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akaspecials

18 sleeps left...

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3 minutes ago, bonecollector said:

Have the time of your life and tag the ram that you want to look at the rest of your life. Good Luck

Speaking of looking at for the rest of your life, you get your back yet? 

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18 sleeps turned into 17 sleeps and a 1 hour nap, but I’m first to the mountain. 

At sunrise the target ram is right where my buddy bedded him with 3 smaller rams and a few ewes. 170ish. We're good.  

We move closer and drop weight at base of hill. The hike starts at 8 am.

Our elevation is even with rams at 9am. We head west and are at 200 yards by 9:30am. No stalk options available.

We crawl around on our bellies for 30 minutes assessing. No stalk options still.

Target ram moved to west side of the draw and we are on the east. We’ll cliff out or have to cross 200 yards of rock gully through the ewes and other rams. 

Welcome to sheep hunting. 

Alex suggests we hike over them. All the research told me DON’T get above them! We bicker for ten minutes. We don’t have another option…. 

We back out to the next draw start to hike over them at 10am.

Alex is faster than I am. He doesn’t let me forget it. I shouldn’t have made fun of him for being fat when we were younger. Payback's a bitch…. 

We top out and start descending at 11:00 am.  

The text comes in at 11:30 from base: “You cannot descend where you are...looks too dangerous...must go west” “Its cliff in front of you“ “Alex is scaring me you guys cannot descend there…”

Ugh. We start back up the hill. 

Welcome to sheep hunting. 

We top the saddle at noon and start down the shear face. 

By 1pm we descended and crossed what I can only describe as a rock slide. But Alex picks up a ewe at 100 yards and we are off to the races. They must not have heard all the rocks we trundled. My heart is racing and I'm shaky. Food and water is consumed. 

We move up canyon 75 yards and do some class 4 climbing to get to where the wind will be right. He quickly scrambles up the 20 ft face and I follow. I hand him my bow and top out onto the shelf they are on. 

It was like popping into a new world. Everything looks different than from what I studied in the glass at sunrise. What appeared to be an open grassy slope from 3 angles turns out to be a choked up ankle breaking boulder field with 35 yards visibility at best. We start stalking in. 

We move boulder to boulder until we feel like we have gained the position we want. We start ranging and calling out distances to make sure we agree. Barrel cactus 20. Palo verde 35. Big rock 25. No shot will be over 40 yards here. Maybe this won't be so bad. Is this actually about to happen on opening day? 

Horn shows through the palo verdes. 2 rams at 45 yards. They aren’t the target rams. They shuffle. We wait. 

By 1:30 the ewes start to feed up hill. One seems to make us, but she goes back to feeding. The rams shuffle. We wait. 

The troublesome ewe moves above us and gains visual advantage straight down on us. We wait. The rams shuffle. 

We can’t see rams for a few minutes. It’s 2pm. No shot opportunity yet.

They pop out at 75 yards. They are right under where we came from 4 hours ago!  They feed up and away 100 yards or so for 30 minutes. All of a sudden, the big ram gets above us and turns into a statue staring at us. 

He looked like he was trying to steal our souls. We avert our eyes and again, we wait.    

Welcome to sheep hunting. 

30 minutes go by. He's finally easing up, but our stalk is over. We slowly back out, and they scramble uphill fairly unconcerned. 

We get down hill by 3:15pm and its high fives all around back at base. We hike out. No shot, but dang close!  We get glass back on them by sundown. They are 2 draws over and thankfully at the base of the mountain. We’re ready to stalk him again on Day 2. 

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This is a picture of the last portion of the day 1 stalk. Hunter and sheep are circled in red.

We got pinned down at the top left portion of the yellow grass patch while the rams shuffled around to the right edge of it…

We later find out that one of the other hunters is after this same ram. We met him the first morning, and he ceded this area to me since I arrived first. In return, I agreed to stay out of the next canyon over. I had texted him after the blown stalk that the rams may head into his canyon. 

We communicate that  night and he asks to trade areas for day 2 under the same agreement as day 1. I hesitate since we put the rams to sleep and these are some of the only archery accessible rams.

He sends pictures and videos of the rams and tells me there are two specific rams he is after, and no others. He held true to his word on day 1, so I agree to the terms and pull out.

I call my crew and ask them to take a deep breath. I tell them we aren’t hunting “Mr. Big” in the morning.  They take it in stride with only a few comments.  

The other hunter tells me where he is going to be the next morning and it is exactly where the rams bedded down at the end of day 1. 
 

I wish him good luck, knowing that he will kill Mr. Big the next day with a rifle. 

We get to sleep in an extra hour since we aren’t racing anyone.

Our crew of 3 see 1 ewe on Day 2. We think we hear a gunshot mid afternoon… 

 

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