Best Sheep Negative Advise

sodak

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
69
It seems the best lessons that I’ve learned from these forums has been in the form of negative advise. As in what doesn’t work. An example would be to “not hunt dead sheep”.

There is a lot of advise on what works or what works for someone on the hunts they do. But the lessons on what not to do seem to apply almost universally across units, species, etc.

Thanks to everyone on this forum for giving me another addiction. Montana’s unlimited areas are certainly a challenge.

So, any good advise on what not to do?


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Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
53
Don't give up on a place too early. I don't know how long is long enough before you move, but I know that a guy killed a sheep in the MT Unlimited unit I was in this year off of a mountain I had spent three and a half days glassing. He killed it less than 12 hours after I packed up and left. That stung.
 

Yellowknife

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Apr 9, 2012
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Fairbanks, Alaska
Don't push the sheep.

This can apply in two ways, both of which I have learned the hard way (and may end up learning again)

1. Moving too fast through good ram country, particularly during mid-day when they are bedded up and hard to see. Once they know you are in-country, it may take several days for them to settle down again or they may even pack up an leave for a different drainage. This one is really hard for me, as I tend to get restless and want to look over the next ridge or around the corner.

2. If a ram isn't alerted to your presence, don't push a dicey stalk. They will always eventually come down to a vulnerable area. NOT being patient enough to wait it out cost me at least two big rams in my earlier career.
 

wantj43

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Joined
Aug 15, 2015
Messages
40
Don't push the sheep.

This can apply in two ways, both of which I have learned the hard way (and may end up learning again)

1. Moving too fast through good ram country, particularly during mid-day when they are bedded up and hard to see. Once they know you are in-country, it may take several days for them to settle down again or they may even pack up an leave for a different drainage. This one is really hard for me, as I tend to get restless and want to look over the next ridge or around the corner.

2. If a ram isn't alerted to your presence, don't push a dicey stalk. They will always eventually come down to a vulnerable area. NOT being patient enough to wait it out cost me at least two big rams in my earlier career.
Could not agree more about taking your time. Probably 80 percent of the sheep or other animals we spotted were located while glassing. Early on I was told to let my eyes do the walking. The older I got the easier the advice became to follow!
 

Bambistew

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Joined
Jan 5, 2013
Messages
177
Location
Alaska
I'm far from an expert on sheep hunting, and I'm not sure I can give "negative" advise, but this is some of the things I've done over the years and has worked successfully on my sheep hunts:

I don't move much during mid day. When the sheep are bedded, so am I. If I do move, I try to do so as much as possible, out of sight of the sheep terrain, i.e. walking in the cuts along streams, in brush lines, etc. I like to work my way to a good vantage point in the morning, and sit for hours and will glass and glass and glass. That vantage point may not be up high, but offers the best view of ram country. You'd be surprised how many sheep you can turn up bedded on ridges/crags, etc. especially mid day. One moment there is nothing, the next they get up stretch and find a new bed close by. If I do move, its at a very slow pace and I constantly scan as new country as it opens up ahead.

Don't stalk bedded sheep in open terrain unless you can get close without them seeing you even if its 2 miles off... and only make the final approach when they get up to feed. They are looking for danger when laying down and are super alert. They will/can pick you out from a long ways off. It's far easier to sneak up on them when they're feeding, especially in the evenings. Every ram I've killed, but one, was in the evening, and only a couple others were in the morning. Hunting morning sheep means getting into position between their bedding/feeding areas and waiting for it to play out. It works best if you know where they are headed. I've waited out rams for 8-10+ hours, many times. Spotting them the morning as they work their way to their beds, slipping into where I think they will feed, or in a position to move on them in the evening. I've left them and come back the next evening and killed them as well.

I never walk ridgelines, ever. While it seems obvious, many people do it far to often, and sheep hunters seem to be one of the worst offenders. Short distances may be unavoidable, but there are guys that will walk miles, peaking into drainages as they cross the heads of them. Your movement is super easy to spot from miles away. You "ruin" more ground than you cover., IMO Note my comment above, when sheep are bedded they have nothing to do but chew their cud and watch for movement, while usually they are looking below them, some rams bed on ridgelines at your same elevation. If spooked from above, those rams will be long gone, every time. If spooked from below, they usually are not nearly as warry and may not blow out.

