I will be hunting in Bow Zone – 410. Frank picked me up at the airport today in Dease Lake. I Met Tommy Hoffman and Bob Speigle who will be hunting in the same camp with me. We’ll ride into Canmore today and do a little shooting with our bows. Tomorrow we’ll pack in. My good buddy, Warren Strickland, told me about this hunt and helped me line it up. Warren said this would be the toughest physically challenging hunt I’d ever be on. When someone like Warren tells you that you’d better listen. Hopefully I’m in good enough shape to make this hunt. Bob Speigle is 76 years old. He has harvested 31 NA animals with a rifle and he’s on his 23rd NA animal with a bow. He’s been to Canmore three times trying to harvest a sheep.
What an extreme day. Backpack weighs about 80 # and it was about a 10-mi hike into the Mts. where we were hunting. Once we got up and set up we decided to glass and see if we could find some rams. Right off the bat we spotted a big ram-the kind Tommy Hoffman and I have been looking for. Tom wanted to stalk the ram and I told him I’d set up just in case he “goofed up” and it came through. I tried to get ahead of the ram but it was following a ewe. There were four rams together. I climbed to the top of the Mt. and couldn’t get ahead of them. The plan was for me to get ahead of them and Tom would make the stalk. But I’ll tell you what?what a day?it was unbelievable?my legs felt like they were going to blow up on me. I have my own little tent and it has a stove in it so I can stay warm at night. This certainly is going to be an extreme hunt. Just the weather conditions alone, getting up into the Mts. and sweating and having to change clothes?it’s going to be quite a hunt!
It’s the second day of my hunt. Right off the bat at 5:00 o’clock this morning I can hear Tom Hoffman over in the other tent telling jokes and stories. I was hoping to get to sleep in a little longer than that. I’ll tell you what. I can really feel my legs today. We climbed to the top of the Mt., pulled out my 10×42 Swarovski’s and started glassing for sheep. When we got up there I had to change my clothes and get the clothes underneath off because of sweating. You start freezing up right away. But I’ll tell you what?when you get those clothes off up in the Mts. and change, it is cold. The wind is unbelievable?just trying to get out of the wind. We saw lots of sheep today but didn’t see any real big rams. So we just stayed in one area to see if the rams would start following the ewes and lambs. The rut is starting and that’s what I’m here for. The food was great. I also watched Tom Hoffman walk up over the top of the Mt. today. I’ll tell you what?that guy is one dedicated bowhunter. Unbelievable! He told me today that he almost got a shot on the big ram we saw yesterday. He was within 68 yards of him but didn’t feel comfortable with the shot. So passed it up. So hopefully we’ll get back on the big guy again. He is really a whopper!
Well it’s the third day of the hunt. It’s Sunday and there’s no hunting in Canmore area today. Sit around and do nothing. Let my legs relax. Talked to Tommy Hoffman and the guides. Tommy’s got lots of jokes and stories. He can make you laugh all day. He’s taken two super slams with his bow. He is probably the most generous bowhunter I’ve met. He is just as happy to see a friend of his harvest an animal as he is. He is a great guy to be with in camp and I’m sure I’ll learn a few things from him this week. If nothing else I know he’ll keep the stress off me because of the laughing.
Today is 4th day of the hunt. Saw two legal rams. Same area where Tommy followed the rams the other day. Tough area to get to?rocks and rockslides?going through the deep snow?and fighting the high winds. I’m trying to keep from sweating. On top of the Mt. we can see forever. When glassing for those two rams we saw another group with two rams fighting. They were standing on their hind legs and crashing their heads together just like you see on TV. We decided to stalk up on them and hopefully get the shot on the big guy. They didn’t see us but I missed the opportunity of a lifetime when everything went backwards. I stalked as close as I could get, but due to the high winds I was unable to release a good arrow and the rams left the area. Maybe I’ll get another chance tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.
Well I found out in camp tonight that there’s a change of plans. Jimmy and Angie Ryan are coming into camp tomorrow and I’m leaving with Frank Simpson to go to another area where he’s had a lot of success. Jimmy Ryan has completed the super slam with a bow and has lots of stories. Just really looking forward to sharing a camp with him and listening to his stories. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able to spend some time with these guys and get to know them better.
Well today I had the opportunity to meet Jim and Angie Ryan. Jim has quite a grip, like a bear. Angie is a very beautiful young lady. I talked to them only for a little while when I met them on the trail today with my 80# backpack on my back. I hooked up with Frank on the trail today. It’s just as tough going down the Mts. as it is going up. It’s tough on your knees. They let you know you’re alive. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Frank knows where there are a lot of sheep and hopefully we’ll get into a big ram.