The BEST Hunt of my Life

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38
I don't come from a hunting family. But I have developed a real obsession of it. Not knowing which animal is THE best to hunt, a year ago, I made a goal to try hunting all of BC's animals. The incredibly long winded tale that is about to ensue is only a couple of this years quests. But probably the best. Hang on for the ride.....I hope you enjoy it. I know I did!


The Disappearing Act

After a quick flight over some of the most pristine wilderness, our plane touched down in northern BC. I knew immediately we were in for a spectacular hunt. We got base camp tent set up and were just starting to relax when I figured I would grab my spotting scope and look at some of the hills around us. Almost like magic, within less than a minute of looking I needed to zoom in my spotting scope as I had a big set of curls in my glass. Wow! This was going to be easy! It was almost a gift! A massive broomed off Stone’s Sheep filled my spotting scope. Standing there almost a mile away, I was impressed by this ram. I had heard sheep hunting was tough, mentally and physically, boy was everybody wrong. All I now had to do was wait until opening morning and go get this titan. However it was July 30th, and Stone’s don’t open till the 1st of August. So as I took a final mental picture of his exact location confident he should be there in the morning, I put him to bed around 10pm.








This hunt was taking place in beautiful northern BC. The trip up north had been incredible in itself. On the way we saw almost every creature in the province! Wolf, grizzly and black bears, moose, caribou, deer, and even some near curl Stone’s sheep out on the highway! While on this hunt we added a wolverine and goats being sighted! However there are only 2 animals with current openings, they were sheep and wolves. I have come to realize that hunting the opener for sheep makes quite a big difference in your hunt. For one, your eyes are glued to the areas sheep are, not looking above and below for other sorts of animals, not to mention when you get a different animal you have got to deal with it, which can sometimes take days, taking your time away from finding the ram of your dreams. Also, if there is one legal ram in the herd and you are the first person to find that heard, you have the best chance of taking a ram from that herd. Once it’s gone, you’re out of luck! Also, the obvious one, they haven’t been hunted yet this year! This would be my first time for the opener, I have had two other sheep tags, but both were mixed bag hunts in September, neither hunt connected me with a sheep. As far as I was concerned now I was already planning how to cook this ram, and I wondered aloud if I should just cut my tag for the first of August.


 
OP
B

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38
I woke up at 6:20am with great anticipation after putting that monster to bed just a few short hours ago. Even before breakfast I was already filling my spotting scope with horns. Within the first two minutes of our 2nd day I found the two young rams that were located 200 yards from where I had last laid eyes on this giant which I had tucked nicely into bed. They were up and feeding and I watched them for hours, guessing the score of this ram. I constantly found my jaw dropping due to the stunning scenery. I couldn’t wait for my first taste of sheep meat! With one ram in the bag pretty much, we would have an easy 17 days finding a second ram. We knew these sheep were staying put, and so we decided to hike to a bowl just up behind us. We may as well look for a second ram for my hunting partner and good friend, also named Dave. Maybe we could get two rams opening morning and call the plane!







 
OP
B

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38
As we walked away, I asked Dave if it was foolish to take our eyes off of them, but we figured it was 9am and we had a whole day to kill anyways. Plus they didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Taking our eyes off the sheep was a mistake I will never do again. Losing visual reference, the sheep completely disappeared in the expanse of boulders and lichen, the hunt had gone from a give me to a give me that again. We had completely lost them. We hiked to a better viewing position and got on the glass. We studied every inch of that mountain. We looked all day through two spotting scopes and still northing. They were gone! We had come to the conclusion that these sheep must have been related to David Copperfield. We searched from top to bottom, like an investigator on a crime scene, we covered every inch of that mountain side at full 60x zoom... and nothing. Then at 6pm, like Houdini, they just appeared, feeding in the middle of the mountain, in full view. Now, I wouldn’t take my eyes off them again. I felt a huge sense of relief and my heart pounded with anticipation of the next morning and how things would go. We planned a couple of different stocks from different angles depending on the wind and set the alarm for 3:30am. They weren’t leaving that mountain. All I had to do was get up and shoot one.