Sheep are not impossible to shoot/hunt from below. I haven't bought into the "get above them" advice as the end-all, be-all. Every situation is different. Getting above them gets them out of their natural line of sight, but its really no different than stalking any other animal. Wait till they aren't looking and move in, or use terrain and move in close. All most all sheep we've killed were from below, and I can only think of 1 that we got above, and only because we had not other choice due to terrain and other sheep.

Lastly... Its been my experience, that rams do not move that much, maybe 1/2 mile from bed to feeding areas. Don't pressure them until they get to a spot that makes them vulnerable. It might take you 2-3 days to find the rams in your valley, due to all the hidden terrain. This is the number one reason why I'm in favor of the aerial ban on spotting sheep. Its damn near a sure bet if you spot a ram from the air that you can find and kill him, believing otherwise is a farce. We've killed virtually every legal ram we've spotted from the ground, some times days later, but they were in the same general area. Using a plane allows you to find them way, way faster. If rams aren't pressured they will stay in the same general area for days at a time. They will up and move to the next valley at times, but usually they will park it in good feed for 3-5 days or more. Hence the reason I don't like covering a ton of ground quickly, because it takes time to explore every nook and cranny, and on day 3 the rams may show up in your valley.

I can't wait for sheep season to get here.
 
Last edited:

Sammckeeth

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Jan 18, 2016
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Location
Montana
Don't walk past the sheep. Just because you can go twenty miles in doesn't mean you have to.


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Yellowknife

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Apr 9, 2012
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Fairbanks, Alaska
Thought of something else last night.

I frequently see on the internet and at the airstrips guys who are strongly focused on gear and tactics. That's fine, but the actual "hunting" of sheep is less than half the battle. The rest of it is all fieldcraft. Navigation, route finding, knowing how far you can travel in a day or hour, selecting campsites, finding water, dealing with weather.... these are the things that will really make or break the hunt.

While googling the latest rangefinders and 6.5's isn't a bad thing, it's very unlikely to have any serious effect on the outcome of the hunt. Accumulated nights spent in the mountains absolutely will. Although I've had some good teachers, most of what I learn, I still learn the hard way in the field. Every trip is a lesson much more directly applicable than stuff learned on the internet. And by "trips", I'm not talking about sheep hunts specifically. Even if it's weekend backpacking, shed hunting, or day trips up the nearest mountain. If you can easily function in the country, you will be much more effective at the hunting part of the equation.

Bambistew talks about his sheep tactics, and I've found it to be solid advice. However, I happen to know he's skips over the work that went into finding his sheep areas and the access challenges they have. He gets in there and gets sheep out in large part because he knows what he's doing and can focus his attention on the hunting part of the job.
 
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Chicago
That's fine, but the actual "hunting" of sheep is less than half the battle. The rest of it is all fieldcraft. Navigation, route finding, knowing how far you can travel in a day or hour, selecting campsites, finding water, dealing with weather.... these are the things that will really make or break the hunt.
Yellowknife provided fantastic advice not only applicable to sheep hunting but hunting any species. Learn by doing.

Like going to college, you can study and read as much as you want. This will lay the groundwork but once thrown into your career field you'll learn significantly more in a much shorter time frame. It's all about experiences, good or bad.
 

MtGomer

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Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
124
Location
Montana —-> AZ
Don’t leave your hat outside at night. A marmot will get it.
Don’t leave your food in your vestibule when you’re gone. Even above timberline. Find somewhere to store it. I got back just in time to stop a Wolverine from breaking and entering.
Be on your glass at first light and until last light.
 

Shepherd

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Sep 13, 2017
Messages
88
Location
Wisconsin
Thank you all for this information - it is GOLDEN!!

I'm going to print this out and put in my sheep file.
 
OP
S

sodak

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Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
69
Yes, a true than you!


