Moose's California Bighorn
I did not want to hi-jack another thread so I'll post my story here. I drew a California Bighorn tag in 98 for 032. I had no idea about judging rams so I after I took the NDOW sheep class I went to several taxidermists and checked out all their clients rams so I would have a clue. I can tell you what a big buck looks like but a big ram? I thought they all had to be a full curl...like in the magazines. I would never have found one in the unit I hunted.
Anyway, with the help of my friend George, who came along for the adventure, we loaded up the camper and trailer with enough provisions for 11 days and headed out. We got there a day early. We set the camper off on the ground and while getting our camp set up, George tells me he thinks he sees a ram with his 10X42's. So we set up our chairs and spotting scopes and pop the tops off a couple Coronas and start looking at this mountain that we're going to hunt tomorrow. Within a few minutes we find 5 rams exactly where he thought he saw the one earlier...4 1/2 miles from where we are sitting! This guy really has the eyes.
We watched these rams butting heads until dark. They were not where we had planned on going but we decided to try and find them in the morning.
Another tag holder came by our camp on his four wheeler. Steve would also be hunting the same mountain but was waiting for his guide, Wayne Capurro, who was on another sheep hunt in Idaho at the time. Steve could not believe we were taking my Dodge Cummins up the road, but we had already been up there scouting two weeks before.
Opening day we drove all the way around the mountain in the dark, parked and then tried to find the rams we saw the night before. Nothing! We found where they've been and could smell them but no rams. When we got back to the truck around 2 pm we made a couple sandwiches and crawled under the truck for shade. It felt like 110 degrees out! This is going to be a tough hunt.
After lunch we moved down the road to where we were originally going to hunt, only to find 3 guys packing out a ram about 1/2 mile down the canyon. Oh well... We glass a few more canyons but do not turn anything up. By now it is late afternoon and we start down off the mountain.
This is the embarrassing part...while driving down the mountain, my buddy with the eyes, yells RAMS! I stop and jump out he jams my rifle in my hands and I stand there seeing nothing! Where? He points to the top of the mountain, at least 3/4 of a mile away. Sure enough, there are all 5 rams bedded at the base of the ribbon cliffs at the very top looking down the mountain at us. Busted. Well, we will try again in the morning.
As we travel down away from the rams, we start to notice a rock out cropping that is beginning to block our view of the rams. After traveling far enough that none them can see us, I stop the truck, jump out and tell George to keep driving. "We'll antelope 'em".
I start straight up the mountain keeping the rock pile between me and the rams. George continues on for another 1/2 mile and stops. He sets up his spotting scope and watches my accent. I figure if he stays there, the rams have not moved. Every time I rest to catch my breath, I look back and he is still there, so on I go.
I finally make it to the rock pile and all is good. I just barely peek around the rocks and a young ram is on me. He stands and stares at me about 80 yards away. I'm watching him through my scope as all the rams start to get up. I spot the two biggest rams. One is around 3/4 curl and perfect, the other is broomed off on both sides heavily and has much heavier basses. I quickly check the age rings and figure he is over seven years old and has lots of character. He is facing me and I hold at the base of his neck and chest. Boom, down he goes. The others just milled around for a few minutes and finally headed out over the top.
I can't believe my sheep hunt was over so quickly. Still gets me excited thinking about it.
We get the ram off the mountain and head for camp. We are both all smiles and decide to head for Steve's camp (the other hunter). It was after dark when we pulled in and Wayne was there. They both came out and checked the ram out. Wayne got all excited about it and started pointing out all the battle scars and chips. He finally turned to me and said "this is the ram we were looking for!" Steve's jaw dropped and the look on his face... Then Wayne said "there's another ram like this one". Wayne had flown over this unit and knew all the rams. Mine was the biggest taken there that year. I read later that Steve did get that "other" ram.
I did not get the ram scored but he is 8 1/2 years old and that met my goal of 7 years old or better. He probably scores just under 160...my guess.:D