My Dall Sheep Hunt - Part 1

GPATTI

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Oct 6, 2015
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530
My Dall Sheep Hunt

In late December of 2014 I sat in my kitchen contemplating on making the move to book an archery Dall sheep hunt. After a bit of wrestling with it, it came down to, “I’m going to do this, but when?” As most sheep hunts require top physical condition, I figured who knows what my health will be in 5 or 10 years from now? So, the call was made and the hunt was booked.
Fast forward to today, April 16, 2017. I sat on the beach, while vacationing with my family, and realized I was now T minus 90 days and counting, as my departure flight was booked for July 17. Looking out into the ocean, I sat thinking about all that has led up to it, and curious about what’s to come.

Something drew me to get on my computer and start to write about it. At a minimum, I can look back years from now and relive it a bit. Or, even better, I can pay forward to others, what I’ve learned through the experience, and through the generosity of those who have helped along the way.

My hunt will be with Nahanni Butte Outfitters and take place in the Northwest Territory. I am 44 years old (will be 45 at time of hunt). The long road of anticipation is winding down to what will soon become reality. Personally, this is a huge deal. Not just another hunt for this Massachusetts native, whose experiences are limited to Whitetail, Black Bear, Elk, Turkey and African Plains Game. Nothing close to this type of mountain adventure. If you want to follow along, Great! If not, that’s OK too!

First, and foremost: Thanks to those that have shared their experiences and knowledge, which have and continue to help me down the path in front of me.

When hunt time comes, I’ll keep a daily log and share those day for day, after I return from my trip. Until then, I’ll be sharing some of what I’ve learned along the way, what my gear plans are, my fitness regimen, and perhaps some other miscellaneous stuff that no one cares about.

More to come.
- Geoff P.
 
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daddie63

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Feb 2, 2013
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868
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Ca.
I would enjoy following along for sure. From the fitness aspect to the gear list to the hunt...
 

bates

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Sep 4, 2012
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481
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Florida
Awesome.

In roughly 4 months I'll be hunting sheep in Alaska

My first sheep hunt

Can't wait to follow your journey.
 

blacksnake0

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
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21
Location
Texas
Good luck up there. I am booked in the NWT for august 2018. I think about the hunt every day!
 
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GPATTI

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Oct 6, 2015
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530
Good stuff, guys. Gear list is in process (have it all, just need to finish writing it up). Fitness stuff coming!
 
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GPATTI

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Oct 6, 2015
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530
POST 2 - FITNESS PLAN

Disclaimer: If you are hoping to see something spectacular or revolutionary here, let me start by saying “you will be disappointed!” My regimen is challenged with a family, full time work, plus a second job I recently launched with some associates, which I work on nights and weekends. (Having said that, it would be irresponsible of me not to plug it. So, it is Outdoor Vision (Bino Harnesses, Rangefinder Carry Solutions, Gaiters, Accessories) - Initial launch with just a few products, made by us in the USA. More in the works, and advertising on Rokslide coming soon.

Moving forward……

I am 44 years old (will be 45 at time of hunt). I weigh 150 lbs and am 5’5” (Told my wife I was 5’10” when I met her and 5 years later, she realized I was lying……..no sh*t, true story).

Essentially, I’m going to get in whatever I can, whenever I can. I will have no idea if I am in the shape I need to be in, until AFTER the hunt (answer will likely be a resounding “not”). I have read that you can prepare, but you just cannot simulate sheep hunting, so I will plan for the worst, and hope for the best. Most of what my plan includes is:
- Run at least 3 miles, 2X/week (adding in 12-16 lbs in form of weighted vest)
- Free weights, 3X/week (each muscle group)
- Treadmill at full incline, with my hiking boots on and 40 lb weighted vest, 2X/week for 45-60 min. Yes, I get some strange looks, but who the h*ll cares? I'm already married....
- Hike on trails with pack load at 50-60 lbs (1X/week), 1 – 2 hrs

In between all of this and when I can fit in, I will add hikes with load and runs with weighted vest, and try VERY hard to get in some extended hikes with load 2 hrs+

Unless we move base camp though, my hunt will entail going back and forth to a base tent each time out, so I will only be packing the necessities (rain gear, maybe insulation, optics, camera, food, water, bow). All in, the daily pack weight will be approx. 20 lbs., so I’m doubling this in the weighted work-outs shown above.

Also note - I have been working out at the gym (mostly just weights) for 20 years. Over the past couple of years I have added in running 2-3 miles, 3X/week and treadmill at full incline 2X/week. Point here is that I am not starting out at 0.

In closing on the fitness part, I realize the duration of these workouts are far less than ideal, but as I initially stated, I simply do not have the ability to do 3, or 4 our hikes, etc. on a weekly basis. Many of these are at the gym and either before work or on my lunch break. So, at times, I only have an hour-ish to get it done.

There you have it. Like I said....not very exciting. Sorry!
 

