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Stone Sheep Adventure in BC
Just did a Stone's Sheep hunt in the Toad River region of northern BC. The outfit, Stone Mountain Safaris, is owned by Leif & Kellie Olsen. They receive about 28 sheep tags per year, but book only one bowhunter for sheep each season. This year would be my turn!
Travel went very smoothly....consisting of a 3-hour drive to Chicago O'Hare airport, non-stop flight to Edmonton, Alberta; overnighting there, then flying to Ft Nelson, BC the next day, where Kellie Olsen picked me up. We took off up the Alaska Highway for the 3-hour trip to the ranch.
I spent the first night at their rustic ranch & home which is nestled beautifully into the mountains as seen here.
The next morning the wranglers trailered the horses along with a vast amount of gear, for the drive to the trailhead.
We headed down the Alaska Highway, which is undergoing lots of construction work in this area.
Unloading at the trail head on Aug 11th.
Heading down the trail, with 12 horses doing all the work. The pack-in was about 19 miles and roughly a 6-hour ride on horseback.
During the pack-in, things did "get western" a few times, owing to the fact that the area is riddled with yellow-jacket nests, or so-called "ground bees". The lead horse would step on a nest of these ground-dwelling demons, get stung & react wildly, igniting the whole string into a galloping panic...sometimes scattering the horses off trail and into the timber. Although this happened 4-5 times, we managed to avoid losing any riders or packed loads. Fortunately my bow was hard-cased and top-packed on an even-tempered animal, and it survived the trip to base camp perfectly intact.
My riding horse "Kodak".
Base camp was situated on a plateau above a swift-flowing stream. Consisting of a cook cabin, bunk cabin, tack shed, outhouse, corral area and shower house.
This young cow moose (named Boo-Boo by the camp cook) was extremely fond of the mineral block placed out for the horses, and guarded it jealously. I saw her charge the wrangler at full speed with ears laid back, as he was trying to assemble the horses the first morning. Most anytime at night, I could look out my window and see her in the moonlight, bedded on the mineral block.
Guide Shale Deschipper and assistant guide Joe Giesler glassing for rams the morning of Aug 12th. That first day, we rode in as far as we could go on horses, then donned our backpacks to hunt and glass on foot for the day.
The first sheep we encountered was a group of ewes, lambs, and a juvenile ram. He's the one with the dark coat and stocky body in the 2nd pic below, 3rd from the left.
Can't wait to hear more. Stone Mountain is on my short list of Stone Outfits...
We stayed in our perch on this hilltop for most of the day, taking advantage of a panoramic view for glassing.
Only immature rams were spotted on this first day, along with plentiful ewes and lambs.
Prior to the second morning's hunt, Shale had spotted a group of 3 rams from base camp, with one larger ram, but they were much too far to determine if he was legal. To be a legal shooter in BC, a ram must be 8 years old, as indicated by the number of annuli on the horns. Or alternatively, he must have at least one horn tip that projects above the top of the snout. Occasionally a 7-year old ram will be legal under the full-curl criteria, but it's wise to move in close and age the ram by his annular rings.
These rams were on the opposite side of the drainage from yesterday's hunt. We headed up on horseback, then tied them up and struck out on foot to see about getting close enough to age the bigger ram.
Three rams were in the group, including the possible shooter.
We first approached to within about 900 yards, which was still too far to be sure he was legal.
We then dropped back out of sight below a ridgeline and closed the distance to about 300 yards. But that's when the weather hit. I had to put the camera away for the rest of the day, due to relentless pelting rains and high winds.
The good news was that the ram turned out to be a definite legal ram. His tips were just above the snout and he was 9 years old. We wanted to try a stalk, but were mostly pinned down by the volatile weather. And the extreme winds were spoiling any hope of an ethical bow shot. With temps in the 40's, we layered up and hunkered down in our rain gear for the next 3-4 hours, with the ram at only 300 yards. We moved a couple times along the lip of the ridge concealing us, trying to anticipate the travel route of the ram.
