10 Day Ram: Bowhunting Regal Rams (Part 2)
Posted on May 17, 2013
Day five of my hunt arrived, and I was again into sheep on a different mountain. I spotted 16 rams at 11:00 a.m., and the stalk was a long and slow one. I closed to within 50 yards of the bedded rams, and when the one I liked the most stood to stretch and looked away, I drew. He saw me, so they bolted to 75 yards away and stared me down for an hour.
Then, a group of seven young rams came off the top and joined up with the big boys. I sat and watched them interact for at least another 45 minutes. It was amazing to be that close and watch the big ram’s posture as the younger ones acted like teenagers trying to pick a fight. At 4:00 p.m. I blew them out and headed back down the mountain. It was a five-hour stalk that left me with only a hole in my rain pants and sore muscles, but I was still positive that I would taste success.
At dawn the next day I hiked a near-vertical death march up a drainage for 2,000 feet and got into several rams as I was sneaking around a rock pinnacle. They had me pegged, and off they went. I glassed into another drainage and found two rams butting heads. I circled the peak as they occasionally butted heads and closed the distance. At 70 yards, the exhaustion set in and a careless move cost me, as they saw me and spooked. It felt like getting kicked in the stomach, but like I said, at least I was sheep hunting.
That evening I spotted a lone ram on another mountain and the plan was to come back in the morning and see if he was still there. At first light, I found him in the same place and I gathered my gear and headed up the hill to hopefully wrap my tag around him. It had rained hard the night before and lying in the wet tundra above him at 78 yards with a heavy wind and no sun. I began to wonder if hypothermia was setting in. He finally got up and moved into some rocks where I closed the distance to 22 yards. I drew the bow and stood up slowly. Just as my sight pins were finding his flank he went from quartering away feeding to full out run in an instant and he was gone. You gotta love sheep hunting.
On day nine of my hunt, another friend came up to help out and we climbed another peak to a rocky bowl were we found three ewes and a whopper of a ram bedded by himself about 150 yards down from timberline. I circled the top and started in on him, hoping I wouldn’t bust the ewes. It worked and I was now 45 yards above him waiting for his next move. He got up and started to feed into an opening 50 yards below me. It was a steep angle but I was sure of the shot. His head went behind a tree and I came to full draw. I settled the 40-yard pin behind the shoulder and let the arrow go. It stuck into a tree halfway to the ram, and he wasted no time getting out of there.
Faced with climbing back up the mountain to get out of there, I felt like the pressure was off and the next one would turn out different. The next morning I slept in and was preparing to go back up onto the tops to camp and give the first area another try. As I started up the road, I thought I would check out some of the lower elevations and glass for some rams. Soon I found two rams in the timber feeding. I put a knife in one pocket and my rangefinder in another. Forty-five minutes later I was within 35 yards of the rams as they fed above me. I ranged the nearest opening and prepped for the shot.
The bigger of the two stepped into the opening when I came to full draw but the angle was bad as he was slightly quartering to me. I held the bow for what felt like eternity and finally let down. Somehow, they didn’t spook and the big ram moved over and started to paw a bed a mere 35 yards away! I knew if they bedded, I was done. Just then the second ram moved into the shooting lane and both of them looked up hill. I anchored and when I did they had me, but it was too late. The arrow was on the way and hit the crease behind his right shoulder. I knew my tag was filled.
As they ran off I could see the red spot behind his shoulder, and I rolled over onto my back and let the emotions flow over me. It had been 10 hard days of hunting and I was now tagged out. I followed a short blood trial to where my ram had slid down the hill. I went back to get my arrow, and found it stuck in a tree. Ironic, isn’t it?
The Colorado Division of Wildlife aged him at 8 1/2 years old, and the taxidermist judged him to be about 150 to 155 Pope & Young. I was happy to be done climbing the mountains, but I wasn’t ready to go home. I was on a poor-man’s sheep hunt in my own backyard, and got to see a lot of sheep and take a handsome ram. But, truthfully, the trophy was the experience.
By Warren Anderson Jr.