This is the conclusion of The Off Season. For Part One Click here.
Up first was one of my past clients, Larry Todd of Ohio. On the first day, we planned to check out some fairly easy country in the front range before packing in and spiking out. Right away, we spotted three different bands of sheep and a couple of shooters. Four hours later, we were lined up above two bedded rams, ready to strike.
The large ram decided to feed our way. At 178 yards, Larry made a well-placed shot, dropping the ram in his tracks and becoming just a Rocky Mountain Bighorn away from his Four North American Sheep (FNAWS).
After the hunt, we returned to Cabo for a few relaxing days with Larry and the other successful Archery hunter, Sitka Ambassador Lonny Vannatta of Colorado. Lonny outfits Elk hunts in Colorado (Vannata Outfitting) and this Archery Sheep completed his FNAWS with a bow. He was pumped to say the least.
Next up was hunter Jay Curry of IL. Jay is a hunter that I might be the most proud of. He hunted hard last year in the same area right after receiving heart surgery and 15 stitches. He was unsuccessful, but came back this year and Cole and I had a great time sharing the mountain with him.
After seven days of hunting, and seven miles walked, we got Jay an opportunity. This particular stalk was a hard, two day trek using ropes and every bit of energy he had. An incredible feat. One step at a time, right Jay!
Jay took a great ram at 3800 ft.
Hunt three was Mike Brownell from WY. Mike has hunted Stone's and Bighorns with us in BC and has hunted with Cole in Alaska for Brown Bear. This hunt was going to be a challenge... or so we thought. Mike was hunting in the same spot that Jay spent seven days hunting before seeing a shooter. His goal was an upgrade on his last Desert (155''), which would be lofty to say the least, as the Baja subspecies doesn't typically exceed 160''.
Right away we found three rams. Everyone was excited except for Mike. He didn't want the hunt to be over. We decided to pass, but within minutes we found three more. One of them looked to be the best ram we'd seen in the area this season. We packed our packs for an overnighter and hit the trail running. Four hours of hard hiking and lots of sweat put us 175 yards from the small band and Mike's crosshairs settled on a ram's shoulder.
One steep shot from way above and the beautiful sheep laid motionless on the mountain side. It was short but sweet! Mike's ram will score right at 160 and is one of the prettiest Desert Sheep I've seen. Typically in the Baja, you don't see lamb-tipped rams, but this one was perfect.
Back to Cabo for another seaside dinner and relaxation with the hunter and his other friend, Micky Fisher, who was also successful on day one in another area. Micky's sheep also finished his FNAWS so it was another great trip all around.
After Baja, I flew home to Canada for a quick three days, then I was off again. This time I was headed to Hermosillo to meet up with Richie L'Esperance of NY.
Richie won the 1/2 Slam draw at GSCO and invited me to join him on his hunt. Richie is on a quest for the 700 club and wanted to take a 180 class ram so I suggested he pay the upgrade and hunt Tiburon Island. On day five of the hunt, one of our mutual friends Derek Blake of Alaska showed up to join us. Derek had just finished a Muskox hunt in Alaska and was was just in time to see Richie pull the trigger on his huge, 180'' Desert Sheep. Short lived for Derek, but worth it.
Right after Richie killed his ram we were told that Alcampo had one last tag for their Alamo Ranch about five hours north. Derek jumped on it and we were off again! Derek took a great ram at 80 yards and quickly became a 3/4 slammer. Not bad for a 30 year old self-employed fisherman. Derek's Ram greens 170 5/8''.
Now, I'm finally home. I hope to get a bit caught up. Since December, 29th I have only slept at home three nights. I am living a dream!