Ok guys and gals...sorry for the delayed response on part 2 of the scouting trip. It's been a crazy few days at home with the kiddos.
Well to get started, after being satisfied with my scout in the Gila, I decided to head to the Latir wilderness a day early to scout for Bighorn Ewes. I stayed the night in Albuquerque the night I left the Gila and then headed north the next morning. I took a quick pit stop in Sante Fe to check out Imperial Taxidermy and was very impressed with their shop. After a longer than I planned conversation with those guys, I continued up to Cabresto Lake.
After getting dressed for the trip as quick as I could, it was time to lock up the truck and head up the mountain! I was absolutely blown away by the scenery on the 4.5 mile hike to my camp location.
Basin I camped in...
After getting camp set up that first night, I decided to relax for the rest of the evening and just take in the scenery. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was up there. I'd never camped this high before but so far was feeling good. I still decided to go to bed early to make sure I got some good rest.
After waking up nice and early to have my oatmeal and much needed coffee, it was time to head up to the ridge for the first time!
Once on top, I started glassing the nearby peaks and cliffs without seeing a single sheep. I slowly worked my way up the ridges until I finally looked across a basin and BOOM, lots of sheep!
I was so relieved and excited to have found them the first morning! I decided to make a long hike to get close to just observe their behavior. My plan was just to shadow them for a few days and see where they fed, bed, moved, etc. so I could find them quickly on the opener in theory. Here are some pics from the area I hiked to get over to them...
I ended up shadowing this group of sheep while they took turns feeding and bedding back around the basin to near where I was when I first spotted them. It was then that I noticed some really nasty weather blowing in so I decided to head down early. I spent the afternoon reading and relaxing as it slowly got worse. Went to bed early that night hoping I wouldn't get blown over. It rained and blew really hard that night!
The next morning it was much cooler but I hiked up at first light and found the sheep very quickly! I watched them for about 2 hrs and then walked back down in order to meet a couple friends of mine who were going to meet me up there and hang out for a couple days.
Once they made it into camp, we got them set up and let them rest before heading back up the mountain. Unfortunately, weather threatened again and we were forced off the mountain to an early dinner and early bedtime. Didn't mind too much as we were quite tired.
The next morning we were up early and hiking before first light. We found the sheep very quickly and watched them all morning, at one point we were sitting still and a few walked no more than 30 yds from us on a trail that was below us. Even had a young ram (half-curl) walk right at us. He didn't see us until he was about 25 yds away and that was about all it took for him to decide it was time to get out of there. He and a young ram were across the canyon in just a couple mins. It was crazy seeing how fast they can move through some rugged country!
That evening we relaxed in camp and started packing up for our next morning hike out. I slept great that night feeling very confident about this hunt. I feel like all of my observing of the herds will be very helpful on opening day.
The next morning we got up at sun-up to pack the rest of camp and head down the mountain. The hike out was very enjoyable and then it was off to Taos for some great pizza before making the long drive back to Clovis.
Now that I'm back at home, it's time to re-pack for the hunt and try and pass the time until I head back out next week for game time!!