Contributors to this thread:
A Stone Sheep Story
So I was lucky enough to go on my first sheep hunt this month. I wanted to share with the community, and specifically report back to several guys who have helped me with some of the details on here. I’m probably not as eloquent with my prose as some one here, but I’ll try to keep it to at least 5th grade level. Please forgive a few typos and grammatical mistakes, as I’m posting this from an antelope blind in Colorado. I probably won’t be as detailed as some of the other recent threads, but I’m going to try and not sugar coat anything or leave our the difficultly/embarrassing details. Some guys have already heard some/all of the story and send pics but for everyone else I hope you enjoy. Also you may have to forgive my marginal photos. Once again in retrospect I wish i had taken way more and worked harder to make the ones I did take a little better. All photos are just from an iPhone.
Just a little back ground on me (for those who don’t know me), because I get a lot of “how the heck can YOU go on a sheep (or whatever species) hunt”. I’m just a regular blue collar guy from Oklahoma, I’m not old but certainly not young! I work hard, and have made life choices that allow me some fexibility both time and money to chases these big dreams that I have. I’m not a weight lifter, marathon runner, or some retired athlete. I’m very average in my physical abilities, I’m basically mid 40’s, 5’9” and about 185.
Looking forward to reading this Jim.
Great start! Gonna be a great story, I’m sure! Looking forward to it!
The Stone Sheep have always been my favorite of the sheep, and the one I really dreamed of, but of course one of the more expensive (and getting more so). So I always doubted that I would be able to chase them. But I always kept my ears open for “deals” and opportunities. I almost jumped on one a couple years ago, burnjust couldn’t make the timing work (2-3 week notice). So anyway, one of my other dream hunts had been mountian goat, and I was able to put it together with a moose in BC back in 2014. I was able to hunt with a well know outfitter and had a great time and really hit it off with my guide. We had kinda lost touch but I got a call from him this spring and he said he and a partner were starting their own outfit and trying to sell some hunts this fall. The area was brand new to them, and they just closed the deal in March so they were going to have limited time on the ground to learn it etc. They are both regulars hard working blue collar guys like myself and have families, regular jobs, etc. I didn’t draw my WY elk tag, so I was without plans for September.
I had held Ryan in high regard when we hunted together in 2014 and he was very up front about what the could offer for hunts this fall. And what they knew about the area and what they didn’t. Their pricing reflected their lack of experience in the area and obviously they are just starting out and trying to get asses in the seats. I ended up booking a 14 day moose/goat fly-in combo hunt for September. He felt good about the goats and extremely good about the prospects for nice moose.
At the time I had asked him about stone sheep in his area and he said they have up to 3 tags a year but really only want to book 2 hunters, and probably only one archery. He said they though that they had the 2 spots filled this year, but I could maybe get the archery spot for 2020. That is more where I was looking anyway as I would need time to plan finances and get in a little better shape etc.
Fast forward a few weeks we were talking a bit about the September plans and I said “hey can I put down a little $ for a sheep next year”. He proceeded to tell me that his archery guy wanted to reschedule for next summer and his rifle guy had backed out, so they were without sheep hunters. He said they probably couldn’t offer me a spot next year but would discount a spot this year a little more if I could make it work. Keep in mind this was in May! I thought aboutnhis offer (and confered with some friends) and decided to give it a go. We worked out a deal with a price for the hunt and then a hefty trophy fee if I could connect. Which is a win for him (paying hunter) and a win for me (greatly reduced financial risk with brand new outfitter in a new area). We work in a few extra days on the front end as they want to see some additional country on the way in. I was warned from the very start that it would be an extremely challenging both physicality and mentally.
I tried to get in better shape and eat a little better, but 8 weeks is kind of a joke for getting ready for a sheep hunt ;) I managed to loose 6-8 pounds and got a little extra strength in my legs and lungs. Some spin classes and hiking out at a friends ranch with weight is basically all I could do as summer is my busy work season too. I actually missed “training” (loose definition) for 2 of those weeks too as I was hunting in Australia. The pic is an evening hike with my training partner Squirt.
I also shot the TAC in Park City Utah in that span too. Really nice to get some time in the mountians for a weekend and some longer shooting. The shooting can be both confidence boosting and deflating depending on how you do. I came out feeling OK, but not great from the shooting. I felt really decent about my physical though after several solid (pack free) mountain miles though.
I’m trying, but I may have to shoot an antelope if he comes to my water trough! ;)
So enough with the preamble. I get to Smithers BC on a Saturday evening, stay a night in motel and Ryan picks me up bright and early Sunday morning. We drive about 5 hours north to their Road Lodge (they also have a very nice fly -in lodge). I Meet his partner Matt and Matt’s son Kyle. They are goning to hike in with us, maybe help spot for a day or so, and strike out to check out 3-4 other areas/routes. We get all our gear sorted quickly, shoot a few arrows, and off we head. This is going to be a straigh-up old school 14 day packpack hunt. We are leaving from one truck below treeline and hiking through to another truck at the other end.
