Author Topic: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"  (Read 2432 times)

Springer

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Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« on: October 28, 2012, 09:27:58 PM »
So where do i start ......Well lets turn back the clock about 3 yrs. I met Darcy through the A.O. message board the same way i have met a few other Great guy's that share the same Hunting enthusiasm as i do .
He was a great contributor with lot's of threads with stories and pics and through some PM's we managed to go out and tour the West country in pursuit of finding a Wolf.
Even though we never crossed tracks with one, we saw some nice country and shared lots of Hunting Stories. We kept in touch and Sheepguide knew how bad i wanted to get a Ram but so inexperienced in finding one . I had only really put it one hunt before this that i can attest to and due to where I hunted and forest fire smoke i never found anything that year.

Fast Fwd another year and it was during mid October i believe, when Darcy calls me and says i can spare a couple days , wanna hit the hills and look for a Ram....our work schedules lined up and as soon as he got home from his 2 week work cycle we hit the road and did some scouting. We managed to locate 4 Rams late afternoon with one worth a second look but due to the sun going down, we knew where we would be the next morning....



Of course it was a pretty sleepless night, thinking would they still be there , would i get an Opportunity at a legal Ram , could we get close enough, will someone else beat us to them......

We were in spot where we last saw them before the sun ever thought of rising from the East. As the dawn approached and so did our visibility and we found them right where we last saw them , up and feeding.
Through Sheepguides High end Swarovski spotting scope we knew 1 ram was worth pursuing , so packs were loaded with guns and gear and we made our way up through the thick cover to the edge of treeline.
With the wind blowing and coming from now wrong direction the Rams detected us and as we crested the Mountain , they had completely played Houdini and disappeared ?? with no tracking snow we were baffled as to which way they went....
as we made our way back to the valley bottom we managed to locate a older set of matched Elk sheds and one big Moose paddle.





We carried on covering ground and glassing everywhere we went and managed to see a few groups of smaller Rams but nothing that granted the right to pull the trigger on.




2011 was not to be my year but i had gained a lot more knowledge on Sheep Hunting and as bad as my memory normally is i remembered all the details and stories Darcy shared with me.
Knowing Sheepguide had just got home from 2 weeks a way from his family plus 2 days hunting with me , it was now Family time with his Wife and his Boy's for a few days before he had to leave home for the North country again. I thanked Darcy and Melissa for opening their home to me and for the Opportunity he gave me to look for my First ever Bighorn.....

Who knew that 2012 was to be my year to score on my " First Ram" in Late October.....

Springer

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 09:31:20 PM »
O.K things have settled down again , been busy ever since i got home catching up on things , dealing with Sheep Meat , cleaning and putting away Gear, drying stuff out, its like the hunt is not finished until the chores are done.

I got a call from F&W that my Ram was plugged so i hurried down and picked him up, i was sorta worried it may take a few days but Shirley said my calling ahead yesterday sped the process up a bit , man she does a good job and all the Red Deer locals can attest to that hey !

So where was I .....Oh yeah 2012 Ram....

This year i was in the best shape i have been in for a long time for the August opener , wish i could have said the same for my Buddy Randy who stuffed all the extras his pack could fit into his 80 lb Eberlestock and away we went for the vertical climb up the alpine. 7 hrs later we made it and my Pal was spent but i managed to get him to hang out for awhile with me after i got the campfire going and the water boiling for a meal and Hot Tea....




Well we spent the first 3 days glassing the ultimate looking Sheep basins and never saw a darn thing so we still had a couple days before opening day and we headed back down and on to another area a few km's away. the sign was there but not a Sheep was spotted although Randy did find a average Whitey skull and antlers to add to his bonepile.




The weather started to change and we had a bit of snow and rain so it was time to don the raingear off and on but also rest our legs. I figured it was enough eating dehydrated meals for awhile and set -off on a chicken hunt , but the only one i found was mama Spruce Grouse so she got a pass on this one...



