April/May 2014 EHJ (Issue 142) - I recently completed my Grand Slam of North American Wild Sheep this past October and had a number of very memorable hunts in doing so. It started for me with a Dall’s sheep hunt in the Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories in 1996. Outfitter Duane Nelson flew my friend Brian Sanders and me to his base camp on the Keele River and packed us on 14 horses for a combination hunt for Dall’s sheep and mountain caribou.
We hunted a number of remote mountain ranges, moving camp every couple of days. I took a 10-year-old ram on the eighth day and Brian took a full curl ram on the twelfth day. I also harvested a double-shovel caribou with forked kickers. The Mackenzie Mountains were remote, beautiful and provided a great opportunity to check out our rain gear as it rained and flooded most of the trip. The gorgeous country that these rams live in gave me a strong case of sheep fever and I knew I would be back for more.
In 2010, I drew a desert bighorn tag in Nevada after 24 years of applying as a nonresident. I drew Unit 271, the Mormon Mountains, and booked a hunt with Gary Coleman of Nevada High Ridge Outfitters. I had hunted with Gary for mule deer a couple of times before and knew that he was the real deal. Gary and I located a very nice ram before the season opened, but couldn’t find him on opening morning. We were preparing to put our packs on and start hiking when we found two rams in a valley, crossing between two mountain ranges. The rams were on a dead run crossing the valley and the wind was blowing over 35 mph. Gary called out the best ram and I missed him just as he started up the mountain on the other side. I took careful aim a second time and tracked the ram in my scope as he picked his way up the slope. Just as he paused to jump up on a boulder the wind quit for a second and Gary called out the range at 405 yards. My hand-loaded Barnes 140 grain TSX from my 7mm Remington Magnum did the job and the 12-year-old desert bighorn was mine. I realized that the desert bighorn tag was extremely difficult to draw and that I was now in reach of a grand slam.
In 2011 I failed to connect on a horseback hunt for a Stone’s sheep in the Yukon with Jarrett Deuling of Deuling Stone Outfitters. Jarrett was booked years in advance, but invited me to return for a backpack hunt the following year. So, 2012 found me back in the Yukon on a remote backpack hunt with guide Ron Dionne. Ron and I packed in for two days and got into our area the day before the season opened. We spotted 13 rams before the opener.
For a full account of Mike's adventure, go to page 22 in the April/May 2014 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.