 
OP
B

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38
As the saying goes, man plans, and God laughs. We woke up to a slight drizzle and we decided to give them an extra hour in the dark. No sense on getting wet for no real reason right? I rolled out of bed after obviously not getting any sleep in that hour of anticipation. After emerging from the tent full of expectation, I turned my eyes skyward, straining them to open as wide as possible, enabling me to scan through the morning mist. It was clear enough to glass, as the fog was near the peaks, so I picked up my spotting scope and returned to the spot confident as to where they laid down. Dawn was just breaking, the horizon barely visible, as I sat motionless I could see the bedded ram. As the dawn began to break what I thought to be the ram turned into a rock. My pulse began to race...Had I lost them again? Where were they? Three solid days of glassing later, I gave up looking at that mountain side. He was LONG GONE.

This is what happens after glassing the same mountain for 3 days.....

 
OP
B

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38
After the disappointment of losing this trophy set in, we decided to head out for a hike and check out some potential new basins. We made slow but steady progress. Full of anticipation of what lies over the next hill. We hiked slow and steady, winded due to elevation and then sat and scoped the side of these giant mountains we were beginning to call home. We spent more time staring through binoculars, than the old man that use to live across from my girl friend’s apartment. Unlike him, we weren’t smiling. We encountered herds of caribou that would open soon. But we weren’t here for them. We were here on business. Sheep hunting. No distractions, no wasted time. As time went on I was beginning to hear the words ringing in the back of my head, “sheep hunting is hard.” We knew that reaching prime sheep locations would be the key to finishing the task at hand, so onward we trudged.





 
OP
B

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38
With roughly 40 something pounds on our backs we roamed an average of 4 miles daily. Large amounts of time were spent glassing the rocky hills mornings & evenings. I now understand the term God’s country. Standing in a place on earth where nearly no one has ever set foot was awe inspiring; we had time to take in the beauty of the country. For seven days we didn’t even see one single sheep. It was mentally and physically exhausting. We had just climbed the tallest mountain around and came to a spot where we were literally trapped in the cliffs. What were we doing here?







 
OP
B

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38
Like the game show we used our life line sat phone and called our intel man back home. He assured us there were sheep here, and encouraged us to keep at it. It was all the hope I needed, time to re-focus and get back at it. He also told us the area we were trying to get to was not that productive. He told us to head back to base camp and to try some of the more productive basins he had suggested again. One meal on the top of that mountain to refuel and we set off, back to base camp.





Fast forward to August 9th

Dave decided he would glass the “ram” mountain from base camp and I would try a different side of it, and a different bowl later in the day. I packed my gear for the day telling Dave I would return at dark, but that I was coming back with a big ram on my back.



 
B

bearguide

Guest
love the pics / great story/ what shelter-fly were you using
 
OP
B

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38
We were using an older 2 man MSR for spiking out. The shelter fly, is a sil tarp 3.
 
OP
B

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38


The sun was shining and the valley was warming up. I felt a new energy from Bills words of encouragement. I gained some elevation and right away spotted some ewes and lambs back on “Ram” mountain. The evening of the 8th I had spotted a young ram on that same mountain, but lost him as he went around the south facing side of it. I set off to try to find him, hoping that he would lead me to his grand daddy. I found that young ram all alone. I gave it an hour to confirm my hunch and decided to move on as he was definitely the only sheep in the area. I lightened my load with a quick meal, and drank some of the fresh snow runoff. I ascended towards the clouds up a rocky ridge, making sure not to silhouette myself against the skyline. I peeked over the ridge into another bowl we hadn’t checked before. It was chalk full of caribou. Lots of cows and some alright bulls dotted the mountain side. It was a change of pace and I gave it some time to check out the bulls in the group. They were beautiful, and I reminded myself how lucky I was to be in such an amazing place. I searched the rest of the bowl and moved over to the other side of the ridge. I just had a good feeling about the day.





 
OP
B

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38
It was about 5pm and I slowly crept in a prone position down over the ridge to peer into the basin about 900 yards below me. Going head down a mountain seemed like a good idea for the first 2 minutes, I quickly realized by the rapid onset of severe heart burn my body was telling me this indeed wasn’t a good idea after all. As I wiggled into in a good spotting position I brought up the glass and found the basin empty. Bill had told me, long ago, this is where we would get a ram. We had checked it once before on day three, but had approached it wrong and went in at the wrong time of day. Today was also the same, it was empty. But I grabbed out my spotting scope and went to work, using a grid pattern I came up with a lone ewe in the middle of the bowl that I hadn’t spotted with my binoculars.