Opening day we were up and hiking before daylight and spent the day glassing some great country but again no Sheep.....I had one more day of hunting before i had to get back to work so we hit another spot that was going to be plan "C" so we hit this new to me area only to see 3 young fellas with heavy packs and Big Smiles packing out a real nice Ram... Good for them and it being a small world it turns out to be the son of a guy i work with...Good on em they did their homework and had their Ram down opening day as well as they killed 2 Wolves on their hunt.....

Try as i might i could not talk Randy or Shedcrazy to coming out for another go at Sheep hunting and i always promised my Bride i would not go alone... I put in a Month straight of Plant turnaround and i was due for a much needed break and to get back to the hills before the end of season......wouldn't ya know it Monday Oct 22 my phone rings and its Sheepguide on his way home from work on his long drive home and he ask's , Phil you want to give Sheep hunting another go !!!! Yes ! Luck has struck again and i have a Buddy to hit the Hills with , but even better yet Mountain TI is going to join us and we will leave Wednesday if i am into it....

There was no further coaxing needed and a plan was made to meet at Darcy's Ranch then hit the hills from there........

Springer

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 09:33:53 PM »
Okay Okay , it's getting late and this 2 fingered typer is getting tired...

After a few cups of Coffee and loading gear into the truck and trailer Darcy ,Justin and I hit the trail for the wintering area they predicted the Sheep may have moved into.. for the 2 hr drive i was all ears listening to the encounters these veteran Sheep hunters have had and seen over the years. The windy road was pretty quiet this time of year , but still winter conditions and slippery...

To me it was just to be another Great Alberta Outdoor adventure with a couple good guys. Darcy who i had known for awhile and Justin who i met at the Wild Sheep foundation supper last March .

With gear offloaded and organized we hit the trail. I assumed with all the Horse trailers and Trucks in the staging area our area to hunt would be well hunted by now and the Sheep wise to them and hiding away out of site. With the winter background and visibilty quite good except for some thin cloud layer i figured if a Ewe or Ram was in the open it would definitely stick out..
As we progressed down the trails we would stop and glass all possibilities where we could locate some Rams. After the first fresh sheep tracks spotted up high Sheepguide and Mountain TI seemed to do a thorough glassing of the hillside in hopes of seeing something.......

At around 3:00 PM as we were glassing the basins and hillsides and more talk about the fresh trails up high i focused my attention more on them , after all these guys have done this way more than me. I got comfy and put my Vortex's to good use and scanned these Sheep trails only to find .....Holy Sh...t guys theres a ram bedded at the set of those tracks. It did not take long to point out where i found him laying down and looking straight at us about 2 km's away. Out came the Swarovski spotting scopes and we all figured ,Yup that Ram's legal, we have about 3 hrs lets make a go on him.

I took my camera out of my Pack snapped a couple through the spotter then set it beside my pack with all intentions of putting it back into its designated pocket... Well oops with lightening the pack and organizing myself in the adrenaline filled excitement i realized 3/4 the way up the hill that my camera was still at the bottom ! dang it !! Oh well Darcy had his plus his HD movie camera so pics wont be a problem, or so we all thought at the time.





At this point Justin offered to Bow out and let us go after the Ram , but we said no darn way were doing this together and who knows maybe there's more Rams up there we don't see. So of we went up the snow covered slope and into the bush in order to close the distance and hopefully get to this Sheep before it gets dark.
The conditions were perfect and the wind was almost non existant. There was one stop to remove another layer and get a breather because Justin was not tiring out at all. As we got made our way up , i thought to myself i am enjoying the hike but there's no way i am going to kill my third Big Game animal this season , especially a Sheep ! The breathers also gave Darcy some time to give me some pointers. When we get to the edge of the alpine we should all sorts of time to look the area over he told me and it turns out yes we did.

