This is the second blog in a new series, Customer Spotlight. This series is our way of sharing our customer's stories with the rest of the hunting community. Sharing the back story and the hunting adventure brings greater depth and meaning to the memories made.
We would like to thank Tim for his contribution, and invite everyone to participate. Contact us for details. Multiple submissions are welcome. Share your experiences and memories with us.
Spending time in Gods vast wilderness gives you new perspective on our place in this world. Our time is short, our lifetime is extremely small but the impact we can have on the world can be extremely large. Spend your time wisely, prioritize family and friends, give more than you take, love more than you hate and take the time to realize that nothings going with you except the relationships you build while you are here.
Trip location: Wiseman Alaska then into the Brooks Range
Approximate distance from home: 4,270
Method of travel: Plane, rental truck
Trip duration: 11 days
Type of tag: Over the counter
Type of trip: Lifetime trip
Describe your experience:
Just getting to Wiseman, Ak is an adventure. Flight into Fairbanks and then a 5 hour drive up the Dalton Highway. Once in Wiseman we were fogged in for 2 additional days before we could fly the super cub out to the hunting area. After a 20 minute plane ride we set up tents and then spent the next 24 hours fogged in with zero visibility. On day four of the hunt we finally could put on our 50lb packs and begin the hike/hunt. The first day we hiked 7 hours at high elevation, in steep, rugged terrain. If anyone ever wondered where God keeps all the rocks, we found the answer! The upper elevations of the Brooks Range are not friendly to the weak of heart. There's a term the guides use when describing conditioning needed to get through a 7 day hunt, Sheep Shape. There's a very wide gap between being "in shape" and being in "sheep shape". 50% of this years clients did not finish the hunt. The physical demands of carrying a 40-50lb pack in steep, shale, rocks and unstable ground is brutal. Add rain 75% of the time and what you end up with is a hunt where you are cold, wet, sore and tired from day one. When you get back to the tent at night, you crawl into your sleeping bag, wearing your wet clothes, because it's the only way to dry them out. By morning you are dry and are ready to repeat the process.
The hunt consists of gaining 2-3,000 feet of elevation and holding that elevation as best as possible while you glass and look for sheep. Once the sheep is spotted you use terrain to approach to a shootable position. The challenge is that nothing is close and everything is either up or down.
On the third day we located 4 rams and one appeared to be a shooter. From the time we found them in the glass until the time we were within shooting distance was approximately 2 hours of walking to get into a concealed position to evaluate the rams to see if there was a legal one and then crawl to a shooting position without being spotted. The first position was 497 yards. We decided to drop back and circle the mountain to close the distance some. The second position we crawled into was 310 yards. Shooting my Seekins Precision .28 Nosler and the North American custom 175 grain Berger loads, I knew the limiting factor for distance was NOT the equipment, but rather my abilities. The ram was bedded at 310 yards. He never got out of that bed. The ammunition and bullet performed spectacularly. We spent the rest of the daylight hours de boning and packing the ram back to camp. After a nights sleep we woke up to steady rain.
We packed up camp and loaded packs. Mine was between 70-80 lbs and the guide was over 120lbs. Needless to say, the last days hike back to a pick up point was brutal, wet cold and sore again. We made it back just as we lost light and set up tents. We spent the next 24 hours fogged in, but gained just enough visibility for the plane to pick me up, the guide spent 2 more days before the visibility would allow the plane to return.
The gear list is a point of debate for anyone who has sheep hunted. The bottom line is you take as little as possible. The clothes you have on your back, an extra pair of underwear, and extra pair of socks and lightweight synthetic down tops and bottoms. Gloves, walking sticks, binos, gun, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, Jetboil, and 10-15 lbs of food. There are other toiletries, water bottles, water filtration, etc. But all in all, what ever you bring, you carry everyday. So most days you spend thinking about what you could leave behind.
Would you take this trip again:
You can only hunt Dall Sheep every 4 years in Alaska. At 56 yr old, I don't believe I'll be able to physically do it again. And the cost is very prohibitive.
I've been hunting since I was 10. I killed my first whitetail with a bow when I was 11 years old and I've been hooked ever since. I haven't gun hunted for several years, but knew that a Dall Sheep hunt was way to demanding to add the extreme challenge of getting within bow range.