Contributors to this thread:
More once-in-a-lifetime bowhunts...
Instead of rambling on with a bunch of words like normal, I think I’ll just show some pics of what my last year was like. More adventures across North America with great friends—and treeman—that remind me how empty my life would be without bowhunting...
For the first time in a decade, I had to leave Sheep show early because a work commitment. This was everyone’s way of saying “We miss you Zack”
I need new friends...
April was the P&Y convention in Omaha. There were lots of highlights over the 4 days, including having a front-row seat for Trump Jr.’s talk.
More adventures across North America with great friends—and treeman
Worth repeating. Love you, Jim haha And pretty sure that's the universal sign of everyone saying you're #1 Zack!
I had zero chance of winning against M.R. James, but it was an honor to be nominated
We were very good at recycling
Restocking in case of inclement weather. You should always be prepared
Getting a very expensive hair cut. Not sure it was done by licensed professionals though
Thanks to Jason and everyone else who participated in a fun fundraiser
Just one of the many photos taken during our “after hours social outreach” program.
Did a little early summer scouting for Blacktails and found this guy a month before the season. Of course, I never saw him during the season. The way it usually goes with Columbian Blacktails
Did a little fishing during the summer out of Homer, AK. Managed to land this king
One of the bigger halibut we caught. Good times
Such a fancy photo. People on IG should be jealous
July was early blacktail season. My good buddy Shawn was able to arrow his first P&Y Columbian blacktail. Big, old forkies are cool bucks!
In August, I boarded about 9 different planes to head to the Yukon for a special hunt with a fellow bowsiter. I never travel without my lucky hat
This is an actual photo of the sheep they had tied up for me before I got there. It somehow got loose before I arrived
The Yukon River in Whitehorse
I had some time to brush up on my French in the hotel lobby
A man walking towards his destiny...
Close rams, but way too young
What the hell is that critter doing way up here?
Rams now going away. Dammit!
Good times man...Keep it rolling.
After that eventful first day, we got some terrible weather that kept us locked down for a while. Heavy rain, snow and fog made it nasty for a bit too long
Saw a few different animals from around camp. Nothing we were hunting though
Next door neighbors. I think I will try to find them next time I’m up there
This is my effective range
This is not supposed to happen in mid-August!!
Spending most of a 72-hour period cooped up in a one-man tent makes it tough to keep a positive attitude. That is the mental side of a sheep hunt that is more important than any physical preparation you may do
That doesn't look like my accommodations?
Moving camp after a big summer snow storm. Makes the sheep harder to find for sure
I'm going to pause for a moment to respond to Kota's snarky remarks:
Insert middle-finger emoji here...
Now back to the posts
Some sketchy stuff through this rocky pass. Nasty terrain. Overall, it wasn’t terrible
By day 9, we had covered a lot of miles and drainages. Although we had seen lots of sheep and rams, we hadn’t turned up a shooter ram since day 1 and had a decision to make:
Stay put and hope a ram appeared out of the areas we had been scouring for the past several days, or pull up camp and march a few miles to our last ditch area for the last day of our hunt. We decided to move.
Right before dark about 7 miles away, we found a group of 5 rams with one dark-coated shooter.
The face of a happy bowhunter hoping for a last-day opportunity
After deliberation on wether we should run up the mountain after the rams and sleep on them to be ready at first light or wait until morning, we decided to wait and put them to bed before making our move.
Early the following morning, we located the 5 rams and watched them for several hours before the settled down for what we hoped would be all day. We picked a route up the mountain and made as quick a move as possible. It took a couple hours to scale the mountain and get above them. As luck would have it, the darkest fannin (our shooter ram) was bedded about 50 yards above the other four sheep. Sometimes a guy gets lucky.
To be honest, I felt a little guilty because it was the easiest stalk I have made in my life. We were 150 yards above the dark ram. I dropped back, circled below the ridge and peaked up 60 yards from the bedded sheep. I wiggled closer until the rangefinder read “49.9” and settled in to wait for the bedded ram to rise.
The hardest part of the entire hunt was keeping my head straight for the shot. We had spent 10 days backpacking in the Yukon wilderness and this was my first—and only—opportunity at a fannin ram. Although I tried to convince myself 100 times I could make a shot on the bedded sheep, I knew better and waited.
After about an hour, the ram rocked in his bed. I was at full draw before he was on all fours. When he turned broadside and began to stretch, I knew it was only a few more seconds before the arrow would hit home. It was over very quickly and I watched the most beautiful animal I had ever seen in person fall in seconds.
After two 10-day, backpack sheep hunts and two last-day rams, I know exactly what happens when preparation, hard work, a positive attitude, a little luck and being able to capitalize on an opportunity can lead to. This is probably the most amazing moment of all my years of bowhunting. I am the world’s luckiest bowhunter!