Well a little over an hour past and it was time to slow down so we dont blow this opportunity and i stayed right behind the boys tracks and we stopped using the noisy hiking poles that were striking the shale under the snow . We glassed where we had seen the Ram but he was gone !! No surprise isn't this how Sheep hunting always goes anyway it has for me . This is their backyard and we are just visiting it and their vision ,hearing and smell keeps them alive and the Big ones alive for many years to come...

as we picked our spot to start looking from the cold weather and heat from my body kept fogging my glasses up so it was going to be bino's from now on only for me. Darcy was the first to say "Don't Move" There's 2 Rams !!!! right up there.....slowly back in behind the trees.

Springer

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 09:40:59 PM »
We took our packs off and dug out the optics. What an amazing sight to see these 2 Rams doing their pre rut behavior jostling for dominance on the top edge of the basin but only less than 300 yds away. I am not sure if i was starting to shake because of being so sweated up from the hike or the "Ram Fever" i was experiencing right now so i put another layer back on as it was really starting to cool down. We all took turns looking through the spotter making sure we had a real good look and that the Dark Chocolate covered Ram judging if he was legal when 2 more Rams showed up.. I was thinking could we get get a double or possible triple on this but the other 3 were not big enough even though one was a dark colored Ram he didnt quite have what it takes.
after judging for about an hour Sheepguide says you make the final call on whether you pull the trigger or not.

I took another good look at the Grazing Rams and i got some great profile views . So much went through my head ,all the posts  of all the different Sheep pics over the years, about the ones that had past legal then i knew in my heart this Ram will definitely make mark so i said Darcy, do me favor please and scoot my pack out on top of the clearing , I am going to try and Kill this Ram. After getting the pack in place i put 165 grains of 300 WSM in the chamber and put the safety on. i settled into shooting position the best i could and Sheepguide was right beside me with the video running and making sure i was on the right Ram....i was vibrating from the excitement and after another check with the Rangefinder he says 298 yds. I put the crosshairs on his chest and pulled the trigger.. to hard and the safety was still on .....Darcy says take a couple breaths and slowly squeeze the trigger ....Boom...Whop !! he's hit , well this Ram is going down hill on his 2 front feet a few steps and he gets back on all 4's . I jack another in settle in for another shot and when he turned broadside,, Boom Whop he takes another 165 grains right behind the front leg and down he goes sliding and rolling all the while me saying come on hang up Focker ..2/3 rds the way down the steep snowy slippery shale he comes to a stop ...Whoo hoooo It just happened and i savored the moment of finally connecting on my " First Ram"!!

With frozen fingers and cold bodies we got our packs back on and dug our hiking poles and boots into the ground for the descent to where my Ram was laying...In a surprisingly short time and Darcy ahead of me with what was supposed to be the camera rolling i walked up to my Ram and all doubt was removed whether he was legal or not. he splintered a bit from the fall on the right side but it was totally repairable. I pulled his nose out of the shale and with awe and disbelief stood there looking at my latest Wall hanger.
With a grin from ear to ear i shook hands and thanked my partners for all their help and sharing this moment with me...
They both ask me , so Phil who's doing your taxidermy on him. Without any doubt in my mind i replied Marco ,from " Sugar Creek Taxidermy" he does amazing work and has done some beautiful mounts for me already through the years, he will be in good hands.
So now its photo time my camera is at the bottom of the hill Both Darcy's batteries have died so we too pics with the video camera,,,,that should have 2 sd cards ,1 for photos, 1 for filming , turns out we just had the filming one and thats what we got the following pics from.....
Sheepguide and I


Justin and I


Me and Cocoa the Chocolate Ram


bit of collateral damage on the right side



So now comes some more fun there is no level ground anywhere so we strap a rope around the base of his horns with 2 separate hand holds for Darcy and Justin to hold onto as they slid down on their asses holding him as i directed with pulling a leg taking him to rest in the bottom edge of the drainage.

