This is the conclusion of "Dustin Roe's Year in Review". Click here for Part I.
We packed the string of horses and headed into the famous Mt. Assinaboine Park to get camp ready for our next Bighorn clients. The two day pack in was very eventful. The trail had been covered with blow down from a windy winter and kept us hard at work all day long. In the afternoon of day one while climbing what they call Faro Pass one of the pack horses hooked a diamond rope on a tree sticking slightly onto the trail. He couldn't move forward and the horse he was tied to was trying to climb the mountain trail but just couldn't hold on. The strength of the powerful packhorse caused the front horse to rear and flip backwards off the trail and down the mountain pulling the hooked up one down with him. My dad was on a green horse behind the two, which then blew up running and bucking down the steep hillside. He managed to hang on for about four lunges but was pitched off like nothing I have seen before. After about five cartwheels he came to a sudden stop in the boulders below. It was one of those moments you hope to never have while in the remotes of BC.
Blake and I quickly tied our horses and rushed to the rescue of the one horse that was stuck upside down with his pack on wedged against some small trees. My dad was moving but in a lot of pain. I knew he was going to survive but we weren't sure the horse was. Blake and I worked franticly to remove the pack and tried to free the lodged horse. After ten minutes or so, we finally got him pulled around the tree and sent him for a few more tumbles below to where he could slow his momentum, stop, and then he stood. Funny thing was, when he got on his feet he just started to feed like nothing happened.
My dad was hurt pretty bad and we were sure he broke some ribs and hit his head on a rock in the wreck. We made the decision to keep going. We repacked the string and got on the trail again. The rest of the trail only got worse as dark fell and I cut and cut and cut well after midnight until we reached the half-way cabin. With every stumble of the horse or hard step over each root brought my dad near tears. The next day we made it to the cabin and our base camp for the next 20 days.
When the hunters came in the weather was warm with no snow but that didn't stop us from seeing sheep. Grant Adkisson and Denise Lowrie were both supposed to hunt but Denise took a last minute Stone's hunt and was successful earlier in the season. So she was unable to hunt. In BC you can only shoot one sheep per year, something she was unaware of prior to taking her Stone's as an add on to her Goat/Moose hunt. Grant was here to complete his Grand Slam of Sheep and it was my job to make it happen.
Every single day we saw rams but it took 18 days and a big snowstorm for the right one to show up. Lots of great rams over 170 inches. On the 18th day, Grant, Denise and I made a long hard climb that put us 240 yards from six feeding Bighorn rams. Grant laid prone over my pack and waited till the sheep turned broadside. After five minutes, which seemed to be forever, he gave Grant the shot. When the gun fired I knew he had missed. We quickly got up and moved closer. The rams had disappeared into the gully between us. When we reached the edge I spotted the good ram slowly walking up to our right by himself. "Grant shoot that ram!" He quickly put his gun on my shoulder as a rest and squeezed off. The bullet hit its mark and Grant Adkisson was a Slammer.
It was a day filled with some tears and very tired legs. We got off the mountain and made the two hour horse ride to camp as the clock to hit 1:00 AM, seven hours after last light. On the 17th day of Grant's trip another hunter, Gary West, was brought in to fill the tag that Denise wasn't able to use. He was also hunting Bighorn with Blake as his guide. I had spotted Grant's ram from the bottom and when we were setting up a plan, Blake spotted a good sheep in a separate band. We decided to split up and get both rams and that is exactly what happened. Blake and Gary each took a great ram only 15 minutes apart of us.
It was Gary's 1st day and Grant's 18th day. Goes to show you to never give up. Your last day is as good as the next guy's first day.
My wife Heather had been patiently waiting for me to take her hunting all year and I had been off gallivanting all season, so the day before I had to go for my next hunt I had to try and get her a goat. We left early in the morning packing all four of the dogs in the truck and headed out in search for a one day Mountain Goat. Heather packed her bow all day but I knew that as a new hunter an with four pack dogs it would be difficult with only one day to hunt.
The long climb found us 150 yards from a nanny goat bedded and Heather said, "The gun, please!" I let her set up, of course. She really wanted to shoot this goat. I wanted her to pass it up and keep climbing.
I recall her saying something like this, "NOT EVERYONE IS A TROPHY HUNTER LIKE YOU!" I think she was mad at me when I grabbed the gun from her when the nanny stood up broadside. After some coaxing we carried on and one hour later she was set up rock steady on three billies feeding at 360 yards. Heather had never pulled the trigger on any animal, let alone a Mountain Goat, so I knew she was a bit excited. I got her set up and rolled the camera. She dialed in the Gunwerks and waited for one to turn. I asked her which one she wanted to shoot. She answered, "the first one to turn!" I sat back to film the action. He turned and she squeezed. The bullet hit behind the shoulder and he went down, she quickly reloaded and took one more shot for insurance. She was now a big-game hunter!
I was extremely proud of her and happy to see that my girl can shoot! She has now seen a Stone's Sheep and a Mountain Goat successfully harvested on her first two hunts. I'm guessing that this is a rare accomplishment.
In mid-November, I headed to Alberta to guide legendary bowhunter Tom Hoffman in the Canmore bow-zone for archery Bighorn Sheep. On day one we packed the horses and rode into base camp.
Day two we hunted hard and spotted some nice sheep but nothing he wanted to shoot. By day three we decided to sit tight in a clump of trees and see what the day would bring. Two nice rams appeared on the ridge and eventually started to come our way.
Tom decide to take the ram at 48 yards as it played out perfectly and the opportunity was too good to pass up. HD video at close range was spectacular along with Tom's excellent shot and we had a beautiful Ram on the ground in only three days.
We took photos and packed the sheep back to camp and then back to the pickup point the next day. It was wonderful trip in every way.
If any of you ever get the chance to speak with this legend of the hunting world I strongly suggest you do. He is a one of a kind and I'm honored to call him a good friend.
Following the last Bighorn hunt I traveled to Eastern Alberta to film a hunt with Colorado Buck for Mule deer. Blake Williams and I would team up and try to get a nice muley with only three days to hunt. We found plenty of bucks on the first day but nothing over 160.
Day two was better and we were able pick up a great 180 class deer chasing some does. After a long deliberate stalk we found ourselves 60 yards from the bedded deer. Colorado raised his muzzleloader, rested it on my spotter and gently pulled the trigger. The hit was good and the buck took off. We quickly reloaded, as quickly as one can load a stinking muzzleloader, and took off after him again for a second shot. As we crested the ridge the big guy was standing at 40 yards. Colorado pulled up and shot again and the deer went down. We got it done on a tight schedule and Colorado Buck had his largest mule deer to date.
Following the Mule Deer hunt, we had a single day left to hunt. I was lucky enough to get a shot at a buck Blake pushed out of a thicket. The one quick shot hit its mark and I had a great whitetail buck on the ground. He will soon be on my wall.
So there you have it. 2012 is in the books. I have two cougar hunts left, the snow is falling and hunters are on the way. I will keep you posted."DO WHAT IT TAKES" in 2013!