The ram drifted around with the other young rams and among some ewes/lambs. We'd pop our heads up from time to time to check on him. At one point we could no longer find the ram. Eventually one of the smaller rams broke away from the group and approached us. We hunkered down flat to avoid detection by the little ram, but we'd lost track of the shooter. After about 30 minutes, the little ram finally passed by us, and so we again checked on the big ram, thinking he might be coming along in tow. Unfortunately, he'd completely disappeared. All the other sheep were still in the draw, minus the big one. In spite of looking for this ram intensely over the ensuing days, we'd never see him again.
On the third day of hunting, we elected to load up our packs and hunt bivouac style for the next few days. We were hoping to either find the legal ram again, or possibly locate another shooter. We brought the wrangler along and rode horses in as deep as we could go, then took off on foot with loaded packs. Here Shale gives instructions to the wrangler, his younger brother Jace, on returning to base camp with the horses.
We soon found a small band of rams, but once again, the oldest ram was a sub-legal 7 yr-old.
Example of terrain.
Another terrain pic.
Cresting the next ridgeline, we noticed fresh evidence of a recent resident hunting camp in the valley below. Although the outfitter has exclusive rights to guide in the area, residents are free to hunt the public land if they can access it. The only game season open during the prior week was sheep, leaving little doubt this was a group of sheep hunters. The area is very difficult to access, but I was told that a local horse packer operation is available for hire to bring in groups of residents to the area. We walked down to the campsite and found a small scattered pile of salt, indicating that at least one ram had probably been killed.
Since this area had most likely been hammered pretty good, we decided to move far away and find some fresh territory.
We struck off in the direction of an area the guide called The Gray Mountains.
Joe Giesler, the guide-in-training stood 6'-6" tall and at a wiry 220 lbs he was an absolute animal of a climber. Here, Shale had left his pack to climb a ridgeline to glass, and Joe was about to haul Shale's pack and his own up a steep, long grade. He performed such tasks effortlessly and without complaints.
Very few sheep were found the rest of the day. We did see lots of boot tracks though. The resident hunting party had probably pushed out most of the sheep from at least a 2 to 3 mile radius of their campsite.
We hiked deeper into the Gray Mountains, and that evening found a good camp site for the night.
In spite of backpacking, as seen here, oral hygiene was not neglected by the guides ;-)
On day 4, Aug 15th, we started finding sheep again. This particular ram was intriguing at first, but on close inspection turned out to be just 7 years old, and not legal. He displayed a wide & deep sweep to his horns, and should be a real dandy in a couple of years.
More sub-legal rams were spotted up this drainage including this bedded 7-year old.
He was accompanied by three smaller rams
We moved ahead and climbed into position to glass some greener terrain. Quickly Shale spotted another small band of rams
The rams were feeding in tall willows along the lip of this gash. Two of the rams were intruiging, and needed to be checked for age.
The rams moved in and out of cover, and were intent on feeding in the willows. It took hours of waiting and watching before we could get a clear enough view, for a long enough amount of time, to be certain of their ages.
This ram was legal at 8 years old. Although not huge, he was a very interesting ram, for which the guide soon came up with a nickname. I won't type it here verbatim, as this is a family site...lol. We'll call him "J-Rod". He displayed a type of permanent deformity in his undercarriage, which hung straight down at all times, and with a sharp bend at the tip, with the last inch pointing straight back. The inside surface of his hind legs were stained yellowish-brown from repeated soakings.
J-Rod is bedded on the left, with a younger ram feeding at right.
The ram at the far right was yet another 7-year old who was sub-legal.
After watching J-Rod and his pals for the rest of the afternoon and evening from our position about 400 yards away, I finally decided he was probably not a ram worth pursuing at that time. Although barely legal, I thought we could do better. I did mention to Shale that I might have decided differently, had he been standing broadside at 40 yards. As it was, the group was not in a good stalkable position, based on the wind conditions and the lack or terrain features between us and the rams.
