Originally posted in the Alberta Traditional Bowhunters Association forum.
I drew a non-trophy sheep tag this year. It was a long time coming as it took me 8 years to draw this time. (Used to be 4-5) I didn't have time to scout this year so I was hoping not much had changed since I hunted my area 8 years ago. I got a late start last Saturday and then stopped to visit friends in Nordegg. The WMU (Wildlife Management Unit) I was drawn in was about 12 km (7.5 miles) from the trailhead and so I decided to hike to a camp about 8 kms(5 miles) in. I got smart this year and pulled a game cart in the first 8 kms. Day 2 I hiked into my WMU and usually there are sheep as soon as I get to my unit. Not this time. I started down the long, steep decline to try to find sheep. After traveling 3-4 more kms (2-2.5 miles) and looking over a lot of fantastic sheep habitat I was getting a little discouraged. The sheep were usually here. I was also feeling a little tired and didn't think I wanted to haul a sheep out as far as I was in. I decided to make camp early and had picked out a nice spot earlier in the day. I was hiking back to that spot down an overgrown horse trail, when suddenly, I saw a ewe staring at me through the willows from about fifty yards. I quickly grabbed my bow and strung it. Going to the last place I saw the sheep I found a well used trail going to the creek below. I decided to set up here thinking the ewe would soon return to the shale slide above. Less than ten minutes later another ewe came down the trail. I let out a 'baa' to stop her on the horse trail and came to full draw. I ended up passing her up because I really didn't feel like packing her up the mountain. When I got to my camping spot I set up and started making supper. I could see the little shale slide across the small creek in front of camp. As I was having supper more and more sheep started to appear on the slope across the creek. For some reason I felt very exhausted that evening and shooting a sheep was not on the radar for me. I watched a herd of about a dozen sheep until dark. That night as I lay in bed I was thinking that maybe, if I shot a sheep early in the day, I would have time to make two trips to the top and it wouldn't seem as hard. I was sure that the little herd across the creek would still be there come morning. After a good, but cold night's sleep, I woke to find the sheep gone. Thinking that maybe I would be going home empty handed, I prepared breakfast and packed up for my hike back to the first camp.
While I was finishing my coffee I looked up and saw two sheep traversing the shale slide. I was feeling quite good that morning and so I grabbed my bow and went up the hill as quickly as my old legs could go, hoping to get in front of the sheep. The sheep spotted me and went up into the cliffs. I continued to try to get ahead of them, while staying underneath them, hoping they'd come back down. I played cat and mouse with them for the better part of 45 minutes being 30 and 20 yards from them a couple of times but never being presented a reasonable shot. They finally had enough and turned to go back the way they had come. I tucked my tail and went back to camp, grabbed my pack, and started the uphill hike. About 500 yards from camp I spotted a herd of 9 sheep. They were in the creek bottom, but were travelling away from me. I gave chase with my full pack on hoping that they would eventually slow down long enough for me to catch up. 400 yards later they finally held up long enough for me to get within 80 yards. I dropped my pack and strung my bow. They were back on the move and I dogged them for about 600 more yards. It is amazing to me how they can be just strolling along, feeding as they go, and I had a hard time keeping up. I was able to get within 30 yards a few times but the shot either didn't feel right, or the sheep that gave me a shot was a yearling ram, which isn't a legal sheep to kill. Finally the sheep were coming to a narrowing in the creek bottom where there was a good trail. If I could get to that trail first I may be able to get a shot. If they got there first I would give up the chase for now as I probably wouldn't be able to keep up in the steep terrain above. I hurried along the creek and as I peeked over the little rise to the trail, I was 25 yards from a slightly quartering away ewe. I came to full draw and she completely ignored me. My first shot hit her a bit low and slammed into her far shoulder. She only ran about 5 yards and was actually closer to me. When she stopped my second arrow was on it's way and took her through the heart. She ran about 30 yards and bedded down. Moments later she tried to stand up and went ass-over-tea kettle down the slope almost to the creek. I had my sheep and my first big game with my new bow! Now the work started. Butchering her with my Harold Dootson knife, I thought of Harold and wished that I could tell him of this hunt. I'm sure he would be happy to know that the knife he built was being put to good use. The pack was heavy but I was closer to the top of the mountain than when I started that morning and made decent time despite the weight. I stayed in my first camp that night and loaded everything on the cart for the trip out the next morning. I wasn't sure how the cart would work but it was great and saved a lot of work. Sheep are a lot of work but it's an adventure, the meat is excellent, and I will savour every bite!
The loaded cart. Posts: 530 | From: Stony Plain, Alberta | Registered: May 2008
| IP: Logged |
-------------------- Primitive archery gives yourself the maximum challenge while giving the animal the maximum chance to escape- G. Fred Asbell Posts: 1221 | From: New York | Registered: Apr 2014
| IP: Logged |