Darcy started to work his magic by caping and quartering the Ram as i dug out game bags etc. I was privledged to carry the head while my 2 -New bestest friends carried out the rest of the Ram.

It was now completely Dark and we started the leg burning trek across the snow covered shale and bushwacked through the willows and thick timber.
It was at this point i welcomed Darcy's experience as a Guide and its not just killing the Sheep its also dealing with exhausted hunters and getting them safely off the Mountain and back to their families in one piece.
Thanks Buddy without your help this would still only be a dream for me ..

Back at the trailhead loaded heavy right where we started...





As we got the last 1/2 km to the truck we picked up Fresh Grizzly tracks that had been wandering around the trucks and camping areas as a reminder how blessed we are to be able to hunt and enjoy this truly Great adventure of a Real Mountain Hunt experience !!


I also want to thank Mrs Sheepguide for opening your home to me and the hospitality i always receive there.
I sure hope to return the favor one day Fella's

Cheers
Springer

jboutdoors5

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 10:20:10 PM »
great story!! thanks for taking the time to share it and the pictures with us :)
Bonnie (and Joel)

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Paul

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 01:14:49 PM »
Trip looks simply awesome, congrats on the ram!

JIMMY 808

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 04:21:20 PM »
Oh that's what all those straps are for on my back pack.  Looks like a rewarding experience and two nice shots.  Good work fellers.

Springer

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2012, 05:41:29 PM »
Thanks guys . Ya Jimmy you can never have to many straps as we found out with Justins Pack being short a few for tying a Quarter on..
Still up on cloud 9 myself. Every once in awhile a guy gets lucky hey..

OL_JR

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2012, 07:47:41 PM »
            Absolutely awesome love reading that story and the pictures as well.    I won't lie some of that scenery sure looks familiar ;D
"Wolves don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep"

badback

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2012, 07:55:35 PM »
Congratulations Springer...Great adventure, thanks for share it...
Treat each day as your last; one day you will be right.

ovis40

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2012, 11:06:52 PM »
Congrats to you (and your guides) on a nice ram!
And yes Shirley keeps that place running smooth, hats off to her.
If you want to run with the pack you can't piss like a pup.

Springer

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2012, 07:20:17 AM »
Thanks Ovis ...but who the heck is Shirley that runs what place?

wildmeat

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2012, 08:47:45 PM »
great hunt and a great reward... congrats and good work to both of you guys

STW

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2012, 08:25:04 PM »
Congrats. Nice ram. Awesome Read.
Aim small, miss small
One shot, one kill
STW (aka wthby)

Springer

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2013, 11:03:57 AM »
Well the day i have been waiting for , for 5 months has come and my Ram is home on the wall of the Man cave and it was so worth it to have my first Ram done with the xtra habitat on it. The Rock and snow were a big part of our hunt . Marco from Sugar Creek Taxidermy did a remarkable job and i am so thankfull what he turned my Ram into and the memories i have of him that Sheepguide and i shared that late ,cold snow covered October day...







With any luck this Tuesday a segment of our hunt will finally air of Maximus outdoors on Wild TV at 4:30 during their African hunt.

Cheers

diamonddave

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2013, 11:25:20 AM »
Looks awesome Springer!!

jboutdoors5

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2013, 11:30:27 AM »
It's beautiful, Springer. Thanks for sharing it with us. Love the mount.
Bonnie (and Joel)

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sheepguide

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2013, 12:02:21 PM »
I've seen an early copy of the show and it looked pretty good. Hope the finished product does. Look forward to seeing your smiling mug on TV!! Told ya you hang with me you would end up famous!!
I hunt sheep to see over the next mountain not to measure the next trophy!

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diamonddave

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2013, 12:49:14 PM »
LOL! He May be famous, but for all the wrong reasons!! ;D

sheepguide

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Re: Sheepguide'd to my "First Ram"
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2013, 01:11:11 PM »
And sure not for his looks!!!!!
I hunt sheep to see over the next mountain not to measure the next trophy!

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