The "Final Stalk"..a sheephunter's story....

D

Deerslayer

Guest
I met up with my brother and his hunting partner in Ak knowing I was in good hands, as they had a half dozen legal Dalls between them in the last sevearl years, so confidence was at a high!

We went in on ATV as far as we could, some 20 miles, then set base, only to leave it the next morning on a 4 day spike. Hiking in sheep country with camp on your back is quite the task even for those in good shape!

We hiked in some 5 miles or so and checked a likely spot, one in which they had scored sheep in past years....the outlook was grim.....only a couple of sheep spotted that day, ......no shooters. At last light we did spot a big group of 30 or so several miles down the valley, and planned to move on them at first light.

As dawn hit, we were up and moving, and what seemed like a short distance by the eye became an all day brutal trek of many miles and sometimes almost straight up terrain....I knew at this point I was in over my head :eek:

I began to wonder if I was the only one with bleeding feet and bruised toenails that hurt so bad I could hardly bare to put one foot in front of the other. The other two men showed little signs of wear, so I sucked it up and didn't let on I was dying inside. Our packs, though never officially weighed, had to be pushing 80 pounds or more!

We again set camp on the best terrain we could find which found us sliding downhill in our sleep all night!



But hey......we were in sheep, and I mean thick! We glassed rams in every direction. There were 7 rams with a couple of possible shooters across the river, but that was a day's hike so we stayed put and continued glassing.



We spotted 5 rams about 800 yards away....one was definitely a shooter but the approach would take a loop around that would take several hours, so we kept glassing as we moved along.



We had only an hour of light left on this day, and had split up, me and my brother one way, Rink the other. Rink said as we left him....."DS, are you ready to go get your ram?"...I answered with a resounding "Hell yes!"

My brother picked an approach in which he was nearly certain would put us in front of the group of rams we had glassed earlier. He had taken a fine ram here a couple of years prior. We dropped down the edge, stalking ever so slowly, ...light fading quickly.

The tension was mounting as we topped a small rise as we sidehilled the mountain....and there they were!....not the 5 rams but 23!!!!!!.I was in heaven! :eek:

We gathered ourselves and talked through a plan......I took a pic, then decided that was foolish as the biggest rams were bedded and looking right in our direction! We patiently glassed for the best shooter in the group, and located the big ram right in the center of the pack. My brother took one last good look as the ram chewed his cud.....he confirmed he was past full curl and had heavy brooming on one side.

We had two choices......sit tight for the last few minutes of light, then back out and try to get back on them in the morning....or close the distance and try to make a shot with the ram bedded in the litte time we had left to work with. Well...I've always been impatient!...so I bellied crawled up and toward til I reached a vantage point about 250 yards from my ram. I could get no closer without being in plain sight of the sheep, and with the day ending, it was now or never.......so it had to be now! My brother said only two words....."Take him".

I gathered my composure, re-checked that I was indeed zero-ing on the right ram......put it just behind his front shoulder slightly quartering away.....and slowly S-Q-U-E-E-Z-E-D-!-!-!........KABOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!!!!.....the ram struggles to his feet..wabbles....then stumbles down the hillside!...he kept stumbling close to a mile straight down!....CRAP!...I was in hot pursuit and never lost sight of him......as he crumpled at the bottom near the river, thus the brushy scenery in the kill photos.

We had a pack from hell to get him back up and over the other side of the mountain, then packed along with our spike camp all the way back out. I didn't think we would ever do it, but the adrenaline kept us going!

These guys had no doubts because they had done this trip many years in a row, and for that they have my respect! It is truely a trip from hell, but I would do it again an a HEARTBEAT!

We put a stalk on one other ram after that....he was close to 38-40inches but the final stalk found the ram smarter than we, and these two men said going in they were after me a sheep first and foremost, and they would only shoot one bigger than the ones they already have on the wall, and only after I had mine tagged. Well, we saw several shooters, but they stuck to their words and passed on them as they gave a nod of respect to some truely magnificent creatures!

This will be a hunt I will always remember and the gratitude I have for my "guides" and "friends" that help me do it is immeasurable........

To John and Rink....



They deserve a lot of credit, and I honestly don't think I could have had a better hunt paying $10,000 to a proffesional outfitter.

My feet have not yet fully recovered more than a month later, though most of my toenails have grown back.....



