Oregon FNAWS
Hunt Stories - Ed Swanson
Stone Sheep Hunt
By Ed Swanson
Cassiar Mountains
British Columbia, Canada
August 2007
Ed Swanson 1
Preparations: (18 months)
  • Liane and Troy Vest picked the outfitter at '06 FNAWS Convention, Reno, Nevada. $1,000.00 deposit!
  • Ed began walking 2.1 miles per day in '06, lost 23 pounds.
  • Began practicing shooting sage rats in the Spring of '07. Began shooting his 6 mm Remington with handloads daily to confirm zero at 200 yards. Then shot varmint guns daily the rest of the summer.
Trip from Molalla, Oregon to Dease Lake, B.C.
  1. Got a telephone call at about 9:00 p.m., July 26, 2007. The road has been washed out. Would have to fly in to Dease Lake or drive a detour route (8 hours-435 miles) along the Alaska Highway, from Prince George to Watson Lake, then south to Dease Lake for pick up!
  2. Travel Day #1 Saturday July 27, 2007
    Bruce, Troy and Ed departed Molalla about 3:30 a.m. Drove about one thousand miles to Chetwynd, B.C., Canada.
  3. Travel Day #2 Sunday July 28, 2007
    Bruce, Troy and Ed drove about 700 miles, from Chetwynd, B.C., Canada, to Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, Canada.
Hunting Log:
  1. Arrival Day: Monday July 29, 2007
    Activities: Flew from Dease Lake to Glacial Lake in a chartered Beaver aircraft. Arrived at Glacial Lake at 3:00 p.m. Loaded up gear on horses and packed into the cabin.
  2. Scouting Day: Tuesday July 30, 2007
    Activities: Hiked to the glaciers at the head of Glacial Lake at 11:00 a.m. Spotted 4 young rams.
  3. Hunt Day #1 - Opening Day Wednesday August 1, 2007
    Activities: Weather very warm. Short sleeves. No sheep spotted.
  4. Hunt Day #2 - Thursday August 2, 2007
    Activities: Hiked to the glaciers at the head of Glacial Lake at 11:00 a.m. No sheep spotted. Saw medium sized grizzly about 300+ yards.
  5. Hunt Day #3 - Friday August 3, 2007
    Activities: Rode horseback around Horn Mtn., about three and one half-hours each way. No sheep spotted. Saw grizzly, moose, and caribou.
  6. Hunt Day #4-6 - Saturday, Sunday & Monday August 4 - 6 2007
    Activities: Weather changing daily. Sometimes warm, sometimes cooler. Rode horseback around regional drainages and lakes. (We rode to the lakes, rode around the lakes to the connecting basins and glassed with our binos for long hours.) No Stone sheep in sight. Morale high!
  7. Hunt Day #7 - Tuesday August 7, 2007
    Activities: Wind, cold, sleet, rain, and snow. Stayed in camp. Mountains fogged in. Kicked back, stayed warm and well fed.
  8. Hunt Day #8- Wednesday August 8, 2007
    Activities: Got up early, ate a terrific breakfast, packed and saddled up early and rode horseback to spike camp, about a five-hour ride. Set up spike camp, ready to "get with the program"! Horseback out to different locations to glass.
  9. Hunt Day #9 - Thursday August 9, 2007
    Activities: Got up about 06:00 a.m. Rode horseback about an hour's ride from spike camp.
    Troy and Bruce rode to another basin in the same drainage, tied up their horses and hiked around the mountain higher and glass for sheep. Ed and the guide rode about two hours from spike camp into an adjacent basin to glass for sheep. The guide saw the Stone ram about a mile and one half away "a bird in the hand". They waited about an hour for Troy and Bruce to climb down within radio range to verify size and that the ram was legal to take. After they got the confirmation to go for the intended ram, they rode their mounts to the bottom of the basin. They then had to hike upward to a shooting vantage point without being spotted.
    It took about an hour's painstaking stalk on the side hill to get within about three hundred yards of the ram. Ed was thrilled to be this close, but wanted to get closer. The guide carefully maneuvered Ed to within a "lasered" one hundred sixty five yards! Ed crept forward and wasted no time in getting into a shooting position behind a rock, and using his pack for support. It was now raining, sleeting and "cold as hell"! The guide said, "Take him now!" With that comment the 6mm Remington barked. Ed lost sight of the ram through the recoil. The ram went down hard at the shot and did not move! Troy and Bruce, from across the drainage, could see the ram drop and waited to hear the report. The guide was staring intently at the ram for signs of life. Nothing! Ed had done the job!