Now I won’t lie, I was a little nieve about what my pack weight would be. Ryan had warned me, but I know everything (obviously) and really underestimated my total weight. I felt pretty good about my base weight, but once all my food, water, bow , etc was strapped on I have no doubt I was over 70 with conservative estimates. Now we didn’t have a scale, but I know the base weight and it’s not hard to figure out the rest. It was heavy! Ryan packed our tent, jetboil, and spotted/tripod, so I basically have my personal stuff, and that’s good because it was all I could handle.
We drove about 20 min from their lodge and stashed the truck and snuck into a pretty well hidden trail (don’t want to advertise to resident hunters). It was kinda cloudy/drizzly, but not horrible, but of course the bush was all wet. We left the truck about 2 i think, but this time of year the days are LONG unless there. First afternoon we had a decent old trail, there was some brush but overall the hiking was decent. About 4 hours in we stop and make a little fire and have a tea. Of course I was ready for the break! After that break we were pretty much off trail the next 13 days. We wanted to get above treeline for the evening and started up. I honestly was doing better than I expected with the pace and weight and other than the weather spirits were pretty high. Really pretty un eventful first day but made it up above treeline and found a decent camp spot. And not a minute too soon for the fat kid feom Oklahkma. I was ready for some sleep between the travel and hiking!
The next morning we didn’t get going super early, we knew we had a couple days to get into “sheep country” and the season didn’t open for 3 more days anyway. Plus I think they knew I needed the sleep! The weather was similar, cloudy, misty, light rain here and there. We were up out of the brush though, so the walking was a little easier. Still uphill and rocky, but without the brush to fight! Fairly uneventful day really, they kept the pace pretty decent for me as I’m sure I was slowing them to some extent, but not horribly. We did see 2 grizzly bears on a hillside 300-400 yards away and had a nice little break to watch them for a bit.
Camped that night and continued on up the mountain the next day. We were suspecting to get into some areas to see goats and possible sheep this afternoon possible. I also had a goat tag in my pocket, I certainly wasn’t too excited about shooting a goat on my sheep hunt, but you never know! Towards the afternoon we were really getting up into the mountians and Matt spotted a sheep skylined on the opposite ridge line. My first Stone Sheep!!! It turned out to be a group of ewes and lambs. We also spooked a young “banana ram” when we came over a small rise at fairly close ranges We decide we might want to be a little more careful from now on ;).
After the first day pain of the pack out of the gate I was really feeling pretty damn good. I was slow of course but not crippliny slow. We kept a nice moderate pace, and had a decent ridgine to work our way up.
Rooting for the fellow Okie. Hope you decide to be a bowhunter because they require you to wear OSU colors during rifle season!
We worked our way around the ridgline and got to a big point where we could see down into a really nice little bowl. We planned to camp down in the bottom. But we wanted to sit up and glass the great looking territory for an hour or so before committing to the bottom. We actually glasses up about 12-15 sheep further up the valley/bowl, again mostly ewes and lambs but great to see them and in good numbers.
Now, as stated before I live in Oklahoma, these mountains are freaking big to me! But to these guys it’s kinda just another day at the office. I’m sitting up there looking at sheep, glassing the bottom, talking about our camp area, etc. and I’m thinking to my self “how the heck do we get down there”. About that time, Ryan said ok, let’s head down, I’m like, “ok, where is the hill down.”, he is like “here!” Ummmmm, yeah, that is just a bunch of rocks on a 60* slope!!! So down we go! It was actually a lot easier than it looked, but again that mental game, I wouldn’t have the knowledge/confidence to just bail off that mountain like those guys. And of course it gets easier with experience and time, it’s just a different world to us midwest guys I think.
We got down and set up camp before more rain moved in and decided to hike around the high bowl we were in and see what we can see. It was a really cool little valley dropping down some cliffs to a river below where we spotted another griz with 2 little cubs, and a pretty big glacier up at the end. We finally found some goats, 3 bullies bedded below in some black shale in a horrible place for a stalk not that I was after them anyway. And some of the same sheep we had seen from before. Rained on and off through the evening. Crawled in the nice dry tent and was glad get some rest.
We woke up to heavy fog and snow on our tents! What the heck, it’s almost August, that’s summer where I come from!!!! We weren’t going anywhere for a while at least. Back to sleep and try to get some strengh back into those legs! So mid morning we decide it’s time for some breakfast and get up and going, and just 150yards behind our tents these sheep are walking across the side hill feeding!
We end up tent bound for most of the day, and just take it easy around camp rest up, I was happy with that and got some good rest in. Spotted a couple other sheep from camp, but basically a weather day.
