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2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt

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2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt
                  2018 Desert Bighorn sheep hunt
After 24 yrs I finally drew out on a Desert Bighorn sheep permit in the Zion Utah. Got out the first week to scout, the week of that big rain event that we had both up North and down South, where my sheep hunt was. Did some hiking up Water canyon a little North of Hillsdale that first morning. Saw something in the trees at the bottom but could not make out what it was, later that day I went into Maxwell canyon where I found some fresh tracks but overall I wasn't impressed with the area. Next I headed East toward Kanab but before I could get there a flash flood hit and put a stop to our travels until the worst of it past. The rain continued the rest of the day and night, so that pretty much limited us to staying on the main road but we got a feel for the area I wanted to hunt, Northwest of Kanab. The next day it was still raining but not as bad, so we ventured off road a little and got to look the area over a little more but it was way too wet to do anymore hiking or scouting until it cleared up, so we headed for home.
Two weeks later we made the trip down again, this time with my ATV. It was dry this time and I was able to cover the area I planned on hunting. Did a lot of off road driving, covering all the roads in the area between Coral Pink Sand Dunes to the South, up to Zion NP to the North. Never saw a sheep but found a lot of fresh tracks and was able to zero in on the area I planned on hunting on Opening day.
Opening day, Sept 15, 2018, we were where I wanted to be, the bottom of Bay Bill canyon but just as I came around the last corner on my ATV, there was a guy standing in the middle of the Wash with his spotting scope, recording a hunt for his friends that were already hiking up the mountain. We got off the ATV and talked to him for a while and found out they had been there for an hour before it even started getting light. He showed us the sheep his friends were stalking and after watching for a few minutes I decided to go over one canyon to the East and see what I could find there.
Once at the new location I started walking up a sandy side slope, then onto a rocky slope, I stepped on a rock, that I thought was solid and before I knew it I was sliding down the slope toward a 30ft drop off cliff. I slid 20 of 30 yd, stopping about 20ft from the drop off. That got the heart pumping fast, I stood up bloody and bruised, trying to decide what to do next, decided to call my wife on the 2 way radio. She of course said I should come down but I decided to continue my hike up, because of course it was opening day and I couldn't let something like nearly dying stop meCrazy. Hiked up to the top, seeing a ton of tracks but no sheep. After three hours and a lot of vertical feet hiked, I decided that was enough, so I headed down. Spent the rest of the day riding the ATV. The next morning I was pretty sore, so I got a late start and went into the Mesa above Bay Bill canyon, to take a look from above into the canyon I hunted the day before. Ran into another sheep hunter that was coming down from the same area I was going in to. We talked for a while and I found out they had spotted several sheep down in the canyon, one was a nice ram but it was a 900 yd shot and they were not willing to take such a long shot on the second day of the hunt, so they passed. I could not find the sheep they were talking about but it was just too far anyway, considering we would have had to make a 3 mile hike up the canyon from the bottom just to get to the spot. Next day, we hiked up the canyon where I wanted to hunt on opening day and I got to the spot where the guys from the first day had hiked up to but again, no sheep. I found out later that those guys had hiked up there and were ready to shoot the ram but it slipped away and they never got a shot. On the way out, I ran into the guy that I had talked to the second day, he had spent the morning in an area called Poverty flats, it's an 11 mile ATV ride to the bottom of this canyon along the Virgin river, that was where I planned on hunting the next day. Got down into that area the following day and found fresh sheep tracks over that guys ATV tracks from the day before but I saw no sheep. Still sore from my first day hunting, I figured I'd had enough and needed to go home and regroup.
Second week of my sheep hunting, after getting back down to Southern Utah, we got up early the next morning and drove down this ATV road, that runs beside the Virgin river, we made it almost to the end, when I looked up at this 100 ft high cliff, overlooking the river and there stood my ram. I got out put a few rounds in my rifle, walked back a few feet and the ram was still standing there looking straight down at us. I was shaking, with no rest for the gun, shooting up at a 45 to 50 degree angle and missed the first shot at 100 yds, the ram ran away but stopped at 150 yds giving me a broadside shot and I connected. The ram fell over and I thought he was down but he got up and ran back toward me. I got another round in the chamber but he disappeared into the trees and brush. I got my back pack on, with all the gear I needed to cut it up and cape it out and went to where I last saw it but found nothing but blood. That was very disappointing, as I knew at that point it wasn't dead but I started trailing it, finding a place where it tried to go up this rock face but fell and I knew if it was going uphill, it could not be a good hit. Right after I found the spot where it fell, I only found one more blood spot and that was it, I was sick to my stomach. I kept at it, going back farther and farther from the road. Finally, when all hope seemed lost and I was over a mile from where I first shot it, I looked down from the top of this cliff I was on and there lay the ram, still alive at the bottom. Not wanting it to suffer any more and with a good solid down hill rest, I shot it where it lay. Look close at this pic and you can see the ram below.

