Solution for cabin fever
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Treeline 25-Feb-17
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From: Treeline
25-Feb-17
OK guys, getting pretty punch drunk on here from excessive cabin fever so I figured WTH, better toss another log on the fire and weave a huntin' tale.

I will start by saying that the story I am going to relate in the posts below happened in 2012 and I did a long thread over on the Leatherwall about it afterwards. Some may have seen this one over there on the other side of the tracks, but I figured you guys needed something over here to get you out of your funk. Will add a few more details here and, hopefully keep at least a few of you guys entertained for a bit.

The tale begins at a Wild Sheep Banquet up in Kamloops, BC that I was invited to by Kurt (who lurks around here a bit). Kurt and I had worked for the same mine down in Colorado in order to support our horrible bowhunting habits. I happened to be working in Vancouver so drove up to Kamloops to hang out with Kurt and his lovely wife as well as to enjoy the company of a good bunch of people for a good cause.

I really enjoyed the comradery and the beers were good. A number of good hunts were being auctioned off and one of them really jumped out at me. A 12-day horseback hunt for mountain caribou in the NW Territory. Mountain caribou had been on the bucket list for many years, since my buddy Nathan Andersohn had arrowed a monster bull about 20 years earlier. Watching some of the other hunts scared me a bit with antelope, elk and whitetail hunts in BC and Alberta going for far more than I would have ever considered and more than I could afford. I wanted that caribou hunt and figured it would go way higher than those more modest-normal type of hunts.

With a few beers lubricating my judgement, I raised my hand as the first bidder for the hunt at an unbelievably low starting bid. Had a couple of other bidders in and then drop out much quicker than I would have expected for a hunt of that caliber. Unexpectedly, in short order, I was the winner at a mere fraction of market value. Wow, this was really happening and I was going on a hunt of a lifetime!

I was really wired up after winning that bid for that price and enjoyed a very late evening celebrating and swapping hunting tales till the beer ran out. Had a bit of an issue with finding my way back to Kurt's that evening, but finally made it to his place alive (another story for another audience and another day).

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Work kept me hopping thru the summer bouncing between Vancouver, Denver, Lima and Arequipa, Peru. I was able to at least get in some shooting thru the summer at the local range and spent at least a couple of evenings a week out there when I was in Denver.

My work schedule was pretty brutal and there was no time for the normal summer hikes in the high country to get in good shape for a hunt of this caliber. The only good thing about it was that all the flying got me lots of miles that would allow me to fly free for at least a portion of the flights required to get up there for that hunt. You know you are flying way too much when you get to Gold status on 2 different airlines...

August came quickly and I felt like my shooting and equipment were ready for the hunt, even if I was still a bit fat and out of shape from too much traveling and non-physical work. The stress of a multi-billion dollar fast-track project in a foreign country where you don't speak the language is pretty intense. On top of that, I had some family issues that came to a head that summer. I was one step away from throwing in the towel and not going on that hunt up till the time I checked in at the United counter. Thank goodness my wife drove me to the airport and dropped me off on the curb. If I would have driven there, I would likely have turned around and went right back to work.

The location for my caribou hunt was Gana River in the Mackenzie Mountains out of Norman Wells. I was able to get the first leg of the flights to Edmonton on miles, but the 2nd leg on Canada Air up to Norman Wells and the 3rd leg on the North-Wright float plane were on my own nickel. It took 2 days of flying from Denver to get up to Norman Wells. I was met at the luggage by a guy from Wright Air who took me and a few others that were being flown out to Gana and other camps to their hangar. We paid up and the hunters going to Gana were driven out to a nearby pond to load up our gear.

I shared the ride out with three other hunters on the trip out and all were on at least their 3rd trip with Gana River Outfitters. Charles Eddy and his wife were up for their 13th year in a row. At 82, Charles said he was too old for sheep and only after caribou on this trip - he had taken a bull over 400" last year above the lodge and was looking for one bigger or nothing. I was starting to decompress from the overwhelming stress of work and family problems and starting to get a little bit excited about the potential.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Dang, lost internet there for a minute and lost my last post.

We unloaded our gear from the plane and hauled over to the bunkhouse. Previous hunters had written their names and what they had taken all over the plywood walls. It was interesting to see who had been here before and what kind of animals they had taken.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Just outside the bunk house was the skinning shed and there were two incredible caribou racks and sheep horns from the previous hunts. Impressive for sure! It was really exciting to see racks like that indicating what may be in store for the hunt.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

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Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
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They had prepared a wonderful home-cooked meal for us at the main lodge and we went over to eat and meet the guides and staff. Afterwards we went out and hiked up on a small hill behind the lodge to do some glassing and see what might be on the ridges above the lodge.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17
Having some trouble attaching more than one picture. Looks like it took and I just was too impatient!

We spotted some caribou on the west side of the valley and one was very impressively wide. The guides thought it might go 380". It was exciting to be seeing good animals that soon after getting there. The bulls were feeding just above the trees and under the slide rock under the point in the picture.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Headed out for our first morning hunt
Treeline's embedded Photo
Headed out for our first morning hunt
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A good wolf
Treeline's embedded Photo
A good wolf
The plan for the morning was to go in different directions on horseback out of the lodge and look for caribou.

Found a "good wolf" where we set up to glass. Shortly after we started to glass the slopes, we spotted several bulls moving up thru the trees on the east side of the valley. Closer inspection thru the spotting scope revealed that there was one really wide one in the group. My guide Scott asked if I wanted to try for that bull. I told him "Hell, Yea!" and we were off.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
We rode the horses up to the treeline and tied them off where they would have a little feed to keep them happy and out of sight from the caribou above. The bulls fed high above the treeline up the slope. We followed, using the terrain as much as possible to our advantage.

When we got within about 200 yards, one of the bulls caught our movement and stared us down for several minutes. We froze in place and hoped that they would bed in the area to allow us to get closer. Unfortunately, in country where there are lots of wolves and bears, the bulls got nervous and took off for higher country. They trotted about a mile up the ridge and then disappeared in the clouds.

Scott asked if I wanted to keep after them or go back to the lodge. I told him that I was here to hunt and would keep after them till dark if he was willing. We carefully worked our way closer to where the bulls had disappeared into the clouds staying low and set up to wait.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

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Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
First day success - first caribou!
Treeline's embedded Photo
First day success - first caribou!
The weather came in with rain, sleet and snow. We sat it out and waited for one of the bulls to make a mistake that we could use to our advantage.

Finally, late in the day, we saw that the bulls were up and feeding down the slope. I would have to make a move across several hundred yards of open country to get to position for a possible shot. I told Scott to wait where he was and I took off, staying low and using the terrain to get into range for a shot.

I knew I was close when I saw velvet antlers just over a small rise. The wind was in my face so I stayed low and closed the distance until I was within 15 yards of the antlers. It was not the bull we were after and I was unsure where exactly the wide one was but was not about to raise my head up just to look at that range. I nocked an arrow and waited till the close bull's head was down and came to my feet. I was able to see the wide bull that we were after on the other side of the close bull so I focused only on him as I came to full draw. At the release, he jumped and the bulls bolted down the slope. I saw the wide bull stumble as he passed the first tree down the slope and thought that was a good sign.

Scott came up behind me and gave me a high five. He said that had been the most awesome stalk he had ever been on and that the bull had gone down just below the first trees about 200 yards down the slope!

We took off downhill to where he had seen the bull go down. The antlers just kept growing the closer we got. He was awesome! My first day hunting and I had just taken a whopper of a mountain caribou! I was in a bit of shock.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17
I had accomplished an impossible dream to be able to take such an awesome animal with my longbow!

Now, what to do with the next 11 days...

