Oregon FNAWS
Hunt Stories - Mark Brown
Mark Brown 1
Once in a Lifetime
By Mark Brown
For five years, my wife, Renae, and I have been applying for the Bighorn Sheep hunt near our place in Dayville, Oregon. When Renae read the draw results we received from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife she said I got the draw and could hunt the Aldrich Mountains just east of Dayville. I thought she was fooling but then she showed me the card.Immediately, I called John W. Cole of Monument.
Johns' first thought was to get Josh Moulton, of Tygh Valley, to guide me as Josh got his bighorn in this same unit in the early 90's. Others helping were Jerry Maley, Cody Cole, and John Jones.
Greg Marstall of Gold Beach, drew the other tag and he was kind enough to call me so our hunts would compliment each other rather than compete. Greg is an experienced hunter who with friends, Bryan and Larry Larsson, has been applying for this hunt for years.Along with Greg were his son, Kipp, and the McGinnis brothers, Ryan and Brandon. What a nice way to pass down a hunting heritage to the next generation.
Another pleasant surprise was an invitation to the first Big Horn Sheep Orientation day sponsored by The Oregon Chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (Or-FNAWS). At the class, we learned about the reintroduction of the Rocky Mountain Bighorns and the California Bighorns. Vic Scoggins of ODFW was there along with Keith Kohl and they explained sheep habits, hunting methods, scoring, care of the cape and so forth.
John, my friend from Monument, spent a lot of time preparing for this hunt. Aldrich and Little Aldrich, Chilkoot Pass, Bottle Rock, Smokey Creek and other areas were all scouted for sheep. Before I knew it, it was time to go to camp and prepare for the 12th of August, opening day.
The best day of scouting was Friday, the 11th. Josh & I got within 150 yards of 9 rams, two of which were good sized. Then John said he saw a bigger one but it would be a real long hike.Josh and I spent the night under the stars on top of Chilkoot Pass. Saturday morning, Greg hiked up to our camp and we glassed again. The big one was still down the canyon.  Josh and I went to find him. It was a long hike. We found him. He was big. I pushed myself into a mountain mahogany that was growing low and got ready to take the shot. The ram was about 200 yards down hill. I waited because his left horn was right where I wanted to shoot, a clean heart shot. I knew if I did not wait his horn would be shattered. The big ram knew something was up. His two buddies were also turned sideways to us and looked our way. I waited. Then the ram looked due east and Josh reminded me, "Hold low, bottom of his heart. That bullet won't drop much this steep downhill". This is the shot that I had been fretting about. My responsibility to the animal, to not wound, to not shoot where he would fall off a cliff, to the other hunters that could have been here, to the State of Oregon, to the opportunity, and to the FNAWS members. I squeezed the trigger. Bang! He was down. Josh said chamber another one, he might move. He was anchored, though. In the steep terrain it took 45 minutes to get down to him. Three of us packed him out to the South Fork of the John Day River.The ram is the largest ever shot in Grant County.
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