Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"Lucky 13"

Sherry's Ram
When it comes to drawing quality trophy hunts, my wife is definitely the breadwinner in our family. I have been submitting draw hunt applications for 20 years now, with no success. But whatever I put Sherry in for, she gets! We sent her application for California Big Horn Sheep on her birthday, the 13th, and she actually drew! Last year 190 applicants put in for 6 tags!

I called Idaho Fish and Game immediately to get harvest history on her unit. I was informed that sheep numbers were way down in Sherry's area and they were considering closing the unit in order to let the herd build itself back up. An area which normally held 200 sheep, now held only 25. They flew the area again and found a few more legal rams so decided to let the season open.

Knowing nothing about sheep hunting, I started making phone calls to everyone who was familiar with the elusive critters. We eventually hooked up with Cass and Betty Akins who both drew Sherry's area and harvested nice rams. Cass drew in '94 and saw 25 to 30 sheep on his scouting trips. He actually passed on several legal rams waiting for Mr. Big! Betty drew in '98 and saw about half the number but scored a nice six and a half year old ram.
We invested as much time as possible scouting the unit with disappointing results. No legal rams were found and lambs and ewes were scarce. With optimism, I blamed it on the heat, hoping the rams were in the cool shade of the canyons. I knew they would venture out as the weather cooled.

Sherry's Ram
Opening day found us on the edge of a historically successful canyon. We crawled to the edge and what do you think we saw? Two rams stood in a shadow looking right at us! I grabbed the laser range finder and zapped them at 450 meters. Too far for Sherry's 308. I told her to shed her daypack and we crawled forward to get closer. I no sooner said that than the rams spooked and were gone in about 2 seconds. I couldn't believe the eyesight of these guys! 450 meters and that was to close for them. We never saw another sheep in 7 days of hunting. We were disappointed and had serious reservations about finding a legal ram. On the drive home Sherry and I motivated each other and made plans to return.

We decided to take the 300 win mag next time. I didn't want to let another hard to come by ram escape because we were out gunned!

Due to work commitments, we couldn't hunt again for a couple of weeks. The weather was cooling down and spirits were high. Being an avid Elk hunter, I found it hard to sit in one spot for a couple of hours and glass rocks. The thought of a monster ram right around the next corner, always got me up and moving sooner than I should have. I didn't settle into the game until Sherry found a banana ram and a ewe right across the canyon from the position I just finished glassing! We spent 5 days in the area and saw sheep every day but no legal rams.

Having spent considerable time on the west side of the canyon, we decided to see what the east side had to offer. On the third and final trip, we found a way to access an area that looked very sheepish. We were on the rim as the sun peeked over the horizon. I was glassing the far side when something caught my eye on our side. I brought the Lieca 10X binoes up and couldn't believe what I saw. The same two rams we saw on opening day were bedded down 258 meters away, facing us! Sherry got into a prone position supported by a perfectly placed rock and my hat as a buffer. The rams didn't know we were there, so she had all the time in the world. The bigger of the two was facing us head on. I told her to wait for him to stand up in order to present a bigger target. After a while Sherry's back started cramping so I told her to take the shot. As I watched through the binoes, she let a 180 grain Nosler Partition bullet fly. When I herd that wonderful WHUMP sound I knew she hit him! The ram threw his head back and twitched his legs once, never getting out of his bed. The ram was six and a half years old and is a wonderful trophy.

I submitted Sherry's application on the 13th, we harvested on the 13th day of hunting, and the ram had 13-inch bases. Lucky 13 for us!

We really need to thank my mother in law, Janice Cassidy, for taking the time to baby-sit our two kids. And thanks to all the people who offered information, encourgement, and advice.

Written by Bob Mancuso

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

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