As the sun was setting we backed out and dropped into the nearby drainage to find a new campsite for the night.
The next day Aug 16th we were up early again to glass. We soon spotted more rams, but all were too small to be legal.
The area ahead of us had very little water, so we filled up all the bottles to be sure of enough water to hold us for a day or more.
The opposite side of this valley was loaded with sheep. A large herd of ewes & lambs, small bands of various rams, and scattered single sheep were spotted all up and down the grassy slopes. One group of rams had a couple possible shooters, but they were too far distant to age accurately.
We hiked back down to the drainage that evening and set up a camp. Shale & Joe are pictured here working on the tent.
Just after this pic was taken, we encountered another group of resident rifle hunters in the drainage below. The group of three hunters had come in on horseback, and set up a camp in the next basin. They mentioned one in their party had killed a "34-inch" ram the previous day. Based on their description of the ram and location, Shale thought it might be the ram we'd lost track of on Day 2.
We'd glass the rest of the day, along a route that'd take us back through the area we spotted the Day 2 ram. If no luck finding him, we'd work our way back to the cabin and make plans to find an area with less resident pressure.
Moose sheds were very common....I noticed them scattered everywhere.
On the way back to the Cabin
Camp valley coming into view.
We had no luck spotting any more rams that day. But the scenery was spectacular.
We made good time getting back to camp on foot, but we were all pretty sore and tired. The next day was forecasted to be stormy, so we took the day off to sort gear & rest up.
One of the horses had thrown a shoe, which was taken care of by Joe & the wrangler.
Day 8 on Aug 19th we packed up base camp and planned to head south to a "Fly Camp" on a different drainage. Assistant guide Joe would be leaving us, as he had another committment and needed to return to the ranch.
Carried by 9 horses, we headed out at mid-day.
This move would put us in proximity to the band of rams that we'd spotted a couple days ago, in which there were two possible shooters. Also this was generally known as a good ram area, with Shale's previous hunter having killed a ram there in the year's first hunt.
After a 5-hour ride we made it to the camp site located along a major stream.
By evening we had the new camp assembled, with tents for sleeping, a common area for a fire site and cooking, and all covered by a large tarp.
Following a good night's sleep, we awoke to turbulent weather. Fog shrouded most of the nearby peaks, intermittent rain fell, and stout winds tore upstream. Regardless, we decided to head up the draw from camp and look for rams.
With the pelting rain I had to put away the camera for the entire morning.
As we eased along, low in the drainage, we started spotting rams right away on both sides of the canyon.
In this bowl to the left, we found two rams, one a small 5-6 year old, and the other a possible shooter. After watching him through the glass for a while, we finally determined that he was definitely a legal ram, perhaps 9 or older.
At one point the rams fed out of view behind a coutour, and we quickly climbed closer, thinking they'd come down a well-used trail in front of us, where we could intercept. As we crested the rise, unfortunately, they'd moved higher and so we backed out.
From our new position about 300 feet above the valley floor, we kept an eye on the two rams. They fed in the grassy bowl for a couple hours, before eventually bedding high on a rocky shelf. The smaller ram moved out of view to his bed, while the bigger ram bedded in open view, facing away from us, with only his head & horns visible.
The red arrow in this pic indicates the bedding site of the bigger ram, near a large boulder, giving us a useful landmark to keep track of him.
GREAT story and pics so far!!! Greg this is def a hunt summary that I have been waiting to read. A lot of ram sightings so far. You encountered some legal rams and quite a few 7 yr olds that have great potential. I'm anxious to read/hear more.
With winds ripping up the canyon from left to right, and blowing from us to the rams, we considered plans for a stalk. Fog banks were rolling in and out between us and the rams, which might help us sneak closer, and this, combined with the rain, should keep the rams locked down. We dropped back to the valley floor and headed upstream to gain a wind advantage. Then headed straight uphill towards the downwind side of their bedding area.