From: Paul@thefort
25-Feb-17
And!, What did you do for the next 11 days? So far, so good. Paul

From: gottoohunt
25-Feb-17
Very nice adventure, everybody needs to do something from their bucket list. I really enjoyed your story.

From: LKH
25-Feb-17
This better not be over. I thought I was reading a novel, not a short story.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17
Sorry, LKH! Had to throw in some background info... Will focus on more pictures and less verbiage from here out!

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17
We took a few pictures then worked fast to cape and quarter the bull. We were wet, cold and miserable and it was getting dark. We were a long way from the horses and it was not going to be fun in the dark. Lots of grizzly and wolves up there to keep you on your toes!

Luckily for us, Harold Grinde had been watching us the whole day from the lodge and came up to help. When he saw we had a caribou down, he went out and got our horses and then rode up as close as he could get. The pack out went much faster with 3 of us.

Harold told us that the other guides had been placing bets early in the morning weather we would get a bull. They had given up watching when we blew the first stalk because no one hunting with a bow ever catches up to caribou if they have been busted. Harold had watched us continue to work up on them for the rest of the day as his money was on us being successful. He told us that he had seen the bulls run then my bull topple over with the arrow sticking up.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
The next morning we got up early and started packing up to go out on the horses to a remote camp.

From: LKH
25-Feb-17
Okay, you're forgiven. Glad you have more and keep writing. It's February and I love hunting tales.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Off to the races!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Off to the races!
It was exciting to finally be headed out on the horses into one of the most incredible wilderness areas left in North America. This was the last hunt that Harold does out of the main lodge area and they would trail the horses several hundred miles across the mountains to the trailhead in the Yukon. The horses seemed to know that they were heading out from the lodge for their last time of the season and were "headed to the barn" back in Alberta to relax for several months with good feed and not have to live off the land.

It was quite a rodeo as we headed out! The horses all fought to get in the lead with no account for the trees or brush in the way. I held on for dear life to keep from getting bucked off and still lost my cap and sunglasses on the wild ride.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Headed out to camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
Headed out to camp
The pack string was a total of 17 horses. There were 3 hunters riding out with a wrangler, cook and two guides. We rode several hours to the north and then up another valley to the west. It was some of the most breathtaking country I have ever been in.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

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Riding through Heaven on Earth... Definitely God's Country!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Riding through Heaven on Earth... Definitely God's Country!

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Getting a bath
Treeline's embedded Photo
Getting a bath
Lots of water up there! Not sure how many streams we crossed and had to cross a bigger river several times on the way. We were in the saddle for about 9 hours to get to our camping site.

This one is my screen saver.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

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Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
A little sunshine to warm things up
Treeline's embedded Photo
A little sunshine to warm things up

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

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Kitchen with firewood split - notice the bear medicine leaning against the tree
Treeline's embedded Photo
Kitchen with firewood split - notice the bear medicine leaning against the tree
Treeline's embedded Photo
Saddles and tack storage
Treeline's embedded Photo
Saddles and tack storage
I am not a horseman. Don't ride very often. After 8 hours in the saddle....Wow! I was beginning to have second thoughts about this whole ordeal. Sheez, who am I kidding, I started hurting an hour into that ride!

Sure felt good to pull into a camp spot and get back on solid ground! We set up a good camp with 3 tents and a cook shack in fairly short order. Had a good meal of canned caribou and taders and hit the hay early.

Day 2 of my 12-day Caribou hunt was a good day.

From: Mark Watkins
25-Feb-17
Travis,

A huge congrats on a great bull!!!

Congrats on a lifetime memory maker of a hunt....great job with the pics and storytelling!

Keep 'em coming!

Mark

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17
Thanks, Mark.

Hard to believe I could get so lucky! This was truly a hunt of a lifetime.

Tavis

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17

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Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Hunter's tent
Treeline's embedded Photo
Hunter's tent
This was the hunter's tent. Shared it with 2 other guys that were there hunting with rifles. One of the guys was just after caribou and the other had tags for sheep, caribou, moose, and wolf.

From: Treeline
25-Feb-17
10 days left...

From: Paul@thefort
26-Feb-17
did any of your tent buddies snore?

From: Treeline
26-Feb-17
Both of them.

Pretty cozy in there with all our gear as well. Figured out why they set us up so far away from the guides and cook.

Woke up several times thinking a grizzly was growling outside the tent...

From: Mark Watkins
26-Feb-17
Were the other hunters "hunting their way out?"

How did they do?

mark

From: Treeline
26-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Gary and Scott glassing
Treeline's embedded Photo
Gary and Scott glassing
Got up early on the 3rd day of the hunt and had a good breakfast while the wrangler and guides saddled up the horses. Gary was looking for a caribou and I would go our with him and Scott for the day.

We rode up a side canyon and glassed a few places along the way.

From: Treeline
26-Feb-17
Mark,

The other two hunters were still just getting started. They had gone out the day before from the lodge but had not gotten into anything to shoot.

Terry Hansen had been to Gana River several times before and also several of the other outfits up in the Mackenzies. He is a very serious sheep hunter and had tags for sheep, caribou, moose, and wolf.

Gary had been to Gana previously for caribou and had taken a great bull. This was his second hunt and he was looking for another big caribou.

The plan was to travel to the west side of the Gana River hunting concession with the horses to the far west side over the 12 day hunt. They focus on big moose and caribou on the later hunts on the border with the Yukon. I think they were planning either one or two hunts after ours over on the west side for moose and caribou. Ours was basically the last sheep/Caribou/Moose hunt for the year.

From: Treeline
26-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
We worked our way to the upper end of the basin and tied the horses at the last trees. We hiked over the saddle and looked at some basins to the north. We saw a number of Dall sheep ewes and lambs and caribou but no bulls of the caliber that Gary was after.

We worked our way back over the saddle toward where we had left the horses around lunch time. As we were eating sandwiches, we spotted something moving below us on the slope.

From: Treeline
26-Feb-17

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Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
'Ol Gus, the gentile berry hoover'n Griz
Treeline's embedded Photo
'Ol Gus, the gentile berry hoover'n Griz
It was a very large grizzly bear. He worked his way along hovering berries like a vacuum cleaner. Luckily, the wind was not blowing toward him and he was not coming up toward us or the horses. Would have hated to lose the horses up there for sure!

From: Treeline
26-Feb-17
Scott told us that this bear was a good bear. His name was Gus and he was gentle enough for even a hunter to ride. I told him that if he could get the saddle on and cinched up tight, I would be willing to give it a try!

We watched Gus feed up the hill and then lay down in the sun for a nap.

From: Treeline
26-Feb-17

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Peek-a-"cari"-boo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Peek-a-"cari"-boo
We glassed up the valley about a mile and spotted what appeared to be a nice caribou bull. He was walking toward us and Gary wanted a closer look. We grabbed our gear and headed down to a spot that would allow a better view.

From: Treeline
26-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
He walked out and Gary decided that he wanted to take him. I hung back while Scott and Gary moved into range.

From: Treeline
26-Feb-17

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Gary's caribou
Treeline's embedded Photo
Gary's caribou
I heard the shot and watched the bull fall.

Gary had taken another nice caribou. The bull thrashed around in the rocks and beat up his velvet a bit.

From: Treeline
26-Feb-17

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Headed back to camp and hoping Gus or one of his buddies doesn't want a little meat with his salad...
Treeline's embedded Photo
Headed back to camp and hoping Gus or one of his buddies doesn't want a little meat with his salad...
I went back up the hill and got the horses while Scott started working on the caribou. I made sure to keep an eye on Gus, but he seemed content up on his bench. We worked fast as it was late and it would be dark for the pack back down to camp.

