Carbon Express Arrows
Bowhunting Thinhorns
Wild Sheep
Contributors to this thread:
Kurt 11-Aug-16
IdyllwildArcher 11-Aug-16
Nick Muche 12-Aug-16
Charlie Rehor 12-Aug-16
sticksender 12-Aug-16
TXHunter 12-Aug-16
Mad Trapper 12-Aug-16
Florida Mike 12-Aug-16
Ambush 12-Aug-16
Medicinemann 12-Aug-16
ridgerunnerron 13-Aug-16
BULELK1 13-Aug-16
deerhaven 13-Aug-16
sheephunter2 13-Aug-16
Mark Watkins 13-Aug-16
Bowboy 13-Aug-16
Kurt 13-Aug-16
TXHunter 13-Aug-16
Ambush 13-Aug-16
sticksender 13-Aug-16
primitve 13-Aug-16
Mark Watkins 13-Aug-16
Mark Watkins 13-Aug-16
Nick Muche 14-Aug-16
Mark Watkins 14-Aug-16
Ambush 14-Aug-16
Nick Muche 15-Aug-16
Kurt 15-Aug-16
Mark Watkins 15-Aug-16
Treeline 23-Aug-16
Treeline 23-Aug-16
Kurt 20-May-17
kscowboy 20-May-17
Chief 23-May-17
Mark Watkins 23-May-17
geoffp 24-May-17
DEMO-Bowhunter 24-May-17
From: Kurt
11-Aug-16
In response to the request for a story and photos about my recent DIY Stone's Sheep hunt, here is a new thread about do's for hunting them. Since it took me until the eighth hunt to bring a ram back, I was a bit of a slow learner so expect the successful hunters and guides to chime in with their secrets (Ambush, you and your sheep hunting partners probably have the most experience and success on Stones in BC). I don't post photos on the net, and couldn't anyway since I have no Wifi here at the new house build, so others will have to supply the pictures of their success and I promise to limit myself on the words).

Do's: 1). Wait for the sheep to get into a spot they are stalkable. If you blow them out of the area it takes a lot of work and time to relocate them.

2). Rams are the most stalkable the first time, and get progressively wiser as the season progresses, at least the ones I hunt.

3). Understand thermals, if you don't, read about it and spend time on steep slopes early and late, as well as during the heat of the day, but especially during times they are switching.....ie when the area first starts to get sunny and heat up in the morning as well as when it goes into shadows late in the day. Know how the thermals will affect your stalk and know how much time you have to complete the stalk.

4). Learn where sheep like to bed.....in the shale or on windy points in my area.

5). Learn to shoot steep downhill shots, with a few sub-notes to follow A). Use an angle compensating rangefinder. Most shots will require a significant yardage adjustment. B). Use a level bubble in your site. I was on a steep slope, but the shot was 't straight down, but across the slope at 30 degrees or so. I felt like I had to turn the bow "upside down" to get the level bubble into position. Without it I'd likely have missed. C). Check for inference for the lower cam and limb. A fire weed was in the cam when I drew from the sitting position in a small gully in the slide. Lucky I saw that and moved ahead before taking the shot. Again the slope of the hill throws off your normal perspective so check it all out. D). Don't miss......easier said than done, but shot opportunities can be hard to come by.

6). Don't rush the stalk, at least for me if the thermals will hold, take your time and you will feel more in control of the situation. Of course you are controlling your emotions, not the Rams. They will get up and change beds, move around for a bite to eat, etc all day long.

7). You are never too old to sheep hunt if you really want, just go slower. I got my first ram 32 years ago (bighorn) and hope to hunt sheep into my 70s. I took a buddy that was 71 along on a 12 day back pack sheep hunt a few years ago! I told his wife after the hunt that he did not need a heart stress test as he was good for a lot more years! Just kidding as medical issues can crop up and need to be dealt with before they are serious or deadly on the mountain, but go do it if you have the desire.

8). Climb/hike steep hills for training. I do not pack train, just get my butt up the mt behind the house as often as I can. It really helps.

9). Learn from those with more experience. I never stop looking for good info on hunting sheep. Talk to the old timers, guides, etc. Read everything you can.

