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  1. #26

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    Thanks Guys, I had planned on getting through the rest of the story this last weekend. But, my ladies 4wd Toyota van had the front differential take a poop on the highway and I spent the weekend finding, extracting, replacing, scraping, cursing, and filling a used diff back in there. I guess that was a pretty good mothers day gift! I will chime back in tomorrow and thanks for your patience.
    Btw, I appreciate the words of encouragement. I know I'm long winded = I figured the pictures would help!

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Northwest Pennsylvania
    Posts
    119

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    Can’t hardly wait. On edge of my seat !

  3. #28

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    Argh!

    PS: No problem with long story here. Too short as it is

  4. #29

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    This time of year can be a drag around here. Normally its politics or bickering. A good story, is as exciting as bacon grease and biscuits, to the Cur Dog. On with it already!

  5. #30

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    OK Everybody,

    Time to finish up the hunt. If you read the beginning, you know what the outcome is. But, things got pretty fun before the end. Also, if you want to stick around for the next post, I am going to offer a recap/interpretation about what I learned.

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    So, I got my stuff together and headed back up for the duration. I was staying until I hunted the season out...5 days left.

    My base camp was more north in the range located above treeline. Its where the rams were early in the season. There is about 4 places that you can actually pitch a tent up there when you are engaged on top of the ridge line. It is freaking steep and constantly changing. Rock fall is common and keeps you on your toes. I mean, what if rocks where falling because of a ram? There was a lot of freeze and thaw as I approached my base camp and I took my time on the ascent. You have to pick your way through what are avalanche chutes with a bit of water running through them. It gets sketchy quick but it's the only clear routes. A few careful hours later and I had left the everyday world far below.

    I unpacked my hanging dry bags and made camp a home. The spotter was out before I knew it. I had to gain a saddle and pick my way down the razorback until I could get a view. Not 30 minutes after I sat down and I picked up some white butts about a mile down the way. Ewes! But did they have some rams? Please tell me so. I glassed for a bit and tried to pick some horns out, but the terrain is so varied and I was too far away to discern much of anything. Over my shoulder, I could see some clouds building. I better get moving.

    I scrambled down and packed a spike camp. Now, if someone says they packed a spike camp on a sheep hunt remember that you are already at bare minimum when it comes to camping anyway. Basically a sheep spike camp is a 3/4 length therm-a-rest, Folgers coffee singles, granola bars, and a tarp! Here we go!
    I had about a mile+ to reach the sheep and I ended up about 1/2 way getting caught in the dark. I passed out to a throaty bull giving his cows check-in bugles as they moved up the drainage from their beds. It was pretty cool to actually count real sheep before I drifted off that night.

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    Morning was not nice. I made a quick decision to get back to base camp and ride the day out. I had known the storm was coming in, but I didn't think visibility would be this bad. I was dressed for success and got back to camp quickly. I hunkered and listened to some podcasts while waiting it out. Not trying to name drop, but listening to fellas such as the great Shane Mahoney, Dan Flores, Mr. Randy, Gritty Guys, Meat Eaters, the Rich man, and many others can really add up to a hell of a lot of sense. Those podcasts are kinda preaching to the choir concerning an online forum like this, considering all the very knowledgeable folks here that contribute to Hunt Talk. But, I mean to emphasize that when you are hunkered in a tent waiting a storm out and trying to find a ram to kill, those words really sink in pertaining to free spaces and public lands. The words they speak come from long experience in the wild and mirror what what the wild landscapes have taught me. As much as I wished there was no wind and snow blowing outside, I chose to seize the opportunity to listen and learn from the greats, including the weather around me. I focused on fully realizing the moment and manifesting the fact that I was the interloper in a predominately human free zone. I was fudging my way through with modern technology using every advantage, while all the amazing creatures that live up here just make it happen with their instincts alone. It was a humbling day.

