Guys I just got booked with Castle Rock Outfitters out of Healy, Alaska for a Dall sheep hunt in the last 2 weeks of August. Can you guys tell me some things I will need for my hunt such as supplies and what not. Anything will help! Thanks, Chase
Location: Sagauache County, Co...3170 sq miles, not a single stop light!
give us a little more detail.....
is it horse-back or backpacking? prob a little of both. you normally cant get horses to where the sheep are. in my opinion the 2 most important things you will need are good quality binoculars, preferably 10 power, and well broke in, waterproof boots. there is lots of slide rock in sheep country and good ankle support is a must. other things to consider is good rain gear, bug dope, etc...oh and prob want a good accurate rifle...start getting in shape now....and doing some shooting...AJ
I assume this is your first sheep hunt and that's all it takes to get you hooked. After the hunt you'll start dreaming of your next and trying to figure a way to pay for your new addiction.
In my opinion you need top quality gear and no less.
1.Boots-well broken in and water-proof with good ankle support. Make sure they fit properly, boots can make or break a sheep hunt. A good boot is the Lowa sheep hunters or something similar. High quality socks are also equally important ; no cotton here. While on foot wear, before my AK Dall hunt I purchased a pair of Sourdough slippers from Bob Hodson of Barney's Sport Chalet in Anchorage,AK. These are actually extremely light weight hip waders easy to pack and perfect for creek/river crossing.
2.Backpack-make sure you have one that fits you perfectly and will carry the items you will need to pack. A good idea is to take the pack you intend to carry on your sheep hunt and put say a sack of dog food in it and take it on say a 8-10 mile hike. Its better to discover any problems at home, rather than on your hunt. You can do this in conjunction with your conditioning program. It won't hurt to keep increasing the weight in your pack as your conditioning program progresses.
3.Rainwear-buy the best you can find. Most likely you will see rain at some point during your hunt. Top quality and packable is what to look for in rainwear.
4. Optics-a good pair of bino's 10x50 will work fine. I actually took my Minox 10x58's which my guide said made him tired, but I can't say they ever bothered me. They are attached to the shoulder type bino straps which are very comfortable. I actually ended up standing my bino's on end to use for a rifle rest when I shot my ram. The only thing I didn't take, that I wish I had on my Dall hunt was my light weight Nikon 16x47 spotting scope, but you have to draw a line somewhere on the amount of gear you carry.
5. Rifle-pretty simple here really. Sheep are not tough animals to kill. Any good accurate rifle that will take a deer will work fine on sheep. Probably more important here is knowing how to compensate for uphill/downhill shots.
6.Conditioning-there is no such thing as being in too-good-shape for sheep hunting. Run,hike with loaded pack,weight train, cardio machines such as stair steppers and the like will all help get you ready. I felt that I was 100% ready when I went on my Dall hunt, after day two I realized I should have been 110% ready.
7.First-Aid Kit- a good first-aid kit is a must you should also carry plenty of moleskin for blisters or to prevent blisters. The toughest part of my sheep hunt wasn't actually climbing the mountains. But the descent and the side hilling is rough on the feet, ankles and knees. Not to mention all of the ankle twisting rocks your trying to navigate while coming down the mountain.
8.Be Mentally tough-this might should have been #1 instead of #8. Try to stay as positive as possible. Sheep hunting is tough sometimes-- the weather is miserable, you might work on a stalk all day long on a ram only to have him disappear into thin air or you may go for days without seeing a legal ram while climbing every hill in sight. I made a bad step and torqued my left knee on day 3 of my hunt. I'll have to admit that I had to have a deep conversation with myself regarding what the hunt cost and how many days I busted my Butt to earn that $, I put the pain in the back of my mind and kept thinking about getting my ram and holding those beautiful horns. My plan worked.
I'm sure I probably forgot something important here, but these were just a few things that automatically came to mind. Hope you have a great hunt we will all be waiting for you to provide a full report upon your return.
Your guide should be in the best position to tell you what you'll need to bring. Good boots and socks a must. Some gloves to protect your hands from scrapes and cuts on the rocks. A good backpack, rain cover, and rain pants and jacket. Stocking cap for sleeping. A comfortable sleeping pad and bag that you can get some rest in during the night.
I'll disagree about the 10x50 binoculars. Too big and too much weight. You'll have a spotting scope. If your guide doesn't provide a spotting scope then find another guide. I take Swarovski 8x20 binoculars. Very compact and light. Convenient. The binoculars are used to help look for sheep and just pleasure viewing in general. A spotting scope to determine if they're legal rams or otherwise.
Again, your guide knows how much flying, horseback riding, backpacking, stream crossings, etc. to expect. Whether you'll be in a spike camp most of the hunt or in a larger more comfortable tent. He should be able to provide you with a list of essential gear.
I agree with getting in shape unless you're in your 20s and active. If your late 30s or older and you don't get in shape then you'll only handicap yourself on a sheep hunt.
Hope you get some decent weather. It can make all the difference in the world. Good luck to you and pester your guide for a list of essentials you're expected to provide.
Weatherby Mk V action, Lilja barrel, McMillan A5 stock, Nightforce 5.5-22x56 w/ NPR2 ret. It is chambered in 257 Weatherby and I push a 115gr Berger VLD at 3315 fps. I have been shooting it in competitions for about 2 years now. Say what you want but I have taken this rifle out to 1525 yards with first round hits(obviously in calm conditions) on a tractor weight that I shoot at. It is a tack driver. I have a Leica 1200 compact rangefinder. A pair of zeiss 8x30 and a pair of Swarovski 12x42 binos. I have 3 pair of really good boots that are all water proof and broken in. I usually wear under armor or 5.11 socks and they are excellent on keeping the feet dry.
Dont worry about me being in shape, I am 23 years old and a personal trainer by trade. I have a degree in exercise sports science at Sam Houston State University in Texas and do bodybuilding on the side. I got that aspect licked already.
Bob, that article was GOLD! I think that answered most of my questions. Thanks for all of your input everyone!
Sounds like you'll be in great physical shape and you're pretty well set for gear. When I was in my 20s I didn't have to worry about getting in shape. In my 50s, I absolutely do, and even then I don't work at it like I could 30 years ago.
I hunt Dall sheep every year. I used a Leica 1200 RF for a few years but upgraded to a Swarovski. You can range long distances in sheep mountains. Not only to take a shot, but to figure out how much closer you'll need to get to be in a position to shoot. My Leica would ocassionally range to 1000 yds - about the maximum. The Swarovski will usually range to 1500 yds and often farther under decent conditions. The Leica was sufficient for most of my needs but there were just the ocassional incidents where I needed a little more ranging ability.
As you can imagine, you can also shoot long distances in the mountains, including upslope and downslope shots. You ought to have a means of correcting for angled shots if you want to be prepared to take a long shot at an uphill or downslope angle. I develop a drop sheet for my rifle that covers angles from 10 degrees to 50 degrees. But don't be surprised if you end up stalking to within 250 yds of your sheep. Still I've been in situations where there was no way to approach sheep and have shot several from 500 to 850 yds away. Your guide probably won't be comfortable with these longer shots unless he's familiar with your capabilities.
Take the lighter and more compact binoculars. Use your rifle scope or a spotting scope to analyze the horns.
Take some chapstick and be safe. Breaking a leg or spraining a knee or ankle can ruin your hunt. You don't have to hurt yourself to get a nice ram.
Sheep hunting is the best. The wide open spaces and scenery, not fighting through the brush, and generally few mosquitos or insects up above treeline. If you're prepared, have a decent guide, and get some nice weather, there's no reason you shouldn't have a really enjoyable hunting adventure.