10). Enjoy the hunt! 64 stone sheep hunting days over a six year period were some of the best days spent in my life. I sweat profusely, suffered some rainy days, snowy days, high winds when I had to pass a shot on a legal bedded ram, etc. I've been sore as heck, blistered a little too. They are all part of the experience of sheep hunting. Enjoy the journey and good luck!

11-Aug-16
Thanx for the advice and grats again on your ram. You pulled off something not a lot of folks could.

From: Nick Muche
12-Aug-16
Congrats again Kurt! Thanks a bunch for posting that info, tomorrow will be the first time hunting sheep for me and I'm really looking forward to it. Take care bud and I look forward to seeing your next ram!

12-Aug-16
Pat and I met Kurt 27 years ago while hunting the famed Colville River in Umiat, AK. His group had two great moose and two Caribou. Pat and I had zippo! This guy is a serious Bow Hunter and class act!

Thanks for posting your thoughts!

From: sticksender
12-Aug-16
Great comments Kurt. Not much to add to your sheep hunt "Do's" list except....DO enjoy the scenery while you're out there!

From: TXHunter
12-Aug-16
Great tips and congratulations on your ram. An accomplishment done by very few!

From: Mad Trapper
12-Aug-16
Very Good Advice!!

From: Florida Mike
12-Aug-16
Your tips are GOLD! Not because you killed a sheep but because you hunted 8 times without a kill. Thanks for trying to help other hunters get better. Thats the true spirit of Bowsite! Mike

From: Ambush
12-Aug-16
Kurt is a seasoned, dedicated, get'er done bowhunter with lot's of experience to share. And as long as he gets his after lunch nap, he can walk the legs off a camel. A great guy to share camp with.

His sheep advice is spot on.

From: Medicinemann
12-Aug-16
Great summary.....especially about the effects of slope as it pertains to your bow....sometimes it just doesn't seem possible that the "bubble" could be right!! Checking your bottom cam for clearance in steep areas is also spot on....as well as practicing steep downhill and steep uphill shots. Bravo Zulu

13-Aug-16
Congrats Kurt!! You kept at this quest year after year...and I was hoping each year you would get your Stone. Success is so sweet.

From: BULELK1
13-Aug-16
Good for you and thanks for sharing your very experienced thoughts with us all.

Good luck, Robb

From: deerhaven
13-Aug-16
Congrats again Kurt. Spot on advice. I paid particular attention to point number 7 on the list. Hope we have many sheep hunts in us yet.

Great ram Mike

From: sheephunter2
13-Aug-16
Wiser words have never been spoken Kurt. Congratulations on a hard earned ram. What's next?

From: Mark Watkins
13-Aug-16
Congrats on your Stone ram Kurt!!! Very happy for you! Great advice posted above.....thank you!

Two thoughts to add:

-on glassing....stones can be difficult to spot....glassing early and late in the day when the sheep are up on their feet feeding makes them easier to see. Look for their white face, round white butt and the vertical white (unnatural ) rear legs when faced away.

-on training....do a good portion of your training with the intent of replicating the upcoming hunt......same socks, same boots and same weight in the backpack.....you don't want any surprises on the mountain

Mark

From: Bowboy
13-Aug-16
Congrats Kurt! Also great advice.

From: Kurt
13-Aug-16
Thanks for all the congrats, and Mark, great additions to the list! A few more comments:

11). Locate the Rams early, then stalk them when the thermals settle down (see Mark's comment on being 10 times easier to find when they are feeding.

12). During stormy weather with high winds and rain/snow, Rams often head to the timber and are hard to find. I think they are seeking refuge from the storm and aren't being chewed on by the bugs as bad due to the winds. During calmer, clear days they are frequently up high in the breezes

13). Move extremely slow if any sheep can possibly see you. I think Jake mentioned this in another thread a while back.

14). Rolling rocks do not put sheep on high alert. They hear it all the time. During my stalk in a steep slide a few small tennis ball sized rocks rolled, and at best one ram paid modest attention to my direction for a minute or so.