The climb was super steep, meaning we needed to carefully pick our path to prevent rockslides that could alert the rams. At 40 yards below the edge of their bedding shelf, we spotted the little ram first. He was up & feeding, and unfortunately he caught our movements. We ducked low and watched, as he kept a suspicious eye on us. After about 15 minutes he relaxed a little and moved back out of view. Next we heard a clattering of rocks as the shooter ram rose from his bed. He appeared at about 50 yards, high above us and peering down our way. I'd nocked an arrow by this time and now waited for a proper shot angle. Within seconds he turned broadside, facing left and stopped. Shale whispered the angle-compensated range off his Swaro's....40 yards. I stood, drew & anchored, then turned loose the arrow. I was well-aware of the brisk cross-wind, but didn't try to compensate for it. I could clearly see the arrow fishtail a bit in flight, but in spite of the wind, it still struck the ram pretty well. Although the impact was a good ways back in the ribs. The two rams took off to the left, and the big one bedded quickly after a 100 yard run.
We dropped back down the mountain and followed to watch him from below. After a wait of 15-20 minutes, the mortally-wounded ram dropped his head, and rolled over the cliff edge, coming to rest about 100 yards above us on a gentle slope. Yee-ha!!!
The ram turned out to be an estimated 10 years old. Pending the final age determination by BC Wildlife.
Not a monster by any means, but this bowhunter is absolutely happy!
Yeah, buddy!!! Great story telling and pics! Congrats!
Amazing story and ram. Thanks for sharing.
After a picture session, and the caping and butchering, we headed back to camp with our prize.
And stick with me for a minute....we're not quite done yet!
There were two choices in considering our plans for the next day. Since I had an unfilled Bull Moose tag remaining, which I wanted to try & fill, I was given the choice to return to the Cabin Camp where we'd seen lots of Moose sign, or take the shorter (1-1/2 hours) route out to the main highway to the south, and then hunt other areas for Moose.
After thinking it over, I made the decision to pack up and take the 5-hour ride back to the cabin. Shale indicated that Moose hunting would be very tough this time of year, due to the thick foliage, and lack of daytime movement, since the rut was a long ways off. I still thought it was worth a try, given that I had 9 days left in this hunt.
Swarms of these large gnats follow the poor horses everywhere they go.
Back at the cabin, we unpacked all the gear and opened the camp back up for business.
The next sequence of events unfolded in a stunningly rapid fashion.
Around 8 pm, I went inside the bunk cabin to sort some gear. Within a few minutes I heard a loud whisper at the cabin door, which was Shale hissing: "GREG GET YOUR BOW!!!"....... "THERE"S A BULL MOOSE COMING".
WTH??? Trusting this was not a cruel camp joke, I looked around and noticed my bow was still in the sealed hard-case. All my arrows were packed away in a separate hard case. With case latches flying unsnapped, and velcro ripping, I got the bow out as fast as I could, and then tore open the cylindrical arrow case and snatched a couple arrows.
Shale's rangefinder was still packed away, but my Leica BRF binos were hanging nearby and I tossed them to him. We eased out the door, and nope, he was not joking! A good sized bull moose was casually walking up the horse trail. As the bull stopped broadside, I quickly judged from his large velvet rack that he was a shooter.
Shale whispered the range of 42 yards. I nocked the arrow, drew and sent one right into his ribs. The shot appeared to be a double lunger. The bull galloped forward, turned left after about 100 yards and trotted into the willow thickets. There he stopped and stood broadside again. After watching him for a second, I decided to hit him again. I got to within 80 yards and put another one into the lungs. The bull didn't even move at the impact, so at that point we knew he was probably dead on his feet. Within another minute he dropped. Amazingly, I had my second good trophy in back-to-back days.
