide to bail off and go into the drainage where I spotted the sheep earlier.....Now its hard to explain, but when I say we dropped down into the bottom I mean dropped. 2600 vertical feet with in 1/2 mile.....Its hard to appreciate until you've been there.

In the bottom its a tangle of blowdowns and old burn. We trudge up the bottom and I am running out of gas. We look for a flat spot and find one (40 degrees plus or minus) We put up camp and watch a goat and kid about 500 yards directly above camp. The next morning the plan is to got up near the goats and glass the opposite side.

Tuesday 09/07 We wake up predawn and cross the swampy blow down bottom in the dark. I take a good fall off a log....My balance is not too good to begin with and worse early in the AM with a pack on. We get up to the table and start glassing. The sun will come up directly in our face so the lighting is not the best.

Within a couple minutes, only 500-600 yards across I pick up a sheep in the low light. Its feeding, feeding and then it lifts its head....RAM....definately a RAM. I loose it, then find again....yep its a ram. I get the spotting scope set up and I cannot find it again......Moosie gets all bent out of shape..."how the hell can you lose a ram?" He's right in front of us but with the sun in our faces we could not find him....He's still pissing and moaning when I look at a further hill......Bingo....Another ram right on a sunny ridge saying "Look at me! I'm a Ram that even Oscar can see!"

We watch him and we he is with 3 other rams. One is a bruiser that I'd put in the 170 class, A second ram in the 150-160 class, and a smallish 3/4 curl, and a sub legal 2/3 curl.

Oscar says he will watch them while I try to find the closer ram again. Then I hear "they are gone!" "how the hell can you lose 4 rams Moosie?" Oscar panicked, and felt sick....He went to go take a doo and we found them again.

We watch them for a couple hours. It was a real treat, the two big rams were sizing each other up with head rocking, butt sniffing, head butting. It was just like the videos you see....

Finally, about 10:00 they bed, in a PERFECT spot. A chute that Oscar can come over from the side and get a gravy 75 yardish shot. I start getting his pack ready for him with food and water....He doesn't want it. Says he doesn't need no stinking water....This is all the way down and back up the other side in 70 degree temps.....Ok Oscar good luck. We did a radio check and he bailed off. A couple hours later the rams get up and move two little chutes over into a canyon with trees and I loose them...I figure they are bedding in the shade of the trees but for the life of me I can't locate them.

Oscar comes over the edge and finds no sheep. I tell him to continue up the the top of the mountain which he does....he complains about being really really really thirsty. Meanwhile, I'm having myself a fine little picnic, boots and socks off eating and drinking both mine and his food and water. By now its 2:00ish in the afternoon. I have an idea where the rams are....but not for sure. I lay down and sleep. Oscar wakes me up on the radio. I tell him to lay down and sleep.....

I wake up around 3:00 and pick up the binos and check out the treed chute. Ram, Ram, and another Ram! "Oscar, I found them!"

I watch them and study the mountain, wind is going uphill. The only way he can get on these sheep is if he comes in from the side....He drops down and starts across a series of chutes each seperated by 20-30 foot clifs.

The spotting scope I have fixed on the sheep, the binos on Oscar's progress....My right eye is bugging out from switching from scope to binos back to scope every 10 seconds....Oscar eases up over the last little wall...."Moosie, they are right in front of you, they have to be within 100 yards." silence "Oh yeah, he's 60 yards away!" We locate the 3 smaller rams but can't find the big dude. Oscar video tapes them all and chatters to me on the radio for 10 minutes or so. I'm thinking, this is going to blow up soon. Oscar has to come out of this set up with a ram. Then the smallish ram which is closes busts him. He stares and stares. Oscar says "I think I'll take the highest ram." Good call. I dial in the scope to the 2nd biggest ram and watch and watch and watch him feed. Then he humps, and lunges and face plants. His back legs lunging and plowing his face into the hill. Then the boom of his 300.

I do a victory yell...Then I look again and the ram is getting his back legs under him....I tell Oscar the ram is getting back up and put another round into him. He can't locate the ram because he's busy videoing the other rams. The big guy was just out of sight but Oscar filmed him running away.

The ram collapses again and is still. I sit and watch....Damn, I spent 3 weeks in here and couldn't get one of these buggers and Moosie does it in 3 days.. Now don't get me wrong, I was stoked for Oscar, but what a piece of irony.

