September 16, 2013
Sheep Hunting Alaska's Chugach Range
A Local Alaskan Woman goes BIG on her First Dall Sheep Hunt Story from Hannah Kahahawai My 2013 Alaskan Dall Sheep hunt started in late 2012 when my husband, Chuck, told me he was going to be putting me in for the Alaska lottery draw permits, specifically sheep permits! I said to him 'What am I getting myself into? I don't have the gear to go on a sheep hunt?' along with many other 'what-ifs' that popped into my brain. I knew he had a passion for these hunts because he likes to be in the mountains, and figured a husband/wife trip would be fun! Chuck told me not to worry because he only puts me and the kids in for the lowest percentage draw hunts and that we would most likely never get drawn anyways. Well, long story short, I still recall the morning of the 15th of February at 5:00 a.m. when he excitedly ran into the bedroom, woke me up, and told me that 'We drew some tags!' He said we had drawn a couple caribou tags and one sheep tag. I asked him who drew the sheep tag? He said that I drew the sheep tag! I was immediately met with a bit of anxiety as I thought 'I don't know the first thing about sheep hunting!!!' Preparations for our upcoming hunt began almost immediately. We started with outfitting myself with gear...lots of gear! Everything from trekking poles, to appropriate hiking boots, to a new backcountry backpack, and all the other necessities that must accompany a sheep hunter as they venture into the Alaskan wilderness. Gear prep was followed with physical conditioning. There's almost no better way to prep for a mountain hunt than to spend time in the mountains. Chuck and I began hiking on average at least twice a week, getting our minds and bodies both used to what we would encounter while chasing sheep at elevation. Shooting the rifle was also a very important aspect of our sheep hunt preparations. What good is it if you do all the work and don't ensure you make an ethical harvest on your animal? You could find us at the range almost every weekend until I was dialed in at 200 and 300 yards with a tight group to Chuck’s satisfaction. During the summer, we ventured into the area that my tag allowed me to hunt and we did see some rams. Chuck was always taking notes of sheep movement and doing some patterning. I wasn't really quite sure what he was doing at the time. Anyways, on the day the State Fair opened, Chuck was supposed to go with us, but instead went on another scouting mission into the hunt area and spotted two rams. He knew they were good rams and made note of where they were. Two days later, we set out on the trail with our packs loaded and spirits soaring! Chuck had planned to hike in 11.2 miles as the crow flies, so I knew it was going to be a hard one, especially when he said we had to "bust through" some brush. The previous week of torrential rains didn't help any,as the trail was very wet and muddy. We made it to the base of the backside of the mountain by nightfall, and set up camp. I took one look at the mountain we had to climb up and over and thought to myself, 'there’s no way!!!' It was steep and very high. I lamented, it will take all day to climb it even if we tried! Being determined, Chuck had us gaining elevation at first light the next day. About 3/4 of the way up the mountain Chuck told me to hold tight, he dropped his pack while I sat on side of the mountain. Grabbing the spotting scope, along with his binoculars he headed up and seemed to be gone for over an hour. Unable to see him, I got a bit worried. He had no way to defend himself, since he left the rifle with me. I finally saw him coming over the ridge from the opposite side he had started. We made eye contact and he gave me the thumbs up, just then I knew the hunt was on! Sheep ribs on the grill!
Good job,,Congratulations on a dandy ram!!
Jim Tilly April 17, 2021