Marble Sheep success

JoeATCA

Member
Messages
18
As many hunters have experienced before me, I couldn't believe my luck when I drew a sheep tag. Having shoulder problems, and knowing I was hunting in a wilderness zone, I decided to book with an outfitter. I contacted Dry Creek Outfitters and arrived in camp on Friday, December 11. Meet up with Matt St. Martin and crew and had a fantastic steak dinner. Didn't get much sleep that night as the anticipation was brewing. I was worried about my shoulder surgery from 2019, and having delayed another surgery until Covid abates. Hiking around that rocky country was going to be rough and I didn't want to tear my shoulder up further If I stumbled.

Saturday morning came and we ventured out in the frigid cold (low 30s) to start glassing. I didn't know what to expect, but we literally parked on the side of the road and everybody got out the glass. At the Fish & Game orientation it was stated that the hunter had to have a spotting scope in possession, so I bought a Leupold 45x scope/tripod combo for this hunt. The Dry Creek crew was using their megabucks optics and starting seeing rams immediately. I couldn't spot the rams until they showed me where they were, and once I saw the white rump patches it was easier to locate them.

Outfitter Matt stated that there was a good, heavy mass, ram in a group and guide Casey and myself left the road on our first stalk. It was a long trek across the alluvial fans before we hit the mountain base and started climbing. I had to tell Casey (the youngest guide, mid - late 20s?) to slow his pace as this 61 year old couldn't hope to match his stride. We started up a long gradual ridge line and came across a bedded ram about 200 yards uphill from us. We sat tight to see what it would do because Casey was saying this is not the ram we were after. I was going nuts because they all look like trophies to my untrained eye. Eventually, as Casey was crouched behind a small boulder, and I was lying adjacent, spread eagle on the rocks with my rifle on the pack, the ram got up and started walking toward us. It was crazy as the ram got closer and closer with Casey hissing- don't move. Incredibly, the ram saw something and was looking right at us and we were frozen. The ram eventually kept coming and passed us quartering at about 20 yards distance. Casey got a video of it on his phone that he later shared and it was unreal how the ram wasn't spooked as it was early in the season and no shots were fired yet.

After that excitement we continued up the ridge and came to a saddle below us where the target ram was in a group of about eight. Casey called the distance as 320 yards, a bit long for me, but I took the shot as the ram step away from the others. I missed and attribute it the awkward angle and perching on rocks for balance. After I missed Casey said don't shoot, as the rams clustered together. No way I was going to try again with the non-lead bullets. They trotted off directly away from us and crossed the saddle. We enjoyed the view a bit and then called it a day and headed back to the truck. I was exhausted that night, more from the adrenaline rushes than the physical exertion.

Sunday morning was a repeat of the day before. Spotted a good ram bedded down, hike up to it. Again, we were approaching from below, and came to a small ~12' high rock cliff face. Wondering how to get around it without being spotted, my guide Brooks hurriedly told me there were three different rams in a small basin to our right that just stood up when they spotted us, and then starting moving away to our right. Brooks said the one on the right is a good one. This time I was again attempting to balance myself/rifle/pack on rocks to get a site alignment. Again I took a shot, ~200 yards slightly downhill, and missed. The rams reversed course at the shot and started moving to the left. The recoil of the first shot dislodged me from my position, and I struggled to keep my balance, not fall off the rocks, and get the rifle laid back on the pack. After an elapsed time of maybe 3-4 seconds (? seemed like forever) I steadied myself and took another shot. BINGO!

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I couldn't believe it when Brooks said good job - he's down. I was still trying not to fall off the rocks and steady myself, safe my rifle, when Brooks handed me his cell phone with Matt calling to congratulate me. My hands were literally still shaking as I took the phone, minutes after the shot, and I will never forget that feeling (I hope I never loose that feeling either - on every hunt!) Matt and Brooks laughed with me as I explained my emotions. I was now a sheep hunter - the North American holy grail.! When I eventually walked up to the ram I still couldn't calm down, it was just too much to absorb after all the years of hunting, and applying for tags, and then this dream come true. Matt and Casey eventually joined up with Brooks and myself, with pictures, relax for lunch and then pack out.

Summing up it was a hunt of a lifetime and I can absolutely recommend Dry Creek Outfitters. Hoping all my fellow hunters have good health and good luck in 2021.

Details and more pictures:

Gun- Rem Model 700
Cal - 7mm Weatherby
Bullet - 150 gr Barnes TTSX
Sight in dead on at 200 yards- believe misses were high a couple of inches. Probably due to awkward shooting positions and my eyeglasses not being in proper alignment with optics.

ADVISE FOR SHEEP/DESERT- practice shooting prone/awkward positions on rocks with rifle laid across pack (I didn't, I'll blame it on Covid like everything else)
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Horniac

Active Member
Messages
948
Beautiful ram congrats! I enjoyed your story and photos thanks for sharing.

What did the CDFW get for an age on him?

Horniac
 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,079
That’s awesome! Congratulations. Sounds like you had some fun. That feeling after downing a sweet trophy is pretty cool.
 

highsierra

Active Member
Messages
140
Curious about the DFW requirement that the hunter be in possession of a spotting scope that you mentioned. Never heard of that before. Does anyone else have any information on this? What’s the reasoning behind such a regulation? There isn’t an age requirement for the sheep to be taken in California is there?
 

BradA

Very Active Member
Messages
1,667
Curious about the DFW requirement that the hunter be in possession of a spotting scope that you mentioned. Never heard of that before. Does anyone else have any information on this? What’s the reasoning behind such a regulation? There isn’t an age requirement for the sheep to be taken in California is there?
Not a age requirement but length requirement and I think that is the reasoning behind having a spotter to confirm and verify that it is a legal ram.
 

CAelknuts

Moderator
Messages
3,650
Congratulations on a great sheep hunt and wonderful ram! I have to agree with you, Matt St. Martin and his entire ream are fantastic. I just returned home from my hunt with them and couldn’t be happier. I’ll wait a bit till posting about my hunt to give your sheep the attention it deserves.
Well done, Congratulations!
 

oilcan

Long Time Member
Messages
3,403
Congratulations on a great sheep hunt and wonderful ram! I have to agree with you, Matt St. Martin and his entire ream are fantastic. I just returned home from my hunt with them and couldn’t be happier. I’ll wait a bit till posting about my hunt to give your sheep the attention it deserves.
Well done, Congratulations!
Looking forward to hearing about it
 

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