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NWT Archery Sheep Hunt - Round 3
I just returned hours ago from another sheep hunt in the NWT. If you recall, last July I had a great hunt with Arctic Red River Outfitters but unfortunately I did not take a ram.
This year I tried my luck with MacKenzie Mountain Outfitters just South of ARRO and requested Rob Aasen to guide me on the hunt. Rob has a great reputation as a hard working and successful guide and, regardless of the outfitter, I wanted him to help me get my ram.
I will post a full hunt report in the next day or so.
Looking forward to it. Bring it on!
I'm in for the details; a hunt with one of these guys is on my short list.
Rob is the man... And MMO is the best
Looking forward to your follow up.
Good luck, Robb
Awesome! Can't wait either!
Best hunt of my life was a 12-day hunt up there with Gana River Outfitters. Totally Awesome experience!
Wish I could go again right now!
Will keep checking for your story...
Looking forward to the story. I can't believe it's been 2 years since I was up there hunting with Rob.
Can't wait for the story!
Must be getting all the Grin pictures ready to post.
Big time congrats....just need the story now.
Your killing me here! Let's get this party started!
He's holding all the cards:)
The suspense is killing me!!
Rob and MMO are def great choices! let us hear more ASAP.
Thanks for doing it on Bowsite, my only source for international bowhunting news and stories.
I hear the third time is the charm :)
It there a blue bill for this?
My apologies for the delayed startup of my hunt recap. I am in the process of relocating to Malaysia and spent the last couple of days getting things packed up and spending time with the kids. I am writing this on the flight 34000 ft somewhere over Alaska.
Here we go.
Day 1 & 2
My travel from Houston Texas to Norman Wells was quite uneventful, unlike last year where my bow was left in Houston on a nonstop flight to Edmonton and took three days and to get it to me in the field. This time I verified with the gate agent on all flights that my bags were scanned and loaded onto the plane. Something I will continue to do in the future. It was a short float plane flight from Norman Wells to the MacKenzie Mountain Outfitters base camp. Upon arrival the entire MMO crew met us at the docks and in no time the gear was offloaded. From the start I had a good feeling about Stan and Helen Steven's operation. They have operated this 9000 square mile concession since the mid 1970’s and have a great reputation of success with sheep, caribou and moose hunts.
I met my guide Rob Aasen and we quickly prepared my back for departure, I was going to be the first hunter flown out into the field. With the weather deteriorating we hastened our preparation and were off in less than an hour after arrival. Stan pilots a Robinson R44 helicopter for most of his sheep hunts and also uses Helio Couriers on wheels and floats when needed.
Our first hunt was going to be in an area very conducive to bow hunting. It was a three to four mile long canyon holding a good population of sheep. Upon landing we set up camp and the spotting scope to wait out the 12 hour wait required by Canada law after air transport.
The following morning we hiked closer to the canyon and right from the start we started seeing rams. In fact, we had two young ram walk inside of 40 yards sky lining themselves on a precipice. Neither of us has a camera ready for a phenomenal photo opportunity.
We quickly learned that during the day the sheep will feed into the rim of the canyon and into the sparse timber. For the next two days we looked this area over thoroughly and of the 9 rams located, could not find one over 7 yrs old which was too young for me. I had my sights set on a mature ram of 9 yrs or older. Size was not as important as age.
After months of waiting, some great hunting stories are about to roll in....!!
Day one and two hunting area. Beautiful.
We were moved to another canyon early on day three and spend the day glassing for sheep. Right from the start we saw rams but again they were too young for my liking and since this was a relatively small area, we decided to move camp to an area further south that offered a much larger area to hunt and held a good population of sheep.
On day four we woke up early, packed up camp and headed south. It was going to be an all day hike to the new area across a muskeg swamp and several canyons but we felt it was going to be worth the effort. It was a nice sunny day and made the hike much more enjoyable than expected. Later in the day we were getting a bit worn out with the camp move and started to question my luck with sheep hunting yet again. Here we are in day 4 of my third straight hunt to the NWT and I have yet to see a sheep that met my standards. Later I learned that Rob was thinking the same thing. Who is this Earl guy and is his luck as bad as everyone says it is?
That stretch of the hike proved to be the low point of the hunt because toward the end of the day we are resting on the hillside, silent, when Rob said those magic words I longed to hear….EARL, I GOT YOUR BIG RAM!
I'll continue this tomorrow. Just got off a 20hr flight and gonna try to sleep off this jet lag.
I know about the jet lag I just got back to Dallas from Singapore, it is about a 30 hour day!
I like the smile! it reminds me of my Dall hunt at Nahani Butte. I think I had an easier time because my standards were legal and White :)
Get some rest, Earl. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
OK, Earl, that's enough rest.
Back to your hunt and photos, please. :-)
Thanks for taking the time, and thanks for the paragraph breaks.
(Journalist thingy, sorry.)