The pack out was pretty tough. The horses were loaded down with meat and antlers so we had to lead them. We had a hard time finding the trail out in the dark. No one else had thought to bring a flashlight, luckily I had 2 headlamps and a small flashlight in my pack. Everything is wet up there and we were soaked by the time we got back to camp.

From: JRABQ
26-Feb-17
Awesome story/adventure, keep it coming!

26-Feb-17
This is a great story.

26-Feb-17
Awesome man!!!!! Congrats on a smoking Caribou! Keep it coming.

God Bless men

From: gottoohunt
27-Feb-17
Great pictures along with a great story so far, keep typing faster. Love that kind of country.

Gottoohunt

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17
Thanks for the compliments, guys. I was truly blessed to have been able to experience this adventure.

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17
That hike out was a bit unnerving. We had been seeing wolves and grizzly bears and I was a bit worried about losing a horse in the dark if a wolf or bear got too close. Really more worried about running into a bear more than anything. It turned into a long hike out through some nasty wet boggy crap but the horses helped by packing the meat and, when the terrain allowed, Gary was able to ride his horse.

We unpacked the meat at camp and hung it, ate, stripped out of our wet clothes and crashed. The snoring did not wake me up that night..

They had a very interesting mesh tent to keep the flys off the meat and allow airflow around it.

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Meat storage at camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
Meat storage at camp
It had been a pretty darn good 3 days of hunting so far and I was really enjoying myself. The stress and concerns of work and family were completely forgotten and I was more relaxed than I had been in a very long time.

Although it was only late August, the mornings were crisp with a hint of fall and frost nipping the leaves of the bushes and birch. The blueberries were literally everywhere and you could smell them as you moved through patches on the horse or on foot. You could literally grab up handfuls of blueberries everywhere we stopped and got off the horses. Clean air with only the smells of nature (maybe a bit heavy on the horse poo at times). No sounds or sights of cars, airplanes, or civilization.

Pretty much as close to heaven as I could imagine.

From: Scar Finga
27-Feb-17
Great story and a great animal!

Thank you for sharing!

Scar.

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17

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Kitchen and spotting scope set up
Treeline's embedded Photo
Kitchen and spotting scope set up
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View across the valley in front of camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
View across the valley in front of camp
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Scott caping Gary's bull
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Scott caping Gary's bull
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Scott, Racheal and the guide's tent
Treeline's embedded Photo
Scott, Racheal and the guide's tent
Terry and his guide Jason took off early on Day 4 to get a closer look at some rams they had spotted the day before. Scott said that we would be in camp for the day so that he could cape out Gary's caribou and take care of things around camp. We might go out in the afternoon to look around.

Taking care of capes on a wilderness hunt does require some attention. With no refrigeration, if you want to mount the trophy, it is critical to take care of the cape as soon as possible. You have to get the cape faced off, turn the lips, nose and ears and get any fat or meat off the hide then salt it to slow down the bacterial action that will ruin your cape. The salt will draw moisture out of the hide and set the hair. Usually, the salt will need to be knocked off and changed out a couple of times until the hide gets dry enough to keep the hair from slipping.

It was a sunny day so I hung out my wet clothes to dry. Early in the morning, we glassed from camp and saw several Dall sheep rams on both sides of the valley. A couple appeared to be 3/4 to full curl. There were scads of ground squirrels running around our camping spot so I took my judo tipped arrows and had fun thumping them.

I made Rachael (our cook) a sling so that she could have some fun with the ground squirrels and keep her from getting too bored while we were out during the day. Not sure if the wrangler or the guides appreciated that as I think she may have practiced a bit on the "large varmints".

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17
Gary decided that he wanted to leave early since he had his caribou. He started getting his gear together and Racheal called in on the satellite phone to get a pickup with a Super cub in the afternoon.

Gary had actually flown his own plane in from Vancouver Island, so he could just load up and fly back home without having to schedule flights through commercial airlines.

I was having way too much fun to even think about leaving early and planned to stay as long as they would let me. It would be nice to have the additional room in our tent without Gary and I am pretty sure at least one of those growling grizzly bears would not be roaming about the tent for the remainder of the hunt...

Besides, I still had hunting to do...

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17
I see that the comedy thread "Leatherwall" has passed 200! Some very funny stuff on that one for sure! Love some of the sarcasm and comebacks and several have had me laughing so hard it hurt.

Hopefully, my ramblings are not too boring for you guys. Every minute of this hunt is still burned into my memory in detail and there has been little fading of it over time. The entire experience was one that I never thought possible - from beginning to end. An impossible dream.

From: elkmtngear
27-Feb-17
Excellent hunt recap...stuff we all dream about!

Best of Luck, Jeff

27-Feb-17
It's often not understood. But, it's so obvious that when the Lord decides to give us our hearts desire, as a gift of what we need; when we need it, it turns out as an experience that has no match. And, that is obviously what happened here. The hunt of a lifetime. Of all I've read about, this one is taking the cake. Awesome stuff. Keep it coming. God Bless

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17
Earlier in the previous summer, I had contacted the outfitter to discuss the hunt. He was very helpful with details and gear that I would need. This being only the second time that I had ever been on a guided hunt, it was good to get the details on what to bring so that I didn't bring way too much.

I told him that I was planning to hunt with my bow and would prefer a guide that had bow hunting experience or, at the very least, would allow me to go out on stalks by myself so that I could get closer to the animals and not blow it. He assured me that he had guides with plenty of hunting experience that would work hard with me to get an animal. They had guided a few bowhunters in the past that had been successful and he was confident in their skills and abilities.

When I told him that I would be hunting with a longbow, there was a bit of hesitation and then he told me that they had never had anyone hunt there with a traditional bow. He asked if I had ever had any success hunting with a longbow and I told him about my experience - primarily spot and stalk hunting with success on mule deer, elk, bear, moose, antelope, whitetails, bison, etc.

He told me that he did not think I would have much of an issue with a caribou - there were typically many bulls in the area that time of year and they tended to stay high on the slopes to avoid the wolves and bears. Very similar to mule deer above treeline or stalking elk in open country.

Based on our discussions, he thought I could get a caribou on short order. He told me that I had already paid for a 12-day hunt and that he would be willing to let me hunt other species on a kill fee. He asked if I would be interested in hunting a moose. I told him that I was not very interested in hunting moose as I had shot them before.

Then, he asked if I would be interested in hunting a Dall sheep ram. The price was very good, since I already had the 12-Day hunt and I told him that I would be all in for sheep hunting, but it would be a very long shot to get one as I would only shoot one with my longbow.

A dream hunt for Mountain Caribou had just turned into a full-blown Fantasy!

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17
I was going sheep hunting :)

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17
Needless to say, I was a bit frustrated with Day 4. I was chomping at the bit to get out and get after a sheep. We had glassed several rams up thru the day and it was all I could do not to just take off on my own.

Having hunted and helped on many archery bighorn sheep hunts in Colorado, I knew how tough the hunting could be for sheep and that you had to push hard for an opportunity. Every sighting of a ram was an opportunity that was being wasted by not trying a stalk.

27-Feb-17
great story. good details and pics

From: Jaquomo
27-Feb-17
Great stuff, Tavis - thanks a bunch for sharing! Outstanding bull!

From: Surfbow
27-Feb-17
This is a great write-up, thanks for sharing!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Feb-17
Caribou hunting today and sheep hunting tomorrow (I hope)....I see I'm going to have a hard time focusing at work until this thread wraps up....Thank you!!

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Day 5 dawned with Scott and I in the saddle. We rode back to the east and crossed the river in the dark to a long valley on the south side of the river where Scott had seen rams on an earlier hunt. We wove our way up hill to a bench at treeline that we could tie off the horses and climb a bit more to get to a glassing spot.