AKMAN

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Jul 14, 2016
Messages
186
Location
Alaska
GPATTI - Congrats on the hunt; there is absolutely nothing like sheep hunting.
I've spent a lot of time in the mountains of Alaska and a lot of time training for load bearing over rough terrain.
I'd consider taking off the weight vest for your runs and work to steadily increase the weight on your back during your rucks.
I'm not certain a weighted run is appropriate for anyone, but certainly not for those past 30.
You've likely had enough enough time you abuse your joints and bones in the first 44 years; no reason to risk injury 4 months before your hunt. Also, sheep hunting is going to be long days afoot. A one hour ruck is great, but one day a week you really should try to stretch out your duration while keeping a good pace. (15-17 min/miles) Especially since you'll be training on relatively "small" terrain.
Most importantly, stay healthy; I sheep hunted last year for over 14 days with a fractured foot from tripping on the way to the grill 8 days before we left. It sucked.... A lot.
Similar stress/over training injuries can occur from upping weight too fast or getting to frisky with a lot of weight on.
Best of luck!
 
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GPATTI

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AKMAN - Appreciate it. I will definitely consider this. Good stuff!!
 

TXCO

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Aug 18, 2012
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I agree on dropping the weighted vest during the run and would instead sub in maybe one hike/treadmill a week with 65-75+ pounds. Hopefully youre preparing for a meat load!!!
 

RyanC

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Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Messages
274
GPATTI- Good stuff my man....I am excited for you as there is nothing like being in dall sheep country....simply breath taking. The fact that you are getting serious about your fitness is a step in the right direction. Focus on 3 areas.....Legs-Lungs-Core-and you will be physically prepared. I agree with ditching the weighted vest runs and just getting more time under your pack as well. The last aspect of your hunt is the mental preparation. These type of hunts test you mentally more than they do physically. Take your training and preparation to the level of having to push through your mental barriers and you will be better prepared for what is to come.

Most of all just ENJOY it!! Take every moment in and don't forget to take a lot of pictures and make a lot of memories....these hunts are grueling when you are in the midst of them but after they are done they seem to have gone by way too fast. Slow down, take your time, and remember that you are in some of the greatest country you will ever see!!

Best of luck,

Ryan
 
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GPATTI

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Oct 6, 2015
Messages
530
GPATTI- Good stuff my man....I am excited for you as there is nothing like being in dall sheep country....simply breath taking. The fact that you are getting serious about your fitness is a step in the right direction. Focus on 3 areas.....Legs-Lungs-Core-and you will be physically prepared. I agree with ditching the weighted vest runs and just getting more time under your pack as well. The last aspect of your hunt is the mental preparation. These type of hunts test you mentally more than they do physically. Take your training and preparation to the level of having to push through your mental barriers and you will be better prepared for what is to come.

Most of all just ENJOY it!! Take every moment in and don't forget to take a lot of pictures and make a lot of memories....these hunts are grueling when you are in the midst of them but after they are done they seem to have gone by way too fast. Slow down, take your time, and remember that you are in some of the greatest country you will ever see!!

Best of luck,

Ryan

Thanks, Ryan. Really do appreciate this!!
 

mtnhntr

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May 10, 2017
Messages
190
Location
Michigan
I hunted the NWT with your outfitter's neighbor Stan Stevens. As you said be prepared "for the worst but hope for the best" - based on my experience, and my fellow camp mates, be prepared to take your camp with you beyond the initial hike. We were flown in to a remote lake, hiked up and moved camp each day. We were on good rams nearly every day and while I was rifle hunting we did have bowhunters in camp, and I'm convinced I could have taken a ram with a bow. I was pleasantly surprised with the terrain. While it was strenuous, it wasn't anything like the other dall (AK Brooks Range) or stone and bighorn hunts I've been on. I actually enjoyed hunting in Stan's area. I was on the first hunt of the year and everyone - including the bowhunters - in camp tagged out very quickly. By the 5th day of a 10 day hunt I believe everyone was tagged out. Had I been smarter I would have booked the second week and been able to hunt mountain caribou (my last caribou species I need). All in all great hunt. I was able to do more than enough to keep up and shoot a great sheep and at the time of the hunt I was in decent shape at 6'1" @ 235 lbs. You'll do just fine, but be prepared to do some real packing. I'd say hiking in I was running a 60-65lb pack in about 6-8 miles up and a full pack of hide (lifesize) horns and meat coming back out. Look forward to hearing about your hunt!!
 

mtnhntr

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May 10, 2017
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Michigan
Oh and one more thing I found very interesting - all but one ram in camp scored within an inch of each other. All hung right at 156ish and were 9-10 yr olds. The only one that was the odd one out was taken by a hunter who had a family emergency so they took him out to hunt via Stan's helicopter so he could get close before the opener and after waiting the required time was able to hunt and take a massive heavily bloomed 14 yr old toad. That guy lucked out, but that's why they get top dollar in the NWT for sheep - they're plentiful, big, and accessible. I gave 24k in 2013 for my hunt but by the time I was done I had about 30k all in.
 

Doc Holliday

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Jun 15, 2016
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836
How did it go?

Now that you have been, what advice would you give to the next wave of first time sheep hunters?

Pics?

Story?
 

BRWNBR

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Feb 11, 2015
Messages
732
I see he liquidated all his sheep hunting gear but no posts about the Sheep hunt. Would like to hear what happened as well.
 
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