Last August Luke and I plunged into the Alaskan wilderness with nothing but a pack of ramen and our determination. Five days later, despite rescue efforts being called off, Luke’s girlfriend moving on to a guy named Todd, and my own family replacing me with a beta fish, we walked out with a behemoth of a ram.
While our first Dall Sheep hunt may not have been that dramatic, we did harvest find success. Luck certainly played a part, but a few other factors also contributed. An early start, alpine experience and physical fitness each helped to tip the scales in our favor.
Alaska has many of the same risks as the lower 48 with greater consequence for mistakes. Volatile weather patterns, extreme terrain and dangerous predators make Alaska both an adventurist’s dream as well as a destination that demands respect. Plan accordingly. Remember survival gear, and keep an eye on the weather forecast.
We expected to look over dozens of sheep before locating a legal (full curl) ram. Opening day has the greatest number of rams available, and the number mostly decreases from there. By packing in on the 8th, two days before the season opened, we could maximize our chances of finding a trophy.
Alpine Experience + Hunting Expertice
Luke has climbed some of Alaska’s tallest mountains, while I have seen a few on TV. Luke’s experience was incredibly beneficial. Proper food and shelter played a much larger role than hunting strategy. By staying warm and dry, we were able to hunt harder and longer, which ultimately led to success.
Dall Sheep don’t blend in against green grass, and don’t seem to care. Though we did spook a few, stalking into rifle range was not a huge challenge. For more detailed information, Sheep Hunting in Alaska by Tony Russ will cover nearly everything you need to know.
Sheep live in tough country. From scaling mountains to traversing shale slides the hunt requires a certain level of fitness. Filling a tag may come down to glassing one more drainage before turning back. Remember to train cardio, strength and stability prior to the hunt. Check out our workout plans to develop an offseason approach.
I’d like to apologize to anyone wishing to hear secrets about Todd. We don’t really have any secrets from our hunt. A basic understanding of backpacking in the mountains and an able partner will carry you most of the way.
Hope to see you mountains,