Sheep Hunting Terrain Variation

hunt1up

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Ok, I'll see if I can convey my question without sounding like a wuss.

Some background: For some time now sheep hunting has been something I've wanted to do. Naturally the cost of these hunts has been the primary deterrant. But I'm at the point financially where I can responsibly justify it. I'm 37, in pretty decent shape but always working to get better. I've had 2 knee surgeries on my right knee but it's pretty solid now and I can bike and hike 99% as good as I did before. I've done a good number of DIY mountain hunts for elk and deer, I've done the DIY moose deal in Alaska, a nasty DIY Aoudad hunt in some lousy terrain. So I'm no a stranger to loose rocks, a long hike, or a heavy pack.

BUT: I'm SOMEWHAT afraid of heights in certain situations. It's is something that has developed as I've gotten older. I can sit 25' up in trees for deer with a harness, climb in the mountains all the time, go in tall buildings, roller coasters, etc. That's all fine. It's the sheer cliff stuff and steep where if you fall it isn't going to end well, that terrain can freak me out at times. It'll actually give me a pretty good bout of anxiety when I'm near steep, sheer edges.

So I guess my question is this: In choosing a region for Dall Sheep, which areas provide less or more extreme terrain? AK mountain ranges vary I know. And I'm sure there's great variation from AK to the Canadian hunts.

I'm not looking for some cushy hunt, but perhaps just a little less pucker factor if that makes sense. I suppose that's a question for each perspective outfitter. But I actually feel embarrassed asking such questions.

Feel free to laugh as you reply. :cool:
 

USMC-40

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I obviously cant speak to every location where sheep are present, but from what I have seen, if you can read a map, you can avoid cliffs and still have a fair chance at a sheep. Sheep are not goats in that they don't seem to hang out on cliff faces indefinitely, but if they feel pressure they will get into steep country quick.
 

cbeard64

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The Brooks Range would seem to fit your preferences in AK. If I ever hunt AK for sheep that is where I plan to go.

My hunts in the Yukon were not death-defying by any means. I think you would do fine there too.

Good luck!
 

AZ_Hunter_2000

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Feeling your testicles get sucked up into your upper abdomen when looking over is part of the allure. If that doesn't tickle your fancy, don't consider mountain goat hunting (goat hunting begins where sheep hunting ends).

Consider it a great opportunity to face some fears in gorgeous country. Hell, you may find something new to fear.
 

Ram94

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Check out the Outfitters in the NW territories. Older mountain range from my understanding and a fair bit more mild terrain. I haven’t hunted up there so take it for what it’s worth.
 

jhm2023

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As far as Alaska goes, the Brook's is considerably easier than other ranges. In my experience, sketchy terrain can sometimes be avoided within reason but expect such avoidances to limit your chances of success. After the shot may be where you find your trouble though. Some rams just won't go to a nice place to be shot and will fall into some pretty rough spots. This is especially humbling when making a descent with a now heavy pack and gravity is trying to get you down faster than you are comfortable with. Again, that can be avoided at the expenses of less opportunity. I'd sure hate to pass on a nice ram because of where he could fall or there is something sketchy between me and him.

One hunt, when climbing on a big old double broomed ram, I nearly got crushed in a fall with some rocks that fell. It shook me up pretty good and I made the decision to climb back down knowing I could have continued just fine by taking a different route up. I never saw that ram again and I regret that decision still almost 10 years later. It's all part of hunting in sheep country.

I feel like this Jack O'Connor quote is fitting for this discussion. "There is no half way. After his first exposure, a man is either a sheep hunter or he isn’t. He either falls under the spell of sheep hunting and sheep country or he won’t be caught dead on another sheep mountain."
 
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hunt1up

hunt1up

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Thanks guys for all the insight. I’m certainly not against getting outside my comfort zone. Type 2 fun sort of hunts have always been the once that stuck best in my memory. So maybe I’m just be a bit soft. I’ve made up my mind that I’m going. It’s just a matter of where and when.
 

schmalzy

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Thanks guys for all the insight. I’m certainly not against getting outside my comfort zone. Type 2 fun sort of hunts have always been the once that stuck best in my memory. So maybe I’m just be a bit soft. I’ve made up my mind that I’m going. It’s just a matter of where and when.

I’d have to echo some of the other guys. For me, Conquering the obstacle/fear/pressure is what makes sheep hunting so amazing. Excited for you that you’re committing to going.

I think Will Koehler at Wrangell Outfitters may have some hunts set up with horses that may not be quite as technical. I haven’t hunted with him but chatted with him quite a bit and really enjoyed the conversation.

That being said, my vote (which means nothing) is bet on yourself, get some more comfort and exposure to tougher terrain (sounds like you’re honestly set in that regard) and enjoy the ride!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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hunt1up

hunt1up

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I’d have to echo some of the other guys. For me, Conquering the obstacle/fear/pressure is what makes sheep hunting so amazing. Excited for you that you’re committing to going.

I think Will Koehler at Wrangell Outfitters may have some hunts set up with horses that may not be quite as technical. I haven’t hunted with him but chatted with him quite a bit and really enjoyed the conversation.

That being said, my vote (which means nothing) is bet on yourself, get some more comfort and exposure to tougher terrain (sounds like you’re honestly set in that regard) and enjoy the ride!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Thanks for the thoughts.

