Oregon FNAWS
Hunt Stories - Bob Vinsick
Bob Vinsick 1
My Deschutes Big Horn
By Bob Vinsick
Soon after drawing my tag, I received an invitation to a sheep and goat conference sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of FNAWS. It was great fun and very informative. I met Keith Kohl, the district biologist in charge of the sheep program. He gave me a map of the hunt area, along with specific information on the number and location of the three ram groups in the unit.
I made my first scouting trip on July 16. We saw 18 rams that morning.great fun to see that much game.
On my second scouting trip with my daughter, we saw 27 rams, some of which we watched for over two hours.
On my fourth scouting trip, I teamed up with Johnny Jones, the other tag holder for the unit, and his hunting partner, Chuck Thurman. Mark Farstvedt and Derek Bowker came along also. It was a rainy day and much cooler. Derek, Mark, and I saw nothing. What a surprise! The rams had moved, most likely due to the weather.
Johnny and I decided not to disturb the rams anymore until the hunt. They seemed to be getting a little more nervous about our presence. It’s amazing how they see every movement, even at great distances.
Saturday, September 8, opening day at last. I spotted a group of eight rams first thing, including one nice chocolate ram. We watched them for close to an hour. Then we spotted three large rams on the far side of the canyon and I decided to pursue one of the larger ones. We made our way to the south side of Harris Canyon and moved in on where we saw the three rams bed down. I thought I was getting close when I heard two shots. Johnny had taken his ram and the other two were gone.
The next day we went back to Gordon Ridge. I spotted seven rams right up on top. Unfortunately, four deer we kicked up spooked the rams. We decided to continue on down as we knew there were at least three more groups in the area. As we neared the bottom we saw six rams on the next ridge, one large chocolate ram and five other mature rams. We started to stalk them but the terrain was so open that we ran out of cover at 425 yards. The large chocolate ram must have seen us because he left the group and went out of sight. I crawled into position and set up for a long shot. The five rams had bedded down on top of a rim rock. I ranged them at 425 yards. I was confident that I could make the shot. One by one, the rams started standing so I picked the bottom one in the group, took the shot, and missed.
We had only gone another 300-400 yards when Derek spotted ram horns in the brush ahead of us. I dropped my pack and crawled to a point where I could see the ram. There were several heads visible, the lead one a nice mature chocolate ram. They got nervous, stood up and started to leave. That gave me a shot at about 175 yards. I hit the ram but he didn’t go down. I took another shot at about 200 yards and the ram went down! As you know that’s when the work began.
A special thanks goes to my wife, Joyce, for putting up with me and being supportive throughout the entire sheep hunting process.
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