Giving it some more time and scanning around the ewe I began to put my glass on several other sheep. Ewes and a couple of small rams were spotted over the next half hour. I was just happy with how the day had gone, and the animals I was seeing. After about an hour spent on the hillside, I started thinking I should turn and start heading back over to the other side of the ridge as it was only a mere 50 yards away.


A wolverine seen on the hunt



Our spike accomdations



A few days away, early in the hunt

 
OP
B

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38
I decided to have another look and suddenly a curling horn caught my attention in the midst of this heard I was watching! Wow, a real ram! He was slightly short of full curl, but man was it cool to see. My eyes were now glued to this basin. I was excited! Then another set of curls came into view! Definitely under the nose too, rats. I watched him for a little bit and suddenly a different set of curls caught my eye. This ram was heavy and broomed off! He cocked his head slightly to the side and I could see both of his heavy tips over the nose. It was GO TIME!



I crept back up to the ridge staying low and started running back along the ridge, keeping out of sight of the basin. Along the ridge I ran about a kilometer and a half to where I could start heading down to a stream, while staying out of sight. Crossing a patch of snow I noticed caribou tracks heading right for the basin the sheep were in. I got into the 3 inch deep stream and headed down through the deeply cut rocks towards the basin with the wind in my face. Only 1 kilometer downhill and I would pop over a small embankment and shoot my ram. As I came around a bend, my plan got interrupted. There were two caribou bedded in the snow between me and my dreams. Patience, patience I thought. Think Dave, what do you do. Head up to my left, and get seen by the sheep, head up to my right into shale and noisy rocks and probably spook the caribou anyways.

I devised another plan. I had heard that caribou sometimes come to a waving white flag. They are curious and maybe it would work. I grabbed a game bag and tied it to one of my hiking poles. I waved and waved, in full view for a good 15 minutes. They didn’t even see me. I wasn’t even 200 yards from them. I tried my best caribou call. I have no idea what one sounds like, so I just made some stupid grunting noises. With the wind in my face they couldn’t hear me. I couldn’t think of anything better, so I just started walking ever so slowly toward them. Then my plan fell apart. They started trotting with tails up right at where the sheep were last seen an hour ago. What now? As they would disappear out of sight I would run like a ninja (quietly) sliding through the snow, almost skiing at times to try to keep up to them. I got under them and luckily they turned back up the side of the mountain and started feeding away from me.

With the wind in my face everything seemed perfect. I got to the sheep filled bowl, and climbed up the 30 foot embankment and peered over the edge through the long grass, into the basin. I found him with my spotting scope and ranged him at 450 yards. Not what I wanted exactly. And with 10 steps he disappeared over the next ridge into a box canyon above him. However there were still some sheep between us. Then the wind changed and started blowing right towards the herd of sheep. I needed to think fast.
 
OP
B

BiG Boar

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
38
I had to move. I couldn’t go towards them, I had only one choice, back up the creek and over a monstrous shale/rock mountain to get beside or above the new bowl they were in. It was about 8pm and the wind would be changing soon. Now it was heading up hill, but if I could climb this mountain, I would get above them right around the time the wind would switch. But I was out of options, and I was losing light, with the sun already behind the mountain.

I dropped my 5lb Kuiu pack, and took only the things I would need. Spotting scope, video camera, and for the first time of the year, my rifle. A 300 win mag built by Sako. My clip was loaded, but I forgot the rest of my bullets. Halfway up I remembered, but there was no turning back. I had 4 shots. As I got to the halfway point I decided I would try to go around the side and try to look in. As I got part way around I heard falling rocks in the cliffs opposite to me. I looked and I was in full view of 3 ewes. I didn’t want to, but I had no choice but to back out and go higher. My legs were burning from the two and a half hours I had been pursuing these curls. By the time I got to the top most of the daylight was burnt. Because it had taken so long, I had my doubts that the rams would still be there.

I started crab crawling on my butt, with my gun balanced over my lap down the noisiest, china like shale rock, down towards where I had last seen the sheep. I kept checking with my binos and finally spotted a sheep below me! I kept going to get to a small ridge below me. As I peeked over I saw one of the big three rams. I found my ram, and got ready, lying prone, downhill. The wind was as I expected, blowing downhill, right at them. I mentally prepared and said, “No mistakes.” I have never had buck fever before, but told myself to be aware I might get it on this hunt. I calmed my nerves and lined him up. I waited for him to feed broadside. 5 minutes seemed like forever as I waited. He was heading out of sight right below me again....
 
Top