From our vantage point over a thousand yards away, the solitary old ram was magnificent. His heavy horns had wide sweeping curls and tipped out on both sides. This was the ram I have dreamed of my whole life. In early 2000 I rifle killed a 12+ yr old ram in Alaska and since then I have given it my all to get one with a bow. Hunting sheep with archery gear is what I dream of each and every day and taking a ram would be the pinnacle of my hunting career.
For the next hour we watched the ram feed and eventually move a bedding area on a rocky promontory far out on a point. His perch would give him a nearly 360 view of the area a safe haven to chew his cud and rest for the day.
In no time Rob quickly devised a plan that would put us close to the ram. We dropped our camp, walked down the ridge and sneaked to a rocky outcropping within 100 yards of the ram. From that point we would go no further and planned to just wait him out.
Having a solitary ram in this position gave us a significant advantage and we were not going to screw this up. We were prepared to back out and hunt him a later time rather than blow him out of the country.
And so the next 6 ½ hours we waited.
This was our vantage point while waiting out the ram. He was bedded on the rocky outcropping in the center of the photo.
Welcome back, Earl. Thanks. :-)
This is great .
Thanks for bring us along.
Good luck, Robb
Really like the scenery. Thanks for posting this story. Anxious to see the ending.
From our vantage point we could peek over the horizon and see him in his bed. For the first 4 hrs our so we checked on him every 30 min or so but as time passed we thought he would move at any time and check on him more frequently.
Finally he stood and surveyed the area before dropping out of sight. We had no idea which direction he headed and cautiously we both crept forward to better locate his position. Rob spotted him on his side of the hill and quickly moved me into action. He suggested I walk down the right flank of the hill and come over the top through the saddle. From there he predicted I would have a 50 yd shot.
Earlier in the day when we first found the ram, Rob could easily sense my excitement. He smartly calmed me saying ”Earl this is the mature ram you wanted. He is a mature ram, that's all." I kept that in mind as I moved into position. He was a mature ram alright, just what I wanted….but damn he was big.
I'll be up there this week with MMO and start hunting on the 15thnfor sheep and caribou. Thanks for this thread, it couldn't have come at a better time for me.
Between our vantage point and the ram was a rocky saddle. He was feeding on the north side of the ridge and I quickly went along the south face and crawled through the saddle. Once I was on the same side of the hill as the ram I cautiously crept forward surprised that I could not see him since we were basically on the same hill side and yards apart. I looked up at Rob and he motioned me forward toward the ram. As I descended through the loose rock in a crab crawl posture the ram came into view.
I quickly ranged the ram; 60 yards. I wanted to close the gap more. I had practiced at much longer distance in preparation for the hunt but, in my book, closer is always better. I felt extremely confident I could shorten the distance undetected and quickly did so. After gaining precious yardage I shot another range and decided it was go time.
This is a view of the hill side where the ram was feeding. He was in the small, dark colored gully below the shadow in the center of the screen feeding on a small willow.
I’ll be honest with you, the whole shot sequence was a blur. I had spent so many hours getting me to this moment, working out with a heavy pack and marathons, practicing my shooting with consistent back tension and many, many days walking the mountains and valleys searching for my dream ram. There was no way I was going to blow this one, absolutely no way.
My instincts took over when I came to full draw and the bow went off…… the arrow was on its way.
Must've been a loooooong shot cuz it's taking your arrow FOREVER to get there!!! Keep it coming! :)
Good lord. How am I supposed to function today without more of the story...
The arrow hit the ram with a resound whack! My arrow flew true. The ram ran down the slope clearly bleeding profusely and dropped down into a small canyon. From our vantage point we could easily see if he exited and he did not. I was certain the big ram was down for good.
Rob went back to gather the tent and I sat in the ram’s bed soaking up the whole experience. What an incredible hunt. When he returned we walked toward the edge of the canyon where the ram dropped out of sight and there was a good blood trail that led us to the downed ram.
I cannot tell you how elated I was to wrap my hands around those horns. They were long, heavy and symmetrical; this was truly the ram of a lifetime.
There is no doubt that Rob Aasen was the reason I got my ram, absolutely no doubt. He is one of the best guides in the business and his consistent success tells all. I was so grateful to have him at my side.
Thanks for taking us along.
Oh my!!!! What a beautiful ram in every way!!! CONGRATULATIONS on a true trophy!!!
Wow, what a brute!
Congrats on a perfect ram
Wow! Beautiful ram! Congratulations, persistence pays off once again.
The pack out with a full sheep and a full camp was a tough one. With absolutely no water to drink, steep slick terrain and heavy packs, I was pushed to my limit. But it was well worth the effort.
Great looking animal. Congrats!!!!!!!
Great ram. How far was the shot?
Fantastic Ram!! congrats!!!
Damn...that is a beautiful ram! So glad it all came together for you.
Best of Luck, Jeff
Congrats on a beautiful ram!
Fantastic! What a beatuiful ram. Congratulations.
Earl, Congrads on a beautiful Ram. No wonder I can not keep track of you as every time I run into you or hear from you have moved again.
Now you are relocating to Malaysia, that is a long ways from Castle Pines.
