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Mike Price - Yukon Hunt

THE YUKON                                                                                                                             By Michael Price

 

WHAT A TRIP---WHAT A HOOT---AND A DALL, A WOLVERINE, AND BIG TROUT TOO.

The trip started about 2 years ago with Mike Rex asking John Lazaar and I if we were up for a Dall Sheep hunt….And with a yes, and a check in the mail, we were booked for a Dall Sheep hunt with Ruby Range Outfitters out of Whitehorse, Yukon Province, Canada, for August 1, 2015, their opening of the season first hunt. 

Then Alain Smith said “My Dall Sheep hunt was the toughest hunt I have ever been on”…and then Mike Carpinto said “to be in Sheep shape you need to be able to do 3000 up only steps in the Kent high school football stadium stands.”   So after waiting until less than 6 months prior to departure, Mike and I each started to try to get in condition. On our first attempt at the 3000 up steps in the stadium, we managed to do 300, prior to near death experiences and wondered WHAT DID WE SIGN UP FOR ???  But then the training got serious, with the gym included for me and hiking on Cougar mountain for Mike and after a lot of pain and sweat we were both able to knock out the 3000 plus. But both wishing we had started training earlier

John had a desire to drive the AlCan hwy, and I said sounds like fun, so we packed camping gear, fishing gear, hunting gear and expectations in his truck and headed North on Monday 7/27/15, 4 days after my 76th BD.  The border crossing was a breeze, helped by having our paperwork ready..(If you take Bear Spray, make sure it is labeled as “Bear Spray”, otherwise it will be confiscated, and have no pistol related items.)

The trip up was enhanced by the exchange rate of $1.27 Canadian for each US $, and was scenery loaded with road side sighting of Deer, Elk, Coyote, Moose, (and two cow Moose  fighting), Woods Bison, Stone Sheep, Black Bear and in one area hundreds of Rabbits.

On the day before the 10 day hunted started, I boarded a Beaver float plane for a 45 minute flight N.W. out of Whitehorse, skimming the tops of ridges, some with Sheep, and fantastic scenery in every direction, but nothing flat. Base camp was a group of lake front cabins that had been visited by a Grizzly Bear during the winter and the repair team had been busy replacing walls.

The 1st  day of the hunt, my guide headed for, of course, one of the taller mountains around and after riding the horses for two hours, we tested my conditioning by climbing miles up toward where God lives.  We saw lots of Caribou, but the only sheep were so far away they looked like dots in the 10 power bino’s.  On the way down I saw a Wolverine trying to dig out Marmots, so feeling sorry for the Marmots; as the Wolverine ran off, he ran into a 7mm copper solid.

The 2nd  day we saw Dall Ewes  high up, during the 5 hour ride North with our pack train to spike camp cabins that upon first view it was apparent the guide and I had work to do, as a Grizzly had been very busy and what he had not destroyed the rodents had discovered.

The 3rd day took us by horse to the base of the tallest mtn. around, and after humping up and up we glassed large areas and looked over the edges of a lot of “to close to the edge” cliffs.  Sheep were spotted, of course back down and up and over to another valley, but it was decided by the guide after getting there and stalking for 3 hours in creek bottoms to stay out of sight, nothing big enough.

 

The 4th day took us up a different direction, again, up a mountain so steep the horses ran out of steam, so we humped up and spotted Sheep, miles across a huge boulder field and after a long stalk including crawling and a lot of waiting to move when the sheep were over the cliff side, we passed at 50yds.

 

The 5th day- Success; after riding, climbing etc and mid day looking with 60 power at a big Ram that looked good, who was on top of an at least 4 hour climb up scree……..I thankfully suggested we look in a side valley that we had seen some Sheep go into two days ago—so we did, and found a group of 6 rams.  After we waited for a couple of hours hidden in a rock pile, the group came down from over a 1000 yds., and after missing the first shot due a very bad set up and to my jerking the trigger on a new rifle, I was able to whack him with a 358 yd poke.

 

The 6th day, packed up, rode back to base camp, where John Lazaar was waiting, Mike Rex having flown out early due to personal issues.

The remaining 4 days were spent fishing, etc with so many big trout and grayling caught that it became blasé.

 

I would not hesitate to 100% recommend Ruby Range Outfitters, Please call me with questions.

 

The drive home in rain, with Sheep in the truck was still fun, but it seemed a lot longer than the trip up.