Preparation for this hunt was overall fairly easy. From a physical fitness standpoint I am ready since I really never stopped my fitness program from last fall. Packing was also fairly simple with back to back trips. Having Tom Foss's gear list is also a big help.
Last year was a great hunt and I had every intention of making a post on bowsite successful or not but opted to keep it to myself. Arctic Red and their guides are the best and we left it all on the mountain for 12 days only to come home empty handed. Mentally and physically it was brutal; hunting wire to wire is never easy, but the memories will be with me forever. It was a blast.
I promise to give you an update good or bad after the 28th. Wish me luck!
Kota man - my first hunt with ARRO was for Mtn Caribou. I saw so many rams while flying around that I couldn't resist booking a hunt.
Flying brass - I will ask Tom to post his gear list. Dont want to distribute his secrets to the masses.
TBM - I have not drawn my bow on a ram yet. I have taken a ram with a rifle and it was quite easy and uneventful...kinda like bowhunting turkey.
Bow hunting sheep is tough and I respect those that are successful. Can't wait to join that fraternity one day.
Post lots of pics!
Just don't touch Jakes hat....LOL!
I am hunting Dall sheep in Alaska this year, I was cautiously optimistic until I read this thread. Now I'm wondering how many times it will take me to kill a sheep! LOL, Goodluck Earl anyway! Mike
Good luck, Robb
I stressed to them that my bow case had to arrive on time or it would be a nightmare. Well, its a nightmare. Im headed to camp anyway and hope my bow can get to camp via charter in coming days. It will be very, very expensive.
I would ask again to wish me luck but right now I need divine intervention to get this trip back on track .
I am so paranoid that I have two identical setups. One I ship to the outfitter several weeks ahead of time and one that I travel with -
Good luck again!
Hang in there.
First of all, I wanted to get Flying Brass and others that are interested my gear list:
1 Kuiu attack pants
1 Kuiu long sleeve merino wool zip t shirt
1 Columbia t shirt
2 Adidas syn boxer briefs
1 REI convertible hiking pants - since the weather was quite warm I wore these most of the trip.
1 kuiu down pullover - one of the best pieces of hunting gear I own
3 pairs of Cabelas socks and liners
Kuiu wool hat and neck gaiter
2 pair light gloves - didn't use
Lowa cevedale tech lite hunter
Kuiu Mountain Star 2 person tent
Marmot Helium 15 degree down bag
Thermarest noeair sleep pad
Sea to summit Aeros inflatable pillow
Bug headnet - lots of bugs but didn't use
Insect repellant - same as above
Nalgene water bottle
3 - s/m/l kuiu dry bags
Toiletries- toothbrush. Toothpaste small bottle liq soap, disinfectant wipes, baby wipes, Advil, Aleve, Sunscreen, chapstick
Freeze dried food - 12 days
Kirkland Sahale Pecan cashew Trail mix - awesome stuff
1 protein bar per day
1 candy bar per day
Meat sticks and jerky
1 ramen noodle per day
2 packs of oatmeal per day
Various individual drink mixes
Hoyt Carbon element and backup(at camp)
16 Easton arrow
16 Ulmer edge broad heads
carter quickie 2 release and backup
Tight spot quiver
Arrow holder tube
Leica range finder
Camera with extra battery
Small flexible camera tripod
Spare rangefinder battery
Komperdell Ultralight Vario 4 Carbon fibre walking stick - Not very durable - Broke into several pieces
Mystery ranch pack
Hip belt pouch
Knife and sharpener
Broad head holders
Broad head wrench
I pod and headphones
Clean clothes for trip home
Cash for tip
Headlamp - left in base camp since daylight was nearly 24 hrs
What did you pack weight when you flew out of camp? My guess is at least 60#'s
Can't wait for your follow-up.
Good luck, Robb
Tom - Starting off I would say that my pack did weigh about 60 lbs which included 12 days worth of food. That is alot to start with.
I will be a bit more diligent with weight control in the future. I believe I could have shaved at least 5-7 lbs off the load. This used to not be an issue, but over the course of the trip it was burdensome. For starters I would like to get lighter rain gear and reduce some of the food and archery related stuff I brought.
Mark Watkins - I wore rain gear probably half of the trip. It seemed like every time we started a climb the rain would start.
There must be a problem with my computer.....it doesn't show your posted story yet (small hint).....
July 12 Departed Houston Texas for a non stop flight to Edmonton. As some of you already know my bow did not arrive at my destination. My checkin with United was one of the worst I have ever experienced. I travel at least twice annually with archery gear and right off the bat I knew my bow case wouldn't make it. The staff and managers at the checkin desk were absolutely confused with how to handle my gear. Seeing the confusion, I immediately asked for a TSA representative and we quickly cleaned up the situation...or so I thought.
After contacting ARRO's Tavis Molnar, he advised that I travel on to Norman Wells and then to camp without my bow and assured me he would get it to me when it arrived. Reluctantly I agreed and traveled on. This later proved to be a good plan.