Here's the willow swamp he ran into.
Congrats Greg! ANY and EVERY bow killed legal Stone ram is a huge personal accomplishment. Most hunters will never even get to experience a hunt like this in their lifetimes. Thx for sharing your story and as always GREAT pics!
The velvet rack measured 52 inches wide and has long forked fronts on both sides.
Camp dog Roxy was tuckered out from the day's events.
The next couple days were time to rest the crew and horses, and for meat & cape preparation
This portable "meat shed" worked nicely to keep bugs off the quarters and allow for cooling.
I really liked the velvet rack on this Moose, with it's interesting color variations, and I'm hoping to preserve the velvet intact.
Due to the high number of grizzlies in the area, we had to burn the massive rib cage & carcass/gut-pile where it lay, since he fell so close to camp. On a moose this process takes quite a while, and uses a lot of firewood.
The horses seemed to appreciate the smoke baths lit by the wranglers to keep the bugs off.
Plans were made to pack out the next day.
On the last evening, rain showers combined with sunshine gave us a little show of color.
Camp cook Laura Leonard took good care of us during the entire hunt....nobody lost weight!
She treated us to a fine dinner of Sheep backstrap on the final evening in camp.
Headed down trail, after an incredibly rewarding hunt.
Wow! Awesome hunt,gotta love it when everything comes together!
Looks like you had a great trip! Thanks for sharing pictures and story!
Spectacular !!!! great old ram and a moose to boot. Congrats
What a trip. Congrats...Fantastic...Great photos, great story.
Congrats on a great hunt!!!!
Doesn't get much sweeter - congrats!
Thanks for sharing photos.
Congratulations on a great adventure and two fine animals! Great way to tell the story.
This is the type of story that fueled the fires for many of us to head out on true hunting adventures. Thank you for taking the time to photograph, document and share your experience with us!
Nice work, and congratulations on both the sheep and moose.
What a great story! Thanks for the pics and story along the way.
Congrats of two special animals!
Greg, Congratulations to you! So happy for you as I have a feeling I know how hard you worked (including the horseback miles) to make this happen!
A Stone's Sheep and a bull moose!
Wow, what a great story! Thanks so much for sharing. Really enjoyed it.
Congratulations on two fantastic animals!
Man oh man...what a hunt! Congrats on two outstanding critters...this doesn't happen by accident, it's because you were prepared and ready for your part when needed.
Great stories! Congrats! The bull's velvet is really cool looking, hope you can preserve it.
Are you kidding me! Unreal hunt. Thanks for sharing that with us. Just fantastic in every regard. The stone sure is impressive but so is killing a moose within view of the cabin!
Amazing! Congrats on a great trip and re-telling it so beautifully
Great pics, great story telling. Congrats on an incredible hunt. Very jealous and hope someday to do the same!
Amazing hunt!!! Congrats!!! Great pics
Great story! Great hunt beautiful pictures from beautiful B.C. Thanks
that's unreal. well done and by the way that sheep is a monster!
Putting this together is a lot of work. Thank you so much for taking the time to take us all along. Congrats. This is one that will stick with you for a lifetime.
Great storytelling!! My favorite story of the year so far!!!!
wow. What a dream hunt.
Congrats! And many thanks for takin' us along.
That's incredible that you were able to get both of those animals on one hunt.
Thanks for taking the time to post the pictures and story.
That is awesome congrats!
Great pics and story. Congrats on both trophies!
Congrats, what an amazing hunt and one heck of a feat!
Sheep and moose, just awesome.
WOW!!! Congratulations on an outstanding trip and beautiful animals!
Great story and pictures! Thanks for posting.
Love the pics and story! Congrats!
Wow, awesome. And thanks for posting all many pics especially. Really enjoy the photos.
Dream hunt for a lot of us, congrats on two great animals and thanks for taking us along sir!
Man,talk about a dream hunt. You nailed it!
