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John Lazzar

YUKON ADVENTURE

  After two years of planning and anticipation, my dream hunt was finally happening.  The stories of the Alaska Highway, the Yukon Territory, sheep hunting, bush planes, muskeg, wood bison; all things that have kept me awake at night for the last two years.

  The trip began with a 1600 mile drive through British Columbia along the Alaska Highway where Mike Price and I experienced some of the most amazing country and historical sites I’ve ever seen.  Our trip took us to remote campsites and seedy motels along the way.  All of which I just soaked in and thoroughly enjoyed. 

  If you want to fulfil the dream of driving the Alaska Highway, I would highly recommend it.  There are seemingly endless miles of sub-arctic forests, mountains and wildlife to be seen.

  When we arrived in Whitehorse, we rearranged our bags for the 5th or 6th time and settled in for a restless night of anticipation before the next and biggest leg of our adventure began.  In the morning we were met by Ross Elliot, the owner of Ruby Range Outfitters who walked us through the final bit of paperwork and gave us our licenses and tags.  We got our final bit of organization done and headed out.

  The trail ride into spike camp was perfect and the scenery didn’t disappoint.  We could see sheep on the mountain from the time we started riding.  We trailed in about twenty miles to a camp that was ready for our arrival with comfortable bunks and a wood stove.  My guide Dustin was as knowledgeable as anyone could ask for. His ability with the horses and running the outfit was top notch all the way……and experience, you ask?  How about 38 successful sheep hunts not to mention caribou, bison, moose, grizzly and wolf as well.  Pretty impressive resume for 24 years old!

  As a professional guide myself, I had never been on the paying end of a hunt, so it was new experience for me to see how another professional does it.  Let me tell you, I was taking a lot of mental notes as Ruby Range Outfitters is a first class act and I couldn’t recommend them enough.

  After four days of glassing, hiking, and preparing, I was finally able to connect with my Dall sheep of a lifetime. 20 minutes later, Mike Rex was able to harvest his incredible Dall within eyesight of me; an incredible double, which was a first for our guides as well. 

  After packing my sheep down to the horses and meeting with Mike (yes, hugs and high fives happened), we finally trailed into camp at 11:30 that night.  We unpacked the horses and settled in after a celebration dinner of chili-mac (a customary tradition).  It was still light at 12:30 when we went to bed.

  The rest of our stay in the bush was almost as epic as the first part.  We ate, drank and fished like kings in totally unspoiled waters that had not been fished since last year!!  Lake trout and grayling fishing was out of this world.  The average size trout was 23 inches and my biggest was 29 inches and nearly 12 pounds.

  As difficult as sheep hunting is, the hardest part of the trip for me was getting onto the float plane and bidding the Ruby Range goodbye.  Mark my words-one day I will return to those mountains and heal my soul once again. 

  If you are considering a trip to the Yukon, whether it’s hunting, fishing or just the adventure of it, please feel free to contact me.  I’d be happy to tell you more and point you in the right direction.  Who knows….maybe I’ll tag along as a tour guide?

John Lazzar

Director, Humanitarian Services

SCI Northwest Chapter