July 13 Left Edmonton and flew to ARRO's base camp with the other hunters. The group included Adam Foss, Mark Seacat and crew as well as Matt and his wife Jaime from Reno. Another bow hunter had his flight cancelled and would arrive in another day or two.
In Norman Wells we all repacked our gear and left the luggage and bow/rifle cases with North Wright air traveling on with only backpacks and weapons of choice.
We then flew the North Wright air twin otter to ARRO's camp. There was so much excitement in the air on the flight in.
Immediately after arriving my gear was loaded into a supercub and Tavis flew me to my hunting area where I would spend the next 12 days my guide Kelly Robertson. Since season doesn't start for another two days we have adequate time to scout and, of course, wait for my bow to arrive.
Kelly is an awesome guide with 35 sheep taken under his watch. I am confident we will get it done.
On a somber note, on the walk into camp I learned that Kira Molnar, Tavis's sister, passed away earlier this year from Leukemia. Kira, Trevor and their son Austin were a key part of the ARRO team and its just not the same without them here.
Kevin and I had a serious conversation on the mountain around the rifle. In an attempt to make me feel better about the situation, he mentioned that taking a sheep is a challenge, rifle or bow, and that I should be equally please with both. I disagreed. I was not there to take a ram with a rifle. I would have NEVER booked the trip if that was going to be the end result.
All of the hard work and hours I put into getting fit, practicing at the archery range and preparing my gear was done with the end goal of taking a ram with archery gear. I was not going to settle for anything less.
To make a long story short, my bow arrived the evening of July 15th, opening day. Kelly and I hiked several valleys around the strip and maximized our time in the field.
The moment my bow arrived, my spirits changed. I was ready to go. It should be noted that Tavis did everything he could do the expedite getting the bow to me. When it sat it Edmonton for two days he burned 30+ minutes of satellite phone time pleading with the United airline staff to just take it to Canadian North, something they failed to do. They said they left messages and were going to handle it their way.
When the bow arrived in Norman Wells Tavis had a plane waiting and my case was delivered by his cub pilot Mark Harris directly to me in the field. That is incredible customer service...at a significant cost. Tavis would have it no other way.
An equal effort was given by my wife Kelley on the other end to get it done. She is an awesome wife. She woke up at all hours of the night to talk to anyone and everyone who could help. As bad as it was, there is no doubt there would have be further delays without her effort.
My business with United is not finished. I will have a meeting with their customer service department at their office here in Houston to not only settle the issues I endured but also try to help change policy with how they handle archery equipment. It is obvious that their personnel are not trained properly and I hope to change that.
Now the hunt begins.....
My best, Paul
Glad your bow showed up, waiting for more details!
For the next 9 days of the hunt we will take a point A to point B route through some of the most beautiful country Arctic Red has to offer. About half way through the trip we will have to navigate a significant mountain pass. By then we will have half of the food eaten and lighter packs. Hopefully our packs are heavy with sheep by then.
We moved camp everyday and explored EVERY feeder valley and hidden basin along the route. On day two the first valley explored delivered our first rams of the trip. Seven in all. The oldest of the group was an estimated 8 year old full curl ram. Plenty good for me but not for Kelly. Arctic Red prides itself with taking rams >10 years of age or older; last year they averaged 11 years for all rams taken. With most of the trip in front of us it was not hard to walk away. I hope I dont regret it later...
Good luck, Robb
You have "camera" on your gear list. Can you give more detail on that? Those are some great photos so far.
Unfortunately we did not see many rams in this stretch.
The weather was sunny and warm on some days and rainy on others. The rain seemed to come in waves almost hourly day and night which made it a challenge to stay dry. My Kuiu Yukon raingear and Mountain star 2p tent performed well in the downpours. I really like Kuiu's new tent. Easy to set up and comfortable for one person. ARRO uses them exclusively for their operation.
I figure that means one of you is a big time snorer, or perhaps has a gassier reaction to Mountain House meals than the other guy.
Or maybe Kelly thinks that the grizzly bears are more likely to approach from a certain direction, and so he set up your tent along the most likely path, that way while you're being eaten he can get outta dodge?
In this case we targeted two separate flat spots.
Did you carry bear spray? Impossible to carry it with you in your baggage and tough to buy up there. Did they have any spares laying around?
Figure the best way would be to mail it up there.
Honestly, I had hit a low point that day mentally and physically. It had been a week so far and we were giving it our all and not seeing any big rams.
Things quickly changed when Kevin made his signature "I just spotted a ram" move which is a sweeping, circular hand gesture next to his head.
The ram was bedded with a younger one and after a careful look through the spotting scope we determined it to be at least 8 and in the mid 30's range. Although it wasn't up to par with the Outfitters average, it was good enough for me and worth a try.
Both rams were bedded in a very high, rocky wash and we would have to walk exposed to get in a better position for a stalk.
Doing our best caribou imitation we were able to get in position to climb the valley to the left of the bedded rams. Kevin suspected the rams would get up and feed on the lush vegetation to the right and it would allow us to follow them until a shot presented itself.
