April/May 2014 EHJ (Issue 142) - Life-changing events: graduation from college, starting a career, getting married, the birth of a child and Dall's sheep hunting. Although to most people a hunt wouldn't make the list of life-changing events, my August 2013 hunt was just that - life changing.
Although I didn’t begin my life as a hunter, when I met and began dating my life partner just prior to my 30th birthday, that changed. Now I am completely addicted! As a result, when Greg told me we were going to book a Dall’s sheep hunt in the Northwest Territories and that I would be the hunter, I was ecstatic!
Fast-forward to day six of my 10-day hunt and the word at basecamp was that Bralli still hadn’t harvested a ram and everyone was getting nervous that she wouldn’t. This was a float trip down the Arctic Red River and Greg and I opted to man our own boat while letting our two guides ride in the second.
The Arctic Red was quite full this year and there are many small and large channels in addition to the main channel. They aren’t always easy to differentiate.
Around the campfire that evening, I remarked to our guides and Greg that I would be more than content with my experiences during this hunt even if the opportunity to harvest a Dall’s sheep didn’t present itself. Astonished and disbelieving, Jeremy and Brad didn’t realize that I was being completely honest. I had already gotten much more out of my trip than I ever could have imagined.
We are lucky enough to live in a beautiful area of Wyoming with access to great mountain hunting. We used these areas in addition to our daily workouts to train for over a year for this specific hunt. As it was my first backpack hunt, I was nervous about my ability and wanted to prove to myself that I could be successful in this type of environment.
After getting fogged out for the first two days of the hunt, the shale slide that we encountered after our two-hour hike up the mountain and passing on a fantastic caribou each truly tested my abilities. The verticalness was astonishing and both our lungs and thighs burned with the effort we exerted. The view at the top was amazing, with the river braiding below, distant mountain vistas and the Yukon in the distance, it was worth every breath and step we had given it. So began the daily activity of hiking to the top of one peak, glassing the area thoroughly and descending to the next peak over, effectively covering two mountains in one day.
For a full account of Bralli's adventure, go to page 50 in the April/May 2014 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.