"The Big Three", I have a few questions for you!

Mtnhunter1

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New Year’s Day found me banging around my Stepmom’s sheep unit. I have always tried to go out into the hills on this day to start the year off right. I was hoping to find, photograph and video the grey faced ram with the white spot on his forehead. I was successful with that endeavor.

A FWP’s envelope is received in early August, yup, sheep tag enclosed with my name on it! What are the odds of that?

Now that I knew the area fairly well, let the scouting commence. I spent 5 days at the end of August looking for the grey faced ram and I did not succeed. I returned in early October for 4 days and found three barely legal rams but no grey face. I did not get back to sheep hunting until Nov. 4th but planned to hunt through to the end of the season if needed. Nov. 12th was the first time that grey face appeared. I failed in the stalk when he winded me at just over 50yds. Nov.18th was the next time that I put the glass on grey face. He was with eight other rams and they were putting on an awesome head butting show. I stalked to within 150yds and got almost two hours of head banging video. Then, like being called in for dinner, the rams lined out and started to walk in single file to who knows where. I hustled to circle around and get in front of the rams. The rams had the choice of taking three possible paths. I picked the middle of the three. I topped out on the ridge and could not see the rams. Then I heard rocks rolling directly below me and could see the flash of horn coming up through the timber. The rams were on a trail that topped out right where I was standing. I backed off several yards and kneeled between to bushy trees. The grey faced ram was the first to crest the ridge and veered to my left. I was already at full draw when he cleared a small bush slightly past my location. At the shot, he reared up on his hind legs, spun 90 degrees and disappeared over the ridge. When I peered over the ridge I could not see any of the rams but could hear their progression down through the timber with all the rocks rolling. Finally the rams appeared up the drainage trotting single file up a small open sub ridge. I counted as I followed the rams through my binos, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Eight rams and grey face was not in the group. The distance from my shooting position to where the ram was when I shot was four paces.

I guess that somethings are truly meant to defy the odds! This hunt was one of those “somethings”! I completely owe this hunt to my Stepmom as I would have never picked this unit to apply for without helping her out the previous year. I really enjoyed this hunt that blessed me with a beautiful ram.

Side note: My Stepmother and Dad drove to the unit several times with me both during some scouting days and also several days of the hunt. My Stepmom was with me on the 12th when this ram was first spotted. She had a great time watching my failed stalk through the spotter that day. All other days were spent solo.
Ram-2.jpg
Ram.jpg

Found, and scanned, another pic of this ram.

MT Ram.jpg
 
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kimbersig

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Idaho Falls, ID
Miller,,,, #QUOTE: “Wow, first time applying and I was successful. This shit is easy”.
LOVE THAT!!!!
YES, sometimes it is! That is the reason I appreciate how Montana handles our permit drawings. The squaring of the points has skewed this a bit but every single hunter has a chance to draw that special permit that EVERYONE wants someday. Every single hunter has a chance to experience the adventure of hunting one of “The Big-3”!
Very nice hunt write up. I had a vivid picture of what you experienced during the hunt, including the “I never want to do that again”, statement! Solo with zero experience, impressive! Don’t worry about the pic. I have more than a few just like it. We all know that you have snapped some amazing photos since. Thank You for that!
PS: That is a real nice Billy with glands for days, nice job!
Mtnhunter1

Kimbersig,,,,, Thanks for your input to this thread and congrats on a FC ram! I’m guessing that you must have caught the dreaded “SHEEP FEVER”! Bighorn, Dall and now the thought of a Stone in the near future? There are a couple of Sheep Hunters that have contributed to this thread that you should reach out to. Seems that BigHornRam and Grandejuan have some experience with trying to cure their Sheep-Fever by hunting the mystical” legal” Stone Rams. Together they almost have 50 days invested in their “MARCH-FOR-THE-CURE”!
PS: Can you post up a pic or two of your rams on this thread?
I had sheep fever before I got my Dall! LOL even more so now. Yes I am dreaming of the Desert Bighorn and Stone Sheep but near future....no. I apply in a few states for Desert BH and buy raffle tickets for both Stone and Deserts in hopes of hitting the jackpot! my true goal is the Magnificent Seven (Dall, Stone, Fannin, Rocky, California, Desert, Mountain Goat). I'm 34 years old right now with 2 of them. Being an Idaho resident I should be able to draw a goat tag and I can still draw California here too. I will probably apply for Moose in ID this year due to my schedule.

