Alaska Disaster Part Two- Sheep Hunting

On part two of my blog I will talk briefly about gear, what to expect on a sheep hunt and the do’s and don’ts of what I have experienced in the far North. 

Sheep hunting can be one of the most exciting hunts you can ever imagine. The remote locations where these animals live, the scenery and just the trip getting into their country. Most sheep hunts start out months if not years before the actual hunt takes place. Booking a guided hunt usually requires being on a waiting list as the outfitters only get a limited number of tags each year. Even a do it yourself type hunt requires a lot of planning and most of all a strict training regiment to get you in shape both physically as well as mentally.

You can expect to walk anywhere from 3-15 miles each day and this country is far from gentle. Many mountain peaks and valleys will have to be crossed in a days hunt. I would give yourself a solid year or so to train so that you are prepared for this type of hunt. Cardio is very important but it must be mixed with a good weight program. On average your pack will weigh close to 30 pounds or more so having strong legs is a must. Try and train with the gear that you will be using during your hunt. It does you very little good to jog all summer in shorts and running shoes and then head on your hunt. Make sure that you wear your boots, clothing and carry your pack and even your weapon with you when training. This sounds funny but if your back and shoulders are not prepared for the 10 day long adventure you will have a miserable hunt.

 You can expect many plane changes when heading into the North country and these planes always get smaller as you go. They have very strict weight limits and you must be able to condense all your gear into just 2 bags and a weapon and have enough to last you up to 2 weeks. Make sure that you buy the best gear you can afford in clothing, optics and foot wear. A solid back pack is also required because you might come out “hopefully” with more in your pack then you went in with. The small planes used to get around do not allow hard gun cases so make sure that you have a quality soft case for your final flights. Also do your research on excess baggage and weight coming back out. These prices can be very high and you want to be prepared.

 

Make sure that you pack a good quality point and shoot camera with you on these trips. You will see some spectacular scenery and some critters that you might not see anywhere else. It is fun to come back home and share your experiences with friends and family. Be very thorough with your outfitter and ask him how his operation runs and what to expect from start to finish. You do not want any surprises once you are in camp. What kind of hunt to expect, what is and is not covered with the original hunt price. Tips required for guides, packers and cooks. Who is responsible for getting your cape ready for the taxidermist. 

The reason I call this trip the “disaster” is because I endured everything from a not so forthcoming outfitter, 2 plane crashes while in camp, and very upset hunters. On only my third day of guiding but after walking almost 40 miles and one trek lasted 30 hours I tore my lateral meniscus and that ended my sheep season. The rewards are great but just be prepared for some unexpected and usually always occurring changes to your Northern adventure.

 

                                          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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