(Actually, had your guide been any good he'd have had the ram walk by camp, too, to save you all of that walking.)
I can't imagine having moose and wild sheep meat in the camp at the same time. Wow!!! I'd still be camped up there eating it.
Excellent story and that has to be the fasted uploading of pictures in the history of Bowsite!!! Amazing hunt and thanks for sharing!!!
Thanks for sharing with us! Enjoy your success! C
Thanks for sharing with us! Enjoy your success! C
Congrats on your bull moose! It's cert great when things are rolling your way...Doesn't get much sweeter than that, having a bull walk down the horse trail within sight from the cabin! Wonder if he was going to hit the mineral block??
For sure a trip of a lifetime!
A 2-fer!! 1 trip---Great for you Greg.
Good luck, Robb
What an incredible adventure Greg!
Big congrats...and thanks for "taking us along"!
wow what a trip! thanks for taking us along
Excellent story and an awesome hunt adventure!
Thanks for taking the time for sharing it.
Congratulations. A very well documented adventure. It don't get no better than that.
Thanks for all the kind comments.
I should also mention, pertaining to the hunt schedule, that even though Stone Mountain accepts only one bowhunter per year, he's always placed into the 2nd hunt of the year, Aug 15-29, and this provides an advantage. Sheep season opens Aug 1 and all hunts are scheduled as 14-days each. But with the bowhunter being on the Aug 15-29 hunt, it's possible to gain extra hunting days. I arrived 5 days early on Aug 10th on the hope that the rifle hunter with Shale would be tagged out. As it turned out he did indeed tag out early, so our hunt was started 5 days early. A bowhunter needs every advantage he can get!
Awesome story and congrats on some great trophies! I will be flying to Ft. Nelson on Wednesday for my goat and moose adventure. I can't wait. Your story really got me pumped, though not really needed. Just some spectacular scenery. Thank you!
Great animals! Great Story!.....and that photo of the sheep backstraps is KILLIN' me!!!!
I always marvel at how fast bull moose can grow antler mass on their head....I wonder if the multi colored velvet actually shows some of the growth "spurts".
I also have to wonder....it seems like everyone that goes on a Stones Sheep hunt, always encounters MANY seven year olds, and not anywhere near as many mature rams. Is there some kind of mortality issue that adolescent rams face around the age of six or seven? That observation seems to be common through their range.....
Jake- That topic came up with the guides. They mentioned there's been discussion of reducing the minimum age to 7 yrs in BC. But as to the cause of so many 7 yr olds, I don't know. No doubt hunting pressure would be one factor. The 8+ rams are rifle-hunted on an essentially unlimited basis by residents for 10 full weeks each fall.
Thanks for taking the time to post. I really enjoyed it! What a hunt. Sometimes things are just meant to be. It's always nice to have things surpass your wildest expectations. I'd say that happened on this hunt for you! Congrats again, and great job on the shooting.
Great job relaying the story and congrats on two great animals!!
Congrats Greg on a truly rewarding hunt!
"The 8+ rams are rifle-hunted on an essentially unlimited basis by residents for 10 full weeks each fall."
No doubt, that's the reason. Lower it to 7 year olds, and you won't find many of them in a year or two either.
Congrats on the ram! Great going! What a hunt!
Medicinemann, Apparently 7 year old rams fully partake in the rut for the first time at that age with the serious fighting etc. They get run down......winter and wolves are hard on them in that condition and many don't make it. This is coming from a BC Ministry of Environment Wildlife biologist hunting buddy.
I just spent 19 days out DIY for stone sheep and saw 3 legal rams, but 10's of 7 year olds. Every other year has been similar....lots of 7 year olds with a few 8 or older rams mixed in. I tend to agree with the biologist's professional assessment that many 7 year old rams winter kill after expending tons of energy rutting. Otherwise the eight year old plus numbers would be higher.
