Oregon FNAWS
Hunt Stories - Brent Tannock
Brent Tannock 1
Sheep Hunting 2005
By Brent Tannock
Sheep hunting, it is what every hunter dreams of when they apply for that hunt. When June 20th comes, it is with the hopes of seeing “successful” for that 500 series on the mail card.
This year, like all the others, I saw “unsuccessful”. However, my nephew’s friend’s father, Butch Phelps drew a Snake River tag. As Jimmy and Paul set up a scouting trip, I asked to go along and help spot, thinking maybe this would be as close to a sheep hunt as I might get.
A three-day scouting trip was set for mid-July, and soon it was time to go. That trip we spotted close to 60 sheep, but all were ewes and lambs and small rams.
The second and third scouting trips I had prior commitments, so I got ready for the hunt. I was told by Butch I could and should invite a couple sheep hunting veteran friends, who are also FNAWS members. I had two guys in mind that fit the bill perfectly, Don South and Larry Jacobs. Besides, the more eyes the better.
Invites were made and accepted. I felt good about this. Plans were set, so on September 7th, Don and I left home at 5:00 a.m. for a couple of days of pre-season scouting.
By about 1:00 p.m. we had our binoculars and cameras out looking for sheep. Problem was, the sheep were in the wrong unit, besides the oldest ram was 2 ½ years old.
We continued to our pre-determined camp site, and after setting up camp we were ready for scouting by 5:00 p.m. That evening found us looking over some great country, but not finding any sheep. The next day, (Thursday) we got up at 4:00 a.m. and headed into the next drainage. We hiked up the ridge and we were able to glass both sides. Again, finding no sheep, but, a lot of other wildlife. By evening, we could tell Butch (who is now in camp) where the sheep were not.
At almost 3:00 a.m. Friday, Larry Jacobs rolled into camp, and about an hour later, my two nephews, Jimmy and Kristoffer, and Paul pulled in. By now it was time to get up to start the “day before the season” scouting. Time to get real serious.
Don, Larry and myself went back to the first drainage to try to find the rams that Butch and Paul had spotted two weeks earlier, while Butch, Paul, Jimmy and Kristoffer caught up on a little more sleep.
I learned that a good sheep scouter goes away from the sheep and spots back across the drainage, so that’s what we did. We split up and glassed till noon, Don and I met back at the pick-up and found the other four there eating lunch. They advised us they “found Butch’s ram”. Shortly Larry returned and after some talk it was decided that Butch, Paul, Jimmy and Kristoffer would return to main camp and move their camp to the base of the drainage that held the ram. They did not want an archery hunter or bear hunter spoiling the “opening day” hunt. The four of them would make the hunt in the morning, and us other three would meet up with them later.
About 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning we drove up to their rigs at the upper end of the drainage and found the pack frames still there. A couple minutes later Kristoffer came down the trail and said “He got him!, one shot, 336 yards”.
We got excited and asked all the usual questions and soon had the packs on and headed up the mountain. Thirty minutes later, we arrived at the others with the ram. Congratulations and pictures, skinning, capping, and quartering the meat were in order. After that, packs were loaded and we all headed down the mountain.
By about noon, we were back at their spike camp and the biologist, Vic Coggins with his wife Vickie, happened to meet us there. The ram was pinned and green scored. Butch, Paul, Jimmy and Kristoffer packed up camp and headed out, while Don, Larry and I went back to main camp and got ready to fish the river the rest of the day. Ha Ha!! We were three miles down river from camp at dark with no flashlights. We came out by starlight, however, we did catch some nice fish.
If I could do it again, I would do it tomorrow. I had a great time just being there with good friends and family. I learned more than I ever thought I would about sheep hunting, which just makes me want to draw my sheep tag all the more.
This trip not only got me physically charged, but mentally charged as well. I would advise anyone who had the opportunity to at least help in a sheep hunt, especially if they apply for sheep, to do it. The experience is phenomenonal!! And the hands-on is invaluable.
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