Oregon FNAWS
Hunt Stories - Greta Horn
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Greta's Once In a Lifetime Hunt
By Jeff & Carma Mornarich
As many of you know, Greta Horn was lucky enough to draw one of Oregon's coveted bighorn sheep tags for the west side of the John Day River canyon. Those of us fortunate enough to accompany Greta on this once in a lifetime hunt included Greta's husband Casey, Jerry Rooney, Sr., Jerry Rooney, Jr., myself and our son Jack. From daylight until dark for the last four days, Greta was either glassing for sheep or scurrying over sheep country. She gave this hunt a 110% effort, and it paid off.
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On day four, the temperature dropped and the wind started blowing from 15 to 20 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 miles per hour; a miserable day. It was on this same day that we found the ram we were after. As Casey, Jerry, Sr., and Jack glassed from above, Greta, Jerry, Jr., and I went after the ram descending and side hilling down into a deep canyon. Our ram was accompanied by three lesser rams and four ewes so we had plenty of eyes to contend with. Before we could get into position, the sheep fed to the bottom of the canyon and started up the other side. Staying in a boulder strewn gulch hidden from view, we worked our way as fast as we could down the steep mountain. Near the bottom, we side hilled to a small finger ridge and crawled the last fifty yards until the sheep came into view. Greta got behind the rifle, but it was in vain as the shot would be 506 yards and the wind was howling. Greta kept calm (for the most part) and tried to keep the big ram in the center of her scope as we waited for a break in the wind. After about fifteen minutes of Greta staying in position to shoot, the wind finally subsided, but the big ram was holding his head over the back of one of the ewes so Greta couldn’t shoot. About the time our ram left this ewe, the wind was slicing down through the canyon. It never failed: every time the ram was by himself, the wind was howling. Every time the wind calmed down for a shot, the eight sheep were in a tight bunch eliminating a shot opportunity.
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This game continued for almost an hour, and Greta never left the rifle or the scope. She stayed ready to shoot the whole time and had to be getting cold and fatigued as Jerry and I continued to tell her the position of the big ram and to either hold or to get ready to shoot. After close to an hour, the big ram momentarily stepped from the group as the wind started to subside. I told Greta to get ready to fire, and then told Greta to take the shot. Just as she practiced this year, Greta took a breath, exhaled and then softly squeezed the trigger. At the shot, the group of sheep sprinted to the right and then up the steep mountain, but our ram ran down the hill and stopped in the rim rock. When he just stood there, Jerry and I both knew the ram had to be hit, but we didn’t know where. As Greta got into position for a second shot, Jerry yelled out, “your ram just fell over!” Greta had made one perfectly placed shot at 506 yards on her once in a lifetime ram. There was a lot of hollering, hugs and high fives, and Casey, Jerry, Sr., and Jack were frozen to the bone as they watched the whole thing unfold from above.
The whole crew descended to the bottom of the canyon. The next highlight was watching 72 year young Jerry, Sr., climb his way up through vertical rim rock with the rest of us to reach the ram at his resting spot. It was his first time ever on a wild sheep kill, and he wouldn’t miss the opportunity for the world.
Greta’s ram was a beautiful nine year old ram that scored 164 according to the biologists in the Dalles. Suffice it to say that Greta is one tough cookie, and she absolutely earned this once in a lifetime ram.
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