The Dall Ram in my Avatar
Several of you have asked about the ram in my avatar. Below is a copy of a pm I sent to Bon after he asked about it. I was fortunate to spend 21 years in Alaska and have the opportunity to hunt most of what the state had to offer. I was also fortunate to have good hunting partners and we did our hunts self guided.
My hunting partner and I drew tags for the Tok Management area. One of the most popular and desirable sheep tags in Alaska. We flew out of Tok, Alaska in Super Cubs and landed on the gravel bed of One of the local rivers. From there, we hiked 14 hours up a creek into a beautiful valley. Just the two of us. We saw moose, caribou, grizzly bears, black bears, wolverine and of course Dall Sheep. Had one grizzly come within 20 yards of camp, stand on his hind legs and woof at us like a dog!
The sheep hunting was fun. We were at a bit of a disadvantage due to the steepness of the mountains on both sides of the valley. The sheep could see us coming from both directions. We had to hike down the valley out of sight, then up and to the sheep. The weather was crazy with constant fog rolling in and out causing us to lose sight of the animals we were stalking... I ended up blowing a stalk for the largest ram I have ever seen. I got within 40 yards of him without even knowing it! When the fog lifted, I was looking down the valley from a ledge and my buddy was saying Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! I'm looking all around and don't see anything. Finally I look straight across and see the ram looking me right in the eyes just as he bailed off the other side of the ledge he was on! Wow!
Saw him again later! Massive!
The weather turned crappy again, so we took shelter in a little cave and ate lunch and tried to dry out a little. After a few minutes, I started getting antsy, so I told my buddy Dave I was going to take a hike a little higher up the mountain (we were nearly at the top then). I had only gone a short ways when I peek over into a big rocky bowl and across the bowl about 450 yards I see a ram. The wind is blowing pretty good so I decide to get a little closer when the fog rolls in. The rocks are noisy, but the sheep are used to that. So I go a little ways and the fog starts lifting. I stop and get down, the ram is still there 400 yards. Fog comes back in, I move. 350 yards.... Fog lifts, I get down. Get my gun ready. Ram still there. Asleep.
I wait for what seems like an eternity as the fog rolls in and out a few more times and eventually the fog lifts and the ram is standing! Alright! 300 Win Mag. Does the job. I have my Dall Sheep. Way more gun than you need for sheep, but in Alaska, one has other things to consider... My buddy hears the shot and comes trudging up the hill and we hike over to the ram together.
It is dark by the time we are making our way down off the mountain in the rain with heavy packs of meat, hide and horn. We stumble, fall and slip on the wet rocks, mud, moss etc.. We fall in the creek because our legs are like rubber from the climb and descent!
We finally make it back to the tent along the stream bank somewhere around 10pm. Both wet tired and cold. Funny the two opposite reactions we had upon arrival at the tent. We put our gear and meat away. Got out of our wet clothes and then Dave went straight for the food. He sounded like the Tazmanian Devil ripping open packages and devouring anything and everything he could get his hands on! It was almost comical!
Myself, on the other hand... I put on dry long johns and crawled into my sleeping bag and just got warm. Drank some water, but just wanted to get warm and rest.
The next day, thankfully was sunny! We hung out at camp taking care of meat and hide. We hunted for another week, but Dave did not kill a ram on that trip.
The hike out of the valley was just as rough as the hike in, except that it was DOWN the valley!! Fun trip!
Thanks for asking, it brought back some great memories!