As promised, here is a few pics of the second ram we took on the 22nd of December at about 5 o'clock.
We were set up overlooking a big canyon where we had spooked a nice ram ealier in the morning. We weren't having any luck spotting him again so I started glassing another mountian range across the way about 3 miles where I had seen some sheep earlier. I immediately saw a small ram standing up on a huge boulder on the skyline with my binos. I told my buddy that there were sheep over there and he swung my Swaro spotter over to it and told me there were actually 3 rams and a bunch of ewes down from the top a little ways. I couldn't tell the other sheep were rams with my 10x42 SLC's but I knew they were too little of magnification to really see detail that far away. This was at 3:00 pm.
We hopped in our trucks and rolled like we had no brakes all the way down the canyon and over to the mountain where the rams stood. I grabbed the spotter, the tripod, the pack frame, the 6.5-.284, and all the other necessary gear for the shot and we headed up a ridge that would put us straight across from the herd at about 300 to 600 yards away. Finding this position quickly was only possible because of my friend's detailed knowledge of the area.
As we reached the top, all the sheep came into view. We quickly saw 6 new rams and 3 of the 6 were shooters. The largest two were named "Nerf" and "ham&eggs" back during the summer by my friend Brad. We had lost them both since December 3rd and now here they were 400 yards from us and totally unaware we were watching them!
I quickly set up the Varmint Rest and got the biggest one (ham and eggs) behind the crosshairs of the Leupy. THen I dug out the Leica 1200 and got a reading of 415. Then the Slope doper was used to get a downhill reading of 7 degrees. After that, all the info went into the palm pc and Exbal said to come down 16 minutes or so. Then I checked the wind and it was blowing 7 miles per hour from 9:00. I turned in 1 minute right. Now all we had to do was wait for my buddies mom (Marie) to climb up to us. She is 63 years old and has a bad back so it took her 45 minutes to hike up the ridge that took us less than ten even carrying all the heavy equipment.
During this time we sat and watched the 3 biggest rams knock heads and play around. We were just poking our heads up over a rock on the skyline so we wouldn't spook the sharp eyed rams and this close distance. My buddy Brad started filming while my dad kept an eye on the big boy through the spotter. I kept the rangefinder out and continued updating the program and scope for the new ranges.
After 45 minutes and getting close to dark, Marie finally made it up to us. But about 30 seconds before she sat down by the rifle to shoot, Ham&eggs walked into a little ravine out of sight! The minutes were ticking away like seconds and still no sign of Ham&eggs. We knew he was right there not more than 20 feet from the other rams but we couldn't see him.
I turned my attention to the second biggest ram (Nerf) and asked Brad if I should get the gun set up for him. Brad said, "No, let's just wait for a minute."
I got the rifle set up on Nerf anyway just in case. BUt after a few minutes, he hopped into the same ravine as Ham and Eggs and was gone! Then I looked for the third biggest ram (un-named) and saw him go out of sight too! Damn! We went from "oh, this is going to be too easy" to "I wish we had not gotten skunked" in about 20 minutes!
Just as it was looking like we might as well pack up and head out while there was still some light to navigate by, I looked back down and saw Nerf and the smaller ram come back out and start ramming heads. They were in full view at 355 yards with about 3 minutes to shoot. I asked Brad again if we should shoot Nerf and he said that we should wait and come back in the morning and try for Ham&eggs. Then Marie said that her back was hurting her too bad to come back up the hill again and she wanted to just take Nerf. Brad said, "Ok, take him". That was all I needed to hear. I quickly did one last calculation, checked the setting, centered the crosshair on Nerf's chest and told Marie to pull the trigger right now! BOOM!
The 140 grain Berger zipped across the canyon right into the neck as Nerf was quartering towards us and looking down. He pulled up the landing gear and fell instantaneously onto his belly with his nose in the dirt! He never even wiggled. He was dead before he hit the ground.
We celebrated and high-fived Marie and congratulated her on her once-in-a-lifetime trophy.
Brad wanted to get his mother off the mountain and back to town asap and come back in the morning. But my dad and I couldn't stay one more day and we wanted to see the ram before we left so we talked Brad into letting us go find him in the dark and take pictures and haul as much meat out as possible that night. Brad said he could get it all out himself in the morning but asked us if we would go gut it and prop him up in a good photogenic pose before rigor set it. We agreed and grabbed our headlamps and headed off into the now dark as mud desert.
After about 45 minutes, we were down to the canyon floor and walking up the wash we thought
he was in! After about an hour of searching, we realized we were in the wrong ravine! We moved north a few hundred yards and finally found the trophy laying nose down in the dirt. WHat a PIG! He was huge! I estimated him at about 163" which would make him the biggest ram to come out of Utah this year!
After a long photo session and quick gutting, we headed home.
Brad went in the next morning at 7:00 and had Nerf out by 10:00. Marie was at a loss for words.
Brad found my bullet under the skin on the far side of the neck. He estimated it at about 60 grains before he lost it on the way out. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] He said there was no lead left in the jacket, and it only penetrated about 7". SOme bits of lead went on into the far shoulder blade but were not enough to break it. He told me Berger bullet did much more damage and performed much better at 803 than it did at 355 yards. I knew this was probably going to be the case so I aimed for the far shoulder/neck shot instead of going for the close shoulder.
Anyway, here are a few pics of the official largest ram taken in Utah this year. Brad later scored him at 166" Utah style. He would probably only go 160" Boone and Crocket because of the broken tip on the left side.
ANother pic of my old man and Nerf:
Here is a pic to show the 35" long right side:
Thanks again Brad and Marie for letting us tag along on this special hunt. It was an absolute slice of heaven. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
Merry Christmas everyone!