Like others have said, looks like a great adventure. Congratulations.
We just did a 2 month road trip from Colorado to Deadhorse and back, with several side trips. The area you hunted is truly awesome. Took this photo near Summit Lake in that area.
Thinking about gear on this trip, here are just a few notes on what worked and what didn't work. If I think of any more I'll post it later.
-Rain gear: is an absolute must in that area. There's some type of rain almost daily....everything from brief showers to long-lasting downpours. I took only Cabelas Space Rain pants and jacket, but it actually performed pretty well. After hours and hours of crashing through heavy, stiff, soaking-wet willows and spruce brush on horseback, I couldn't find a single tear in the raingear. To be honest, that was surprising. Still, I think I'd take something heavier like Helly Hansen next time, to wear on those long horseback rides. And then wear the Cabelas while on foot.
-Opti-Logic Angle-Compensating Rangefinder. This hunt fully confirmed to me that these are junk...well at least mine is. And I won't trust it again. I'd already sent the thing back to the factory twice previously. Once, because it simply didn't work, and once again because if was off by 4-5 yards. They sent me a new one both times. What happened on this hunt was that it wouldn't work at all when I needed it most. Power-on would light up the red aiming dot, but no range would register, at any distance. This had occurred a few times previously at random, and so I was already skeptical. Luckily I had my Leica Geovids along, and also the guide had his Swaro binos with angle ranging feature.
-Broadheads: Mechanical heads were my choice for this hunt, in consideration of the alpine winds and potential longer shot distances. I used Grim Reaper 1-3/4" cut heads. The head worked well on the sheep, with large entry and exit holes. I didn't take any other heads along for this trip, never really thought about it. But the next time I hunt Moose, I'll probably use my old stand-by fixed blade heads. On the Moose, I made two rib hits with the Grim Reapers. The first (40 yards) passed through both lungs and stopped just under the skin on the far side. The next one (80 yards) caught part of two ribs then stopped about halfway through the body. The bow was shooting 294 fps with a 445 grain arrow, which is a high energy, high momentum set-up. Hard to argue though, that the Moose died fast. They have such super heavy hair and super thick hide...more challenging for mech heads.
-Warm layers...I didn't take any, but should have. I was thinking mid August (summertime!) so I had only wicking type base layers, light outer layers, and my rain gear. Next time I'll take at least a puffy jacket for layering. Waterproof gloves would've been handy also.
-Boots...I chose to wear lighter weight boots for this hunt (Lowa Renegade GTX), over some of the heavier stiffer boots that I have. The side stitching suffered a inch-long blow out on the third day of the hunt. Next time I'll probably wear a heavier boot like my Lowa Tibets. The rubber side band design and stiffer sole would be more suited to that terrain, especially when backpacking heavy loads.
-Trekking pole. I carried just one but it came in handy on loose and rocky slopes. None of the guides ever used or carried poles.
-Kennetrek Gaiters. I prefer these because they're the quietest I've found that are near-waterproof. But I did have a rivet break on the metal loop that attaches to the lower boot lace. These were a brand new set. On my previous set the leather sole strap broke on one during a Mt Goat hunt last year. They get a lot of abuse on hunts like this, but I'd be interested in something more durable yet quiet. The guides used OR brand, but they were very loud.
Oh and one other thing....a topic that often comes up about horseback hunts and bowhunters is the subject of carrying the bow while riding. On the pack-in and pack-out to main camp the bow was hard-cased and top-packed on a horse. That worked well.
For doing day hunts on horseback, I'd brought a Primos type bow sling that I intended to use. But found that the sling function was all but worthless, at least for the thick terrain we had to ride through. Way too awkward to negotiate around all the brush, with the bow slung in front or on my back. The best way I found to pack the bow while riding was to carry it in one hand. Made it much easier to thread the bow through the brush. I left the sling's neoprene bow cover on though, to serve as protection for the strings and cables. Also used a sight cover while riding.