Unfortunately we wok up to more of the same weather the next day. But by mid morning it was starting to clear a bit and we decided to make a push for the base of the glacier and camp there for the night. It wasn’t too far, but we knew the next day was gonna be a long tough hike, and the couple miles we would gain would be well worth it. And it was plenty easy to navigate even if the fog pushed back in. It was probably only 3-4 hour hike down to the river then back up the valley. We couldn’t stay night due to cliffs, and man I hate to give up that elevation!!!! So a nice leisurely hike for the afternoon put us right at the base of the glacier and we spent the evening glassing the backside of the mountains and some short exploration. The weather eventually broke and fortunately was absolutely beautiful for the rest of the trip.
We broke camp early the next morning as we knew we had a long hard day of hiking ahead. We hiked up and behind that glacier, dropped down behind it and then over aproximately 5,000 more ridges and mountains. We were pushing to get to “sheep camp” which was where the previous outfitter had killed most of their sheep and had a nice camping spot next to the lake with a couple good glassing Hills there to watch the long valley below.
The hike was all it could be. I kept good pace and we stopped often to glass and plan. We finally made it to the ridge above “camp” early in the evening. We glassed from there for quite a little bit but I don’t remember turning up any sheep that evening. Damn, I thought this was the honey hole, they were supposed to be behind every tree, or um rock, up here!!!!
We took anothe long steep kick off the mountain through a bunch of loose rock and whale. I started to enjoy those steep soft hills for the downhill. But it was a LONG ways down and over! In the pic we camped just to the right of the bigger lake. We got down late in the evening and set up camp. That days hike was pretty much all I could do, I was out of gas! But we had planned to spend 3-4 days in this valley glassing and exploring, so I should have some nice recovery time.
Nice work Jim! Can’t wait to read all of this.
John, I would rather wear OSU colors than that dreadful red, crimson or whatever the hell they call that in Norman (puke)
Up early the next morning. Matt and Kyle are going to help us glass for the morning and then set off on a day hike to try to find a decent route to the next valley over. Ryan and I would just sit the hillside and watch the valley and see what we can see. The morning turns up some ewes and lambs, and some small rams. Nothing to get excited about. Most were way up high, which is not what the fat kid from oklahoma wanted to see ;). Kyle and Matt found a decent saddle route and informed us that the nwxt valley had a huge glacier all the way down it (which was kinda known, but it was big) I suspect like 5-7 miles long, and their route would bring us our about 1/2 down it.
The next day was similar but Matt and Kyle packed up kit and hiked down the other side of the sheep valley ( away from where we were hunting) to find an old over grown airstrip they are going to get going for next year. We took our spot up on the hill again and watched the valley all day. And the days are long up there. Think 4:30 am till 10:30 pm and still only dusky at that time! We spotted one similar to the day before, some ewes and lambs and a sample group of young rams. Ryan also spotted another group of suspected rams on the next mountain back but they were far and moving, not sure exactly what they were.
The next day more sitting and watching. We did spit one nicer ram in a small band which we decided was 3-4” short of legal. Certainly too far to count rings, but he maybe could have gone on age, but he was moving away and pretty far out. No play there. We decided we would take a long day hike up and around the next day to break it up.
I’m gonna throw in a few pics, I’ve been trying keep them chronological, but these are just random no order.
This got a little more long winded than I anticipated , I’ll post a couple more pics and probably take a break for a bit, should be able to have it wrapped up this afternoon for all you impatient readers. ;)
Take a break, shoot a goat and then jump back in. Great story so far.
Very well done. Keep it coming
Buddy of mine shot a great antelope this morning in Colorado.
Loving the photos and story so far!
So I think I’m up to about Day 9. We have been watching this same basin for the last 3 days or so and seeing basically the same sheep, so we decide to head up the mountain across the way for day 10 and walk the spine and check the little cuts we can’t see as well as the valley the other side. This is another of those mountains when the fat kid from Oklahoma says “we are walking up THAT mountian tomorrow!?”
We glassed the early morning and headed up around 8, once again the hike up wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated and we made pretty good time. Just as we crested the little saddle we hiked up to Ryan says “sheep” and we hit the deck. A loan ewe came strolling down the opposite mountain side, drank from a little snow melt and proceeded to walk 36 yards from us laying in the rocks. That was pretty cool.
We let her get on past and headed up behind her. It was a pretty steep mountian, but pretty loose and good footing. It’s funny to me, I would have thought opposite, but the loose slidy type stuff was almost always better footing/hiking (especially going down) and the hard solid stuff was the real scary stuff. More on that in a bit.
It was a pretty narrow mountian tip wirh several good sheep trails all along the top, steep off both sides. We had been seeing groups of sheep using it the last few days and the reason we were up here. It was steep enough that it would be hard/impossible to hunt down, but we were really hoping to catch them coming up or along the spine. I’ve never thought of my self as “scared of heights” but it was steep enough on both sides that it made me not want to look down too much. I don’t feel in danger, but the mind can be funny like that. We hiked the ridge fairly slowly, forced to sidehill much of, and that can be hard on the feet as many of us know. We had to make our way over and or around a few medium sketchy little knife ridges. Actually later in the afternoon I was scaling down one little rocky area and a rock I had ahold of broke, and the rock I planted my foot on was hard with some sand on it and down I went. I knew I was in a bad spot and it happened fast, the hill was steep, but luckily turned softer a little down. I slid on my butt/back about 20-30 yards but got myself stopped. It was fine, I honestly didnt really get shaken or scared. Another 60-70 yards it could have been very bad, but it wasn’t, so it was fine.