    The next morning was almost halfway through the last 5 days and I had to get truckin'. So, many hours of much needed sleep later and I retraced my steps up and over the saddle into the Twilight Creek basin. Low and behold, the sheep were just a couple hundred yards off from where I left them 36 hours before. Granted they were a ways down below treeline, but there was no hesitation. Closing the distance did not take to much time. Treeline was getting closer. The sheep were moving up in to the cliffs above Twilight Lake and there was little snow where they were currently feeding up. I passed the snowline and picked my route behind some cover for an approach that from a distance looked like a go. Up in terrain like that, you never really know until you actually get there. As I neared the sheep, I knew that choosing the long road paid off and I would have cover the whole way. I had been unable to locate any legal rams in the bunch, but as most stalks go I had cut myself off from view and just had to wait and see if there were any once I got there.

    As I neared the ancient spruce I had picked out for a ambush point, I almost got busted because the sheep were doing exactly what I hoped they would do. They were choosing a grass nose to feed up into a broken cliff bedding area. If there was any ram, this might be it. The sheep were now 10 yards below me. I was obstructed by the spruce. They were feeding out to my left and a super slow, stealthy range showed 20-30 yards for open terrain beyond my vision. I was so nervous I had to actually range 20 yards! Like I hadn't practiced that shot a million times. I started to ride the adrenaline and knocked an arrow. Just one mature ram please! Time hung like a glacier in a cirque. Ewes started to become fully exposed. Young ones, kids, and a few old ewes with spectacular horns. And then the two young rams. The couldn't have been more than 2 and a half years old. Barely 1/2 curl. But, were they legal? I just couldn't be sure. 30 yards now and feeding away. I waited for as many to turn their heads away as I could and let down my string. I just couldn't shoot something that young and most likely borderline legal. I don't hunt to kill a juvenile. I don't want to burn my points on something that could mature and contribute to his herd as a leader with good genetics. If the herd is to mature into a new age class, we all have to consider that each one of these animals has a fragile future we are in control of and could change with the flick of a trigger finger or simple exposure to domestic sheep. Words that I had read many years before rolled through my mind, "We all have the ability to act like God, but what gives us the right to exercise his judgement?" Needless to say, I let those sheep feed past as I shadowed behind them towards their bedding area. They gained the nose and looked back in my direction, silhouetted against the sky. It was surreal. I regretted none of my decision to let down.

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    I camped next to the water. Elk were running around making their intentions known. I spent some long hour awake in the tent that night. If only there had been a mature ram. Finally some sleep and then it was a predawn trek up the ridge opposite from the Ewes. I was hoping that I could find some rams worthy of a stalk today. I would exercise my right to take a sheep out, but it had to be the right one. Even though I was in the sunset of the hunt, I had set my standards and I wasn't going to bend them just because. I guess that's what stubborn guys do. No rams showed up that day. I found beds that were a few days old at the top of the ridge, but that was the only sign. The rams were in the trees and I was dead in the water.

    The final day dawned. I settled in for the realization that the minutes were going to go by until I had to head back over the saddle to my above treeline base camp and descend to the questions and inquiries from my hunting and non-hunting friends. I already regretted my non-hunting friends. The ones that hunt have all been skunked and can describe in their own words how much heartbreak can come from an unfilled tag. My non-hunting friends only equate what we do to walking out in a feed lot and shooting a bull in the head. Those conversations were going to be much less amusing, but the most influential to change attitudes towards hunters. I had basically called the hunt done by mid-morning, but I still continued to look around. By about 3pm, I knew it was time to leave.
    I made it back to camp slowly, glassing the whole range. Nothing moving except the sheep hanging right above the lake. I tipped my hat in goodbye and dropped off the saddle.

    I will follow this up with a post hunt breakdown. One more section to go. There are many things that I learned after the hunt which shaped the way I think about sheep. Sheep management is a very fickle subject, I hope you all join in on the discussion. I by no means have the answers for the future, but I would love to hear some ideas about what to do for these amazing creatures. Thanks again and talk to ya soon

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    Last edited by BrokenArrow; 05-17-2018 at 02:13 AM.

  6. #31

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    Man this the best story ever! Thank you for sharing.

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