Alaska Archery Dall Sheep Hunt: Day 1

Wasilla Alaska. Archery Dall Sheep Hunt, October 1st through October 10th.

My good friend and Bozeman local, Nate Peckinpaugh drew a coveted archery-only tag for Dall Sheep in area 14c of the Chugach Mountains in Alaska.

Once an out-of-state resident draws a permit for Alaska Dall Sheep, the hunter must then secure a licensed and registered Alaskan Guide to accompany them on the hunt. Nate decided to book his hunt with another good friend of mine, Wasilla based outfitter, Lance Kronberger and his company Freelance Outdoor Adventures. It was agreed I would come along to lend a hand on the hunt and document the experience through my photography.

Lance is living a hunter's dream life in Alaska and he's a friend I've come to know through the hunting industry. Thus far during the 2009 season, he's guided 15 Dall Sheep hunters of which 14 have harvested their rams. The only hunter who didn't harvest his ram is fellow Montanan Willie Hettinger, who was also lucky enough to draw an archery 14c tag himself. These tags aren't as easy to come by as it sounds. Unit 14c in Alaska is broken down into 6 different sub units. The unit Willie drew offers only 25 tags (only 2 are allotted for Non Residents) and Nate's area offers just 80 tags (only 4 are allotted for Non Residents).

Nate's tag is good for 5 of the 6 subunits in 14c. Willie's tag was good for only 1 of the units. As it turned out, Willie had a very tough hunt. The weather didn't cooperate with him at all. Constant rain, snow and fog limited his opportunities to harvest his ram. Willie's a great hunter although he didn't get the opportunity to draw his bow, he found three great rams spaced between four different bands… all on one big Alaskan mountain.

Last night Lance, Willie, Nate and I stayed up until almost 2 a.m. Nate has the opportunity to hunt the same rams Willie was working on, so with the exchange of information and Willie's first hand knowledge of the country we'll be hunting, we are very excited about the possibilities for Nate's success!

Keep checking back, my batteries are charged and with technology permitting, I'll be making daily updates to the Live Hunt Blog for everyone to follow.