It tried to get up but fell over dead. My hunt was finally over but the work had just started. I hiked down to the ram and after a few pics, I started a job I had never done, caping the full body of this sheep. Having never done this before it took me 3 hours to cape it, butcher it into quarters, put the meat into game bags and hang it in a tree. Finally, I put the head and cape on my back pack and started the walk back. I made it to the edge of the cliff where I shot it, then I had to climb down, it took an hour but I was finally back to my truck. We went into town to get some ice, to cool the head and cape down, then it was back to get the meat. Lucky for me I found a shorter way up to where I hung the meat and I was able to hike up to it and back down in an hour but by this time it was 86 degrees. We went back into town again to get more ice for the meat before we started the 5 hour drive home. It was a long day to say the least, I was glad the outcome turned out OK, just wish it had been a one shot kill. For anyone that has hunted a lot over the years, this has likely happened to them as well, if not you are very lucky. When I got up the following morning(Fri), I called the DWR to take the head in to have it plugged and to drop off the liver and nose swab samples, later that morning I took the head and cape to the taxidermist. I don't have time to post pics tonight but I'll get some up tomorrow.

EDIT: I wish the rest of the pics had turned out, especially the full body pics and video I took but it did not happen.Frown


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(This post was edited by wiperhunter2 on Oct 1, 2018, 12:55 PM)
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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Pics added above but here are some more of the area I was hunting.


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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Awesome write-up!

Congrats!

Tom
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Re: [wolfs4evr] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Thanks Tom.


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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Congrats Curt.


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Todd Hall
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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Way to go Curt. Looks like you were definately hunting the badlands. Great read by the way.







"Luck is when preparation meets opportunity"
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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Congrats Curt, sounds like you had a great time,
O.C.F.D.
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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
"just wish it had been a one shot kill. For anyone that has hunted a lot over the year, this has had this happened to them, if not you are very lucky."

Yes, I have been there, done that. It sounds like you did a perfect job of following up and finding him. Congrats, he's a good one. At my age I'll never get one so it's nice to enjoy your hunt vicariously.

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Re: [catchinon] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Thanks everyone for your kind comments.
Catchinon- I talked to two people while on this hunt that told me of friends or relatives that drew this hunt on their first try, so it is possible to draw out in less time than it took me. Then if you are able to spend 7K or so on a guided hunt, you could get a nice ram, much better than mine. I called up one guide and they told me they could put me on a nice one, if I could hike back in two and one half miles to a base camp. I told him I was going to try it on my own but might call him the last week, if I wasn't successful.


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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Way to go Curt!!! Nice job.... I've been waiting for my elk and moose about as long as it took you to get your sheep and I can't draw for anything... Sure glad i got the lifetime license so I can at least get a deer tag... congrats and Later J
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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Congratulations on getting a fine ram. That was a great read. Way to stick with it and recover him. That sure is some beautiful country.
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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Congratulations on a fantastic hunt. They are an amazing animal and live in the most awesome country.
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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Congratulations! Hunt of a life time!
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Re: [MMDon] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Thanks guys, it was just as you all described, beautiful country, they are an amazing animal and without a doubt it was the Hunt of a lifetime.
Skunkedagain-I just hope you get a chance to get your animal, if you can wait long enough, I'm sure it will happen.


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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Congrats on the ram
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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Congrats Curt. Nice write up.
Rod P
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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Just came across this post. Awesome!!!!!! Great hunt. Congrats for following up the shot and congrats on a fine ram and a successful once in a lifetime hunt.
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Re: [fish_fear_me2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Thanks guys.
Brent- there were times I did not think it was going to happen, especially after that first week. Then self doubt crept in after I lost the blood trail, glad I kept at it and did not give up. I made a few prayers too, along the way, and feel blessed that those prayers were answered in the end.


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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Great story,Great Ram.
Congrats Curt! Not an easy hunt but that animal is well worth the effort.

fnfCool

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Re: [fishinfool] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Thanks Tony.


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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Congrats Curt, A beautiful trophy for sure.


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Re: [RILEYFISH] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Thanks Mark, I could not have been happier that's for sure.
I keep hearing from friends of friends that drew out on the Rocky Mountain goat permits in one or two years, their goats permits were up on the Ben Lomond peak, Willard basin. Have you heard of anyone drawing out on one of those permits?


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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Yes, but not sure about how many years


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Today is a gift, Tomorrow a dream!
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Re: [wiperhunter2] 2018 Desert Big horn sheep hunt In reply to
Here are a few pics of my sheep after it was mounted.


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