December/January 2014 EHJ (Issue 140) - Upon being notified that I had been selected for an Umtanum ram tag in early June, I committed myself to figuring everything out that I could. It didn’t take long to find out that the tag was going to be a fun hunt but nearly impossible to take a true, trophy ram that exceeded the 160 mark.
My wife Tamera and I spent our entire summer along the Yakima River and became very familiar with the unit and its intricacies. I met with biologists, made phone cal ls to past hunters, purchased a quad to navigate the backcountry and made some new friends along the way.
We scouted for 11 days and saw rams everyday but no shooters. I wasn’t discouraged though because I had learned that the bigger rams were usually down by the river come October. With this tidbit of information, I decided to skip the opener and patiently wait for the end of the month to start hunting. There was only one other tag-holder in the unit and she filled her tag on the second day of the season.
With the unit all to ourselves, we made our move in late September and planned to hunt the last 14 days of the season. The regional biologist told me that he thought there were about 30 adult rams to be hunted.
As the days went by, it became apparent that this was going to be a challenge for sure. Just about every corner on the river seemed to have a 135 to 150-class ram on it. On an average day we would see 10 to 15 different rams but no shooters. On day four Tamera and I hunted up on Umtanum Ridge. Several different muzzleloader deer hunters told us they had seen a large ram in the bottom. It took us nearly four hours to find the ram and we did so just as dark fell. He looked to be a shooter.
As daylight approached he was nowhere to be found. We spent the rest of the day looking for him to no avail. We did manage to spot five new rams along the river that looked pretty good. One was heavy, with broomed ends that would probably go close to 160. We watched him for two days and decided to give him a go in the morning.
For a full account of Mel's adventure, go to page 34 in the December/January 2014 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.