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AK Hunt with Jonahs AK Outfitters
I am returning from a great trip with Jonah Stewart, in the Brooks Range.
A friend and I booked with Jonah in early 2019, as usual the years flew by and it was time to go. After an early afternoon flight from the east coast we arrived in Fairbanks late evening, grabbed a rental car and headed north on the Dalton Highway for an overnight drive.
We arrived in Wiseman AK, about 8am, in time for a great breakfast at the lodge.
We were paired with our guides, Seth was to be guiding me, he guided 2 bowsiters to rams last year. Seth can cover more ground in mountains than any human I have ever seen, his knowledge of the area, the rams and what they might do next is incredible. My friend was rifle hunting was paired with Dan and packer Gabe. By early afternoon we started being taken out.
The weather on the first sheep hunt was very rough this year. We were on the second hunt, the weather was better but we still lost time to fog, with one 20 hour stretch in the tent with a couple other 12 hour stretches. We were covering ground as much as the weather would allow. Time was absolutely flying by, seemed that in a blink of an eye we were at day 6. In the 6 days I had seen a few wolverines, ewes and lambs, but I had not seen a ram. Seth had managed to spot a group of rams 2 times for about a minute each time which had brought us to our current camp location. On this day it was like a switch was flipped at 2pm, it went from thick fog that you couldn't see to the next ridge to crystal clear in 15 minutes.
Great trip if I may interject before the story is over! Congrats Gene!!
And thanks to Nick for being the holding station for the prize at the end to make my travel home smoother.
Love all these sheep hunts being posted makes me want to book a hunt.
As soon as it cleared we headed up the mountain to the last spot that Seth had spotted the rams from a couple miles away. After glassing, climbing, glassing some more, Seth turns the rams up again, only 300 yards away this time.
We covered the first half of the distance at a walk because of the contour of the ground. After that we dropped our packs and started crawling. We spotted the first small ram at 100 yards, then more rams came into sight, 5 sub legal rams. We thought there were 7 or possibly 8 rams total, so we still had hope there would be a legal ram. As the rams fed they were coming up hill and were now even with us on the hill. Seth was in front laying flat, I was kneeling so I could shoot , but crouching as low as I could to hopefully not be seen. As the 6th ram came into view, Seth calmly says, that ram would be legal and called the distance, double checked to verify the distance, set my pin, drew and raised upright , as I settled in and set the pin , everything felt good. As I triggered the release, I was horrified to see my arrow go just under the rams chest into a clump of tundra. The rams jumped took a steps and tried to figure out what happened. As I was nocking the second arrow, Seth called the distance. Because of the contour of where the ram stood now I could only see the top half of his body, I put the pin were body and tundra met and triggered the release again. This time I heard the sound of broad striking animal, except I couldn't see the hit because the arrow fell slightly below my line of sight on the upper half of the ram.
Looking forward to following this as I post mine! Sheep hunt post thru the years have been my favorite threads on bowsite so happy to follow yours!
I really slacked off on picture taking on this trip, so to add atleast a couple pictures to this thread I'm going to post the awesome ram that my buddy rifle shot on this trip.
After the shot the rams jumped over the edge, I wasn't exactly sure on the shot location, but knew it was in the front third of the body and felt the height was decent. We spotted the group of rams pop up on the opposite mountain, the ram I shot wasn't with them, good sign. Then we spot my ram much closer on a brush slope. After looking through the scope it appears the hit may have been a bit low. With daylight fading we decided to wait until morning to go after him.
The next morning we get on the ram and Seth was able to keep him spotted while trying a finishing stalk, as the day went on it appeared the ram may not be hurt that bad, not good. We played cat and mouse for the next 36 hours with the ram. Finally we locate him in a cliff band, in an unorthodox move we decided to try him from underneath the vertical cliffs. We get to where we think the ram is and can see just the top of his horns, the range is set, release on the string and the ram won't stand, he thinks he is hidden from us. Finally the ram stands, arrow is on the way, thwack solid shoulder hit, he staggers to a thin ledge, Seth calls the distance again, next arrow is on the way. As the second arrow strikes the rams falls forward for about a 200 foot free fall to the ground...thud.
It was far from the perfect hunt that we all hope for, but after a lot of hours we had him on the ground. I'm saying we, because Seth's skills no doubt made the difference on the outcome of this hunt.
Perseverance says a lot! Way to stay with it, and congrats on your sheep, Gene!
After such a big fall I was surprised to see the cape was in perfect condition and both horns were still intact with only minimal damage to one of them.
Way to stay after, congrats to the both of you! That’s a dream hunt there!
I talked to Jonah in ‘19 also. Ended up getting cold feet and didn’t book, this is a nice reminder that I screwed up!!!
After the sheep hunt ended there was still a little time to caribou hunt, after a quick visit at camp the caribou plans were set in action.
Congrats Gene…Awesome stuff…
Great!! Nice ram Gene! Way to go!
We were up going shortly after daylight on the first day of caribou hunting. I had never had an opportunity to hunt caribou where there were trees and bushes for cover, I was really looking forward to it. This day definitely didn't disappoint. The first couple hours we spotted maybe 50 caribou, but then made our way into another valley and the number of caribou was incredible. After looking over a lot of bulls , a bull with some of everything was spotted feeding on the edge of a large brush patch. I was able to stalk into 36 yards on the quartering away bull and made the shot.
Great rams thanks for sharing
Awesome stuff Gene, congrats! Can't wait to hear about the rest of the hunt.
You guys did great,
Great stuff… congratulations!!!
Congrats Gene! Your guide and you never gave up and got the job finished. Beautiful ram and caribou.
Fantastic, thanks for sharing!
That's awesome, congratulations! I booked with Jonah a few more years and I hope to have similar results.
Fantastic. That’s one of the places I still need to get to in Alaska. Really want to see the Brooks Range.
Great job on the Barren Ground Caribou too! What a hunt!
Congrats on some great trophies.
Wish I was 20 years younger, would chase a dall with my bow.
Congratulations! At my age I doubt I ever do this so I really enjoy these stories!
Thanks for all the comments, it was a great trip with several emotional highs and lows that all worked out in the end.
Does anybody know what's up with the pic rotator now? Used to be very simple to use.
Congrats on the sheep, and the bonus caribou ! Determination won out…..
What a couple bad asses. Both Gene and Seth! Nothing like chasing sheep isn’t he mountains.
Jonah runs a great outfit and Seth is a great archery guide (if you can keep up).
Congrats again, —Jim
Congrats on an epic hunt, Gene! Some great critters, as well!
Great ram and bou! That country looks incredible!
Awesome thread Gene. Thanks for sharing and congrats
Chevy Malibu, a very underated way to explore the Dalton Highway....
One trip through here and it was like it never happened.
Congrats on a great archery ram!
I won’t tell if you don’t! ;)
Congrats on a great trip and couple animals!
Nice work and beautiful ram congrats!
Congrats Gene! Beautiful ram and bou!
Congrats! Great ram and bonus bou!
Congrats Gene! Hell of a start for what should be an epic year for you.
That's so awesome Gene!! Congrats!!
Congrats!! I am booked with Jonah for next year and absolutely cant wait!!
What a trip! Congrats on the accomplishment!
Forgot to add, the rifle ram was 11 years old and my ram was 9 years old
Seth is the man. he guided me to my archery sheep last year
What a great trip! Congratulations!
Well done!! Congrats Gene!
A ram that tips the magical 40" mark and a top notch caribou!!
Congrats on two very fine trophies and keeping after it to the end!