They are a fantastic outfit and they will provide you with a number of options and opportunities that maximize success and your satisfaction. DML are a legendary outfit and they manage their area with some of the best conservation practices out there. North Wrangells are flush with sheep and Kirk and Cole manage their resources better than anyone.
If you have a chance to book a sheep hunt with Kirk, then I would book if you can. Speaking in person with him a while back, he said that he was backing off of the number of sheep hunts that he would guide, focusing more on Moose. The sheep genetics are such that the horns don't have quite the mass of what are found in the South Wrangell mountains, however the areas you would hunt are incredibly beautiful and the adventure you would have would be second to none.
Appreciate the feedback guys. I was wondering about the horn characteristics, as photos of their rams seems to be smaller and have less mass that what I had seen from sheep taken by ultima Thule (south Wrangell-St). Thule is my top pick but booked out so far plus a huge wait list to book. Considering Kirk as I really want to hunt the wrangell Mtns just because the scenery there looks absolutely amazing. A nice legal ram would be fine by me, don’t need a giant for my first one. Gives me more reason to go back for another later on as well
Just be aware that the N. Wrangells is geologically and biologically different than the S. Wrangells. Climate is different too, with less coastal influence. I wouldn't hire Kirk thinking you are getting a discount Ultimate Thule type hunt. It's really just it's own thing.
Over the last decade, I believe sheep numbers have generally suffered in the south (weather effects) but done better in the north. I haven't hunted there for sheep, so others might know more.
Yellowknife, not thinking of them as a cheap ultima thule, just as an option for a quality hunt sooner in a part of Alaska I’d like to explore more. But with that said, any insight to what historically caused the decline in sheep numbers in norther (or southern) Wrangell Mtn area?
Don't take my word on current sheep population trends for the Wrangells specifically. Not an area I hunt.
In the last ~20 years there has been significant declines in sheep populations in several areas of the state. Most notably the Chugach and N. Brook Range, but certainly other areas as well. The official consensus is that some were caused by long term weather trends (Chugach, Kenai), and others by short term weather events (Brooks). I had pilot reports while I was working in the area a few years ago that some portions of the Wrangells had also been suffering badly but I don't track that as closely as other areas and they may have been talking about the more central portions and/or they may have stabilized or recovered by this point.
A few slightly dated documents from guys that know more than I do if you want to get nerdy about it.
A good hunting buddy of mine guided for Kirk and Cole Ellis for close to 15 years. I was able to book a sheep hunt with Kirk and was guided by my buddy. Kirk flew us in on a Super Cub one at a time and landed on the Nebesna glacier which is 50+ miles long and the longest interior valley glacier in the world. Navigating it on foot is an experience I'll never forget. I was able to take a nice 37" ram. Kirk and Cole live year around at their lodge with their family's. The Ellis family has hunted the combined area since 1950 when their parents bought the hunt area and they know it well. Their trophy room has an amazing number of 40"+ rams. You would not be disappointed.
It’s been a number of years since I hunted w Kirk but I would absolutely jump at the chance to do it again. My self and several friends have taken sheep w him. Get in best shape you can, pay special attention to good footwear and go have a ball. Kirk and Cole are some of the best you’ll find anywhere. Good luck
I've flown with both Kirk and Cole and would do so again, without hesitation, at a moment's notice. The Ellises are all true Alaskans with decades of experience and they do their best for their clients.
Just be aware: if you are looking for a fancy lodge with wifi and a chef with a tall white hat this might not be the outfit for you. But if you're looking for someone that knows Wrangells hunting, they are absolutely top-notch with regards to their aircraft, their ethics, and their knowledge of their area.