T Bone's Ram report

T Bone

Active member
Joined
Jan 8, 2001
Messages
4,646
Location
West Slope, CO
Sat 09/30 -- Drive day. Travel from South Dakota to Idaho via I-90. Counted bajillions of antelope and deer in SD, WY, and MT. Finally in Idaho I stop at the North Fork Cafe and get a sandwich and catch up on the latest news of incoming steelhead, hunting etc. On the river road I run into a herd of sheep. All I need now are flip flops....

Arriving at the trailhead I find snow, much more than expected. I'm the only vehicle there. Campground is empty. Kinda reminded me of a few years ago.... Hello!? Anyone out there?



Sun 10/01 After sleeping in the back of my classic '86 Ford Warren and I hit the trail early. We find snow on the shady sides of the mountains, much more than expected.

I'm tired. The RMSF after-effects are grabbing me. I listened to the body and rested when needed. Even Warren, a pasty overweight guy was outdoing me.

At mile 8 there is a "Y" in the trail. Left goes to X mountain (where Big O lives) and right goes to Oscar ram was killed. We think and talk. There's more snow than expected, Warren has to leave by Wed morning. If we go chase Big O, then its another full 24 hours before we arrive there. If we go right we're hunting tonight. We go right, with the thought that if we don't connect by day 4, I'll jump over to X mountain.

At mile 11, Warren's sharp eyes spot sheep. We're not in my unit yet, so we pay them no mind. We arrive at our destination at 14 miles, pooped out.

Monday 10/02

We spot sheep near (3/4 mile) and far (1 1/2 miles.)


In the near group there are 20 sheep, 5 rams no big ones, but one legal 3/4 curl. Of the far group, one ram. No big rams spotted.
After a day of spotting and hoping, I call the wife and get a weather report. Tuesday mostly clear. Wednesday big storm coming in. Heavy snow expected Wed, Thur, Frid. Just what I wanted not to hear. Warren and I talk. I think all night long. 1- I'm very concerned about getting snowed in. To get back to the trucks, I have to go back up and over a series of high passes and ridges. Some already have 18 inches of snow. 2- I'm concerned about my physical ability. I wasn't feeling my normal stallion-like self. 3- Making a long distance stalk would be much easier with Warren's help.

Tuesday 10/03

Overnight I've concluded that we'll glass until mid-morning. If no bigger rams are spotted and if the 3/4 curl ram, is still there, I'll make a try for him. I share the plan with Warren and we roll out of bed and glass.

No mature rams show themselves. The herd of 20 is still there.
 

T Bone

Active member
Joined
Jan 8, 2001
Messages
4,646
Location
West Slope, CO
Tues 10/03 continued.

Warren and I plan a stalk. He'll stay where we are and guide me to them. In the picture the herd is bedded down scattered up and to the right of the dark gray rock/cliff in the middle of the near mountain.

All I have to do is go slip through a few lambs and ewes bedded lower and put a bullet in him.

I start down and find it steep. Twice I cliffed out and had to back track and find an acceptable chute to get down.


I get to the bottom and start up the other side, trying to place the scenery in front of me to my mental picture. The dark gray rock was the reference. If I can slip around the bottom right side I should be in range of the sheep. I get high enough on the mountain to see Warren across the other side. He signals to keep going in the planned direction. I'm thinking, "good deal, they are still there." A couple ewes are on the bottom left side and I slide by them as quietly as possible. They don't see me.

I'm 100 yards down hill and at the 7 oclock position from the gray rock. Wind is coming from my right and blowing up the canyon. I'm getting close. I chamber a round and check Warren. He signals to continue. I ninja up to the rock and start easing around the bottom right corner. I feel wind on my neck. It switches. Then, a strong gust at my back. I hear brush breaking, my sneak is blown!

I run up about 30 yards and see sheep running, walking and standing. The mountain is thick with brush, rock and deadfall. I hurry and try to locate the ram. There he is going to my left, trying to go up and over the gray rock. He is only 100 yards away, I track him as he breaks into a run and wait for an opening. I shoot once through an opening and shoot again as he tops out on the rock. The mountain is alive with crashing sheep. I run up as fast as I can to the top of the rock and see sheep running 400 yards away.......I can't locate my ram. I check Warren, he signals to the 9 oclock postion, the left hand side of the gray rock. Now I'm on top and I can see the bowl below me, I'm scanning for sheep and see nothing. I'm starting to think I've blown it, the ram got away unscathed. I check with Warren again, he signal's 9 oclock. I take 3 more steps and the ram jumps only 5 yards away! He bails straight off the backside of the rock and runs down and starts hooking around the bottom of the rock. He is going fast at about 150 yards. I give him a body length lead and shoot as he races down, work the bolt and shoot as he is rounding the corner of the bottome of the gray rock. He nose dives and slides 10 yards. He gets to his feet and collapses. I cover him for about 10 seconds, then let out a whoop.