These two guys—Ben and Conor—kept us going. It was a grind at times, but we came out with a great adventure and many memories
Lucky to have this opportunity. Such a pretty cape
Starting off the mountain
A few minutes later, it was a whiteout blizzard to pack out the ram
After 10 days of freeze-dried food, I was looking forward to fresh sheep meat. Here is the before pic of the ribs
Because of several reasons, I did not get to eat any of my dall sheep on the mountain from a couple years ago. I was not going to let that happen again.
This is as good a time as any to preface my “snarky” comments. You see while Zack was “grinding it out” for 10 days with Connor and Ben, I was staying in a cabin with a wood stove, with 3 lovely female guides and managed to kill on day 2. Thus, the middle finger emoji...;). But what a hunt for the two of us. I also managed to kill a great caribou on Day 5 to complete the adventure.
This is Zack’s thread, so I’ll gracefully bow out and let him finish. Great friends, great times and all made possible by Bowsite.,,
After 10 days of crappy food and a small tent, sheep backstraps and a small cabin was unbelievable!
I had one small piece of cheese left in my pack. Fine dining in the Yukon!
On day 10, I finally felt as fortunate as Cory. Good food, a warm, dry cabin and a nice ram.
Cory, feel free to add to any of this. In fact, I welcome anyone that contributed to this year’s fun to add to the posts
Ready to head back to base camp
Tired but happy bowhunter
They gave me the cool number
Obligatory beer once you get back to civilization
The traveling bowhunter is always loaded down
Ah, the feet of a backpack sheep hunter. I’ve had worse
To take a fannin of this color and age is something for which I will forever be grateful. After my last sheep hunt, I said multiple times, "Never again!"
Obviously I was a liar. I'd like to thank--and blame--all of those that talk me into some of these adventures. Do I have two more in me?
During September, I got to help Blake on his tule elk hunt out here in California. Here is Blake “the cow whisperer”
Once I left, they were able to hunt much more effectively without me dragging them down and Blake managed to arrow this little guy without me. I guess it is decent
In November, I made another trip to my favorite place to hunt—kodiak island. My fan club was waiting at the gate for me when I landed. They did spell my name wrong though...
We really rough it on the boat hunts
We did a little fishing over the first few days because JP and I couldn’t kill any bucks
Luckily some of my bowsite hunting buddies are better at killing bucks, so we had a couple on the boat
We found a cub brown bear that was killed near the beach. First time I have seen that
After a few days, this old, blind buck almost stepped on top of me. I had to defend myself. It was my first 100” buck on Kodiak
A couple days later, we found another buck that let me close enough to do some damage. It turned out to be another buck just over 100”.
I had a very lucky week
The second buck was a hard pack out
The first time I haven’t had to pack out a buck on Kodiak. I didn’t complain too much
The sun does shine sometimes on Kodiak
Good times with good friends. Kodiak never disappoints.
“The most interesting man in the world”...........and Zack
“The most interesting man in the world”...........and Zack
After what you endured on your sheep hunt, I NOW understand why you were so diligent in keeping up with your stringent yoga regime on the boat on Kodiak, Zack! I’m glad that I was able to, in at least some small way, help to encourage you to maintain your peak performance levels.
Great stuff so far, buddy! Keep it coming!
One Archery super slammer and one jackass in the back of a plane. I told the pilot I was from Texas because he had just went on a 10-minute screed about how terrible California was before he asked me where I was from
I like to stay rested and hydrated on hunts Troy. It is very important
Speaking of hydrating. This place is a must while on the island
With a few days left in the blacktail season at home, I had my fingers crossed for some weather to help with rut activity. Be careful what you wish for because we got several inches of snow and temps that didn’t get above freezing for several days. It made things very difficult because roads were impassible and the snow was so crunchy that stalking was nearly impossible.
The weather did get some bucks moving, but not like a good rain storm does. This was a good rub line we found
I was fortunate to take this buck on the last day of the season. It was a theme for my hunts last year—last-day luck!
In January, I made my first trip to Mexico with some bowsite buddies. Here is Mr. Muche with his trophy antelope jack from 37 seconds into our hunt
Unfortunately, I cannot find my memory card from my good camera I took to Mexico, so I only have crappy cell phone pics. If I ever find the SD card, I’ll post some good pics. Here is a buck that got a pass
This guy got to walk away too
This one did not get a pass
This buck just missed 100” with a broken brow tine. My biggest Coues’ so far and it finished my 6th archery deer slam
I like getting my picture taken with famous people!
Celebrating the end of a hunt and Tom’s birthday.
We flew back from Mexico straight to Reno for the sheep show. Always good times with guys and gals from all over the world.
Quite the group of sheep hunters—and me.
Part of our Sheep Show “support group” with my ram from the Yukon. Don’t tell my wife I got a full-body mount
I made the sushi dinner this year, but everyone still flipped me off
Motley sheep-hunting crew. I still need new friends
February I went to Wyoming and Montana to hunt mountain lions. On the first day, my buddy shot this cat. A large tom. I thought for sure this would be my trip to get a cat!