15). You can turn your rangefinder upside down to minimize how high you have to stick your head up to range the ram. It cuts almost 4" of additional head height poking over the rock or bush. If you have an angled spotting scope that rotates in the clamp, you can keep your head hidden and just have the objective lens poking out along side a boulder for glassing. I've used that trick a fair bit.

16). If you have a second person with you and the terrain allows, he can get into a spot to distract and occupy the Rams while you stalk and set up for a shot. Or in some cases try to move the Rams past you. I like the distraction approach better than the drive unless the legal ram(s) are very obvious due to horn length or unique colors.

17). Rams over 8 years old get very tight growth rings down at the base. If you can see tight rings, he is a very likely candidate to be legal on age. Disclaimer.......it takes practice, good optics and a lot of observation to take a ram on age and is not recommended by the Ministry of Environment. However study Rams closely with stacked rings!

18). As mentioned in many sheep threads, the bugs can be terrible in July and August, and even during September Indian summer weather. Take insect repellant and a head net.

19). Take sunscreen. The 17 or more hours of sun are brutal on your nose, ears, cheeks, neck, hands, etc

20). Ambush gave away my secret.....I hunt better in the afternoon or evening after a nap. I hate to hunt when I am tired, sleepy, etc. I get careless. The nap sharpens up my senses.

Go get 'em and I suspect Nick will be along with pictures when he takes a Dall. I'm pulling for him to get one on the first hunt!

From: TXHunter
13-Aug-16
Lots of hard-earned wisdom and down-to-the-details practical advice on this thread. You could read 50 books and 100 magazine articles and not get a lot of these great tips.

From: Ambush
13-Aug-16
Sheep days in the north are very long days. So Kurt's nap advice is gold.

Always get your pack/gear ready to go at night, before bed.

Get up early, eat a bar and start hydrating while you get dressed and laced up. Have your day food packed and ready.

I like to take my stove and main breakfast with me and get to a good glassing spot before light. I have breakfast [usually oatmeal/raisins] later in the morning. Eating gives you something to do and keeps your energy levels up.

If it's a seven day hunt, I have eight Zip-Loc bags with one day's food in each. The Mountain House meal stays at camp. Every night just throw a bag in your pack. Too much precious morning time can be lost fiddling with sorting food and gear.

Unless you are pressured by other hunters, only stalk rams that are stalkable. Sounds too obvious, but many rams are blown out, never to be seen again. This goes back to Kurt's advice about educating rams.

While you are glassing or stationary for periods of time, take your boots and socks off. Let your feet, socks and boots air out and dry. Damp feet are soft feet and soft feet blister, chafe and excoriate easier.

Keep rain gear very easy to get to. Rain pants should have zippers on the bottom so they can be pulled over your boots. Squalls can come quickly in the mountains. Worse may be that very light rain that has you hesitate to put your rain gear on. Then when the temperature drops, you realize your are wet and now cold.

Have a midday nap. You will not get enough sleep in the short nights. There is nothing quite like lying in the warm sun, in the cool grass with the strong, pungent odour of rams drifting across you from their well used beds. Makes for wonderful dreams!

Often ignored is "personal" comfort. You have to crap or you can't hunt. In my ZipLoc "poop pack", are smaller, separate ZipLocs with unscented baby wipes, half sheets of quality paper towel and anti-bacterial wipes. Anti-bacterial for you hands. I find toilet paper is just not robust enough when your hands are cold or wet. Not the breakthrough you're looking for on a hunt.

And very importantly, like Kurt, have and keep a positive and optimistic attitude. Things go wrong and it can seem like you have lost your window. On a hunt a few years ago, we had blown a band of rams out and they lined out and left, with a big, mature ram leading the retreat. As we were sitting on their recently vacated perch, about twenty feet apart, each looking opposite directions, I caught movement just below me in a crevice. I hissed to my Buddy "Rams, bring your bow!!" He skittered over while three rams came into view at thirtyfive yards. The last ram was very obviously legal. Ram down!!!

It can happen just that fast!

Never quit. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the wild.

From: sticksender
13-Aug-16
Great info. Ambush's comment about "personal comfort issues" brings to mind another gear-related tip for these back-country sheep hunts.