Holy crap batman, dead ram!



At this point I was a little overcome with emotion. Maybe some of you can understand it. This was the 29th day I've hunted sheep in this unit. Bad weather, exhaustion, dehydration, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, failed stalks, frustration, broken equipment, solo hunts and success are all part of this. Sheep hunting had been a big part of my life in the last 4 years. Not a day had gone by that I hadn't thought of this moment, and here it was.

He's a dink of a ram from every angle. Barely legal. Thin horned. The equivalent of a spike bull or buck.

Here are a couple more pics. He's not much to look at, but he means a lot to me.




3 shots had hit him. Two dead center in the guts. A good example of where not to shoot a big game animal....The final shot was through the vitals. Rifle was a Rem 700 30-06 150 grn partitions.

I caped, boned and capped him and headed back over. It took longer than expected. At camp,Warren and I celebrated for a short while. We had 2 hours of light left and we decided to pack up camp and get a couple miles behind us. We arrived a a lake after dark and set up camp. I was out of gas. We set up camp, ate and went to sleep.

Wednesday 10/04

By 3 am we were back on the trail. The weather forecast was holding. It snowed and rained on the way out. The load was heavy, the weather cold, but it sure felt good coming out of the Crags with a ram. As we topped out on the last mountain, I looked back and paid my respects to the Frank. The steel-gray clouds were drowning out the high mountain tops.

I'm real happy with the decision to try for this ram. I really think I'd of been snowed in with the 3 days of storming up there. I could have passed on him, but who knows how long or if I'd ever get another tag. It took 9 years to get the 1st tag and then a magical 1 year to get the second. The ram will look small on the wall to other people, but he may well be my trophy of a lifetime.

Special thanks to my wife for putting up with the madness, and to my sheep hunting partners, Dad, Oscar, and Warren.

If anyone draws this tag, I'll be glad to talk to them about specifics.

Now everyone go check for ticks.
 

Oak

Expert
Joined
Dec 23, 2000
Messages
12,218
Location
Colorado
Congratulations, T-bone. That's a well-earned sheep. Doesn't matter how big he is.
 

MarvB

New member
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
3,388
Location
Below the snowline...but above the smog!
Tyson- Great story there buddy and kuddos on the ram. Once you drew that tag you had already won my friend...this is just the icing! I'll bet the Mrs. is glad that the saga is over (for now at least) and that you got back out safely and successfully. Congrats again!
 

DRAFTSTUD

Active member
Joined
Nov 14, 2002
Messages
5,082
Location
SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
Special thanks to my wife for putting up with the madness, and to my sheep hunting partners, Dad, Oscar, and Warren
I think you telling of the tale, with all that you had to do to score a Ram was great! There is only one thing left to do...OK Everyone, Group Hug!!!! John:D
 

BigHornRam

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 15, 2004
Messages
5,729
Location
"Land of Giant Rams"
"I'll bet the Mrs. is glad that the saga is over (for now at least)". Glad you put that last part in Marv. Mrs. T has no idea how serious a disease her husband has contracted. I predict several more sheep hunt's for T-Bone in the future! Congrat's T-Bone on your Ram!
 

Hiker

New member
Joined
Jan 26, 2006
Messages
316
Location
Colorado
Fantastic story T-Bone! Thanks for sharing it with us, day by day. I hope every time you look up at that bad boy on your wall, you remember "the Hunt". Congratulations on a great Ram. You are a blessed man, to have the understanding wife that you have and those kind of friends who will go through that kind of misery with you.
 

schelmster

New member
Joined
Jan 31, 2006
Messages
120
Location
Worden, MT
Congrat's T-Bone, any hunt that one takes there body to the physical limit always makes the trophy special. Size is relative, I don't think you would have been as proud of a full curl off the side of the road as this one that you EARNED. Once again, congrat's and very cool,

schelmster
 

Moosie

Grand poopa
Joined
Dec 9, 2000
Messages
17,514
Location
Boise, Idaho
Even Warren, a pasty overweight guy was outdoing me.
Warren said he wasn't wearing pasties...... Garments maybe... not Pasties. He's saving those for our deer hunt !!hump hump
 
Top