I'd shipped up a complete back-up bow about a month in advance, which was left at the ranch. Mailed in the same hard case that we used on the pack horse. Fortunately the back-up bow was not needed, but was good insurance.
Outstanding photos and write up! Thank you for sharing, I get my sheep hunts vicariously through guys like you.
I have had similar issues with my Opti Logic rangefinder. Also sent it back twice. Unfortunately, it's all I have for my hunt in a few days.
Great info, thank you. I'll be shooting QAD Exodus BHs on my hunt.
Very happy for you. Great photos and write up. Thank you for sharing and fueling our traveling/hunting fires.
Leif runs a great outfit and is an honest business owner. I am hunting goats and moose in 17' with him.
Congrats again Greg.
Convrats on a great trip!!
An awesome account of your adventure!! Congrats!! Thank you for sharing!!!
Wow! Dream hunt for sure. Thanks for posting!
Great story and pictures sticksender.
I hunted with Stone Mountain Safaris back in the 80's when Dave and Ellie Weins still ran it. Great place then and it looks even better now! Thanks for sharing and bringing back a flood of memories.
Great report from some beautiful country.
That was fantastic. Thanks for sharing.
Amazing adventure, congrats on two fine trophies!
Top shelf...pics were stunning!
What a cool adventure!
Best of Luck, Jeff
Whoa, outstanding! Congrats big time....
What an adventure! Congrats on the experience and the 2 beautiful animals.
Wow! An amazing hunt and a fantastic adventure. Thank you for sharing! Congrats on accomplishing a goal many of us will only dream about!
Heck of an adventure and some great animals! Thanksfor taking us along!
Congratulations on both fabulous animals and thanks for sharing it with us....
Wow~ Awesome! thanks for sharing. Great pics.
Busta' Ribs used to be the go-to guy for these kinds of threads, but...he has been surprisingly silent for a good while. Phenomenal thread, hunt, and kill. No BS, I am absolutely ecstatic for you and I hope you are enjoying the fruits of your labor. Kudos!!!!
Wow. Thanks for posting. You my friend are a . badass. Hunt
Amazing, congrats! Lotta vittels there!
Sticksender,, I finally got to read ur story.. Nice read and thanks for sharing.. Ed
I'd LOVE to see the breakdown of NR vs Res ram kills for those bashing the resident hunters having more opportunity at animals than Non-Resident Aliens. If it's anything like Alaska, NR and the Guide industry actually kills MORE than all residents combined.
Amazing thread though, a hunt I could only dream of. I've driven through there and it is certainly beautiful country though!
Incredible hunt, Congrats
Wow what an adventure. Congrats on 2 fine animals!
Thanks for the explanation about ram mortality. I didn't think that it was a function of rifle hunting pressure, because we found the skulls of some 7 year olds and the horns were pretty darned nice....and since the head and horns were still attached. mortality makes more sense than hunting pressure, as a hunter would probably have taken them.
When I hunted BC, we probably saw 20+ seven year old rams. I told the outfitter that his area would be crawling with legal rams the next year. He said that it never seems to work out that way as many seven year olds never see their eighth birthday. I guess that Kurt's explanation makes sense. What a shame!
When I asked my guide this year in BC about this topic, his explanation was that starting at age 6, you have about a 50% ram mortality rate each year. This is his 13th year guiding stone sheep in the Yukon and BC.
In doing my own informal survey with 8 2015 stone sheep hunters, the general consensus is that there are 2-3 legal stone sheep rams (8 years old or full curl) spotted for every 100 sheep spotted.
Incredibly beautiful critters!
Mark, I see about 1% legal Stone sheep rams versus the total number of sheep observed. Almost like the salmon motto of go spawn, then die. Kurt
Congrats on taking two of NA's finest big game animals. What's next on your bucket list?
Great story and super trophies. Also, some great equipment and experience info for the future sheep hunters. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.