Nodak Hunter's Sheep Hunt

Nodak Hunter

New member
Joined
Jan 18, 2001
Messages
111
Location
Grand Forks, ND
I was just reading the threads about the story contest, here's my entry.

It was the fall of 1991, and I had just recently returned from my nine month long all expenses paid trip to the Persian Gulf, courtesy of Uncle Sam. It felt good to be home.

While overseas, I had kept regular correspondence with my older brother back in the states. We had been planning a bighorn sheep hunt before I had left for the Gulf, and he had made the arrangements for us during my absence. I had only three weeks to prepare for our hunt in British Columbia upon my return.

Within a week I had my trusty Ruger .270 all tuned and ready to go. A brand new Burris 4X Fullfield was perched atop her, and she was zeroed in dead on at 250 yards. The excitement was building inside me with each passing day, as I practiced at all ranges out to 400 yards, using life size targets of sheep. I had never seen a bighorn before, and imprinted in my mind how large the picture looked in my scope at the various yardages.

Finally the big day arrived, and my brother and I flew into Vancouver, and then hopped a small plane to base camp. From camp, we hiked several miles further into the mountains, to the actual hunting camp.

Our hunt was booked for four days, and each of us had our own guide. My guide and I hunted hard for three days, catching glimpses of good rams, but always out of range, or in range, but on the move.

The fourth morning came far too quickly. My brother had taken a nice ram the day before, so now I felt the added pressure that only a sibling rivalry can produce.

As luck would have it, within a couple hours of setting out, my guide spied a good ram with a couple of ewes a half mile ahead. They were bedded down on a large outcropping of rock about 300 yards from the bluff we were on. They were out of the wind, and looked like they'd be staying put a while. We decided the best approach would be to climb a bit, and then stay on our side of the gully, descending carefully as we got closer, then take a shot across the gap. Our stalk began.

After over an hour of hiking, climbing, and scrambling, all the while trying to stay quiet, we managed to draw roughly equal to them on our side of the canyon. They hadn't moved. Range was estimated to be about 280 yards. I was hunkered down behind a rock, and my guide had placed his jacket atop it for padding. I firmly bedded my rifle onto the impromptu rest, and began the ritual of steadying my breathing, getting the target in the crosshairs, and trying to ignore the pounding of my heart I felt in my ears.

Just as I was getting under control, my right foot slipped on some loose stones, and I half slid, half fell down beside the rock and took a tumble down the steep slope. I had chambered a round, but fortunately had not released the rifle's safety. I came to a stop about twenty feet away, and frantically looked for the sheep.

They had heard me, but hadn't taken off. The big ram stood there, looking straight at me. Thinking he'd be gone before I could get a shot off, I tried to steady the rifle on my knee and put the crosshairs on him anyway. I expected to find his rump bounding over the rocks.

To my amazement, he was still there. I don't know if he had been dozing when the noise woke him up, and wasn't sure what he was looking at, or what was going through his mind. All I knew was he was quartered away looking at me, I had the crosshairs just behind his shoulder, and it was now or never.

It was automatic. Safety off, breath in, half out, squeeze the trigger. I didn't hear the shot, I didn't feel the recoil, but I heard the bullet hit him. I was working the bolt as my guide said, "Great shot! Are you ok?"

I was fine. I felt terrific. The ram was down, and he wasn't moving. I had taken my first (and still only) bighorn sheep.

And he was better than my brother's...

[This message has been edited by Nodak Hunter (edited 02-01-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Nodak Hunter (edited 02-01-2001).]
 

deadeye2

New member
Joined
Jan 7, 2001
Messages
52
Location
Conway, AR USA
Nodak,
Good story, glade it worked out for you. Sometimes they do not work out quite so well!
Bcat, By the time you get drawn for a sheep tag, you'll be like me, to dam old!hehehe
Be safe, have fun!
deadeye2
 
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