My Quest for a Dall Ram...

Matt W.

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Sheep Hunt 2012 and Ramblings.....
I sit in a cubicle day after doing a job I tolerate and on most days even enjoy a bit. : ) Some days the cage is hard to bear. Other days the job is rewarding and challenging, yet still somehow tame... I think man was born to roam wild places, fight for survival, and work his hands far more than our modern society has evolved to.. Our primal God given instincts demand more than a drive, a cup of coffee (or 3 or 4), 10 hrs of typing and meetings, a drive home and dinner and bed.

As I watched the plane fly away on August 8th I felt a freeing of the mind weighed by the heavy responsibility to ensure that we both returned alive as our families depend on us. As the plane disappeared into the horizon I turned to my buddy and we begin to discuss strategy. The pilot had informed us that we'd be lucky to see sheep much less bag a ram and our excitement was greatly dimmed. However, he had told us what he had done in years past so we felt that was our best option. (the front office of the Air Taxi was much more bullish on sheep in the area than the pilot, go figure...). Having had to make a last minute change in plans due to logistics issues we were a bit handicapped from the get go….

We looked at the maps a bit and then began our quest. So began a series of trips up and down mountain sides steep enough it felt we went down more than up just climbing the stuff. Glaciers carve mean streaks and scars in the earth leaving a pile of rubble that ranges from pebbles to boulders and everything in between. Going was rough, it required focus, skill, and downright determination. It challenged, excited, and scared us. Scared us enough to stay in the game and remained focused. The excitement and challenge gave us the adrenalin and will to get er done.

We spent many a day walking a ridge at 6,000 feet. This was goat country, not a place where man is naturally at home. Terrain is steep and rough. Canyons are narrow with craggy bowls, and fast flowing glacier fed streams. Glassing each little nook and cranny took time and tenacity. Glassing from the valley floor was a lost cause as the steepness hid the terrain above. It was glass, glass some more, and then climb and glass some more. All followed with heavy doses of repeat. We kept at it day after day. We did see a few sheep, but nothing legal. Goats were all over the place and we had some close experiences with the fullback like mountain critter that they are. (A Dall sheep seems more elegant and streamlined in comparison.) We had fun honing our stalking skills on the goats, but with goat season starting on the 25th it was not as fun as it could have been. : )

The quietness of the mountains is amazing. The beauty and majesty scream out the handiwork of a Creator. The solitude, the struggle to survive in these mountains forces me to focus more on my Creator. It makes me realize just how insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things and how blessed we are that God cares enough to send his Son to die for us. The song "How Great Thou Art" was burning a hole in my throat! I wanted to shout it out, but was afraid my horrid singing would both ruin the both beauty of the moment and try the patience of my heavily armed hunting partner. So I had to be content with the "song in my head" as we moved through each day. : )

Most people can't understand why I am so passionate about chasing a critter I can't ever seem to catch. Most folks think I am crazy for putting so much energy and effort into something where the odds of success are so low. My blistered feet, sore back, and wind burned face don't help my case. Most of the time sheep hunting is the hardest physical thing I have done and do. It pushes and pulls in ways I can't even begin to describe.

My imagination and the stories I read of old pushed me to my 1st attempt. After that the mountains keep calling me back. The mental exercise of planning each year is the sanity break I need to get me through my time in cubicle land. It helps my drive to stay in shape have a purpose.

I don't hunt to escape life, I hunt to live life in a fuller way. Life is great, but my inner man screams for something to push, challenge, and drive me beyond the routine. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to chase rams in God's playground. Each time I get out there my soul is refreshed, perspective is gained, God's goodness and power are magnified in my mind, and I come back a better man.

Hunting in all aspects connects me with nature and God in a way life does not. There is something about being out there with a weapon chasing an elusive critter. Success not mandatory for a good time to be had, although it sure helps! : ) Perhaps I’ll sneak in another shot before season ends, but if not 2013 here I come!
 