In no time we climbed the steep wash and peeked over the ridge at the same elevation of the bedded sheep only to learn that they were up and feeding another 200 yds uphill from their original position. And to make matters worse, the rams fed toward the ridge we were on and directly down wind. In no time they were on full alert and spotted us from their vantage point.
We made a last ditch attempt to close the distance and stalked to 110 yds of the fully alert rams. Eventually they had enough and we pushed them out of the area.
Walking down the hill we looked back and realized that they only walked two ridges over and bedded down 3-400 yds from were we last saw them.
Wisely we left them alone and hoped to find them again in the remaining 3 days of the hunt. I wanted this ram.
Thanks for taking the time to put it online.
I'd rather look at these threads than about anything, just ask my boss or my wife. (I know, the latter of the two is technically both!)
So we left the sheep alone and decided to get back early the following day to find the rams. Given that they only travel 3-400 yds after the initial contact we were encouraged that they would be close.
The good news is that we found the rams right of the bat. They had crossed the valley and joined up with another small ram. The bad news is that they were very high and headed to the next valley to the south.
They valley they moved into was not an area we intended to hunt in our original plans but we decided to spend the remaining 3 days in pursuit.
It took us the rest of the day to move camp to the new area and the route required sidehilling all day. Walking long distances on a constant sidehill pitch is usually a requirement for sheep hunting but I hate it...alot.
Some extremely beautiful country.
On the way in we saw a younger ram to the south and given we only had less than two days to hunt we decided to give it a go.
The ram was perched on a high lookout and dropped down to some parallel sheep trails headed toward the mouth of the valley.
For all of my sheep hunts I carry a white Tyvek painters suit and I finally put it to use. Honestly it appeared to work real well allowing me to cross a huge open area without spooking the sheep. He was headed straight to me and really on the move.
I ran up the hill as fast as I could on a trajectory to cut off the ram. I targeted a cliff face running uphill that the ram would have to go around either above or below. I tucked myself against the cliff on a steep patch of tundra and nocked an arrow.
It was only seconds that he dropped down a chute on cue directly uphill, right where I thought he would.
Love it and thanks for sharing...
I could even see the flies buzzing around his head.
I raised my rangefinder and shot a range of 71 yds equivalent horizontal. He finally saw me and froze.
I made a quick sight adjustment and drew my bow. He walked and stopped again 81yds. Adjusted again and drew, he walked again and stopped 96 yds .......................................................................... .......................................................................... .......................................................................... .......................................................................... ..........................................................................
To be continued August 2015. Thanks to all for tuning in. Good luck to all in the coming seasons.
Really nice recap. Thanks for bringing us along with you.
I had a similar chance in Canmore (72 yards) and passed for fear of wounding, would do it all over again too.
Good luck in '15!
Bow hunting sheep is what I dream of day and night. Not sure what dream will replace it when it happens. I hope it never goes away.
Over the last two years Arctic Red River Outfitters has done so much to put me in a position to get a ram and still I am missing that one moment of good fortune to bring it all together. Tavis and his team are an awesome outfit.
After returning to base camp I learned that Mike from Idaho Springs bow killed a nice 11 yo ram and days later Mark Seacat closed the deal on his own ram with archery gear. One day it will happen for me. One day.
Quite an adventure, I'm sure you'll get it done next time, or if not the time after that.
I can tell from your descriptions of the hunt that it's all about the journey. A sheep is the goal of course; merely planning a hike or a picture taking trip to the same area just wouldn't cut it. But the kill isn't necessary for the trip to have been awesome, just the pursuit and the possibility of the kill.
Thanks for taking us along.
Thanks for the read, sheep hunting is always an emotional rollercoaster that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Glad to hear you had a great hunt, and one day you'll take the air out of a terrific ram for yourself.
I go 24 hours off the bowsite and you still are like that babe I took to the Junior Prom..
So happy for ya man.
Good luck, Robb
Your efforts to share are very much appreciated.
Its guys like you that have taught me that there is more to a hunt then the kill. Its the adventure that is so great. Thank you
A couple of those pictures of the rocks you had to walk across all day looks painful.
How did this years hunt compare to your past years hunts up there in terms of number of rams seen. Were you guys also seeing other game, such as bears or moose as well?
Obviously you hunted your butt off and that's all you can do.
Here's to hoping August of 2015 is your lucky year, if not, there's always '16! :)
you will get it done, I'm sure you will get it done, and when you do...... WOW.
Great hunt, what an adventure in breathtaking (literally I bet) country! Thanks much for taking us along and sharing it. Enjoyed it very much.
August 2015.... marked on the calendar.... =D
Thanks for all the great pics and info.
Thanks for posting. C
I'm living proof that going home without a ram is not necessarily the tragedy most guys might think. And sometimes, attaining the goal leaves you missing something. That burn to succeed, to prepare, to practice, to train, and most of all, to dream.
I can tell from your words that you know what I'm talking about.
But it's time for you to kill a ram. You've paid your dues, in all ways. I'm certain next year will be your year.
Thanks for the great thread. Looking forward to the 2015 report.
There are some old, bruiser rams in that country.