We sidehilled around a little further and stopped for a nice boots off snack break. My feet were tired, and kinda tender, but never a blister or anything. In retrospect I should have taped them up at this stop, but I really felt pretty good. Somewhere along we jumped that single ewe from her bed, but ended up seeing no other sheep. We worked that ridgeline as far as we could and decided to drop into the valley on the back side and exit back through the saddle we came up. We dropped down above a small glacier and started side billing around it to find that all the black shale on the edges were covering ice. So that made for a fun 200 yard walk around! We saw one black bear (weird) in that little basin and by the time we got back up to our saddle out my feet were aching! No blisters, just plain old hurt.
I hobbled back into camp and we planned to pick up camp the next day and move over the mountain where Matt had scouted the big glacier a few days before.
The next day we packed up camp and headed over to the next valley. We had to cross a little glacier on our side of the mountain, and then hike up some rocks and over. The initial hike was fine. But there was one little hill with some loose boulders that was kinda sketchy. One step up 2 steps slide down type thing. Once we got over the hill we got down had some lunch. I actually broke one of my hiking poles right after lunch, just had luck. I was crushed. I couldn’t believe how much I relied on them the whole trip. I actually told Ryan if he gave me the trip for free but told me no poles I would turn it down, and I wasn’t kidding. After a little cussing and inspecting I was able to take one section out and repair with the trusty duct tape. It was perfectly fine and catastrophe was avoided. I was honestly more scared when I broke my pole than when I was sliding down the mountain on my butt! Not the place, it was way safe, but the potential of only one pole!
We got up to a little point and glassed the side slopes for a little bit, did pole reconstruction, and discussed our route down the valley. We estimated the glacier to be 2.5-3 miles long to get to where we needed to camp (and no where in between). Of course Ryan wanted to go Up, that is his answer for everything! Up UP Up. I wasn’t sure I could make it and the top looked pretty jagged and slow. Side hill would be long, slow and brutal as well. We decided we would get a closer look and maybe walk down the glacier. Fortunately it was a sunny hot day and the glacier was crusty and pitted on the top. We actually walked the whole way right down the glacier. Some minor crevices we had to go around but really nothing sketchy at all. And thank goodness it was easy walking, once I was dragging ass into camp. If we would have gone up that mountain it would have been way different (worse). We got down and set up camp right on the glacial outflow stream. It was a super sweet camping spot.
So here we are day 12 of a 14 day hunt. I’m getting to the end of my physical and mental capabilities. I feel OK, just tired and worn down. Feet are definitely a little tender too. I’m in good spirits and happy to be there, but I can feel myself starting to slip a little bit. We figure it is a good solid 1.5 day hike out and we can likely only cross the glacial stream (4-5 miles down valley) first thing in the morning. It’s incredible how different the water flow is in these streams based on how much melts off the glacier during the day vs at night! Anyway we curnit we figured we would have to head out early the next morning, so basically one hunting day left and we are yet to locate a legal ram.
So, last hunting day. We wake up about 4:30, Ryan always rolls out of the tent before me (lazy ass hunters) and says “hey, there is a ram pretty low right over in that mountain, and I think he may be legal” . So I get up a little faster...
Straight across the glacial river sure enough there he is, just out feeding happy as a clam. We glass him for a few and decide his left is probably legal on length. His right is short, looks like he probably damaged it as a lamb, just kind of a blunt end, not groomed or broken, but blunt. We know he won’t stay there long, so decide to see where he goes to bed and maybe we can get lucky and see him lay down.
No such luck, he moves up and to the right, and around out of sight. By now we are packed up and head up after him, we skirt around and try to cross the glacier again to avoid the river, yeah, that isn’t gonna happen, nothing like how we walked on it yesterday, it’s shear slick ice today. We have to drop down a little and wade the stream. No biggie and get up the bottom part of the mountain pretty quick and easy (relatively). We work quietly where we saw him feeding and around a little bit, but don’t spot him. I know we have to go back and up from here and try to get above him. It’s still pretty early 8:30-9am, but I can already feel my legs not wanting to go like they should and obviously my feet still hurt. But there is a legal ram somewhere on this mountain! We are pretty sure he won’t sneak all the way around the way he went because we think a smaller glacier has the whole side of the mountain blocked.