Wow! That's just spectacular. Congrats.
Great ram! Congrats on a fantastic hunt!
Wow! I can't imagine the satisfaction after so much effort was put into it for you.
Congrats and thanks for sharing!
Great looking Ram. Congrats!
Amazing ram, congrats! Did you hunt anything else after your ram?
So awesome. Congrats!!! Beautiful ram!!!
Congrats on a beautiful ram! Thanks for sharing! It was worth the wait!
Congrats on a well deserved trophy of a lifetime! Great story I've got the itch to get back in the Mountains now! Congrats again!
How far was your shot? Clean pass through? Was he beaded down? Did he see you draw? Were you crouching?
Another Bowsite Classic! Enjoy! C
Very nice ram! Congratualtions! Very nice photos also. Thanks for the story.
Amazing ram, congrats!
more photos and details please.
Amazing...resilience takes another ram and what a brute! Congrats and thanks for sharing
Well written. You are a natural storyteller. Thanks for taking time to tell the story and not just post a kill shot
A buddy and I hunted sheep with Stan in 1989(gun)both of us shot nice rams, your pictures really bring back some great memories, it's beautiful country, you must have been on cloud nine! Bravo.
Congratulations! Awesome ram! makes me want to go again.
Awesome sheep! Congrats for you after all this time!
Incredible Ram, Congrats!
What a deserving hunter! Photos - fantastic Story - Exciting End result - Congrats on a fantastic hunt!
Awesome!! Congrats on a fantastic ram and great pics and story.
Great story and great photos. Very much enjoyed following along. Congrats!
I would say that ram was well worth the wait...GORGEOUS!!!! Looks like a once-in-a-lifetime sheep!
Beautiful ram, thanks for sharing your story. Sitting here in Ft Nelson BC, preparing to ride into sheep country tomorrow, your story gets me even more fired up to stalk a ram. Congratulations again on a fantastic archery trophy!
Congratulations! The ram is stunning...
I spoke with you last year on your last leg of the flight when they lost your gear. You handled it better than anyone. I'm happy you got a great one and you deserve it to say the least. Rob is a great also. Congrats.
Thanks to all for the congratulations. It is truly my pleasure to share to share the story of this and other hunts on Bowsite. It is a great place to make it happen.
More details? Well there isn't much more to tell. My shot distance was in my effective range...that's all I'll offer. I've learned the hard way to keep it there. Getting as close as you can is always a good decision.
As a wise man once said, I have too many pins for my shooting ability and too few for my stalking ability.
I shot the ram while he was standing in a hard quartering away posture. I was shooting the rage hypodermic broad head for the first time and the arrow passed through completely. The wound channel and blood trail was incredible.
The shot angle was severe. 10+ yds difference from line of sight yardage. The attached photo tells all.
I also carried a mountain caribou tag and will post the story on a new thread.
Good luck to all this hunting season.
What an Incredible and well deserved ram! Congrat!
Love those flared out tips, that one would be my dream ram for sure.
Congrats and some great pics to go along with a great story.
Thanks for posting. What a beautiful ram you have now. Congrats on one hell of a hunt. You earned it. Hunt
Heh Earl, Just saw this. Blake & Dyrk told me you had a good trip. I guess you did, your ram is a beauty. Congrats on a great trophy and good job on the write up. Be careful over there in Malaysia. Tom
It is so cool to be able to hear and see these great stories and see these great pictures thank you a bunch.
Congrats on the great ram.
beautiful Ram Congrats and thanks for sharing.
great adventure, am glad you posted this story congrats.
Great job, Earl. Congrats! That is a beautiful ram. Like Tk, I saw the pic but wanted hear the story in your words. Looking forward to hearing about the bou as well. Congrats again. Lenny
Here is a picture of me and Rob with the ram. All smiles.
holly, nice dall. He has a wicked wide curl. Very cool. what were his bases? how long was he? Congrats on a beautiful ram!!!!!
Congrats Earl on a amazing hunt, awesome adventure and a beautiful great flaring Dall! Absolutely stunning! Rob is the man again!
These stories never get old, nicely done to you and your guide!
Very nice ram. I love the symmetry and width. Congrats on the accomplishment.
What a great read and Ram!
Good luck, Robb
Great story, awesome ram!
Thanks for sharing
Well done! Thanks for posting
What a spectacular and well earned ram! Congratulations and thanks for taking us along!
Congrats on a beautiful ram!
Nice read. Congrats on your ram. Could you please post your gear you used. Also interested in any gear you would recommend based on your experience.
Congrats again Earl! Glad you were able to use everything I taught you - oh yea, you used that on the two unsuccessful hunts. Great job buddy! Really happy for you….
Great story telling, awesome and well deserved ram. Congrats!!!
Congrats Earl. Rob is a great archery guide and MMO never disappoints.
Thing of beauty - great pics and nice work!
Thanks for the additional details! That shot angle was serious -- well done on making it count.
Awesome Ram! Makes me want to go up there for another hunt.
That is an incredible hunt, for sure!