Oregon FNAWS
Hunt Stories - Wyatt Hartwig
Wyatt Hartwig 1
Abert Rim sheep hunt !!
by Ty Hartwig and friend
Well I got back late last night from my little brothers 2009 California Bighorn hunt. Let me first off say this was hands down the most memorable hunt that I have ever been on. These are some of the most toughest animals anyone will ever get the chance to hunt.
So here's the story. My other brother heads over with my little brother Wyatt who is the tag holder on Saturday the 15th, I believe to do a little scouting before the hunt. We weren't exactly sure where to go but we were going to make the best of it. He right away spotted sheep Saturday and then spent the next 4 days before the hunt finding sheep.
Well I arrived late Tuesday night with my dad, to find that they had put 3 nice rams to sleep. So though we had those rams spotted we were put in a odd situation since another tag holder was watching these same rams. So push came to shove and Wyatt wanted to get a sheep badly he made the decision to allow the other tag holder an opportunity at the biggest ram and then he would take the next one. That group was astonished that we would allow them the chance. To us it wasn't all about shooting the biggest it was more about the opportunity.
So Wednesday morning came and we all headed up to where those rams were and we soon find that the 3rd tag holder has beaten us up there but they were more to the south of us. We soon spot those 3 rams as they got spooked from the others. No shot for Wyatt but the other group we had met were set up for a chance for a shot. The rams no more than got around the bend and BOOM! Ram Down. Ram Down. Mark that we met had shot his 2009 ram. That was great to see, first ram down.
So we decided to head North on the rim to see if we could find the others. We no more than get to the next edge and there was a giant standing broadside at 375 yds. Though the ram was pretty much straight up and down. Wyatt decides he wants to take this ram. He sets up and gets a good rest. Boom! Dust flies up right behind him. He missed the shot, about 2 inches over his back. That ram darts out of the area. Not a bad shot for a kid that is hunting his first big game animal and he just about connected. We then had no more luck later that day.
Thursday we decide to head North on the rim to try our luck and right off bat we spot 7 rams feeding south on the rim. We try to get set up for a possible shot but it was too steep for Wyatt and we thought we might be able to get closer. We find a ravine that heads down the face of the rim and we put a 3 hour stalk on these rams. It couldn't of worked out any better for the 4 of us as we ended up having 11 rams feeding and bedded down in this valley. The sun is rising and we spotted a great ram that Wyatt wants a chance at. The ram is at 400 yds and feeding in some brush. They keep looking our way this whole time because they know something is there but they are just not sure. At about 9:00 in the morning we get stuck in the open and in the sun. We knew that those sheep had us with any movement. The big ram by now is heading up the hill and then disappears out of sight. We are unsure of where he is going. Then all of a sudden he pops up on the ridge across from us. He sees us but he is unsure of what we were. He is closing the distance fast 300 yds, now 200, now 150, he stops and turns broadside. Boom! Hits the rock right in front of him, he then turns broadside at 200 yds. Boom! Shoots over him. Man what is going on Wyatt? He says the scope is messed up. We look through it after the rams take off and sure enough the crosshairs are sideways. My only thought was it got bumped when we were heading down that ravine through all the brush and rocks. No luck this day.
Friday rolls around and not much happened this day we spotted some but didn't get the chance at them since they had got spooked from south somewhere and those rams never stopped until they had moved roughly 10 miles across the rim. We also changed guns for Wyatt since the other one isn't working right.
Saturday rolls around and we all are so exhausted from climbing and walking up and down this mountain we decide to sleep in. So we sleep in and then decide to move camp to the bottom of Abert since we have also been driving way too many miles round trip. We get done with all that at around noon, and this time we are deciding to change our tactics a little. This time I am going to be the eyes from the bottom and if we see something they will make the stalk so I can watch where they go. Well we spot 3 nice rams on the hill and the stalk begins. After about 6 hours of sitting there watching or trying to watch these rams, they disappeared. Somehow those rams got through the junipers and got low to where I couldn't see them. My dad Wyatt and my brother spotted them feeding below them. 150 yds and no shot. They were feeding through the junipers. One ram was obviously the biggest and most dominant because he was butting heads with anything and everything. Wyatt decides thats the one he wants. He sets up and Boom! Boom! Boom! I am texting them to see if he got it...... The answer is NO! What!?!?! He missed, shaking and he was trying to punch the trigger. We sit him down and explain to him what is going on. Those rams aren't scared too much since they were unsure of where the noise was from. I watch them feed to the top and that is where we let them be. We knew that is where they would be Sunday.
Sunday comes and they have a 3 hour drive up the roughest road on Abert. I head back to the bottom to watch and find those rams. Sure enough right at daylight I spot all 3. I call them and tell them that they are in the same spot. They soon get there and spend the next 20 minutes watching them feed up the hill towards them. Wyatt decides he is ready and settles in for a great shot with the 7mm Ultra mag. As I watch from below I hear the echo of the gun. Boom! I see those 2 rams run but not the 3rd. I hear Wyatt yelling from the top. Ty I got one!!! I was ecstatic. We finally got one! Well after a hour hike for me and a 20 min hike for them we reached our destination to find Wyatt's 2009 California Bighorn. What a great achievement and a great way to start the year! Enjoy.
Wyatt Hartwig 2

by friend Mark (met on the hunt)
It was an honor to meet this family of awesome hunters. I was very fortunate in meeting Wyatt, his brothers and their dad. They love the family time and enjoyed the experience. I hope that this young man exemplifies the integrity of future hunters and fishermen in Oregon. Wyatt and I had come to an agreement as to how we were going to hunt these rams. Unfortunately sometimes the best made plans don't work out as in this case. Wyatt held his head up, gritted his teeth and hung in there for four more days of hard hunting. Through the encouragement of his dad and his brothers, he made good out of disappointment. Now he has a trophy that he can look at and know throughout the years that it is the result of hard work, honor, and integrity beyond measure.
I am that tag holder that scored the ram the first morning. I am the guy Wyatt said to, "You've been watchin 'em too! You take the big one, I'll take the next one to him." We agreed that he would take the first shot but it didn't work out that way because another hunter spooked the rams out before he got the shot.
I have hunted many years and I put Wyatt at the top of my list. If I ever run across him again in the wilds of a hunt, we will sit down and have an awesome experience to remember together. We were two of four drawn from a thousand applicants to receive an Oregon Bighorn Sheep tag in that unit. Once in a lifetime, never to happen again.
We both have a trophy soon to hang on the wall, but you know what? It's not about the prize at the end of the race. It's all about how you ran the race. We may never see each other again, but everytime we look at our Bighorn we will remember each other. That is a bond that no one else can share. Thank You Wyatt.
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