We start heading up and a lot of it is pretty decent climbing, but getting steeper as we get higher. I got in one little place I kinda had to stop and catch my breath and figure out how to get up, and kinda scared myself. It wasn’t any worse than anywhere else we had been, and it want super technical climbing or anything, but for some reason I just got really nervous. This is one of those parts I’m not gonna sugar coat, I was uncomfortable up on that mountain, my legs and feet wouldn’t work exactly like I wanted, the power just wasn’t there And that stuff gets into your head and my confidence was fading.
I finally got to the top and it was pretty flat and leichen/mossy. Easy walking. I told Ryan I was feeling a little shaken and needed a minute to catch my breath. So we start creeping around the edge looking down, it’s not real big up on top. And just as we get to the end Ryan jumps backs says “right there”. The ram was below us and looking straight away. 95 yards and absolutely no clue we were there. Now I’m not gonna lie, I looked down at Ryan’s .338 and thought for about 3 seconds how easy a rifle shot that would be. But alas, I’m a bow hunter...
Ram at 95 with iPhone zoomed all the way in.
Bedded ram with phone through spotter.
Stop looking for antelope and keep typing
Shug- I’m adding dramatic flair ;)
So, we Found him pretty content in his bed, no clue we are there. Now just gotta figure out how to get down to him! The terrain is actually fairly broken with some steep knife ridges running pretty vertical but could hide me from him. From the top one looks all lichen/moss, soft and quiet. We decided that’s is my way and if I can get to the spot we picked we suspect I will be 35-40 from him still above shooting left and down. I start down and quickly find that what from the top looked carpeted the whole way is actually just the tops of each “stair step” down. So it’s a very steep shear cliff with little 4”-6” steps ever 12-18” down. I’m a little nervous, but honestly it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t think I would die if I fell (and that was actually a possibility in retrospect) but it would be pretty damn bad. Have to kinda cross cross the little face to find hand/foot holds and actually kinda stepped down into the V once to get to one, that kicked a little shale loose and that in turn knocked a grapefruit size rock loose below. I’m cussing my self but can’t really stop now. I get to my spot and peek over to find no Ram!
So here I am, perched on this little knife ridge trying to find and ram and not fall off, looking all around but trying to keep my head down. I had set myself up to shoot left over the rocks (paying close attention to bottom limb), and I look down and there he is staring up at me!
Now at this point I’m thinking some words I think I may want to leave out of the story even going for full disclosure. But he kinda just stood there looking around. I manage to range him at 43, get an arrow nocked, and my release out of my sleeve, and even drawn. At this point he is steep down and to my right (I’m set up for left) so I’m really twisted around and indistinctly remember my string hitting my Bino harness as a I drew (that Never happens). So all this in like 5-8 seconds probably. I proceeded to send that arrow right over his chest and into the rocks below. Clean miss at 43! I have already listed all my excuses above, so I’ll spare them now.
I scramble to nock another arrow and the ram runs back towards his bed, and last around the corner. Now I’m about in tears, hanging on to the side the mountain and kinda wondering how I’m gonna get up or down! I’m just enjoying the moment (sarcasm) and take my arrow off the sting and get kinda situated up on top a little more. And look up and Ryan is flailing his arms and pointing down. The damn ram is standing back in his original bed broadside looking away at 40!!!!!!! I’m sitting here with no arrow, no clue, sulking in my sorrows! What an idiot. By the time I got muself together he was long gone around the next rocks.
I climb back up and we discuss, I felt horrible for letting Ryan down like that (and myself of course), but he was very gracious. We never saw him come out of the rocks below and waited above for 2-3 hours. I was so shook up I told Ryan I couldn’t go back down the way we can up, found a little better down route and got back to camp about 5. I sulked around and licked my wounds. Ryan glazed from the hill behind the tent. Spotted some ewes and a couple young rams.
So on day 12 I certainly got a great chance, and I couldn’t cash out my chips. Ryan did everything right, and I just couldn’t close the deal. It was tough.
So the next morning we plan to break camp early and high tail down to the river crossing. Of course Ryan rolls out of the tent first, and I hear him say “ummmmm, you aren’t gonna believe this , there are 3 rams in that same spot and I’m pretty sure one is legal.” Sure as heck, 3 rams within 100 yards of were we spotted the one yesterday. He says “it’s your call”.
Another one of those times I’m not gonna sugar coat it, I flat didn’t think I could do it. I was still shook up from the climb yesterday, my shooting confidence was obviously competed crap, if we chased I would definitely miss my flight. I made the right call for me, bur one that will be easy for the internet jockeys to question. I let them go. Ryan was disappointed, he was chomping to go, but he also knew I was at the end of what I had to give.
We started the hike out, and of course Ryan’s route was UP! We side hilled about 1700 miles I think, up and down little cut gullies, then had fro drop down into timber. By the time we go to the river crossing I’m not sure I could have gone 10 more steps, I was completely spent! Honestly if I Had shot that sheep I’m not sure if I could have got my 1/2 out of there!
The next day we crossed the creek at low water and high tailed it for the truck. It was a little rough for sure, but I was able to power though for 5-6 hours. Made it back to the truck and headed for civilization. No stone sheep in tow.
