May/June 2012 EBJ (Issue 71) - I was dumbstruck as I watched my first desert bighorn ram. The pure sight of this majestic ram in his own environment took my breath away. It was my first scouting trip on a bright sunny August morning, in the San Gorgonio Mountains of southern California.
I had been applying for this once-in-a-lifetime sheep tag for the last 20 years, with no expectations of ever being drawn. However, just two weeks earlier, I was notified that I’d drawn a tag and now here I was, on an uppermost ridgeline, just 50 yards from a 150-class ram. By days end, I’d found a total of six rams and one was a shooter. During subsequent scouting trips walking this same ridgeline over and over, I learned that this was going to be the place to be.
After several scouting trips I found the ridgeline on the desert side was my number one spot to hunt, but I wanted to be sure so we hiked the entire zone from the top of the mountain all the way to the desert floor. As I followed the ridgeline, I spotted two big rams. One was an absolute GIANT…maybe in the 180s or even the 190s. After watching them bed down on a knoll, I slowly slid out of the area with a big grin on my face.
Glassing that first ram on my first scouting trip did something to me. I was hooked and I couldn’t wait to start my hunt. Two weeks before my zone opened the other zones had opened. I couldn’t just lie around the house thinking about those lucky guys, so I decided to make one more trip to the desert and hike farther north.
Opening day finally arrived! There was a slight drizzle, a little wind and I had my bow in my hand and was hunting for a big desert bighorn ram. Four of my hunting buddies would be helping me on this first day. Bill, Doug, and Dave helped me setup camp in a small draw below my favorite ridgeline. We then scaled the slopes to the ridgeline where we began glassing and immediately spotted a small ram. I decided to hunt north along the ridgeline to the area where I saw the two large rams, two weeks earlier. Wayne was about a mile away in an adjacent drainage where he could glass from the bottom up.
Doug and I had a two-mile hike to reach the knoll where I had glassed the two rams. About half a mile from the knoll, we spotted five smaller rams and one was a shooter, I guessed about a 160. After about an hour of watching them, we started the stalk by dropping down the backside and doing some side hilling. We climbed back to the top of the ridge and as we crested and so did the rams. We were busted and in no time they put a half-mile between us. It was late in the day and the wind was trying to blow us off the ridge and it was raining. So we started hunting back toward camp. We found 21 sheep that first day.
For a full account of Bret's adventure, go to page 34 in the May/June 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.