I’m sure I’m just overthinking it since it’s such a large expense and rare experience. I’m generally a fan of new and sometimes uncomfortable experiences and this should be no exception.
 

Blockcaver

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Check out the Outfitters in the NW territories. Older mountain range from my understanding and a fair bit more mild terrain. I haven’t hunted up there so take it for what it’s worth.
There is Dall sheep terrain in the Mackenzie Mts (NWT) that is as steep as any I've ever hunted in including CO, (Sangre de Cristos and Georgetown), NV, (Mormon Mts), Alaska Range and region 6 in Northern BC. There were sheep living in what I'd term goat country up tin the Mackenzies. My boots took the worst beating from rock cuts of any sheep hunt I've been on. I only hunted rams there once in couple different areas and had heard the terrain was "gentle" but my experience was the exact opposite.
 

cbeard64

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Based on your stated experience I believe you are overthinking the terrain deal.
I am a 58 year old Texas flat lander and have hunted sheep and mountain goats over a fair sized chunk of North America. Of course there have been a few challenging climbs, but you don’t have to be an expert mountain climber or anything close to it to be a successful sheep hunter.

That said, some ranges are certainly much tougher than others so it’s always a good idea to do your research and match the hunt to your preference/style/fitness level.
 

Doc Holliday

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You may want to look into these two outfitters in the NWT as they both use helicopters.



I met an older (early 70s?) hunter and his wife in Edmonton who were coming back from a sheep (for him) and moose (for her) hunt with Lancaster. They raved about their experience. Even though they get you relatively close with the helicopter, you still have to do some climbing. He said it was the one of the hardest climbs of his life and he has hunted in many places and countries.
 

Snyd

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Good boots and trekking poles can make the difference and be a confidence builder. Especially on steeper loose terrain. I prefer plastic boots. Some guys don't. Some guides recommend them.
 

adventure907

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I've had a number of hunters over the years that were afraid of heights. It usually doesn't go well. I've seen them break down and start crying, crawl on all 4's, quit, etc... I generally recommend that folks who are afraid of heights, think hard about booking a sheep hunt.

With that said, I hope you're able to conquer your fears and experience the grandeur that is mountain hunting. I as well don't like heights in the context of tall buildings, balconies, etc...but when it comes to the mountains, I relish the terrain and the challenge of peaking over that ledge and associated thousand something foot drop.

As to the area recommendations, along with the Brooks, there are some area's in the north Wrangells that are pretty easy going as well. Akin more to rolling hills than craggy peaks.

There is no better test of mental toughness than a true, arduous backpack hunt for sheep. It is the most pleasurable of pains. I wish you luck and hope you go and kill a beautiful ram!
 
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hunt1up

hunt1up

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I've had a number of hunters over the years that were afraid of heights. It usually doesn't go well. I've seen them break down and start crying, crawl on all 4's, quit, etc... I generally recommend that folks who are afraid of heights, think hard about booking a sheep hunt.

With that said, I hope you're able to conquer your fears and experience the grandeur that is mountain hunting. I as well don't like heights in the context of tall buildings, balconies, etc...but when it comes to the mountains, I relish the terrain and the challenge of peaking over that ledge and associated thousand something foot drop.

As to the area recommendations, along with the Brooks, there are some area's in the north Wrangells that are pretty easy going as well. Akin more to rolling hills than craggy peaks.

There is no better test of mental toughness than a true, arduous backpack hunt for sheep. It is the most pleasurable of pains. I wish you luck and hope you go and kill a beautiful ram!
I'm generally an overanalyzer in general and this is probably no exception. While I haven't been sheep hunting, I've been in several situations that didn't make me warm and fuzzy. A timberline sidehill elk packout where if you fell you're weren't going to stop for a while. Also, this year's DIY Aoudad trip was a real ball buster. FAR more rugged and steep than I expected. 8-10 mile days, plenty of loose rock, slipping, and sliding. We had to reposition one dead ram so he wouldn't roll down the mountain when we were quartering. Plus several other hunts with some suck built in.

Maybe I'm putting the sheep hunt on a pedestal due to the planning, rarity, and financial commitment.
 

TWHrunner

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There’s an easier way to figure out if you’d like it before you drop the big $$ on booking a hunt. Why not spend a week hiking in sheep country in one of the national parks in Alberta or BC or somewhere in Wyoming that hold sheep. You can “hunt” them with a camera and see if you don’t mind wandering in their footsteps firsthand. Maybe even go to Alaska for the same and go fishing on your way out or something. Sky’s the limit without having to commit to a hunt. It would be a great summer vacation either way.
 

tuffcity

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I've DIY'ed sheep hunts in BC and Yukon and Yukon terrain is generally easier... usually... lol That being said there can be ugly almost anywhere and sheep are where you find them.

This is the terrain my wife took her last ram in (YT). I think the topography is fairly indicative of alot of Yukon sheep country - at least for getting around ( although usually not in the willows. :)


Ju3WOcR.jpg


qEjQp0h.jpg


But then my daughter killed hers in stuff like this...

B4W5Txn.jpg


yprmyLP.jpg
 
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hunt1up

hunt1up

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Well I went to the Sheep Show and ended up booking a hunt. Heading to the Yukon in 2025. My choice wasn’t terrain dependent despite this thread. The outfitter checked a lot of boxes for me. It’ll be a horseback then hike type of hunt. Now I wish it wasn’t 2+ years away!
 

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