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Mtnhunter1

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Kimbersig,,,, You have plenty of time to chase your Mag-7 dreams. Hopefully the sooner the better as time has a way of sneaking up on all of us faster than we would like. Winning a raffle or two would be a bonus!

Those are two beautiful rams! Thanks for sharing the photos!

Mtnhunter1
 

BAKPAKR

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West Virginia
I had sheep fever before I got my Dall! LOL even more so now. Yes I am dreaming of the Desert Bighorn and Stone Sheep but near future....no. I apply in a few states for Desert BH and buy raffle tickets for both Stone and Deserts in hopes of hitting the jackpot! my true goal is the Magnificent Seven (Dall, Stone, Fannin, Rocky, California, Desert, Mountain Goat). I'm 34 years old right now with 2 of them. Being an Idaho resident I should be able to draw a goat tag and I can still draw California here too. I will probably apply for Moose in ID this year due to my schedule.

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Kimbersig, congrats on the rams. I don’t know how tough your Dall sheep hunt was but I have run (or crawled) around the area where you got your Bighorn and it will separate the men from the boys. I am afraid I have some growing to do.
 

kimbersig

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Idaho Falls, ID
Kimbersig, congrats on the rams. I don’t know how tough your Dall sheep hunt was but I have run (or crawled) around the area where you got your Bighorn and it will separate the men from the boys. I am afraid I have some growing to do.
The dall hunt was more like an antelope hunt on an irrigated pivot compared to the frank church! Lol. It was by far the hardest hunt of my life.
 

Mtnhunter1

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The dall hunt was more like an antelope hunt on an irrigated pivot compared to the frank church! Lol. It was by far the hardest hunt of my life.
Good comparison! I have not hunted the white sheep, but agree, FC can be a really tough place to bang around in.

I have added my AK moose pics to this thread and also an additional ram photo.

Keep your "Big-Three" posts coming!
 

bigsky2

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Feb 17, 2016
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1: What was your thought of the “Big Three” hunt? How did you treat it, was it the most important hunt of your life? Did the hunt meet all your expectations? I drew a moose tag and had a blast. Opportunities to hunt them in my state are few and far between so I made sure to appreciate having the tag. I treated it as a once in a lifetime hunt since I likely won't draw a tag again. I hope it happens, but I'm not planning on it. I was lucky and got to hunt moose two years in a row because my dad had drawn a tag in a different unit the previous year.

2: Was your hunt a solo affair or did you include family members to experience the hunt alongside you? OR, did the drawing of the coveted tag serve up many of your hunting buddies offering to help out and the hunt started to take on a life of its own? I made several trips. The first time I had one friend, the second time I went with two other friends, and the third time I was with a friend and my dad.

3: How much of your life did you dedicate to the hunt? Did the hunt play-out as planned or did it last longer than expected? I ended up hunting 11 days and had a few vacation days left to use if I needed to. I didn't really have any expectations of how long the hunt would take, but I'm glad it wasn't any shorter than it was. I appreciated my friends and family dedicating their time to my hunt but at the same time I didn't know when I would get to hunt moose again so I was enjoying every day of it and was in no rush to pull the trigger.

4: Were you successful in punching your tag? If so, did the critter meet all your expectations of the hunt? Would you like to have the tag again and do it all over again? If so, would the tag/area stay the same or would you like to hunt a different/better area? I was successful in punching my tag on a nice bull that most would be satisfied with, but he didn't compare to the bull we had been after for most of the hunt. I had actually passed my bull up the day before. For the most part I am satisfied with the bull since I got to share the experience with my dad and my friend. I got to experience calling in a couple bulls to within bow range, saw my first grizzly outside of Yellowstone (who later walked 10 feet from our tent during the night), and got to look over a lot of moose before I decided to punch my tag. I still wonder if we could have killed the big bull had I held out for a few days. I'd love to do it all over again.
 