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Jimss

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Mar 6, 2015
Messages
570
If you hunt rams at higher elevation be sure to take your time and acclimate to the elevation! Treeline in Colo is around 10 to 11,000' and that's where a large chunk of Colo rams are found! Even though you are in fantastic shape you may end up with a giant headache, dizzy, and tossing chunks! Altitude sickness isn't fun! The only cure is to go down in elevation...which is a bummer! I constantly breath with super deeper breaths...even when sitting down at high altitude. Some say to eat gobs of tumbs. I also drink gobs of water!
 

deadwolf

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Joined
May 12, 2013
Messages
1,221
Location
Anchorage, AK
If you hunt rams at higher elevation be sure to take your time and acclimate to the elevation! Treeline in Colo is around 10 to 11,000' and that's where a large chunk of Colo rams are found! Even though you are in fantastic shape you may end up with a giant headache, dizzy, and tossing chunks! Altitude sickness isn't fun! The only cure is to go down in elevation...which is a bummer! I constantly breath with super deeper breaths...even when sitting down at high altitude. Some say to eat gobs of tumbs. I also drink gobs of water!
I’ve been told by mountain climber folks that altitude sickness can have an even more pronounced effect in people who are in really great shape. I don’t know the science behind it but have heard it mentioned more than once.


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SheepShapeAK

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Mar 9, 2018
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Wasilla, Alaska
Don’t leave your tent without being prepared to sleep on the mountain side. I “slept” in a sheep bed the night before the opener in order to be in position to kill a ram I had put to bed. By 5:30 in the morning on the opener I was notching my tag.
 

Jimbob

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Feb 27, 2012
Messages
780
Location
Smithers, BC
Just cause you are in the middle of no where do not expect to be alone.

I hiked in 25 kms and had Rams spotted and patterned, I was patient opening day UNTIL other hunters appeared and were headed right at the sheep. I was lucky and changed tactics and got aggressive and made it happen.

I took the advice of being patient but it almost cost me big time. So, I think being patient is great when you are the only one around but once other hunters are in the mix you really have to calculate your moves.
 

sszelong

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Joined
Nov 25, 2018
Messages
23
Location
WV
In response to the altitude sickness. They haven’t been able to find a relationship of baseline fitness level to liklihood of developing mountain sickness. Hypoxemia (low level of oxygenated blood) occurs due to less oxygen in the air as we climb higher which increases our heart rate. The decrease in oxygen causes the arteries in the lungs to constrict causing pulomonary hypertension. As we keep climbing and pushing ourselves the workload becomes too much. Theory on why a more conditioned person may be susceptible would be they have the ability to continue to keep climbing due to their fitness level. However, just because someone is physically fit does not change the fact that there is less oxygen in the air and they are becoming hypoxic. So the heart rate continues to be elevated and the low oxygen levels remain then mountain sickness can develop. There is more to it than that brief summary, but I thought I would try and condense it as best I could. They have not established however any difference between a physically conditioned person vs someone who is not for developing mountain sickness. I would assume most individuals that are hunting above 8000’ are cardiovascular conditioned (maybe not at altitude), but prepared or not the risk is there.


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Snyd

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Feb 10, 2013
Messages
571
Location
AK
It seems the best lessons that I’ve learned from these forums has been in the form of negative advise. As in what doesn’t work. An example would be to “not hunt dead sheep”.

There is a lot of advise on what works or what works for someone on the hunts they do. But the lessons on what not to do seem to apply almost universally across units, species, etc.

Thanks to everyone on this forum for giving me another addiction. Montana’s unlimited areas are certainly a challenge.

So, any good advise on what not to do?


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DON'T wait until a month before your hunt to get in Sheep Shape.
DON'T pack "extra" clothes "just in case"
DON'T skimp on food or a warm comfortable sleep system
DON'T skimp on boots
DON'T change your mind on what works for you just because someone on the internet says so. LIke boots, bag/pad/shelter or food.
DON'T be afraid of a few more ounces or even a pound or two. You won't notice the extra 2lbs of tent weight but you will notice it when your 1.5lb tarp tent gets shredded and you get blown off the mtn and are left with your half sized pad and quilt.
DON'T shoot a ram that you "think" is legal! Shoot one that IS legal! :)
DON'T make it a "survival" mission. This is supposed to be fun!!
 
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