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WY sheep unit 5 report
I drew unit 22 sheep which let me start hunting unit 5 10/1.
I am back. I did not get me sheep. It weighs on my heavily. Given the fact I did not get a sheep, if I could go back in time, I would probably hire an outfitter. That said I am not very disappointed I did not. NR foot hunting was significantly more difficult then I expected. I was in great shape but sheep were typically 2,000 - 3,000 feet up. What made it a lot harder was most times I was traveling over very very rough terrain. At times I climbed for an hour straight up lose scree & rocks that shifted with literally every step. It took me twice as long to climb/descend then any other trip have every taken.
I passed on a small ram and I missed a half curl. It was only 300 yards but I did not take my time and get a good rent. I got excited. Had I been calm and taken am minute to get a better rest I would have easily taken that ram.
I saw at least 1 huge ram, a solid 7/8 curl. There were a LOT of griz. I laid eyes in 7 different bears in 18 days (1 was a cub). I saw fresh sign everywhere. The last 10 days of October I spent at Kiriwn. Nighttime temps were 10 - 20 degrees. I slept in a 1999 for explorer along with my gear. It was rough. I was alone and the recent attacks, daily fresh griz sign, and getting woken up by a griz trying to get into my truck, with me in it, on my first trip weighed heavily on me. I have a in reach - but the last attack the emergency helicopter could not get to the scene. I was in the roughest terrain in WY and it seems obvious the chopper would not have got to me. The last 2 attacks, 3 victims, likely would have died if they were alone. I was alone, in rougher territory and cutting fresh griz tracks in every fresh snowfall, in under a half mile every time was concerning.
The sheep were there, not a lot. There were a lot more the last week of Oct vs. the first week. I found rams in only 2 areas. I am happy to help out anyone who draws the tag. Being a NR without horses was a big disadvantage.
I have dreamed about getting a rocky mt bighorn for 30 year. I am still sad I did not but I had a very memorable hunt.
The sheep are not difficult to hunt. The terrain made it very difficult. Climbing back down after may hikes/stalks was difficult with nothing in my pack. Doing it with 80# would have been risky and taken a a lot of care/time.
More when I have time.
Sorry you didn't get your ram, however it is obvious you put in the effort and had a no give up attitude.
It may not be a conciliation prize, but you have memories most will never have since those tags are so hard to draw and no one can take away those memories.
That's too bad Don, but sounds like you gave it every effort and that's all you can ask for.
Bowhunting sheep is hard! Bowhunting sheep in WY is real hard!
Definitely a tough unit. Sounds like you did it your way and left it all on the mountain. Congratulations on a hunt of a lifetime, even without gaining the prize!
FYI I did not bowhunt. I just know a lot of people here and most important I want to get this out there for anyone in the future to find. I found rams in 2 very specific places and can really help future tag holders. Man that was ROUGH terrain and I am happy I did not quit and gave everything I could every day. I am happy with my efforts. I underestimated the difficulty of this hunt. After drawing over summer I was "clued in" about what it would be like. Biologist, warden etc kept saying it was a lot of work and foot hunters have not been doing great in the past in in Sept this year (before I could hunt).
I was able to rent a horse in Cody that made access much easier. It is to have a horse to scout from high points. It took a lot of effort to fo what you did, embrace the experience.
Thanks for sharing your experience Don. It's good of you to offer help to others also!
Was it possible to camp out high? Keep your elevation and stay above all the bears?
I saw bears above treeline as much as in trees. I glassed them in sheep country. To some extent, especially the last week, they were slightly below sheep. Not a lot. Camping above would have helped a little the problem was unless you knew the Sheep were there it was very difficult to cover enough ground to explore different areas on foot.
The one location I found sheep in the last week was easier to access because of a trail. The catch was the Bears use the trail a lot. You could camp above the Sheep but it was in the teens at night and it would have been rough and only saved you a 1 hour hike. The other location I found sheep and had no water at all and packing enough water for a few days up that mountain would have been brutal. It pretty much took me the same amount of time to go in as to come out because the terrain was so rugged. I would climb about 1500 ft of elevation to where I would start looking for sheep that were typically another thousand feet above me. It was only a mile in but it took me an hour and a half each way with no breaks.
Pics There were eight Rams in this picture it's hard to see and you have to zoom in one was a solid 7/8 curl one more was three quarters.
Some ewes. Even at the end of October for the most part they were never Rams with ewes. I did see it once briefly but it looked to me like they were escaping something like a wolf and happened to be trotting over a ridge together but they didn't really look like they were together it looked like more of a coincidence.
I will try to rotate the images sorry
Not the best picture but this is the only thing I have to show for the sow Grizzly with her cub that shook my car and woke me up at 10:00 p.m. a few weeks ago. I sat up and looked out the window and saw her standing on two legs checking out the car plane is day 5 ft away I yelled and her and her cub immediately ran as far as I could see out of sight. I was clearly able to see them in the Moonlight and watch them running 50 yards she didn't look back or slow down so she wasn't aggressive at all it still was a heck of a way to wake up!
In the first picture there are eight Rams bedded just above the middle of that picture if you zoom in you can see some of them were pretty heavy they are bedded mostly behind some rocks. This was torture because it was an hour and a half before dark and best case I had a solid 2-hour climb to get to them. I put them to bed and because of the extremely rough Terrain and having never been up that part of the mountain was not able to hike up there before white and be waiting to shoot them at sunrise. There's no chance I wouldn't have been able to find my way up that mountain in the dark. When it got late the next morning I was there glassing and they were already gone it broke my heart
Any suggestions for how to post better quality pictures? Maybe put it on Facebook and put a link? On my phone I can zoom in on the picture of the Rams and see them decent but I definitely can't make them out in the picture I posted here
My fiancée is happy I'm home now and not getting pooped out of a grizzly bear!
That's great country. Sounds like quite an adventure. Stinks to not fill a rare tag but in the end hunting is about hunting. Punching a tag is obviously the goal but 99.9% of hunting is all the stuff besides that. For some folks just going to Kirwin is a big experience.
One 3 different mornings there was a set of huge wolf tracks (from that night) on the forest service road to up to Kirwin. The wolf was "road hunting"! He followed the road 95% of the time for about 3 miles, glancing over the edge looking for prey. His tracks were huge. One morning after sunrise a group of 6 - 8 mule deer migrated down that same road. There tracks were on top of my car truck tracks. They walked down the road for about 5 miles from the "top" into the flatter country below. They left the road when the terrain flattened out but still wandered across it occasionally.
The elk were there the first week of October but gone 10/21no elk sighted, heard or spotted. No elk tracks in the snow, none. I saw elk every day the first 9 days of October.
Spounds like you gave it heel and then some...sorry you didn't get your Ram
Between time available and access to the unit, I knew I had to go guided in Idaho some years back. I got my ram and some great memories. I’ve never felt like there was an asterisk beside it because I had help. In reality, most sheep hunters have help, whether they buy it or it’s given to them. You gave it a supreme effort. Congrats to you for that. Sounds like long odds for success between access and griz. That 300 yard walk to your deer stand will be a piece of cake now.