When taking to the mountains, there’s certainly no shortage of gear to bring. Before every trip I go through a checklist in my head, covering everything from socks to stove to game bags. Now there’s one more item I won’t leave home without. [ Read Full Post ]
Packing and glassing are the two toughest tasks of a sheep hunt and, combined, they occupy the vast majority of the time you spend in the mountains chasing rams. They are arguably of equal importance, but glassing literally makes or breaks a hunt.
To get off to a good start glassing, quality optics are critical. For the last couple years, I’ve used Swarovski binoculars and spotting scopes, and they are hard to beat. In fact, most serious sheep hunters will have a pair of Swaro’s hanging around their neck. Their clarity, light gathering ability, and ruggedness are second to none. Quality optics are expensive, but without them, all of the other money invested in a hunt might be for nothing. [ Read Full Post ]
It’s bound to happen eventually, that hunt that makes you wonder if someone has put a voodoo curse on you. This year’s sheep hunt, normally my comfort zone, had quickly turned into a nightmare. After things completely fell apart and I missed a beautiful ram, we put a stalk on an even bigger one. We were already discussing how we were going to pack him out, only to have him give us the slip when the deal was all but done. Having no choice but to forge ahead, we once again shouldered our packs. It took us several hours to work our way back uphill and into a saddle that dropped into a different river drainage.
As we eased our way into the saddle, we had to be careful. With every step we took across the top, more sheep came into view. They seemed to be everywhere. We had to slowly creep along, evaluating every ram that appeared as we made our way over the horizon. After watching one group of rams for about 20 minutes, we crept even farther so that we could see the steep slope directly below us. I was elated when we spotted the tight-curled ram that I had missed two nights earlier. He was 500 yards below us, feeding across a creek and up a grassy draw. [ Read Full Post ]
After my complete breakdown on that tight curling ram, we spent the night on the mountain. The next morning we packed back down to spike camp, filled up on food, and took off up the drainage. While Steve and I were up on the mountain, Gary had spotted a really nice deep curling ram about 2 miles upriver. We had a suspicion that he might be the ram we had been trying to kill for a couple years now. By 9:30 p.m., we had set up camp and climbed farther up the ridge where Gary had seen the ram, but we weren’t seeing much. We walked up past 2 drainages without seeing a sheep. In the third one, we finally spotted a nice ram. [ Read Full Post ]
Gary had successfully taken a nice old bruiser ram, but our hunt was far from over. Steve and I still had tags to cut, so we wasted no time getting back on the glass. The afternoon after shooting Gary’s ram, we spotted a hard-curling ram and decided to make the climb to get a closer look.
After ascending a little more than a mile straight up the mountain we had a good vantage point about 1,000 yards from the ram. The trouble was that there were 47 other rams scattered throughout the fairly open basin with zero cover between us and them. Hindsight is 20/20, and we really should have just waited until dark to see where they would bed, but my impatience got the best of me. [ Read Full Post ]
When fall begins to roll into the Last Frontier, it means one thing to me: sheep hunting. There are few experiences I look forward to all year as much as returning to the mountains to chase Dall sheep. This year my buddies Steve, Gary, Jeremy, and I returned to the same area we hunted last year in hopes of finding the rams that have been running through our dreams ever since.
Within a few hours of getting boots on the ground we were seeing rams, which is always an encouraging sign. You can’t fly and hunt the same day in Alaska, so after a long pack in and getting our spike camp set up at about 11 p.m. we were excited to see what the first day of hunting would bring. [ Read Full Post ]
If you’ve seen the GoPro video of my close encounter with a grizzly from earlier this summer, you probably have some questions. I’ve had quite a few people ask me how I kept it together and why I didn’t shoot.
Here's a re-cut video to give you a little more explanation of this situation, and to show some alternate footage of the encounter.
[ Read Full Post ]