I only got 2 small blisters, both on the 13th day death march out. My feet hurt, but just over use/differ use type pain.
This war the river crossing coming down after missing the sheep. That is the “big” glacier in the background. It’s only about 100-150 yards up from this crossing. And yeah, that water is cold! ;)
Tough luck, man! Sounds like you gave it everything you had though! Great hunt and adventure!
So some closing thoughts. This hunt was a straight up old-school backpack hunt. Nothing easy about it. I certainly could have been in better shape, but honestly felt I did pretty damn good physically. I certainly broke down a bit physically and mentally around the 12th day, but I kinda expected that. I did OK.
This hunt was the hardest thing I have ever done, not hardest hunt, hardest thing period. Sure I’ve had harder days in life, but 14 consecutive days mentally and physically bar none the hardest. That said I think lots of guys on here could do just as well if not better if they put in the effort.
I know sheep hunting is generally considered an elite type of hunt, but if there are other guys on here who have dreamed of chasing sheep in the big mountians and are physically able you should give it a go! I know the financial part is daunting to a lot of guys, but if you are like me and are just on the flower cusp of some of these big time hunts you might give Ryan and Matt a chance, it may be more affordable than you think of in the sheep hunting world.
Those guys worked their tails off and did everything right to put me in a position to succeed, I just messed it up. Next year they should have the airstrip opened up, which will be a complete game changer for their sheep hunt. It really will be nothing like this hunt, instead of 4 days in it will be a 5-6 hour hike. Basically that 4 days off the front would have put me that much fresher for the stalk on the sheep on the last day!
Man I wish you could have connected but what an experience and memories that will last a lifetime.
Awesome story Jim! Don't let any internet tough guys give you a hard time. You busted your hump for two weeks and got in archery range of a legal stone sheep ram. How many guys can say that? Not very many!!! Tremendous storytelling and I appreciate your "not sugar coating" moments.
If anyone if moderately interested in talking to Ryan about a sheep in the next couple years give me a shout and I would love to share his contact with you privately.
If anyone has any specific question about whatever hit me up on this theread or privately, would love to carry on the conversation.
But otherwise, kinda like how I ended the hunt, that’s pretty much all I have! Thanks for reading all that babble.
Your disclaimer at the first of this thread was totally not needed Awesome right up
Yea you paid your dues on that hunt for sure.
The older I've gotten the less I like edge heights. I can fly all day long but getting on the edge of something and looking down is not in my world anymore. Your description of some of those places you went on this trip got my hands sweating !!LOL!
Great adventure and wonderful writeup!!!
Congratulations on a wonderful adventure... no matter the outcome...
Great job, Jim!... Thank you for sharing... I admire your determination and commitment to get it done with a bow.
Take care. Mike
I cannot shake the feeling that if you had tried make another push back up to the sheep, this story would have had a much worse ending. Good job on following what your instincts were telling you. They are rarely wrong in such situations.
Jim, What a great adventure. Thank you for your candidness and sharing with us. It is quite evident you have the courage and tenacity to sheep hunt again and hopefully get revenge.. You have already accomplished and learned more than you realize not only about sheep hunting, but more importantly- yourself. Just do it while you are physically able. Stay focused.
Hell of a hunt! It will certainly fan the fire to go again! Will PM you.
Great hunt and story! You made the right call. That's when people die, tempted to go beyond their limits.
I enjoyed the read, definitely appreciate the honesty throughout. Looks and sounds like an awesome trip regardless. I hope you get another chance at it in the future!
"no stone sheep in tow!" But then you came away with.............................................. ..................................................................................
Nicely done, story and all. my best, Paul
This was one of the best threads I have seen on this site but I have only been on here for 20 years
That’s hunting thanks for sharing a great adventure.
Solid effort man. Ain't no shame in that!
Great story Jim, thanks for taking us along. I hope you are able to get back to those steep unforgiving mountains soon and make good on the one that got away. Good luck on the Pronghorn.
Awesome thread Jim! I’m still sorry you didn’t get your ram, but super jealous you got a shot!
Now clean up that goat and post those pics too ;)
Also, sorry for being a crappy cheerleader when you were on the mountain. Wish I could’ve helped with the mental aspect of it
You gave'er till you were out of gas and a man can't do any more than that! Great story and adventure and you got to shoot at a stone sheep at a bargain price. Congratulations on taking on and finishing a tuff task on short notice.
Just think if you'd have started at the other end!
Wow. What a hunt. Gave em 'ell though! What an adventure, thanks much for takin' us along. A hunt like that you start off just wanting an opportunity, you know the odds on punching a tag.... that's frosting, gravy, Beyonce..... You did it man. Pretty cool.
S-s-s-s-tuff happens..... bowhunting is a closer game than most think. It's about inches, not yards.