    It was 4:00 p.m. Ed started to walk towards the ram while the guide went back to retrieve their packs. It was really an emotional time for Ed. This is the end of an extremely long journey! His first thought: "I got 'er done! I've killed my ram! The guide said, "There's your Grand Slam ram"! Ed completed his Grand Slam four days past his 67th birthday.
    Ed sat quietly by as the guide took photos and did some preliminary measuring. One of the ram's horns was driven into the dirt by the fall! Bruce and Troy climbed down to the ram's location hurriedly. Ed said, "We got 'er the hell over with!" There were congratulations and hugs all around!! As Bruce and Troy talked and took photos, the guide started caping the ram. The weather came back in again. They packed up the head and horns, cape, hind quarters, tenderloins, back straps, and the ribs, of course. Away they went toward spike camp. Troy and Bruce hiked up to retrieve their mounts and also headed back to spike camp. Everyone arrived back about 10:00 p.m. They did some quick unpacking and took care of the stock. Raining and blowing extremely hard. The guide put together a little bit of stew for supper, cooking under a tarp. Troy, Bruce, and Ed hit the sack. The guide stayed up and finished caping the ram.
  10. Hunt Day #10 - Friday August 10, 2007
    Activities: Woke up at 06:00 a.m. Packed up and loaded spike camp about 11:00 a.m. Rode horseback to base camp. Arrived about 6:00 p.m. At 8:00 p.m. they boarded the Cessna 185-float plane piloted by their guide & outfitter, Keith Connors of BC Safaris. They flew the short hop to the Lodge at Turnagain Lake, arriving about 8:15 p.m. They unloaded their gear, cleaned up and had a terrific meal including BBQ sheep ribs! Lights out about 11:30 p.m.
  11. Hunt Day #11 - Saturday August 11, 2007
    Activities: Rest and recuperation duties this day around the lodge at Turnagain Lake! What a superb place to be!
  12. Hunt Day #12 - Sunday August 12, 2007
    Activities: Departed lodge at Turnagain Lake by float plane and flew back to Dease Lake. Contacted the game department authorities to check in, pin and measure the ram about 9:30 a.m. By 10:30 a.m. Troy, Bruce and Ed were back on the road again headed south to the Lower 48. The end of one terrific adventure and the start of the 25 hour drive home. When it was all said and done, they had traveled 3,263 miles round trip. Job well done indeed!
Equipment used:
  • Rifle: Remington Model 700 Classic, 6mm Remington, Brown Precision stock
  • Ammo: Handloads, 100 Grain, Sierra spitzer, Pro Hunter, 45 grs. IMR 4350
  • Pack: Hard Core, Adventure Outfitters, Jeff Janssens
  • Scope: Leupold, 3.5X10, post crosshair
  • Telescopic walking staffs: Stoney Point
  • Spotting scopes: Swarovski, Leupold, and Zeiss
  • Laser Range Finders: Zeiss & Leica
  • Binoculars: 10 x 42el Swarovski, 15 Power Zeiss
Hunting team in camp:
  1. Keith Connors, Outfitter, Guide & Pilot
  2. Joan Connors, Chief Cook
  3. Corbin Black, Wrangler
  4. Troy Vest
  5. Bruce Rickman
Misc.:
  1. Stock: Large, well mannered mountain bred working class horses. Calm, pack and ride well, under control at all times. Absolutely first class!
  2. New dessert entree every night. Plenty to eat- terrific food!
  3. The trip across the Canadian/ American border was trouble free, in large part through prior experience and planning on the part of Troy.
Ed wants to personally recognize the following:
  • Liane Vest-the person that got the hunt concept and process started.
  • Troy Vest- selecting the Outfitter and putting a down payment on the hunt.
  • Bruce Rickman-An old friend who Ed met in the 70's, really made things happen on the hunt and can certainly spot the game!
Ed Swanson has applied for and been granted the "Grand Slam" status from the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep. The award will be presented to Ed at the FNAWS-'08 Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah!
Ed Swanson's other North American Wild sheep:
  1. Dall Sheep, 1973: Guide & Outfitter: Dick Gunlogson. Sheep Creek, Wrangel Mountains, Alaska. **Dick also finished his Grand Slam with BC Safaris in 2004!**
  2. California Bighorn sheep, 1978: Self guided, Poker Jim Ridge, Oregon
  3. Desert Bighorn sheep, 1985: Manuel Hurtado, Area #85, near the Colorado River, Nevada. (Ed drew one of eleven non-resident tags!)
  4. Stone sheep, 2007: Guide & Outfitter: Keith Connors of BC Safaris, Horn Mountain, B.C.
 
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