Unexpectedly, my mount Ace stepped on a downed pine spar that poked him between his back legs and he started bucking on the steep slope! I was worried that he might go down and roll over me. Or worse, I would get skewered by a tree or arrow from my quiver lashed behind my saddle. I bailed out of the saddle trying to make it to a patch of moss up hill of the rodeo. Ace actually went down and rolled over on the slope while I hit the ground much harder than I would have expected upslope of the flailing animal.

Scott turned back and rode down the slope after Ace. He caught the horse several hundred yards below and got him calmed down enough to lead back up to where I was laying in the rocks and moss.

By the time he returned, I had determined that I had a pulled groin, jammed my right knee, some soreness in my ribs that would later make a nice bruise, and my index and middle fingers on my right hand were either jammed or possibly broken. I was hoping none of those injuries were worse than my initial evaluation or my first day to actually get a chance to hunt sheep would be my last.

Scott asked if I was OK to go and I told him I could walk, but was not going to get back on the horse for a while. I also was not sure I would be able to draw my bow with my fingers already starting to swell and turn colors. We tied off the horses and hiked up to the bench to see if we could spot a ram.

Almost immediately, we spotted sheep. We found a band of 4 rams across the valley with 3 of the 4 being full curl or better.

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
The rams were high on a slope across the valley from where we were glassing. Scott asked if I wanted to give them a try. Heck, yea! I was ready to roll.

We had to drop close to 1,000 feet to a creek in the bottom of the valley, cross the creek and then climb another 1,500 feet up the other side to get to the rams. It was damn steep going down and damn steep going up the other side. The climbing hurt my previous injuries but was probably good to stretch out the muscles and tendons.

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17
As we climbed, the rams slipped up into a hanging bowl above the tundra. We got up to the edge of the bowl and saw them bedded in a loose group in the middle of the rocks in the bowl. With each ram looking a different direction, there was no possibility for a stalk. Not sure a guy could get within rifle range of those rams the way they were set up.

We stayed low behind some larger rocks for cover and watched them to see if they would make a mistake and get up to come our way. Later in the afternoon, the clouds rolled in and it started to rain and snow again. The sheep were hidden by the clouds. We decided to back out and come back the next day so that we might have more time to make a stalk.

The steep slope was really slippery going out. Thank goodness I had brought climbing sticks or it would have been a lot faster descent than I would have wanted with an abrupt stop at the bottom. Lots of big rocks down in the creek would have surely made for some additional aches and pains at the end of the slide.

The rain and snow intensified as we got back to the horses and visibility was nothing in the clouds. We picked our way down hill slowly and, luckily had no wrecks on the way down to the river. We hit the river about a mile below where we had crossed in the morning, but it was better going for the horses. The campfire smoke was welcome as we dragged our wet tired tails in to get warmed up by the fire.

My first day of sheep hunting had turned out pretty good. We saw rams and had a plan for the next day of hunting. Things were looking good! Still not sure about the fingers, but think I can draw my bow on a sheep.

From: Treeline
27-Feb-17
Just a side note here:

Horses are amazing animals that can really help you get into places you never could any other way. Be careful and keep your wits about you, though. Horses are animals and can do unexpected things at any time. One branch in your face or something that horse doesn't like in the trail can put you down hard - and you are falling a lot further than you would if you were just on your feet. Even a minor injury way deep into a major wilderness can be significant.

I would estimate that it would be at least 5 hours and probably more like 8 or 10 hours to get from where we were into any kind of medical facility. That is a very long time if you are hurt badly.

I was using a 2-piece longbow that I stuffed in a tube quiver with my arrows. Worked very well and I was able to tie it off behind my saddle where it was out of the way. I took the broadheads off and stored them in a plastic box stuffed in foam to keep them from dulling by rattling around. With the broadheads off, if I had a horse wreak, at least I didn't have to worry about getting cut and bleeding out or even killing a horse.

From: sticksender
27-Feb-17
I'm all in on this one. Great stuff so far.

From: BULELK1
28-Feb-17
Great reading right here Tavis!

True that about horses.

Thanks for sharing man

Good luck, Robb

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
The storm worsened into the evening with high winds and the rain turned to snow. Terry and Jason did not come in that evening and we hoped that was a good sign that perhaps they had killed something.

The next morning, we were socked in with fog and snow. It would have been pointless to go out looking for a sheep unless the weather lifted.

Terry and Jason made it back into camp around 10:00 am after a long night in the weather sleeping under a small tarp. They had found a band of rams with a good ram in the group. The rams bedded in a high rockslide where they could see just about everything below them. It took most of the day to get up to the last bit of cover and wait out the sheep. Finally, late in the day, the rams got up and moved toward the waiting hunters. When the ram that Terry was after came in range, he made one good shot with his trusty .270 Remington and the 11 year old ram was down.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Terry's Ram and lucky hunting jacket
Treeline's embedded Photo
Terry's Ram and lucky hunting jacket
Sorry I don't have a better picture.

Terry is a long-time hard core sheep hunter. As a kid, he read everything Jack O'Connor wrote and had a burning passion to hunt sheep. At the age of 18, he took money that he had saved working on the farm and his new .270 Remington (new at that time) and booked a Stone Sheep hunt in British Columbia. He has a passion for hunting sheep, particularly the Dall and Stone sheep of the north and has been on many hunts for them all across their range. His .270 has been with him for all of his hunts since.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
View back down the valley to where we started
Treeline's embedded Photo
View back down the valley to where we started
Treeline's embedded Photo
View up the valley
Treeline's embedded Photo
View up the valley
Day 7 found Scott and I back in the same valley where we had seen the rams two days prior. Glassing across the valley, we spotted a group of 8 rams in the same area where they had been before.

We dropped down to cross the creek and found that it was raging from the rain and snow of the previous day and a half. It made for a seriously dangerous crossing. We found a spot with some big rocks and used our walking sticks to prop us for the long jumps from rock to rock. Unfortunately, I slipped and got a boot full of water.

The climb up the other side was every bit as steep as I remembered, and with everything wet it was like the whole slope had been greased. Without the climbing sticks, I don't think we would have been able to make any headway on that slope.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Rams at the top of the tundra and into the shale
Treeline's embedded Photo
Rams at the top of the tundra and into the shale
Treeline's embedded Photo
Scott glassing the sheep from behind a boulder
Treeline's embedded Photo
Scott glassing the sheep from behind a boulder
As we climbed up the slope, the sheep continued to meander further up in the shale and eventually bedded, spread over a large area and keeping an eye out for anything moving below. We were basically pinned down in some large rocks with no way to get closer. Heck, we were not even close to rifle range. These critters were playing tough!

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
We settled into some large boulders for cover and waited for the rams to make a move. Hopefully they would get into a position for a viable stalk.

Several hours later, we were eating our sandwiches when I saw something white on the slope below us. It had not been there before. I nudged Scott and raised up with my binoculars for a better look. It was a ram! Feeding, all by himself, not 100 yards below us!

He was an old warrior of a ram with heavily broomed back horns. Definitely a trophy in anybody's book. I nocked an arrow and hoped that he would continue feeding up the slope toward our rock pile. He continued feeding across the slope below us and stayed out of range. Then, he crossed a cut in front of us, walked over to a small outcrop and pawed out a bed not 200 yards from us. He dropped into his bed with a spectacular view of the valley.

This was getting exciting! My second day of sheep hunting and we almost had one in our lap and he was still right there!