JLS

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1. I drew a mountain goat tag at age 28. At the time, it was the most important hunt I'd done. I scouted and did tons of research (pre Google Earth and GoHunt). It was the first hunt I'd ever taken a full week off of work for. Given my experience and knowledge level (not much of either), it certainly did meet my expectations at that point in my life.

2. My best friend went with me.

3. The hunt ended relatively quickly. I was much more concerned with killing a goat than soaking in the experience. There's a big difference between where I'm at then and where I'm at today as a hunter. If I did it again, I'd take a month off and leave my gun in the tent for the first week or two. I was concerned about time though, because I had hardly any vacation, and at the time I really couldn't afford to take unpaid leave.

4. See #3. I'd love to hunt the unit again. I wouldn't worry about killing a bigger goat, I'd worry about taking full advantage of the experience. I didn't take many pictures at all. Maybe a dozen at most. That bums me out.

I haven't hunted sheep, but I got to take part in a sheep hunt when a friend drew the tag. I think his life priorities and expectations of the hunt were different than mine, but I did take a lot of pictures.

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WesternRookie

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All hunts were successful if having fun counts as successful. I have 20 days hunting stone's sheep with out ever seeing a legal ram. One was very close but not quite full curl. Still had an awesome hunt in some amazing country. Some hunts in the lower 48 were solo and some were with friends. All were memerable.
Were you DIY on the stone hunt (Canadian citizen) or was that with an outfitter (and if so, who)?
 

huntin24/7

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I drew a mountain goat tag in MT my 3rd year applying. I spent a ton of time researching the area, looking at maps, and talking to people. I made the 500ish mile drive twice to scout, once with my brother and once solo. On my second solo trip scouting, I was near a ledge when a big wind came up and lifted my pack up and blew it over with half my food in it over the ledge. It went about 400 feet down the mountain with my gear strewn all over the mountain and my camelback bag of water broken. Unfortunately I didn't have a lot of vacation to hunt, so I felt some pressure to get it done the first trip. I went in with a friend and had 5 days to to get it done. I shot a younger Billy the 3rd day with a really nice coat. I wish I would've had more time to hunt, but i felt like I put a lot of effort into the hunt and got my $ worth.

My friend drew a goat tag in the same unit 4 years later and his 2nd time applying. He'd never been in that kind of country and was working most of the summer with no chance to scout. My first child was born that summer too making things difficult. Similar scenario. We went in for 5 days based on what i learned 4 years earlier and he shot a nice nanny with a good coat that a biologist estimated its age in the low teens.

A few years back, my wife drew a sheep tag her 2nd year applying. We did a ton of research and made a few scouting trips along with 3 50 mile float trips down the river and she shot a ram on the 3rd trip, not a monster, but a cool ram, and it was an amazing experience. Not to mention, my wife ended up not being very consistent with birth control with all the sheep hunting we were doing, and 9 months later, my son was born. Lol.

I hope I get another opportunity some day on either my own or accompany a friend on another big 3 adventure.
 

Mtnhunter1

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bigsky2,,,, as stated earlier in this thread, Gomer held out for that monster bull moose and ended up eating tag soup. Sounds like you took advantage of the time you had available after the tag was received. Did you hunt with your Dad the previous year? If so, do you think that experience helped you with your hunt? G-bear 10’ from the tent, ain’t that great? Always seems to raise the hair a bit! Congrats on what seemed to be a successful hunt after pulling the tag. Thanks for sharing your thoughts but any chance on posting a photo?

