Alaska Disaster And Becoming A Sheep Hunter

 

Most hunters dream at some point in their life about chasing one or all of the four species we have in the sheep family. The Grand Slam of sheep is a high light that very few hunters achieve but most aspire to do. For those that are not familiar with the names of all four species in North America they are the Rocky Mountain, Dall, Stone and Desert sheep.

Just the adventure alone to travel to the places these animals call home is amazing. A hunter has to be prepared physically as well as mentally before ever attempting to hunt sheep. I want to share just a few lessons learned in my experience chasing these animals.

I mentioned earlier about the travel to areas where these sheep call home. I was recently in Alaska and in this country the planes get smaller as you travel farther North. The standard jet that you fly in shrinks considerably with every plane change.

 

 

Usually you are flown by a plane similar to this into a pick up area where all of the hunters are dropped off. Here you will wait for your outfitter to shuttle you to your hunting area. This does not seem like much of a problem but remember that once the plane leaves it could be hours before you land in camp. Make sure you have some food and gear at the ready in case of bad weather or delays which are more the norm rather than the exception in Alaska.

 

 

 

A plane such as this is capable of carrying a pilot and two hunters along with your hunting gear. It is capable of landing on rather short run ways and is very popular for mountain flying.

Some of the areas have landing areas that are very small and you will have to fly in an even smaller plane. It is the work horse of the North and is the sole means of flying into these remote areas. I hate these little planes and if you are not very comfortable in planes sheep hunting might not be for you. Be honest with yourself because this type of travel can be very dangerous. Talk with your outfitter and make sure you are prepared.

 

This plane is called a Super Cub and only carries the pilot and one hunter and minimal gear. You are limited to the amount of stuff you can bring along and the average weight limit is about 60 pounds plus yourself. This plane can land and take off in a span of less than 100 yards. It is basically made of wood, some metal and fabric. They only weigh in at about 1200 pounds and are the main stay in wild country. Again did I mention that I HATE to fly in these.

Usually just a short flight of less than an hour and you are in camp. You can stay in lodges or wall tent camps or even back packing style tents. I can’t stress enough to be prepared well before you touch down in this unforgiving country.

This is all the gear I need to handle a sheep hunt. I have enough clothing and survival gear in my pack to withstand the rigors of sheep hunting. The total weight of my load is about 60 pounds plus my rifle. You have to be in the best shape of your life to hike long miles in rough terrain and carry a full pack like this everyday. Notice I have my rain gear handy and on top of my pack ready in case a storm were to roll in. On this particular hunt I was the last one picked up and sat on the runway for close to 4 hours before flying into camp.

Keep a camera handy for the flight into your area and take tons of pictures so you can share your memories with all your friends.

These sheep live on the most unstable ground you will ever walk on. Loose shale slides, rocky slopes and steep mountain passes are where they call home. They live at or near the top of all the peaks. They want to have the high ground so they can see danger. In this country they have wolves, grizzly bears and of course hunters to hide from. They also have the best eye sight in the animal kingdom. 8 power vision enables them to pick off danger at great distances and their escape route is usually to just climb up and over any mountain near them. Proper boots are critical when hunting sheep so do not go cheap. I do not care how expensive your rifle is or how many power your optics are if you can’t get to them it does not make a difference.

                                                                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  In part two of the blog I will cover some gear and fitness required to partake in a sheep adventure. Until then stay down wind!!

 

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