The ram had a commanding view of the valley and most of the slope, but there were some blind spots and some terrain that might offer a chance to close the distance. I told Scott that I was going to try a stalk on this ram. I would have to slowly slide down and to our right to get into the cut and then come up the steep slope on the ram's side to hopefully get in range. I would be in full view as I moved across the slope for quite a ways until I could drop into the cut. I picked some landmarks to keep me on my stalk route, memorized them and took off. Scott would stay put and give me signals when I got to the other side if the ram got up and moved.

I started slowly sliding on my side across the scree rock to get down into the cut. I tried to time it when the ram was looking out over the valley and not directly at me. A few feet of sliding on my side and stop to glass the ram to make sure he hadn't picked me off. It seemed like forever to get below the ram's line of site and into the bottom of the cut. The climb up the other side was difficult in the loose gravel and rock. I slowly worked my way up to the jumble of rocks that would put me in range of the ram.

My stalk route kept me out of sight of the ram, but also kept the ram out of my sight. I laid down behind the last cover that I had and glassed back at Scott. He indicated that the ram was up and feeding again above my location.

I slowly worked my way up the slippery slope and peaked over the rocks.

The ram was up and feeding away from me about 50 yards up the slope. Still too far!

28-Feb-17
Good stuff, Tavis! Looking forward to the outcome. Love these threads!

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
I belly crawled further up the slope until I ran out of rocks for cover. The ram slowly fed up and over the lip above.

With him out of sight, I had an opportunity! I jumped up and moved as quickly and quietly as possible across the small bowl that the ram had just fed across. At the speed he had been moving, there was a good chance that I would get close opportunity just over the lip of the slope. I eased over the lip and was surprised that the ram was not in view. I slowly stood up and continued to glass ahead of me where that ram should have been. Nothing. He had just vanished.

I turned and signaled to Scott that I was going to continue to look for the ram and rolled over the rim and away from his location. I quickly determined that the ram could not have gone up as there was no cover up the slope that he could hide behind. There was kind of a bench along the mountain that would allow me to move quickly and peek over to possibly find that ram again.

I trotted about 200 yards down the bench and eased over to glass below. I spotted the ram, slightly below me still feeding away another 100 yards ahead.

Another 200 yards was covered quickly to hopefully put me ahead of the ram. I was expecting to be slightly ahead of him this time and have him walk under me in range. I slid up to the edge on my belly and glassed below and to my left. He wasn't there.

I rose to my knees to be able to see below me better. As I scanned the slope below me, I caught a movement to my right. It was the ram! He was moving faster than I thought and still ahead of me. He was still acting relaxed and had not seen me, so I knew I would have another chance.

I backed up and then raced further down the bench to a point that I knew would be ahead of the ram. This time, I was ahead of him when I set up next to a boulder on the lip of the bench. I nocked an arrow and waited for him to pass below me. The trail he was on would put him about 30 yards below me. He continued walking down that trail toward my location until he was about 100 yards away then dropped downhill to a lower trail that would put him out of range as he passed.

The lower trail put him about 60 yards below me. He calmly walked and fed until he was directly below me then stopped in the trail. His head whipped up and he stared directly at me for about 2 seconds then blew out of there on a dead run! The wind had shifted and he had finally busted me. Last I saw him, he was a mile away and still running flat out!

Guess he thought I stunk after 8 days without a shower...

Awesome! I had almost been in range to kill a bomber Dall ram with my bow! I was super stoked even though I hadn't loosed an arrow. This was hunting! Hell, who expects to ever kill a Dall sheep with a longbow anyways...

As I started back to where I left Scott, I noticed that I had covered a lot more country than I thought. Luckily, he had pulled stakes and started after me when I went over the ridgeline and was about half-way. We discussed going back to the group of rams that we had been set up on earlier but it was getting late and he was concerned about crossing back across the valley to where we had left the horses. We decided leave those rams and back out for the day.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
For this hunt, typically they only spend a couple of days in a camp and continue to move. We had spent far too much time in this camp. I really didn't want to move because we had good numbers of rams in the area and there was no guarantee that there would be rams at the next camping spot.

The horses that we were using were mostly old hands and knew the drill. The previous two mornings, the horses had moved up river during the night to get a head start to the next camp site. Even though they were hobbled, they could cover an amazing amount of country during the night. These horses had to make a living on what they could find to eat up in that country and there isn't much grass or good horse food up there. It was pretty impressive that they were able to avoid the wolves and bears in that country while hobbled up. They said that the wolves and bears pretty much left those horses alone. Amazing critters, those horses!

The wrangler and one of the guides would have to hike out several hours early and track them down, round them up and bring them back into camp so that we would have horses to ride out for the day. Tough duty. Especially as the horses would move further each night in search of food.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
The horses. Strawberry coming up for another handout.
Treeline's embedded Photo
The horses. Strawberry coming up for another handout.
The morning of day 8 dawned with no horses. The wrangler and Jason had gone out early, but were still not back. We ate some breakfast and waited.

Several hours after dawn, Jason came trotting back down the trail alone. He was soaking wet and said that the horses had swam across the river several miles up stream in a place where he couldn't cross and he couldn't catch them. They called back to the lodge to get the Super Cub to go upstream to try and find them.

It was looking like another day may be lost for hunting.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
Man, is it ever getting rough over there on the "Leatherwall" thread. Yikes!

Although I was not able to close the deal on a ram at a distance that most compound shooters consider to be a slam dunk, I do not feel that my bow was a limitation on this hunt. Quite the opposite. A compound bow would be hell to pack on a horse! If you could get that figured out, with all the bouncing around, you would probably just have a mess of cables and wheels in the bag when you went to pull it out to try and shoot something. No telling where the sights would be after the first morning ride.

With that 2-piece longbow in my quiver with the arrows, I was able to have it and my broadhead tipped arrows put together in less than 5 minutes after getting off the horse. It was totally out of the way tied in behind the saddle.

Guess a hard knock to the head might not be good for my sights and my release got bunged up a bit from the fall off the horse - but all in all, I would definitely prefer packing the longbow rather than a compound on this type of a hunt.

I had been close, but needed to get just a little bit closer to close the deal.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
LKH - still crankin' along! See, it is turning into a novel :-)

Paul - guess I figured something out something to do for the next 11 days ;-) Wud'd 'ya think? I wus just gonna lounge around the lodge and guzzle all their booze!

Throw another log on the fire...

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
Getting in close on one of these sheep is tough. Even with horses, they can only get you so far and then you have to hoof it.

The evening that Terry and Jason got back, Terry said that there were two more good rams up in that basin. He offered to loan me his .270 and they wanted to go back up there with me and shoot one with his rifle. I declined as I really wanted to take one with my longbow or would go home empty handed.

Not to mention, if I shot one I would have to pay a trophy fee. It would be worth it if I could do it with my bow, but not if I had to use a rifle.

Hell, I was getting to HUNT for sheep for free! Who could pass that up! If I went out and killed one all the fun would be over. I already had a tremendous trophy caribou and was having the time of my life just being out there with a chance to kill a ram with my bow! I was in it with the longbow to the bitter end!

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
Since we didn't have horses, I spent the morning glassing the slopes above camp in hopes that, if I were lucky enough to find a ram, I might be able to talk Scott into going after it.

I got lucky and found a good ram!

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Good ram bedded above camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
Good ram bedded above camp
He was bedded in a good spot for a stalk and we had seen sheep feeding in an avalanche chute near where he was set up. It felt like a possibility to get in range.

Scott was hesitant because we didn't have any horses to get in closer and was unsure what was going on with the guys out trying to gather them up, but was game. We loaded up packs and took off to the mountain where the ram was bedded.

It was rough going through the swampy forest to get to the base of the mountain where we had spotted the ram. The going got rougher as we ascended the steep slope. There were numerous benches and ribbon cliffs that we had to work our way through to gain elevation. Several places required one of us to provide a foot hold to get up and then turn and pull the other guy up.

