First and foremost, I would like say that it was a pleasure hunting with Phil.
Truth be told, I couldn't have asked for a better hunting partner. Phil and I got along as if we hunted together for many years. We met on this forum, and a few days later we were off hunting. That's just a testament to the great members we have on here.
As the story goes.......
Phil and I departed Harrisburg, PA for our trip to the beautiful and unforgiving wilderness of Alaska. We changed planes in Chicago, then flew straight to Anchorage. We arrived at the Days Inn at about 10:00 pm, had a steak dinner, then settled in for some much needed sleep. Awake at 0400 to take the Alaska Direct bus from Anchorage to Northway. After stopping at every mom and pop store along the way, and nine hours later, we finally arrived at Northway. We bummed a ride to the airstrip, and was picked up by my good friend and Master Guide Terry Overly. He landed his 206 in Chisana, deep in the Wrangell Mountains.
The next day we completed the necessary paperwork and put some high dollar Sheep, Moose, and Grizzly tags in our pockets.
Off to the rifle range we went to do some more serious "paperwork". They had bullseye targets set at 150 yds, and 250 yds. And a cutout of a Dall Sheep at 300 yds. They wanted us to start at 150, then work our way to 250. Phil and I just looked at each other and said "how about we just start at 300 yds" Phil went first and put two shots out of his .338 Ultra Mag in .5", and I did the same with my .300 Ultra Mag. The guides looked a little bewlidered, and said "lets go find some game". I guess they're not used to the seriousness and precision of us long range guys.
Horses saddled, pack horses packed, and out to the bush we went. Rode about six hours, fifteen miles, and set up camp in the "Willows". Our plan was to hunt Sheep first, then Moose or Bear. The first morning we were hunting together with one guide, Jeff. All 6'7" of him. Phil made it perfectly clear that we were not going to set any speed records.
Since I already killed a nice Sheep from this area in '03, I told Phil the first legal ram was all his.
We looked at nearly fifty sheep the first day, but not a legal ram on the mountain.
We decided to give Bear hunting a try, so the day was spent glassing, glassing, and more glassing. No Bears.
Terry had flown Rick, another guide, into our camp while we were hunting. this gave us the flexibility of going one on one.
We all made the 2000 foot climb to sheep country, looked over a few borderline rams, then decided to split up for the evening. Jeff and I took off for another mountain, and Phil and Rick checked a few areas on the mountain we were on. Jeff and I could not find a legal ram so we headed back to the horses. When we got to the horses, Phil and Rick's horses were gone. We figured they were headed back to camp. When we got back to camp, they were not there. Just before dark, they rode in with a beautiful ram that Phil had taken a few hours before.
They found the legal ram bedded at 600 yds, and could not get any closer. Phil checked his drops chart, made a correction for angle, and sent a few 225 gr Accubonds on their way. All of which connected.
Result... one dead ram, one elated Phil, and one highly impressed guide.
That's all Rick talked about all night, oh well... we'll educate them one at a time.
Here's Phil's ram...
Phil and Rick decided to hunt for Moose the rest of the days, but could not find a legal bull.
Jeff and I were determined to locate legal ram and continued to climb for the next few days. No luck.
We turned to Bear hunting on day 7 just to give our bodies a break.
While glassing for bear, an adult black wolf happened by us at about 700 yards. Unfortunately he offered no shot. About two hours later, he made the fatal mistake of returning to the same area. Jeff saw him first and wispered to me as I quickly got into the prone position behind my rifle. I threw him the range finder and told him to range a spot I thought he was headed to. The furthest point in that spot was 468 and the closest was 383. I put clicks on for 400 yds and called it good. I soon found him in the NXS standing broadside as if he was waiting for the Fed 215 to get the party started. He took off after the shot, but i heard that ever so familiar thud. He only made it about 35 yds before he dozed into the base of a willow bush. Jeff estimated the weight around 100 lbs.
The last day Phil and Rick hunted Moose and Jeff and I went looking for Grizzly again. We had a bit of bad luck as one of the horses had a freak accident and broke her kneck. Fortunately, she died instantly. We had a late night as we had to take another horse to Rick and Phil, and then retrieve the saddle and other gear.
A few days later we were back at the base camp in Chisana packing for our trip home.
When we arrived back we found out that Mark Borman, a friend that I booked on this, hunt was fortunate to take this 165" BC ram. It measured 39 7/8". Needless to say he was extremely happy.
Nice laminated stock.....
After a myriad of airplane rides, truck rides, U Haul rides (don't ask), and more airplane rides, we finally arrived home. Gear, capes, horns, and hides all made it as well.
I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed the hunt.
And Phil... I promise to give you more that two days notice on the next hunt.
Phil conquers the first climb.
My 13lb Sheep rifle.