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Man's Best Friend
Groups: Athletes
Categories: Hunts | Sitka Athlete
Athletes: Tom Foss
Oct 10, 2012
I just returned from one of my best Dall's Sheep hunts ever, with Chris and Sharon McKinnon of Bonnet Plume Outfitters. Located on the northeast Yukon-NWT border, their area is known for holding some of the largest Dall's Sheep, and it did not disappoint. In the planning stages of the hunt, Chris immediately offered up Avery Sheppard, his keen bowhunting guide. After meeting Avery on a makeshift creek bed airstrip, we split up our food stash and set out for a distant valley.



Avery and I got on a monster ram, and had stalks on him on six out of eight days. Fickle winds, and the fact that the big ram recruited no less than ten other scouts to keep him safe, were the only reasons we didn't connect. Still, we hiked and laughed and hunted hard. Never on any sheep hunt has a guide worked harder towards getting a ram. We were up at 5:00 a.m. every day, and didn't often get back to our tents before midnight.

Avery's seven-year-old pack dog, Junior, was an absolute delight. He made the hunt even more special, as he reminded of my dog, Kenzie, back home. Same beautiful and sweet disposition. He could carry 30-40 lbs. in his backpack and never slowed down the whole trip.


He chased gophers when hiking back to camp, but was at Avery's heel whenever we were on sheep. Avery could lay him down when we were glassing and he wouldn't move a muscle.  Sometimes, following his gaze we found sheep on the hillside he was looking at. He'd also detect caribou well before we could see them pushing their way through the willows.

Junior even set out in hot pursuit when we found that pesky rats had eaten some of our delicious Mountain House – though, I think they may have done us a favor. I said to Avery, "Look at him go, at the end of the day and with a heavy load"

No doubt Avery was the hardest working guide I have ever had the pleasure to hunt with, and Junior worked just as hard.

A man and his dog. No doubt about who is man's best friend. I was honored to have shared my hunt with Junior. In Alberta using a pack dog to hunt is illegal. A friend of mine is working to change that, and I hope he has success. What a great way to spend more time with your best friend.

After the trip, I was pleased to receive an email from Sharon McKinnon telling me that Avery got his next client a great ram. She was a little sad to share they shot it with a rifle at no less than 60 steps. But that's hunting: being in the right place at the right time.

We left a huge ram on the mountain, but I know where he is. We have nine days into that ram, and he will be even bigger when we return.

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One of the best post's yet
wicked idea to keep your lil buddy in the mix!
Posted by dan on Oct 22, 2012 12:32 PM
Sad but true, in Alberta you can not have a dog with you when you are hunting big game. It is a pity because as wonderful as this hunt was, it was great to have Junior with us. He reminded me a lot of our dog Kenzie. I hope one day the Alberta Government changes that rule and allows hunters to use their dogs.
Posted by Tom Foss on Oct 12, 2012 2:33 PM
@Larry - The Core Zip-T, Core Crew and Merino Zip-T will all perform well as a next to skin layer. If you prefer the odor-controlling warmth of wool, go Merino. If you'd rather have a synthetic, fast-drying next to skin, go Core Series. Thanks for your question!
Posted by The Sitka Team on Oct 11, 2012 12:14 PM
If you are giving away or need someone to(@ no charge) field test The Jetstream Jacket ,Sitka Cap, & Accent Pant I Volunteer.
Oh yea,Colorado,New Mexico,Montana,British Columbia, or Alaska. You would be able to mix/match for best concealment & not freeze too death.( Elk,Moose,Caribou,Brown or Grizzly Bear,or Black Bear--Sheep are out of my price range( two in College right now). Dream of Stone Sheep,Dall,& rocky Mtn. Bighorn--I have Dessert
What layer would I use Core Zip T--? under the
Under the Jetstream?
Posted by Larry Holland on Oct 11, 2012 6:10 AM
Great story, it's what hunting is about. Love those dogs!
Posted by Dan Mallia on Oct 10, 2012 8:42 PM
Good stuff Tom! Even though no Ram was tagged; it really sounds (and looks,judging by the pictures) like you had a very memorable trip. There's something about "man's best friend" that adds even more of a special element to the occasion.
Thank you for sharing!
Posted by Luke Johnson on Oct 10, 2012 4:29 PM
Nice ,my dogs has always be well trained too.I like seeing dogs being part of the hunt.
Posted by Roger C on Oct 10, 2012 4:12 PM

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