When I posted "Damn, Jim...." I was actually posting during one of your "pauses" after spotting the ram. LOL! Didn't mean it any other way. but....
Damn, Jim..... =D
Great hunt and adventure, Jim! Enjoyed following. Thanks for the story and pics.
Wow.........loved the ride. Thank you sir!
Enjoyed it, Jim! Sounds like a super demanding physical hunt. Also sounds like you learned a lot. Well done!
BTW... how much weight did you knock off?
You have been there and done that and I hope you have a strong desire to return and give her another go, thanks for sharing your great adventure.
Great recap Jim! So close but still one hell of an adventure. Thanks for sharing.
Rick, I'd bet he's already been buyin' some new Sitka...... just sweating off the last couple lbs in a 'lope blind to make the fight weight for his MMA gig.... =D
Heck of a hunt!
Can only imagine how it felt to walk away from the rams on the last day but I completely understand why you did.
Dang it, Jim! Was really pulling for ya! Great job on every aspect, from your effort on the hunt to bringing us along with you! Thanks for sharing it with us!
Awesome hunt! I'm very impressed you stuck to your bow and didn't use any of the excuses you could have and grabbed the rifle, well done and nicely wrote up!
Jim, excellent story! Nothing easy about hunting Stones in BC based on my experience. You end up with a lot of sweat equity in a ram when you finally are successful. Go back again and get it done! Good luck on the rest of your hunts this fall! Kurt
Great story! Thanks for sharing it with us and for your honesty!
Tremendous write up Jim. Thanks for the straight up, no BS, telling it like it is.
Jim that was an awesome story!! You gave it your all and you will have memories for the rest of your life that's what is important. I am sure the physical (and mental) pain has already subsided and you will be on another mountain soon!!
Great story Jim! Congrats on the highs and lows of an experience that most of us will never even try!
Great write-up and pictures. You had an opportunity and didn't happen, but that's bowhunting. You had a awesome adventure most bowhunters will never experience. Thanks for sharing!
Great story, pics and detail! Way to get after it too. Congrats on a great experience!!
Hell of a write up and adventure, Jim. One thing's for sure....you are truly a bowhunter. Thanks for taking the time to share!
Great write up jim . Next time!! Hunt
Hell of a hunt Jim. Hats off to you. Not many will be where you were and it's still a win in my book. There 'will' be a next time and this experience will serve you well.
So awesome. On every level.
Thanks for sharing this great story with us!
Jim, What an adventure! Thanks for sharing it with us! Lenny
Way to go Jim you made us flatlanders look good with that 110% you gave but I still could never stand on those edges or tops you just took me too. Thanks, hope you get back there again and have a great fall sir well done!
The stories that end with a dead animal aren't the only good ones.
Thanks for sharing!
Great story and great adventure....making memories
Sheep hunts are hard. Sheep hunts with a bow are much harder. Great work, thanks for sharing, and keep after it!
Great account of your hunt. I felt weak in the back and legs as I read it. lol. Hope you get another opportunity some day.
Killer hunt regardless of outcome. Thanks for taking the time and good luck with the rest of the season Jim
Thanks for posting your story. Sounds like an amazing adventure. Congrats on a great hunt.
Great hunt and story- thanks for taking the time to share it with us!
Super fun hunt to follow along, Thanks Jim. I hope you get another opportunity someday, you certainly earned it. I also really appreciate your candor about this being something many of us can do. I'm in the gym at least 5 days week just hoping that someday I'll get the opportunity at some mountain hunts. Thanks again for putting it all out there.
Hell of a hunt and write up. Even though you didn't get your ram, you got as close as possible and you experienced a hunt that very very few here will ever get to. Best of luck on the rest of the season!
Great storytelling and pics of an EPIC adventure!!!
You can "rest easy" knowing you left it all on the mountain!!!
Well done...I will be honest at first I winced on the last rams and then quickly remembered a few times in my life.... cold wet and tired is one thing but utter exhaustion a completely different animal...I was hunting Ibex in Kyrgyzstan and more exhausted than I ever imagined I could be..If the Billy wouldn't have finally hung up I couldn't have done 50 more yards.....plus more Kudos to you if I ever found myself on a Stone Sheep hunt I would have a gun from minute one and that you balked deep into a really tough hunt I tip my hat...
Great recap Jim! That photo of him through the spotter is the exact reason sheep hunters love sheep hunting. If that doesn't get your blood pumping, not much else will. You got 99.9% out of that hunt and did it without any glaring issues physically or mentally. You'll be back, you know it. Thank you for sharing and it was nice talking with you during your hunt and after!
Great story....thanks for sharing....There is nothing like bowhunting for sheep.
Super story Jim. Can't believe I didn't see it until now. Fantastic write-up I felt like I could feel your challenges through the screen. To be perfectly honest as another flatlander I literally can not imagine what it takes, but we know you left it ALL on the mountain and that's the best part. Way to give it your all. Great hunt.