Oscar is 80 yards below the ram and is sitting. "Get up to your ram" I tell him. "I'm going back to camp" he says. He was dehydrated and not thinking too clear. I talk him into going up to the ram, getting it skinned and meet him back at camp.

There was much celebration in camp that night. We had freeze dried cheesecake for the occasion. We mapped out a plan for the next day getting the booger out and went to sleep by 8:00.

Wednesday 0330 am wake up.. pack up camp. go try and find the ram in the dark. Oscar thinks we are in the wrong chute but I swear I can smell it. It was only 10 feet from us when we were seriously considering we were in the wrong chute.

What a good looking ram! Not a whopper, but very respectable. I'd of done the same as Oscar and dropped the hammer on him. I'm guessing he'll tape 150-160. We cape him, cap him, and bone him out. The plan is that Moosie will carry meat, cape and horns and I carry all the gear. We were 100 pounds each + or -. We still had a lot of up to do, alot of it on all 4's.

About noon we got to trail. And we were hurting, we're talking pain here guys. We keep moving, if we stopped we'd seize up completely. 9:30 PM we are standing next to the truck. We are delirious and a little emotional.......

We get to Challis about midnight and get a motel. We shower and sleep. We are in Boise having lunch with friends Thursday. Oscar goes to Sportsman's Warehouse and buys a new pack......

I fly back to Reno Thursday night and here I am....

And that's my story.

Oscar it was an awesome hunt. You worked hard for your ram. He's a beauty. I'm glad I've got you in my corner for when I pull that tag again. if all you fellow Idahoans think 27-2 is the place for sheep think again. Its brutal....and can be very dangerous......Don't even consider it unless you are in very good condition and are prepared to hurt.

Gear ratings:

my Kifaru pack: absolute gold. Love it. Even loaded heavy with ALL our gear and rifle it performs.

Pentax SP 10x50's binos. Love em. Very good tools for spotting critters.

Meindl Canadian Hunter boots: best boots I've ever owned. I used to be a Danner boot guy, but I'm converted.

Cliff Bars: great energy, but I think I'll puke if I eat another.

Mountain House Freeze dried. Love em.....

Moosies Boy Scout approved pack......priceless....
T Bone WOW what a exciting hunt and story. Always wanted to hunt sheep but as of yet haven't done it.You and Moosie my hats off to both of you, Ive hunt in some wild places and know exactly how dangerous slids and fallen timber can be with a loaded pack. Again I say one alsome hunt and story. If my Alberta moose hunt is as half as exciting I'll be tickled Bill
T Bone, thanks for an awesome story! You my man, are a class act! I loved the parts about Oscar bitching and panting! LOL! 'Ol Moosie couldn't have had a better friend and guide.

So now... when are you getting your Ram?
Great story! The suffering makes it all that much better in the end! Something neither of ya will ever forget! Those are the best hunting trips that live with ya forever!!!

meindl boots--thanks for the tip-I've looked at those things for years in Cabelas, but this is the first anyone has spoken of them that can be backed up or at least I believe--chris
Hey T great story...time to go to work (and get some sleep on real-time ;) ). Moosieman is lucky to have you in his corner and you definately get the assist on this score!
OK all you guys - The T Bone is my son and he makes me proud all the time. We've shared so many great experiences with rifle and bow over the years. I pray all of you will be blessed with a son like Ty.
Thanks for sharing the story T-Bone and it sounds like you are someone that is getting rarer and rarer to find you are welcome to come follow my dogs with me anytime.
Let me be the first to welcome you to Moosie's there Mike. Sounds like Tyson and Oscar had quite the adventure and success to boot!
...heck he's a fellow E-Trader so he can't be all bad ;)
Great story and HUGE congrats on the ram guys. Oscar is very fortunate to have a friend like that. I'll bet you can't wait to have him repay you! Congrats to all again.
This story popped up under the “Similar threads” heading at the bottom of a thread I was reading. I read this over and over when I had a Middle Fork tag back in 2006. Then, after I left the Crags with my tail tucked between my legs and no ram, I read and re-read the tale of the ram TBone got a couple weeks following my departure. TBone and Moosie are (or, at least, were 😀) animals.