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Ridgerunner

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Couldn't have said it better myself, however living in the lower 48 I insert " high country mule deer" for dall ram. Although 2013 will find me up north chasing a dall ram I can hardly wait! Great post
 

fillthefreezer

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you are gifted in your writing. thank you for the post. i too feel the need to push beyond our modern tame society and experience things wild.
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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Couldn't have said it better myself, however living in the lower 48 I insert " high country mule deer" for dall ram. Although 2013 will find me up north chasing a dall ram I can hardly wait! Great post
I grew up hunting high country mule deer.. If I was in L48 still Mule Deer would suffice. Although I'd be applying for sheep tags every year! : )
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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you are gifted in your writing. thank you for the post. i too feel the need to push beyond our modern tame society and experience things wild.
Thanks for the comments. Hope you get out in the wild this fall.
 

fillthefreezer

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i will be chasing mule deer and elk in the high country over a few weeks between sept15-nov4 as im a lower48'er. heading out tomorrow around 4am to check on my basin, truck gets parked around 7200' and its about 8mi from there... :)
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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i will be chasing mule deer and elk in the high country over a few weeks between sept15-nov4 as im a lower48'er. heading out tomorrow around 4am to check on my basin, truck gets parked around 7200' and its about 8mi from there... :)
Nice.. In WA or going out of state?
 

Jdog

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Derby, KS
Sheep Hunt 2012 and Ramblings.....
I sit in a cubicle day after doing a job I tolerate and on most days even enjoy a bit. : ) Some days the cage is hard to bear. Other days the job is rewarding and challenging, yet still somehow tame... I think man was born to roam wild places, fight for survival, and work his hands far more than our modern society has evolved to.. Our primal God given instincts demand more than a drive, a cup of coffee (or 3 or 4), 10 hrs of typing and meetings, a drive home and dinner and bed.

As I watched the fly plane fly away on August 8th I felt a freeing of the mind weighed by the heavy responsibility to ensure that we both returned alive as our families depend on us. As the plane disappeared into the horizon I turned to my buddy and we begin to discuss strategy. The pilot had informed us that we'd be lucky to see sheep much less bag a ram and our excitement was greatly dimmed. However, he had told us what he had done in years past so we felt that was our best option. (the front office of the Air Taxi was much more bullish on sheep in the area than the pilot, go figure...). Having had to make a last minute change in plans due to logistics issues we were a bit handicapped from the get go….

We looked at the maps a bit and then began our quest. So began a series of trips up and down mountain sides steep enough it felt we went down more than up just climbing the stuff. Glaciers carve mean streaks and scars in the earth leaving a pile of rubble that ranges from pebbles to boulders and everything in between. Going was rough, it required focus, skill, and downright determination. It challenged, excited, and scared us. Scared us enough to stay in the game and remained focused. The excitement and challenge gave us the adrenalin and will to get er done.

We spent many a day walking a ridge at 6,000 feet. This was goat country, not a place where man is naturally at home. Terrain is steep and rough. Canyons are narrow with craggy bowls, and fast glacier fed streams. Glassing each little nook and cranny took time and tenacity. Glassing from the valley floor was a lost cause as the steepness hid the terrain above. It was glass, glass some more, and then climb and glass some more. All followed with heavy doses of repeat. We kept at it day after day. We did see a few sheep, but nothing legal. Goats were all over the place and we had some close experiences with the fullback like mountain critter that they are. A Dall sheep seems more elegant and streamlined in comparison. We had fun honing our stalking skills on the goats, but with goat season starting on the 25th it was not as fun as it could have been. : )

The quietness of the mountains is amazing. The beauty and majesty scream out the handiwork of a Creator. The solitude, the struggle to survive in these mountains forces me to focus more on my Creator. It makes me realize just how insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things and how blessed we are that God cares enough to send his Son to die for us. The song "How Great Thou Art" was burning a hole in my throat! I wanted to shout it out, but was afraid my horrid singing would both ruin the both beauty of the moment and try the patience of my heavily armed hunting partner. So I had to be content with the "song in my head" as we moved through each day. : )

Most people can't understand why I am so passionate about chasing a critter I can't ever seem to catch. Most folks think I am crazy for putting so much energy and effort into something where the odds of success are so low. My blistered feet, sore back, and wind burned face don't help my case. Most of the time sheep hunting is the hardest physical thing I have done and do. It pushes and pulls in ways I can't even begin to describe.

