Anxious to hear the story!
Yes, I was successful on the first ram I stalked with my bow on the third day of the hunt! I kind of wish the hunt was a little longer, but it just didn’t work out that way.
After the largest ram (of which we were aware) was killed by the other hunter with a firearm first thing opening morning, I watched another group of sheep for the first day. However, they were in an inaccessible place on the side of a cliff. There were at least a dozen ewes and three other smaller rams in the herd. On the second day, they were even higher and more inaccessible!
I did look for other sheep each day, but the ram with this group was among the biggest of the remaining rams it seemed, and I liked the look of him. Several of the other nice rams I'd seen during scouting trips were fairly broken-up, but this one seemed to have almost no damage to his horns. He had some battle damage to the bridge of his nose, but his horns were in great shape. Many people like those old battle worn rams, but between having to judge how the various chips and broken-out sections will affect the score, and just really not personally liking the look of busted up rams as well, I set my sights on the biggest ram that was with the herd on the cliff as the one I wanted to try to stalk. I had some great photos and videos of this ram, so that added to my desire to maybe take him for my trophy.
On the third day, this particular group of sheep was no longer anywhere on the cliff. While we glassed all the surrounding country looking for them, they were nowhere to be found. We decided that there was a good chance they had topped-out and were on top of the mountain, one of the largest and steepest in the area... It took a few hours to climb to the top on the least steep side, and more than an hour on top to glass the smaller canyons where they could hide before we finally saw them two canyons to the north. The two of us circled the canyons and came in on them from above. I spooked them while trying to range and shoot at the biggest ram. As I had been told, sheep aren't big fans of danger from above, and they were right! Fortunately, they had run to the bottom of a small side canyon and started up the other side before settling down. The big ram was walking around checking ewes when he took a particular interest in one. This gave me the chance to creep out to a rocky point and consider taking a 70-yard steeply down-angled shot at the quartering away ram. Since he was now on the other side of the small canyon, and I'm not sure if there would have been enough light left to circle around and come in on his side of the canyon, I didn't have much choice of trying to get a closer shot. I had practiced out to 70 and 80 yards extensively prior to the hunt, just in case I was presented with such a situation, even though I normally don't ever take shots this far hunting most species.
I was facing almost into the setting sun, and the glare did not make the difficult shot any easier. Due to the sharp downward angle, I decided to shoot him for 65 yards. I angled the shot toward the back of his rib cage on the right side and it exited perfectly just a couple inches behind the shoulder on the off-side. He went less than 15 yards before he was down for good (but not before diving into a patch of "jumping cactus" cholla…). I shot from the top of the rocky outcropping in the top left of the photo. The ram was on the other side of the Ocotillo and down a little below it in the canyon when I shot.
He has about 36” horns and should make Boone & Crocket with a green score in the low 170’s. It was too dangerous to try to go down the mountain in the dark, and it was after 9 pm by the time we had skinned him and boned the meat. We decided to spend a long, cold, uncomfortable, miserable night on the mountain! Since he died on one of the steeper sides of the mountain, we decided to take him down that side and see if we could find a way down between the cliffs. It took close to five hours to get him down, but it all adds to the memories of a once in a lifetime hunt, right!
The inability to do many aspects of the hunt in the manner I always envisioned my sheep hunt would be, was disappointing, and largely due to the boat-only access, but I did have a good hunt and really enjoyed my time among the sheep!
I've also now had it officially measured since the thread was posted. It scores 173 2/8 (Pope and Young minimum is 120, Boone and Crockett is 168).