These come in a 1-oz travel size. A guy in our sheep hunting party last year suffered in silence for several days before mentioning his "crisis" to us. Lucky for the tortured lad, I was packing the "gold"!

From: primitve
13-Aug-16
Some good stuff here. Heading up Wed for my 6th Stones hunt with my longbow. The advice of taking boots/socks off during prolonged glassing makes good sense!

From: Mark Watkins
13-Aug-16
A couple more thoughts:

-sleep fully dressed in you hunting clothes, including your socks. I did this in BC and the only items I changed were my socks and long sleeved top. Three reasons why....it saves previous time and weight, it's warmer and you wake up to dry clothes

-do plenty of backpack fully loaded sidehilling training sessions. One day last week, we sidehilling for 4+ miles with a 66 lb pack. It is hard to prepare the feet of a flat lander for the mountains.

Mark

From: Mark Watkins
13-Aug-16
One more thought. Who says sheep hunting is addicting?

Bring a backpackable target. Medicenman sent me his "9 lb" foam target. It weighs about 1 lb and is invaluable for shooting 2-4 arrows a day to stay sharp!

Griz targets (I believe in Alberta) made one for Tom Foss and now sell them outright. These are very good.

Mark

From: Nick Muche
14-Aug-16

Nick Muche's embedded Photo
Nick Muche's embedded Photo
Too much time and effort is required to stalk a ram with a bow to blow a stalk.

One/Two day hunts are typically not enough (all I have this season, vacation wrapped up in other draw tags). I'd kill for a 5-7 day window.

Messed up a stalk on one helluva a ram this weekend. I'll never forget it and it'll likely be the reason I continue trying.

From: Mark Watkins
14-Aug-16
Nick, Pretty sure the average Alaskan wolf doesn't cover that much ground in a day! Nice!

How are your feet and what are you using for socks and boots?

Mark

From: Ambush
14-Aug-16
Nick, a heartbreaker for sure and for the time being. But it will just make you hungrier!

From: Nick Muche
15-Aug-16

Nick Muche's embedded Photo
Nick Muche's embedded Photo
Mark,

Lowa Tibets and darn tough socks for most of it but I've found once those particular socks get wet with sweat, blisters are not far behind. So I swapped them for thick, REI, wool socks and never had any issues.

The ram we found may not look like a giant to expert sheep hunters, but I've seen enough mounts, pictures, articles, Bowsite posts, etc....to know what a really good sheep looks like and this guy had most, if not all of what I'd want in a ram.

Maybe I can find him again, if/when I do, I'll take my time.

Good luck to all of you chasing these with a bow, utmost respect to those who are able to get it done. It's no walk in the park.

From: Kurt
15-Aug-16
Nick, nice ram.....go get him next time. Amazing distance covered too! Good luck. Kurt

From: Mark Watkins
15-Aug-16
Great ram Nick! Those Alaskan rams tend to have a near bighorn look to their bodies!

Mark

From: Treeline
23-Aug-16
Awesome thread here and great advice for not only sheep hunts but any backpack hunting as well as any hunting for critters above treeline.

Think I will cut and paste a lot of this info for checklists for upcoming hunts!

Nick, that is a dandy ram! Hope you can get an arrow in him next time! Heck of a bunch of hiking too - just a couple of miles short of a marathon in rough terrain:)

From: Treeline
23-Aug-16
Dang, you did do a marathon! They officially shortened the marathon distance to 40 km or 24.5 miles:) Congratulations!

From: Kurt
20-May-17
I'm kicking this thread back up for GeoffP to look at for his upcoming Dall hunt. There might be a tip or two in here that could help.

From: kscowboy
20-May-17
Tag for future reference

From: Chief
23-May-17
Good idea kscowboy

From: Mark Watkins
23-May-17
Nothing short a "Bowsite Classic" right here!!!

After doing 6 sheep hunts, I can attest Kurt speaks the truth!!

Great words of wisdom!!!

Mark

From: geoffp
24-May-17
Indeed there is. Thanks, Kurt!

24-May-17
Thanks for bumping this, finally had a chance to read thru this. Bunch of great info. 60 days until my first sheep hunt and I'll probably read this 20 times between now and then...

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