..and I'm starting to get some new skin on my heels! ;) ...hopefull by the time my elk hunt rolls around I'll be good to go again!
DS

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 09-25-2002 11:49: Message edited by: Deerslayer ]</font>
 

FEW

New member
Joined
Sep 5, 2002
Messages
365
Location
AZ
Awesome story. I hope to beat the chit out of myself on a hunt like that one of these days...
 

Oak

Expert
Joined
Dec 23, 2000
Messages
12,429
Location
Colorado
DS, it sounds like you had an awesome time! That country looks brutal, and I'm sure the pictures don't do it justice. I'd love to do that some day, but maybe I need to be in a little better shape, you think? ;) :D

Congratulations again on a great hunt.

Oak
 

Boman

New member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Messages
337
Location
Colorado
DS,

Thanks for the story. I can almost imagine it. I certainly don't want to get the subject going again. But after all you went through I can understand why you got so pissed. I would have been equally as pissed. Thanks again for the pics and the story. Good luck on your elk hunts!
 

Nontypical

New member
Joined
Sep 12, 2002
Messages
25
Location
Boulder, CO
cool

i never sleep well on a slope, always feel like i'm falling off the mtn

sometimes that's the best you can do though...
 
D

Deerslayer

Guest
You'll get your chance, FEW!..

Oak, You'd do just fine I'm sure ;) ..

Boman.....I'm glad you feel my pain brother! :D

NonTypical....the first pic with the spike tents was hell!..I slid my ass for two days trying to sleep there!...the one with me spotting and the tents wasa level as it ever got while we were spiking! :eek:
DS
 

csutton7

Active member
Joined
Jan 5, 2001
Messages
1,925
Location
s.f., ca, usa
DS--I'm goin' to have to give you some chit about that little ram---and the chit is: that you were able to get one that nice and it may be awhile before I get to do the same if ever--congrats and well done and great story and can only imagine the pain and fun---chris
 
D

Deerslayer

Guest
Thanks Chris....he's most probably the only Dall I'll ever have the chance to kill, so that makes me one for one on sheep.......and a think a goat or moose hunt will be next for my Alaska "wish list"....

Nut.....that makes at least two of us that feel that way! ;) ...thanks buddy...
DS
 

Westman

New member
Joined
Feb 7, 2001
Messages
212
Location
Midwest
DS,

Congrats and thanks for the story. I have enjoyed every minute of this whole thing knowing that your sheep was a fine trophy no matter what kind of chit came your way.

Thanks for hangin' in there and sharing the pics. Fantastic country!

Bill
 

ridgetop

New member
Joined
Mar 26, 2002
Messages
99
Location
Missouri
DS
Thanks for putting those pics up! That is a wicked steep looking place up there. Looks like you guys worked your butts off for that beautiful ram! Again, huge congrats!
 
D

Deerslayer

Guest
Thanks Ridgetop and Bill!......and thanks also for you guys standing up for a brother's good name ;) .......

DS
 
R

rinkhunts

Guest
Sounds dead on balls accurate to me!! We had some fun didnt we. Cant wait til next time.
 

BW

New member
Joined
Jan 1, 2001
Messages
218
Location
Sitka, AK
DeerSlayer,

Thanks for posting the pictures again!

Yea, I was a bit of a jerk last Monday (or was it Sunday?) Anyhow, I regret my "dink" statement now. I was just angry.

I now revert to my original statements of "nice trophy". ;)

Congrats on your hunt and best wishes on your next visit to Alaska. Given the skill of your brother as a guide, you should do well once again.
 
D

Deerslayer

Guest
Thanks for the words Brian, and yes, my brother and my other guide Rink definitely knew the in's and out's of how to go about pulling out a nice sheep in a tough walk-in area. They are posting about 80% success rate on full curls in there.....but they spent years earning it. Anyone who has sheep hunted knows it ain't easy under the best of conditions......and to consistently tag quality sheep in a hard hunted area speeks volumes about how dedicated those two men are. I know I keep coming back to this...but I really can't say enough about what they did for me.
 
D

Deerslayer

Guest
Yes, Rink, buddy....we did have some fun. We left it all up there, and after you and me and John hunting together a few times now, we knew it could end no other way.

Now....get your ass down here for bow season elk next year and I will do my best to return the favor!
 
Top