April/May 2013 EHJ (Issue 136) - In 2010, my wife Lee won a Remington 700 .300 WSM at the California Deer Association Banquet in our hometown of Redding, CA. I took this as an omen that I should take this rifle on a sheep hunt. So, when I met Jarrett Deuling of Deuling Stone Outfitters at the Sheep Show in Reno I booked a Stone sheep hunt for 2011. Jarrett booked me on the second hunt in 2011 and it was to be on horseback. I worked up a very accurate load for the .300 WSM and began getting as a close to "sheep shape” as a broken down old fireman could get.
Finally, 2011 arrived and I flew out of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Canada to one of Jarrett’s base camps on Connolly Lake. When I arrived I found out that a friend of mine, Frank Borges, had taken a nice Stone ram on the hunt before mine. I was very happy to hear about Frank’s ram and hoped for the same type of luck. Over fifty years of hunting has led me to believe that hunting success is about 1/3 preparation, 1/3 skill and ability, and 1/3 luck; and the luck can be either good or bad.
My 2011 sheep hunt was plagued with not-so-good luck. We struggled to find rams on several remote mountain ranges and finally located a small band of good rams in the same basin my friend Frank had taken his earlier. We found the rams late on the second-to-last day and made plans to move on them first thing in the morning. I awoke at about 3 a.m. to the sound of heavy rain and at dawn found the entire mountain was socked with thick clouds and zero visibility. We were through, and I was very disappointed.
Jarrett was almost as disappointed as I was and told me I had to come back and get a ram. I wholeheartedly agreed with him and we started making plans for 2012. Jarrett’s hunts are booked years in advance and the only hunt I could squeeze into would be a backpack hunt.
I arrived in Whitehorse several days before the season opened and was met at the airport by Jarrett’s mom Micki, who handles all the logistics in town. Micki introduced me to my guide, Ron Dionne. Ron and I turned out to be about the same age and in about as good of shape as two old guys could be.
Our 2012 hunt started the next day with a long drive to the drop-off point and wading a very cold, thigh-deep creek with 70-pound packs. After fording the creek we started up Sheep Mountain, bushwacking through willows and spruce jungles. The mosquitos were intense and the headnets Ron brought kept us from going insane with the bugs.
For a full account of Mike's adventure, go to page 24 in the April/May 2013 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.