We made it to the avalanche chute out of sight of the ram. There was no place to set up for a reasonable shot with my bow so we crossed the chute and climbed into some rocks above a saddle.

From the rock pile, we could ease up to the edge and look over to see the ram. We relocated the big ram and a younger one with him bedded below. It looked like a great spot for an ambush with good cover in the rocks within 30 yards of a sheep trail through the saddle.

We kicked back and relaxed to wait for the sheep to make a move.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Scotty in the rocks waiting for the rams to move
Treeline's embedded Photo
Scotty in the rocks waiting for the rams to move
Gotta luv that camo! 9-days in the woods and blood from a couple of critters soaked in to his jeans.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Lookin' a little crusty myself...

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Looking up river
Treeline's embedded Photo
Looking up river
Treeline's embedded Photo
Looking down river
Treeline's embedded Photo
Looking down river
Scott and I figured out that the reason the sheep live up here was for the vistas.

From: Shiras
28-Feb-17
I keep refreshing for the updates! Have a meeting in 36 minutes. Can you speed it up a little? :)

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
28-Feb-17
I got about 2 hours myself, keep it up!!

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
Hey! This thread is a solution for cabin fever! We still have 3 more months of winter up this way! Relax :-)

We are getting close. Heck we only have 4 days till they drag me kicking and screaming to the plane to go back to the real world!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
28-Feb-17
BTW, didn't mean to sound like I was complaining. When I say "keep it up" I just mean keep telling your story. If it takes 4 more days so be it, I'm loving every minute of it!!

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
We settled into some cover above the trail with Scott just above me in the rocks. I nocked an arrow, set my bow on some bushes on my left side and laid out two more arrows on my right. We broke out our lunches expecting to be waiting a while. I was halfway through my sandwich when I heard rocks clatter from the direction the rams would be coming up the trail.

Scott had the better vantage and told me a ram was coming to get ready! I grabbed my bow. He then said "Little one" so I relaxed a bit as the 1/2 curl ram walked calmly right below us on the trail. The wind was angling across and he would soon smell us. I prayed that the bigger ram would come through the shot window before the little ram smelled us and blew the whole gig.

No such luck! The young ram hit our scent and immediately blew out up the mountain. He ran about 200 yards out before stopping and staring back at our hide out.

So close! With that young ram spooked, all our exertions to get to position were probably in vain. The chance of the big ram coming through in range were blown.

From: Paul@thefort
28-Feb-17
I can hear that big ram coming, even now!

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
Click. Click.

Scott kicked my shoulder and ducked back behind the rocks.

"He's coming! The big ram is coming up the trail!"

Holy $%^t! How lucky can a guy get!

Click, Click, Click...

The big ram came right down the trail and stopped directly below me, perfectly on the "X marks the spot" looking away up the mountain at the younger ram. Under 30 yards. It don't get no better than this!

I hit full draw and released. Crap!

I though I had clearance, but was not in good body position with the slope on my left side and my lower limb tip hit the rocks. That arrow fluttered down toward the ram like a wounded duck and stuck in the trail right behind his front feet.

Not sure how to even describe the feeling of failure at that moment.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
As the big ram bounded off the trail away from whatever that was that hit between his feet, I rolled up to my knees for clearance of my bow limb and grabbed one of those arrows that I had the forethought to set out of the quiver at my side.

My thought was that he was still in range and I might get an arrow in him as he bounded away.

The ram made about 3 hops off the trail and then turned 180 degrees around looking back down toward that arrow sticking up in the trail. He was at a bad angle facing me so I held off on the shot.

Amazingly, he started walking back down toward the trail! He walked right down to the arrow and dropped his nose to it to sniff it. He was slightly quartered to me so I focused on a spot tight to his shoulder and released.

This time, the arrow flew true and hit the spot that I had been aiming for. As the ram bolted away, I saw that the arrow was buried to the fletching with a good bit of arrow and the broadhead sticking out the far side.

Scott tackled me to the ground yelling "You Smoked HIM!"

Kinda hurt getting tackled into a rock pile...

I managed to get away from the crazy guy and told him to settle down - we needed to watch what the ram did after the shot.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Ram back at his bed after being shot
Treeline's embedded Photo
Ram back at his bed after being shot
We eased back up to the edge of the cliff to look for the ram. He had made it back down to the same point where he had been bedded when we had first seen him in the morning. He bedded there and lowered his head.

Scott was sure he wouldn't get up.

We tried to find a way down the route the ram had run, but the shale was too loose. Scott would not go out on the slide as there were cliffs below and if someone slipped, it would probably result in nasty injuries or possibly death. We would have to go down and then try to find a way up to where the ram was laying.

Scott looked at where we had come up the mountain and said, "We are NOT going back out that way! Too dangerous." We took another way down and out. It was still steep as hell, but easier than the route we had taken to get up there.

We got to the bottom near dark. Scott did not want to risk trying to climb back up to where the ram was and coming out in the dark so we decided to leave him till morning.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
28-Feb-17
I had a feeling there was a reason you specifically mentioned the other arrows....

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
When we got back to camp, the horses still were not back. They had run a long ways up the river. Hopefully, with the airplane and two guys on foot they could round them up and get back for us to move camp the next day.

I was on an emotional rollercoaster all night long. Exhilarated to have shot a ram but worried sick that we might not recover him. There were a lot of wolves and bears in the area and they might find him in the night or morning before we could get to him.

From: Scar Finga
28-Feb-17
AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME!!!! Keep it coming... Come on type faster!!!

LOL!

Excellent hunt and story!

Scar.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
Just thinking ahead, BrownBird. I was using a tube quiver and it would be tough to dig around and pull an arrow out if I needed one quickly. You never know when you may get a second chance on a shot or an opportunity to get a second arrow into an animal. I wanted to make sure everything was in my favor to get a second arrow down range as effectively as possible.

From: JRABQ
28-Feb-17
And real good thinking ahead rubbing ewe urine on the first arrow! Or was it just 9 days in camp? The tension, can cut it with a knife. Please go on.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
Horses came in around midnight.

I got up (wasn't sleeping anyways) and went to see what had happened. Harold was there with Jason and the wrangler. The horses had traveled about 15 miles up river and they had finally dropped Harold off at an airstrip where he was able to catch one of them then round up the rest. They were wet, tired and beat.

Racheal put on a pot of coffee and we recounted the wild horse roundup as well as my luck in getting an arrow into a ram that day. Harold told us that we had to break camp the next day and make a long ride to get back on schedule. Scott and I would have to hike up and get the ram and the rest would break camp and start up the trail. They would leave us two horses to catch up.

From: Paul@thefort
28-Feb-17
I do believe I found my third seminar speaker and topic for the 2018 CBA banquet. Think about it and we can talk about that. my best, Paul

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
I was up making coffee a couple of hours before daylight. Scott was up early and we set up two packs to go and, hopefully, retrieve the ram.

In order to get around the cliffs and up to where we had last seen the ram, we had to go about 2 miles up river. We climbed up to elevation and stalked our way back - keeping an eye out for a bear, wolves or the ram.

We got to the spot where we had last seen him and I eased down thru the rocks and brush like I was stalking a live ram. White hair came in sight a few yards below where we had left him the evening before! He was laying on his side and nothing had touched him in the night!

I had achieved the impossible and taken an awesome Dall ram!

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Walking up on my ram
Treeline's embedded Photo
Walking up on my ram
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo

28-Feb-17
Refresh... refresh... refresh.... :)

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Shot was at the top of the rock pile in the background
Treeline's embedded Photo
Shot was at the top of the rock pile in the background

From: JRABQ
28-Feb-17
Wow, that's one of the coolest stories I've ever read, congrats!

