April/May 2014 EHJ (Issue 142) - We headed up the trail and the farther we got, the worse the terrain was for the horses. By dark, we had never felt so ashamed of taking a horse anywhere like that before. The horses were tired, sore and had nicks and scrapes all over them. We set up camp, let the horses eat and had ourselves a bite to eat.
The next morning we were up before daylight and headed up a ridge to hopefully find the rams. We sat and glassed until noon and didn’t have any luck. We covered a lot of great sheep country the next couple of days and only saw a ewe and lamb on day one and two rams in the 130-140 class the next day, not what I was looking for.
With 12 days left in the hunt I was starting to get frustrated in not being able to find a shooter ram. As we got into camp one night, my brother and I decided I would go do some spotting before dark and he would take care of the horses. As I was glassing, I looked to the top of the ridge and there they were, six rams feeding over the top! I didn’t get a real good look at them, but I was excited and couldn’t wait until morning.
I got back to camp and Tad was cooking supper. He said, "What did you see, those four little bucks that have been there the whole season?”
Trying not to act excited I said, "Yes, they are still there and six rams went over the top.”
Knowing the area the sheep went into, we thought this was going to be a done deal the next morning. Neither one of us could sleep a wink that night.
We were up before daylight and headed up the ridge to be at our glassing spot by first light. We glassed all day and could find neither hide nor hair of the rams. We covered every nook and cranny of that mountain for three more days and came up empty-handed. They say it is easy to get discouraged sheep hunting; now I know why they say that – six rams and we couldn’t spot them anywhere. We had to head home to take care of some things but headed back to the mountain as soon as we could.
Now, with six days left we were hoping the six rams would be in the same spot. Up at daylight once again, we split up to look for the rams. As I sat behind my spotting scope picking the hillside apart I could not find the rams. The four little bucks were still in the same spot they had been all year, but where were the sheep? As I sat and glassed, I happened to glance in Tad’s direction and he was signaling that he saw some sheep. I couldn’t get up to his glassing spot quickly enough! After getting my spotting scope set up we looked the rams over for about 30 minutes, and decided it was go time. All of the rams were in the scattered trees and we could see a couple of the smaller rams at times. We stayed put waiting for the big guy to show himself. Finally, after about 30 minutes, there he was and he was a brute.
The big ram went to where one of the small rams were bedded, bowed his neck and took over the king’s throne. We studied the big ram as he lay there at 350 yards facing away from us. We guessed him to be over 170. After three hours of waiting for Mr. Bigs to get up, he finally did. He got up, walked behind a pine tree. The rams fed up the draw and towards us and at 300 yards I was ready to fill my tag. As the younger rams pushed and played, my ram just fed. Finally, Mr. Bigs cleared the other rams and was standing broadside.
I had practiced at this range all summer long and told Tad to keep watching with the spotting scope as I sett led the crosshairs behind his shoulder and began to squeeze. The rifle went off, and to my dismay dust flew right over his back. As the rams took off, I looked at Tad and he looked at me – neither one of us could believe what had just happened! We were both speechless!
I regained my senses and steadied for another shot. At a little over 400 yards the big ram slowed to a stop and looked back. I took a deep breath and squeezed off another shot. I could hear the wallop and Tad said I got him. The ram weaved a little and fell over.
We gathered our packs and headed over to him. He was bigger than we thought, with no ground shrinkage at all. After all of the screaming, hollering, handshakes and pictures, darkness was setting in. We caped, skinned, and quartered the sheep with flashlights and made our way back to camp. Getting back to camp at midnight isn’t fun, but with a trophy of a lifetime on my back it was all worth it. Idaho Fish & Game aged my ram at 10 ó years old and he green scored 183 B&C. What a hunt!