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Kissed by an Elk
Sitka in the Khalarhi
Black and White
Sitka Fan, Tom Foss, Shoots for a Second Grand Slam in OPTIFADE
Feb 17, 2009
We often receive photos and testimonials from people who wear our gear. One thing that always shines through is the passion. If you are a hunter, you understand what I'm talking about.
Tom Foss is a bowhunter who is lucky to have two sons who share his passion. He doesn't have any connection with Sitka, but he was the first to get a grand slam in the gear in his Sitka Gear in the Mountain Mothwing pattern. This year we offered him the opportunity to test the new OPTIFADE gear on his desert sheep hunt. Here's his story:
Tom Foss with desert ram
I just returned from the Baja after taking another desert sheep with Ty Miller of
El Fuerte Outfitters
. I got him on the seventh day of a ten-day hunt. We spent three tough days looking over four rams but somehow the two biggest went up and over the mountain. We really had a good test hiking and climbing in some hot weather. I was wearing the new Sitka gear with their new camo pattern,
. The thorns and cactus destroyed a light pair of hiking pants my friend wore but these pants stood up well. I wore them every day of the hunt.
Tom Foss scans the horizon for desert sheep.
The next day we spotted a real monster in the adjoining area. It was tough watching this monster as he was in a very stalkable spot, really low on the mountain. We waited on him to move and hoped he would, but it soon became apparent that he was comfortable feeding in the lush vegetation. (Just heard that Ty's next hunter killed a good one, hope it was this ram). We continued to monitor the other two smaller rams but then lost them and never could find the others bigger rams.
We decided to try another area and it took us the full day to get over there but just before dark we found another group of rams. As we hiked down to set up camp in the creek bed I knew there were only three days left and was anxious for a stalk. After spending another wonderful night on the desert floor there was an amazing star show as several shooting stars passed across the horizon. It wasn't until the third one before I finally wished for a ram.
Awoke in the morning and it was a surprise as the dew soaked sleeping bag, packs, boots, socks and liners. It was like we slept in the rain. A quick bite to eat and we started up the backside of the mountain. It was steep, crumbly trail but we were thankful to be in the shade of the mountain. After three hours we topped out to find our sheep out on a pinnacle. Dropping back down we finally got above them and were in great position.
After awhile the rams dropped a little in elevation and I was chomping at the bit to go. My guide was nervous for us to move, so we just sat and waited. My thoughts were to close the gap from five hundred to a hundred yards or even closer but Jorge was nervous that the rams might come back and bust us so we sat there watching the point that hid the rams. After a couple of hours he finally decided to move and just as we tried to cross lower, one of the sheep came back over the top and was on a beeline towards us. That ram disappeared and then we moved towards the other sheep incase they decided to take the same trail.
After more time we finally spotted the other three feeding in some very thick almost tropical vegetation. We had almost given up and as I bulled through the bush when suddenly I saw the horns of a ram. It took some glassing but finally within thirty yards there were several rams. It was growing late and we knew a night on the mountain was a certainty. Whether it would be with a ram or not, was the only question.
There was no way to get an arrow through the tangle so I crept up on a rock wall and watched the sheep below me. I made a fair amount of noise but the wind was good and when the sheep looked my way they totally ignored my presence. Being above sheep always seems to cause them to be very nervous but this camo seemed to work. I have always been a big fan of this Sitka gear, it just seems to fit mountain hunting and the Mothwing pattern is deadly in the rocks. They recently came out with a new pattern called Optifade and a little different pant design and a lighter under layer shirt (I actually wore the pants every day during the hunt and it stood up to the thorns and the rocks, it really is bullet proof).
I slid down closer and then started to throw rocks just past them, hoping they would get up and feed. The only problem was they were on the edge of a bench and the rocks just seemed to fall into thin air. Finally one rock got the sheep up and they began to feed my way. The only problem was, they were on a ledge below us and they were feeding right towards me. Now at twenty yards the biggest ram simply chose to ignore my shape perched upon a boulder. I have seen many rams check out my camoed shape but these guys totally ignored me in my head-to-toe camo and a face-mask. I felt like the invisible man as I drew and released the arrow.
It was a wonderful night on the mountain. To those who have had an unplanned night under the stars, it usually is an uncomfortable and long night but on the desert it never really cooled down and it was pretty much comfortable. Up early the next morning and we packed off the ram and all the meat.
A pretty long drive out and when we went to check the ram we met fellow bowhunter Scott Jankowski who had taken a great ram, just days before my hunt started. Scott and I were disappointed to hear that the Mexican government did not have any plugs for the sheep on the Baja this year, but in true Ty fashion he had his technical advisor working on the issue immediately.
Another wonderful sheep hunt. It doesn't really get much better. Hope all of you are doing well. This economic debacle will affect us all: financially, our jobs, our investments. There is no escaping it. How it affects us emotionally- we have some choice. I just read about a guy who is refusing to accept this recession and all the negative news, press, and TV reports. Lets buckle down, work hard and enjoy the great things in our lives. We are blessed to be healthy, have wonderful families, great friends and wonderful pursuits.
Another inspiring hunt report from Mr. Foss. His ability to bring the reader into bow range of such a trophy is compelling. The Foss boys are becoming a household name in the sheep hunting community, it takes passion and dedication to achieve such dreams. Your hard work does not go unnoticed, great job!
CarsonN Posted At 2/18/2009 09:22 PM
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