My imagination and the stories I read of old pushed me to my 1st attempt. After that the mountains keep calling me back. The mental exercise of planning each year is the sanity break I need to get me through my time in cubicle land. It helps my drive to stay in shape have a purpose.

I don't hunt to escape life, I hunt to live life in a fuller way. Life is great, but my inner man screams for something to push, challenge, and drive me beyond the routine. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to chase rams in God's playground. Each time I get out there my soul is refreshed, perspective is gained, God's goodness and power are magnified in my mind, and I come back a better man.

Hunting in all aspects connects me with nature and God in a way life does not. There is something about being out there with a weapon chasing an elusive critter. Success not mandatory for a good time to be had, although it sure helps! : ) Perhaps I’ll sneak in another shot before season ends, but if not 2013 here I come!
bring it young ovis chaser!

I head up to AK in 6 days!!!
 

actionshooter

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Wa
"I don't hunt to escape life, I hunt to live life in a fuller way. Life is great, but my inner man screams for something to push, challenge, and drive me beyond the routine. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to chase rams in God's playground. Each time I get out there my soul is refreshed, perspective is gained, God's goodness and power are magnified in my mind, and I come back a better man."

I am not talented with writing,and I don't get tp chase rams, but you just described my time in the mountains chasing deer and elk.
Thanks
 

Becca

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Wasilla, Alaska
Well said, High Country! Your entire post hits home for me, but the portion below particularly resonates:
High Country said:
Most people can't understand why I am so passionate about chasing a critter I can't ever seem to catch. Most folks think I am crazy for putting so much energy and effort into something where the odds of success are so low. My blistered feet, sore back, and wind burned face don't help my case. Most of the time sheep hunting is the hardest physical thing I have done and do. It pushes and pulls in ways I can't even begin to describe!
It's hard to explain to others who haven't experienced it...I find backpack hunting more challenging than anything else I have ever tried in my life, and thus these trips bring me more satisfaction than almost anything else. It sounds like you have discovered that a trip's success isn't measured by whether you harvest an animal or not; sure punching your tag is incredible, but these trips and experiences are so much more than that, and it's hard if not impossible to put into words.

So thanks again for your thoughtful post! And I too sing in my head as I hike, almost always church hymns...though occasionally in wet weather it's "Water" or "Rain is a Good Thing" :)
 

coloradoultramag

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May 5, 2012
Messages
37
Great write up, I love the last two paragraphs(reminds me of a book wild at heart). I had my wife read the last two paragraphs to explain my love of backpack hunting. Keep at it and you will get your ram!
God bless, Gabe
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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Thanks all. Appreciate the fact that you guys get where I am coming from! : )
 

Matt Cashell

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Awesome write-up HC,

I am sure we will someday (soon I hope) be reading a full account of the successful completion of your passionate quest right here on Rokslide, and it will be oh so sweet!

God's country is a great place to find Him, indeed.
 

westside elkhunter

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Shelton Wa.
Awesome post Highcountry, It is truly amazing what is out there when you can get away from the daily grind and explore the mountains. The high country is truly a refreshing place :) Good luck on your quest for Dall Sheep
 

Falcon

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Enumclaw Wa
High Country,

Beautiful writing indeed!

I believe many of us feel the same way. I know I do.
I have a similar job, and feel blessed to have the awesome career I have.
I will never forget my sheep hunt in 07.
It will remain deeply in my mind as an adventure of a lifetime!

Thanks for sharing.

Bryan
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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2013's pursuit is fast approaching.. I'm already packed.. (Everything but add water to the DromLite..) : ) Thanks for the comments and best wishes!
 

thru-hunter

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Messages
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My annual gear consolidation started last week. I have spent the last 2 months quietly bringing (*sneaking) new items into my shop and cutting (*burning) all the tags (*evidence). I then durability test (*roll in dirt on shop floor) to make sure that it will function adequately (*wife wont notice its new).

I feel both your energy and pain in the pursuit of white rams as they have eluded me as well. Funny how happy I am to see the plane when my time in the mountains comes to a close yet how sorrowful I feel as the wheels lift and carry me back to reality.
 
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