Great adventure, and thanks for taking us along and sharing the way it happened. I'd call that a very successful trip and learning experience.
Dude. Like Nick said, you got 99.99% out of the experience and left it ALL on the mountain. Not many people have the fortitude to hang in there like that, physically or mentally. First drink's on me in Kodiak.
Great hunt, I think most of us appreciate the candor. We've all had days when we were tired, wet and miserable and giving up just seemed easier. Dealing with that every day for 14 days on end is beyond what most of us have ever had to put up with. It's easy to think that we would be able to handle it when we sit in your living room, up on the mountain it's a totally different ballgame.
Really enjoyed the recap - the physical and mental fortitude you displayed, taking this hunt on short notice, is truly admirable. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for all the kind replies and PM’s guys. I really appreciate all the support.
Who knows what the future will hold, and I don’t know if I have anothe sheep hunt in my future, but I think I will. That NWT hunt Rocking R has posted on his thread looks Flippin’ Awesome! I may have to look harder into that. I don’t know what the going rate for a kidney is, but I may have one for sale to pay for it!
Oh, also for those interested I did end up getting my CO Pronghorn while I was doing this story last weekend as well, so I guess I can’t miss every shot ;)
Wow great write up. Makes a guy dream someday. maybe!
Great story man. Awesome memories forever. Also congratulations on having some of the larger nuts ever, to not withhold any details on your story. I hope you get another shot in the future. I'll be pulling for you.
Right on Jim, thanks for taking us along.
Memories for a Lifetime for sure
Thanks for sharing with us man
Good luck, Robb
Jim- That was an outstanding description of your trip. What I've discovered is that some of the greatest "trophies" I bring home are not the animal, but an experience and adventure that can't be duplicated. Very few people will ever understand what you really did (or why you did it, for that matter), but you've got something special that will live with your forever. Congrats on a very unique journey. Alan
Awesome thread! Great hunt! You were able to push yourself to your limit and get an experience very few will ever have. My hats off to ya.
I love that you told this story. Putting it out there in the universe for everyone to see that it's not all glory and hallelujah. Every sheep hunt is worth it.
Awesome Jim...Great write-up of an epic adventure. Bowhunting sheep is tough...
I like to think I would have went back after them, but I might not have made it as far as you did! Great adventure and thanks for sharing.
Thank you for sharing the reality of sheep hunting and your adventure. This is what makes bowsite great!
Nicely done Jim! I could feel your pain in the words you typed. I'm guessing many who have done mountain hunting have also shared your feelings...the fatigue, the doubt, the fear, the disappointment, and certainly the will to continue and desire to succeed. Would have been nice to see you get your dream Stone ram...and I sincerely hope you make it happen some day. I kept expecting the next post to be a picture of you smiling over a beautiful ram with your bow in your hand. Next time! Thanks for the great play-by-play...the beautiful photos...and for bringing us along. Kevin
Incredible adventure for you. You got to do and see something that 99.99999% of bowhunters will never experience! Congrats to you on this hunt!
Jim you didn’t get your ram, but you got a lot more. Nothing easy about sheep hunting with a bow. I am absolutely sure that you will be back on the mountain gripping a pair of sheep horns before you know it. Great write up.
Jim you didn’t get your ram, but you got a lot more. Nothing easy about sheep hunting with a bow. I am absolutely sure that you will be back on the mountain gripping a pair of sheep horns before you know it. Great write up.
Thank you, heck of a story!
Jim- Incredible adventure! Your writing style makes it very easy to feel like I was right there for every step....I could even feel the fatigue and foot pain!!
THANK YOU for sharing!
Wonderful story! Much respect.
Great to catch up at Wild Sheep Jim!
Have you booked your nest sheep hunt:)!
Yes mark, I’m hunting Dalls this august! And working on a deal for this stone sheep hunt for 2021 right now. Just need to find more money!
Jim, First of all Congrats to you on (regardless of filling the tag) a successful backpack sheep hunt. At 56 years old I just did the same thing in the Mackenzies for my first Dall. Regardless of how you feel or the condition that you're in going into it, sooner or later your pack and the mountain takes its toll on you. There were several days especially on the pack outs, I was not sure if i would make it....trembling legs, aching backs, etc, etc. Your descriptions of your feelings flashed me back to mine, some days very similar. However, based on my experience, there are no failures when in sheep country, soak it in and enjoy it and feel blessed your able to be there. I commend you for the effort and the desire to get back....I too long for the sheep mountains again and am going back this summer. Once you've been there I guess it just becomes a part of you and until you get back, there seems an empty hole to fill. Good luck this year and I look forward to reading about it!! Kip
Good times at WSF Jim. Did you book that other hunt we discussed?
Dreams well chased. Congrats! Thanks for having us along.
There’s a reason sheep live where they do - the view.
Heaven on earth...
You sir are a bowhunter. I truly enjoyed your write up!
Thanks for your story Jim
This was a classic good to review it again
I get heart broken all over reading this one again...