28-Feb-17
Awesome story and big congratulations!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
28-Feb-17
So awesome!!! Congrats!!!!

From: Paul@thefort
28-Feb-17
Tavis, that is the most incredible bow hunting story I have ever read. I have known you for almost 20 years and acknowledge your skills with the longbow and really getting in the face of many critters over the years a, but now I am speechless to say the least.

Well done my friend. My best, Paul

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Took a couple of tries, but got the proper "S$% eat'n grins" for the both of us in this one.

We skinned him out for a full body mount and boned out all the meat for the pack out. Scott was surprised that I knew what I was doing and was done in short order. I told him I was always the one doing the skinning and meat preparation for myself or others and was just happy to have someone along to help pack. We loaded up our packs and made it off the mountain and back to camp in time to help break down and get on the trail with the group.

We pushed hard to get back on schedule and rode past two planned camps to the third late that evening. The full moon was really amazing that evening as it bounced up the ridgeline across from camp.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Camp was a cozy cabin with a corral to keep the horses from wandering.

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
The next day, they sent out the Super Cub to pick Terry and I up to go back to the main lodge. It felt good to get a shower, put on clean clothes and sleep on a real mattress.

I was also able to butcher and wrap sheep and caribou to be able to pack as much home as possible. Harold loaned me a cooler and I packed it with all the choice cuts to take home. I was glad that I had extra space to pack capes and sheep horns in a tote. We wrapped up the caribou antlers and didn't cut the skull plate as I wanted to have it measured. Needless to say, it was quite an adventure to get all that stuff back to Colorado!!

28-Feb-17
Treeline - Congrats, one incredible, almost impossible journey!

From: huntmaster
28-Feb-17
Sweet! Sweet! Sweet!

Congrats on two great animals! Loved the story and pics along the way!

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17
I was truly blessed to have this experience. I never would have believed that I would be able to take two such awesome animals with my longbow on a hunt like this. This was truly a hunt of a lifetime.

Hope I wasn't too long-winded! Just wanting to throw this story out there to keep you guys from going completely crazy. Seemed like some poor souls were in need of a good huntin' story. Hope this one fit the bill.

Don't stop dreaming! If you want it, go get it. We only get one shot at life, live it to the fullest and the rest will work its way out. I almost didn't go on this hunt because of all the issues at work and with my family. Guess what, work was still there when I got back and the family issues have straightened out.

Hope you guys enjoyed the story and hope to read your Hunt of a Lifetime soon!

Tavis

From: bhunter
28-Feb-17
Congratulations, Tavis A well deserved trophy.

From: EliteFan
28-Feb-17
That was fantastic and much respect for getting it done trad style!

What an epic, EPIC story!

28-Feb-17
Congrats!! Great reading!! Great account of your adventure!!

From: Treeline
28-Feb-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Footnote:

One of the sheep hunters got sick and had to leave early.

Although he thought his sheep hunting days were behind him and all he was planning to hunt was maybe a caribou, Charles Eddy got the opportunity to hunt another ram. The guides found an old, broomed warrior of a ram for Charles and he made a big climb and a good shot to get an awesome old ram at the young age of 82!

I don't care who you are, that is totally awesome. Hope I still have it in me to do that kind of hunt when I am his age.

From: decoy
28-Feb-17
Tavis, enjoyed this story and pixs very much, thanks.

From: ohiohunter
28-Feb-17
Great adventure and great story! Congratulations!

From: Scar Finga
28-Feb-17
Tavis,

That is an incredible journey, congratulations on not one, but two absolutely beautiful animals!

God Bless,

Scar.

From: RickH
28-Feb-17
Congrats on a great hunt. Thanks for the excellent storytelling.

From: deerslayer
28-Feb-17
Wowser.... Great, great story.... Thank you for taking the time to write it up and post it. Great pics as well. Congrats on the hunt of a lifetime and two awesome animals!!!!

From: lineman21
28-Feb-17
Great story! Thank you for sharing!

From: Hawkarcher
28-Feb-17
Great read!

Reminder to those who have stories: please share.

From: HUNT MAN
28-Feb-17
Thank you! That was just what I needed! Congrats on a fine adventure and here's to the next one! Hunt

From: BOWUNTR
28-Feb-17
WOW... Congrats. Best story of the year. Ed F

From: wkochevar
01-Mar-17
Great story...Thanks for sharing!

01-Mar-17
Incredible story! Grats and thanx for writing it up.

From: Shiras
01-Mar-17
Awesome!

From: hoytshooter1
01-Mar-17
Had me on the edge of my seat the whole time...amazing story and adventure, and done with a long bow, incredible!....congrats and thanks for taking my mind somewhere else other than cold Wyoming for a while

From: njbuck
01-Mar-17
What a great adventure and write up. Thank you for sharing with us and congrats on a trip of a lifetime!

From: Rock
01-Mar-17
Tavis, nice recount of your hunt and congrads on 2 great critters.

01-Mar-17
Amazing story, inspiring for sure!

Thank You!

From: Chief 419
01-Mar-17
Thanks for taking the time to share your story and pictures. Two great trophies on a hunt like that with trad is special. Please share more pictures.

From: C.Beck
02-Mar-17
AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of the best hunt recounts I have ever read!!!! Thank you for sharing and congrats on a hunt of a lifetime as well as actually making the kills. You just sparked a fire to look into a hunt like this.

From: otcWill
02-Mar-17
Really enjoyed this. Hunt of a lifetime! Here's to many more! Thanks, Tavis

Did ya decide which unit for CO this year? Looking forward to a story either way

From: Treeline
02-Mar-17
otcWill, I am still considering. Leaning toward 2 for a number of reasons. Closer to home, big unit, and lots of open country. Will depend a bit on how work lines out. Do not want to draw this tag and get blown out of the water with work. Hate it when work gets in the way of a good hunt. Especially one that takes over 20 years to draw.

From: Treeline
02-Mar-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Sheep horns and wrapped capes. Mine is the one of the far left
Treeline's embedded Photo
Sheep horns and wrapped capes. Mine is the one of the far left
Treeline's embedded Photo
Caribou racks
Treeline's embedded Photo
Caribou racks
Just a few pictures of the racks and horns in the skinning shed.

They took excellent care of the hides and there were no problems for the mounts. Harold also took great care with protecting the antlers on my caribou by bending cardboard over the tips, taping in place, bracing, and shrink wrapping the whole thing.

From: Treeline
02-Mar-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Lake in front of the lodge
Treeline's embedded Photo
Lake in front of the lodge
This is the lake right in front of the lodge. There are small lake trout in it. I didn't fish though.

From: Treeline
02-Mar-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
North-Wright float plane coming in to drop of the next group of hunters and supplies and then take us back to Norman Wells.

From: Treeline
02-Mar-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Unloading and reloading the plane
Treeline's embedded Photo
Unloading and reloading the plane
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
They're off! Taking a group of hunters out to another camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
They're off! Taking a group of hunters out to another camp
They brought in propane, fuel, various food items, and 5 hunters and all their gear. They unloaded everything off the plane and 3 of the hunters got their gear together and back on the plane in about 10 minutes. They took the 3 hunters to another camp and then came back for Terry, myself and one of the guides headed home for college.

