- Category: Hunting
- Published: Monday, 16 January 2023 19:15
- Written by Greg
Bighorn Sheep, Sheds and Fowl
This past fall/winter my boys and I were able to get out on a few fun late season hunts. One of those hunts happened to be an exciting excursion into Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep country. That’s because a good friend of ours held a coveted sheep tag and he invited the boys and me to tag along on the hunt. While I wasn’t able to join them for every day of their thirteen day excursion, I was there often enough to achieve the full sheep hunting experience.
Big ram spotted - watching the headbutt action Ran into chukars along the way
One of our hunting strategies was to split up and scout different canyons and then meet back up to compare notes on what we’d seen. After days and days of looking over different rams, we decided to go after one particular ram which was the biggest of any we’d found. We figured the target ram would hang out near a group of territorial ewes, so that’s where we planned to focus our attention.
Carson happy with a pair of big elk sheds Weekend haul while scouting for sheep
Our first stalk toward the objective ram ended up being a captivating experience. We were able to sneak close enough to the herd to where we could watch as two revered rams slammed their heads together in a show of dominance. When they did headbutt the audible thud echoed against the canyon ledges causing us to somewhat wince each time they met to clash, it was awesome! Once the fracas died down we tried to move slightly closer for a shot, but were quickly busted by the peering eyes of posted sentries within the bunch. To make matters worse, all the sheep made a quick getaway up and around the steep rocky slope without presenting a shot opportunity. In hindsight making a move toward the rams as they fought might have given us a better opportunity for a shot.
Find the ewes and rams will be close by A couple of decent rams
We spent the rest of that day searching for the big ram to no avail. It would take two more days of tireless scouting before we turned up the ram again. Once we did we patiently watched the ram through our optics until he bedded down just over a mile away. At that point we quickly made a game plan that all came together perfectly, no slipups this time, ram down!
Through spotting scope - ram bedded a mile away Successful stalk - Bighorn ram down
Next up was the waterfowl season which turned out to be pretty good. A couple of us had swan tags and we were able to get our birds even though the hunting pressure seemed to be extremely high. We even managed to get a few ducks during that hunt, but mostly had to pass on ducks since swans were usually visible somewhere in the sky so we took no chances at spooking them.
Decoys worked well for swans and ducks Back home with tundra swans
After that we focused our attention on ducks and geese and had reasonable success. There were definitely those days that were slow, slow, slow, but then there were days that were action packed.
A load of greenheads and a couple of geese Stacking up the Canadas
Another fun aspect from this past waterfowl season was that my grandson got his first-ever duck, a drake spoonbill! It’s always exciting and memorable to experience a hunter’s first time encounter with a new species.
In the back with first duck - drake spoonbill Added a snow goose to the Canada pile
The waterfowl season came to a close way too quickly. But on the bright side, the turkey hunt is only a few short months away. While the much needed snow continues to pile up outside, we are hunkered down inside making plans for the fast approaching spring turkey hunt!