We had a lot of snow. Too much actually
We used lots of modes of transportation to try and find a mature tom track. It was my first time driving these contraptions
We treed this female about half way through the hunt but let her go. It is pretty cool seeing these critters up close
Over the years, I have spent 15 days chasing lions (or more accurately, the idea of mountain lions) and have yet to draw my bow. Everyone has the animals that gives them fits. For me, it’s moose and lions. I have had some fun adventures after them both and know that someday, it will work out. Until then, I know I have been fortunate with so many other trips that I rarely think of my struggles with cats and moose.
It’s been a fun, but exhausting, year. I am going to slow down a bit this next year. I have had a lot of once-in-a-lifetime bowhunts over the past 5 years and I’m ready to spend some more time at home and focus more on work and volunteering. I still have some trips lined up with good buddies I’ve met here and through P&Y over the next year, but it’s time to relax a bit. Charlie, I may only do one or two once-in-a-lifetime hunts next year!
Hell of a year brother. Glad I got in on a little bit of it!
One awesome adventure thread. Congrats Zack (and friends) on some super trophy animals and fish. Thanks for sharing.
Glad I got to be a part of it too, bud...even if it meant I had to share a bunk with Treeman :) Helluva year. Looking forward to the next time!
Had a great time having beers at P&Y, in AK with you, then Mexico and again in Reno. Fun times and it’s amazing we killed anything. Word to the wise, don’t let Zack pack your lunch!
Looking forward to a few more hunts together soon!
Great stuff, Zack! Hell of a year....thanks for sharing.
Great thread and year!! Congrats!!
That's a beautiful Fannin! Thanks for sharing your hunts!
What a season and great pics! Congrats on all of your adventures and thank you for sharing.
Gotta throw a few more in to round things out!
What a year! Thanks for sharing.
What an amazing ram. Grats Zack on another great year!
BEG.........All that conditioning that was done at P&Y in Omaha really paid off on Kodiak, for sure!
Great thread...thanks for sharing.
What a Great Year
Good luck, Robb
Wow, thanks for taking the time to share the pics Zack. Great year....huge congrats!
Congrats on everything! What a year!!
Wow! All that in a single year, plus finding time to share it all with friends. Congrats! You’re a truly blessed man Zack.
You da man! Hell of a year dude
Zack, I just went through all of these great hunts in 15 minutes and I do not feel tired/exhausted or hungover as you might have been at times. Go figure? Anyway, enjoyed it all. my best, Paul
Excellent! Congratulations on a fabulous hunting season!
Beautiful Stone! And a bunch of other nice critters on top of the fun you had! Great year!
Another Epic Year for you, Zack, congrats!
What an incredible Fannin Ram !
This was a well told journey! Congratulations!
Great stuff Zack! I enjoyed that a lot!
Yes Zack, you had a helluva year, and with some great guys! Thanks for sharing.
Good stuff Zack. Love these kind of threads.
Thanks for sharing, Zack. Congrats on a great year.
Congrats on your special year, going to be tough to top that one!
That was a great read.
From the suspense and drama of the sheep hunt to dogging of your friends for some good laughs.
What a post!
But I think I would go with Kota Mans sheep hunt plan. :^)
That was a great season Zack! Congratulations on some beautiful trophy's! Can hardly wait for P&Y to kick off the 2020 season properly. See you there!
Well done Zack. That sheep land somewhere near Holy grail status in my world. Big congrats my friend and thanks for posting.
can you drink beer on these hunts? asking for a friend...
What a recap... outstanding!!!
Hell of a year Zack, congrats again!
That sheep tho.......damn, my dream Fannin. Quick question: were you hunting lions with Chaz? Great season!
A solid season, but I think you can do better!! More once in a lifetime hunts next year!!
Not sure if it's a wise decision to be joining you in Kodiak this fall!
Great photos and thread! CONGRATS!
Great read....Beautiful Ram
Somebody must be LOADED! Congrats!
Scott, you're gonna wanna train before hitting Kodiak with Zack. And I don't mean weights and cardio.
Wow what a year!!! That's what dreams are made of. And then there's the other 4 hunts. Congrats! Sounds like a tough chore to find a better guy to have it happen to.
Really, really great stuff, guys! Thanks so much for sharing. Enjoyed the hell out of this thread while watching snow tornadoes blast down my valley.
Congrats on an awsome year!!
Outstanding... never give up should be your motto and friend. Ed F
Another great year Zack! Congrats!!!
Great hunts! Awesome year. Way to make it happen.
Spectacular season and great stories! Thanks again for sharing
Zack congrats on your outstanding season! Your humility is great and shows you truly have your priorities right and still get it done while having the time of your life! Well done all around!
Z, I want to be you when I grow up!
Great thread. The "Sheep Feet" photo is funny as heck. I can relate to having a blister on every single toe (and elsewhere) from a lion hunt. I never conceived that could actually happen. lol
Thanks for posting. Great entertainment. Also super job getting it done and showing how to enjoy life.
Hey Zach, that bull that Blake killed, who was that with?