From: Treeline
02-Mar-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Last view of the lake
Treeline's embedded Photo
Last view of the lake
Treeline's embedded Photo
Travis took us close through some of the passes!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Travis took us close through some of the passes!
Treeline's embedded Photo
An amazing amount of beautiful roadless country
Treeline's embedded Photo
An amazing amount of beautiful roadless country
Treeline's embedded Photo
Coming out of the mountains toward the Mackenzie River
Treeline's embedded Photo
Coming out of the mountains toward the Mackenzie River
The plane returned in about 30 minutes. It was a bit sad leaving. But I didn't kick and scream too much... I had accomplished more than I could imagine the way I wanted to do it.

From: Treeline
02-Mar-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Coming in to the landing lake at Norman Wells
Treeline's embedded Photo
Coming in to the landing lake at Norman Wells
Treeline's embedded Photo
Back to "civilization" in Norman Wells
Treeline's embedded Photo
Back to "civilization" in Norman Wells

From: Treeline
02-Mar-17
Spent a night in Norman Wells. Went out on the town with the guide and had a few beers at the bar and saw the Northern Lights late that evening.

It was an incredible adventure.

From: Medicinemann
02-Mar-17
Thanks for allowing me to relive some of my sheep hunts by reading about yours. I am not a horse guy, but the amount of ground that a hobbled horse can cover overnight really is amazing.

From: Paul@thefort
02-Mar-17
Tavis, thank goodness for SD cards. Great pics. Just think if we still had to use film. Paul

From: Treeline
02-Mar-17
Feel like I missed a ton of awesome pictures on this hunt. Since then, I have picked up several of those attachments for my spotting scope. Hopefully get better pictures in the future. Still have a hard time thinking about taking pictures in the field... Seems like I forget all about pulling the camera out and only think about getting in position for a shot with my bow...

02-Mar-17
Terrific job, You have pictures for everything. Terrific write-up. You captured a lot of memories. Really enjoyed the details.

From: Zackman
02-Mar-17
Congrats on a wonderful trip and amazing recounting of the story. I immensely enjoyed following along.

I will be up in that same area myself in a few months and look forward to it even more after that story.

02-Mar-17
Wow it just doesn't get any better than this just doesn't....really top thread of all time...in quality and animals and readability....hats off brother...awesome just awesome....

From: Kurt
02-Mar-17
Tavis, Great well written stories about your hunt! Don't know how I missed the thread until you clued me in! Sure was a dream hunt with two superb critters with your longbow! It gets me super fired up for the August Dall hunt this year. Sure is nice country to hunt based on the photos. Looks like a guy might have a chance or two on a ram, even if I am on the the next concession over. Congratulations and thanks for the great story.

From: brianhood
02-Mar-17
Thanks for sharing. What an awesome experience.

From: Chasewild
02-Mar-17
I just can't even.....

A huge ram with a long bow....pfff.

Dreams, man. Dreams.

From: Ki-ke
03-Mar-17
Speechless. Thanks for sharing.

From: APauls
03-Mar-17
WOW WOW WOW. I feel like a moment of silence is deserved. That was quite something. Congrats and what a story to be able to tell. That everything fell in place. Unbelievable. Great story, and thank you for sharing.

From: TD
03-Mar-17
No cabin fever here..... just thoroughly enjoying an awesome story and adventure! Incredible.

Congrats on the hunt.... wow. Thanks much! This is what make bowsite...... bowsite......

From: ahawkeye
03-Mar-17
Holy moly! I had a feeling in the beginning that when I saw those sheep horns sitting at that bunk house that there might be a sheep hunt tied to this. I commend your willingness to stick with a bow, at the point where the other hunter offered a .270 even if I had a perfectly working compound I'd have jumped at the chance to use the rifle. Sheep have always been a dream for me, it may stay that way but I do love reading these stories. Thank you so much for sharing, I've always thought that you could get 4x's the stories that are written and photographed 5x's better for free on bowsite than you can get paying for a commercial filled magazine like F&S or OL. I'm not knocking those guys because they've had some good ones but they can't touch some of the stuff written here, they just don't have the space for photos or story background. Unreal! Thank you again!

From: ExtremeZ7
03-Mar-17
I was literally on the edge of my seat reading this. Great story and congratulations on the hunt of a lifetime.

From: 3arrows
03-Mar-17
Hard to believe story,thanks for taking me alone.

From: Chief 419
03-Mar-17
Thanks for sharing more pictures and details. My biggest regret on past hunts was not taking enough pictures. Anyone who's ever been on a hunt like this understands the amount of travel involved. Getting there is half the fun. Awesome adventure!

From: Ace
04-Mar-17
OutFriggenSTANDING!

From: JohnB
04-Mar-17
Yup I got busted at work with a giant grin on my face. Thanks for the awesome recount of your most awesome adventure!

From: M.Pauls
04-Mar-17
Thank you for sharing, as others have said, outstanding adventure and account given! Thanks for taking the time to bring this prairie boy into the mountains,... for just a little while anyways!

From: sticksender
04-Mar-17
Outstanding write-up Treeline. You're da' man for gettin' it done the hard way. Thanks very much for sharing, and congratulations on those two fantastic animals.

From: willliamtell
02-Apr-17
Commenting late because I wanted to read the full story to the end before I did. You lived the expression "on top of the world" and me and many others the full Walter Mitty-esque fantasy. Congratulations for sticking by your guns (er, longbow) and getting 'er done!

From: Treeline
03-Apr-17

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Thanks for the comments.

Still look at my caribou mount every day and think about that hunt.

Need to get on to my buddy to finish that sheep mount... He had the sheep put together, but got sidetracked and hasn't finished the habitat. Gonna hang him on the right side of that balcony half-wall from the caribou.

From: Beav
03-Apr-17
A classic for all time for Bowsite! Thanks for sharing and I can't believe I missed this until now.

From: T Mac
03-Apr-17
What an awesome adventure in gods country! Congrats on 2 fine animals and thoroughly enjoyed reading the recap of your hunt. It must take a few days to get back into everyday life huh treeline?

From: Treeline
04-Apr-17
Was definitely a "total emersion" type of hunt, T Mac. No phone, computer, traffic, politics or anything else to deter from full throttle-110% hunting. Hated coming back to the real world. Kind of felt like you do after roller skating or in a bubble with the world going on around me for several weeks.

18-Apr-17
Fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed this thread. Makes me want to go after sheep so bad!!!

From: Z Barebow
19-Apr-17
This thread is mis-named. Along with being a solution for cabin fever, it is the source for cabin fever and stokes the fires for hunting season and captures what we like to do and why we do it.

Awesome share! Thank you.

From: Grubby
19-Apr-17
I'm sure glad I saw this one! Epic!!!

From: Treeline
08-Sep-18

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Finally got my ram home!

09-Sep-18
I just read this post for the first time. What an adventure. They obviously let you hang out and continue to hunt because you were an asset in camp. And could get it done. Usually if your a lump and a walking disaster they can’t get you out of camp soon enough. You should post all the logistics and costs after the hunt. I’m sure it was a lot of work to get everything back to Colorado. Great story thanks!

From: M.Pauls
09-Sep-18
Thanks for reposting Tavis, was a fantastic re-read on a dreary morning with a coffee in hand. The mount looks great and I’m sure will spark those memories for years to come!

From: wooddamon1
10-Sep-18
Too damn cool! Congrats!

From: WallHanger
11-Sep-18
Amazing story, thanks for taking the time to share!

From: Medicinemann
11-Sep-18
For a minute, before I saw a photo of the mount, I wondered if you might have him mounted sniffing an arrow stuck in the dirt...….:)

From: Treeline
11-Sep-18
Now that would have been too cool Medicineman!

From: Chief 419
11-Sep-18
You’ll be able to look at that mount and relive the memories over and over. That hunt was the trip of two lifetimes. Congrats!

From: Z Barebow
11-Sep-18
One of the best Bowsite reads ever. Thanks for putting a bow on this adventure for us readers.

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