Huntin24/7,,,, First, I really like your HT user name! The scenario that you described with both you and your buddy’s goat hunts was what I expected to hear when I originally posted my questions. Most hunters put in for their chance at drawing a “Big-3” tag with the expectation of being unsuccessful. Then, it happens, Lady Luck shines and then you’re faced with the reality of actually getting to hunt and hopefully notch that “Big-3” tag. It sounds like you took full advantage of the gifted opportunity! Tipping your pack over the cliff was interesting but I’m sure that you aren’t the first to do that. Sometimes things happen on a goat hunt, good and bad, that remain seared into our memories. I helped out a Buddy that drew a goat tag a while back. My Buddy found out that he did not like heights much! He dropped a pair of really expensive binos over a cliff the first day of the hunt. With that, he abandoned the goat country and never went back, tag stew! I can imagine that pursuing your wife’s sheep was quite the adventure. 150 miles spent floating the river must have been an awesome experience for both you and your wife. I don’t have to ask if the hunt was a bonding experience for you as a couple. Sheep hunting is always exciting but I think that you two took it to a whole new level! Congrats on your baby boy!! Is there any chance of posting a pic or two? Thanks for sharing your Big-3 experiences.

JLS,,, I hope that you get a chance to revisit the goat hunting experience as an older, wiser outdoorsman! You and huntin24/7’s goat tag experiences seem very similar. I’ve always been interested in other hunters thought processes when they go about hunting their Big-3 tag. Putting pressure on one’s self would surely, I assume, diminish the whole experience. Thank you again for posting the photos of your buddies sheep hunt, nice ram. For me, the hunting stories and photos are what I enjoy the most about this forum. Again, I hope that you draw that tag again, like 2019!
 

Brentc

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Mar 14, 2019
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I'll hopefully be adding to this thread next February with a Nunivak Muskox. The hard part is over, drawing the tag at <.5% odds.
 

IdahoNick

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Awesome pics all over!!! Love seeing them.

Drew a CO goat and MT ewe sheep tag when I was 22 (2006). I had just finished undergrad in Missouri and then happened to be in CO during the summer at grad school. I scouted the heck out of the unit. I climbed 4 of the 5 14ers in the unit scouting, got pictures within bow range of a multiple herds and had a great time. I had a second season tag and there was a huge storm that turned success to around 50% for the unit. I gladly took a nanny on day one of the five day on and off storm and was stoked. My buddy and dad came out for that hunt. The sheep was solo...I learned what they mean by "gumbo" mud in the Missouri river breaks, but got a ewe.

Once I moved to Idaho I drew a moose tag near the house. Hunted 10 days and got a moose I was happy with but it was five miles in and too steep for my friend's horses...hard packout. My wife drew the next year in a unit I ran bear baits with hounds. We got a good bull one weekend. Treed a bear in the morning and got the bull in the evening. Killed close to where we could drive...smart for a moose.

I took the hunts seriously and made them a priority. They were all really special. I started putting in for sheep and goat as a Missouri boy at 18. I knew nothing of Huntin Fool or internet research and chose units by size vs number of tags because I figured small units with high tag numbers would mean dense populations...my research methods have changed a bit.... now that sheep and goats are sexy to hunt, it is so much tougher to draw....and I am only 35 so I really feel bad for the guys who knew what it was like 30-40 years ago!
 

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Mtnhunter1

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IdahoNick,,,, That is a great goat photo! You are 35 now and have a whole lot of years of applying ahead of you. Hopefully there will be several more successful "Big-3" hunts in your future! Thanks for your post and goat pic.
 

bigsky2

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bigsky2,,,, as stated earlier in this thread, Gomer held out for that monster bull moose and ended up eating tag soup. Sounds like you took advantage of the time you had available after the tag was received. Did you hunt with your Dad the previous year? If so, do you think that experience helped you with your hunt? G-bear 10’ from the tent, ain’t that great? Always seems to raise the hair a bit! Congrats on what seemed to be a successful hunt after pulling the tag. Thanks for sharing your thoughts but any chance on posting a photo?
Yes, I hunted with my dad, I wouldn't have missed that. I believe we got his moose on the 5th or 6th day. We had heard rumors about a big bull in a particular drainage so we kept looking for him and he eventually showed himself. I'm sure his hunt helped me somewhat on my hunt even though our tags were in different units. Here is his moose -
DadsMoose4.jpg
DadsMoose5.jpg
Here is my moose -
Moose4.jpg
 

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