Saturday, February 26, 2011

Big Game on Sawtooth

This week has swiftly ran by like rushing waters of a white raging river, standing still, mezmorized by the quickness and speed of time. For the most part, I've been tending to minor things on the ranch, such as preping the ground for a garden, re-outfitting (still) the pipe house, and cleaning/clearing brush and so on. It's all a slow moving process out here on a ranch, best not to get too anxcious about things because a single man really has no power to slow or speed up the river.

Yesterday, Andy and I went out on an all day ordeal, to the West End, to help the ranch's game guide and his hunter find some bighorn sheep (aoudad) on a mountain called Sawtooth. They call it that because it consists of a long flowing peak of sharp, rocky terrain that looks much like a sawing tooth of an animal, such as that of a dog. These sheep like to stay in the rocky elevation and lookout over the land, grazing on grasses, berries, yuccas, and so on. As it goes, the guide was having trouble locating anything during the first two days of the three day hunt and moral seemed to be that of a potential failed campaign.
On the third day, Andy and I headed out and met them at the Jones and set out for Sawtooth. The first couple of hours we had no luck "glassing" the backside of the mountain in search of these animals. The term "glassing" refers to using binoculars to search the mountains for animals, game and so on. Finally, Andy expressed, "This mountain cannot be hunted from the road, it's too rugged and coarse. We'll never find them from here," he said.

With that, he and I packed up a bit of gear and began ascending the mountain. Within a half mile of my hike, taking point, I stirred a herd of about 14 sheep up from their sleeping position on the edge of a knob, but quickly they were up and over, out of sight. Andy was about a quarter mile behind me and within the next hour he spotted two of the large, male sheep on a peak across from us, a very long 650 - 750 yards away, mearly specs of dust on a mountain side.
Over the course of the rest of the afternoon we watched the two animals work their way closer toward us while the guide got his hunter into a good position. Finally, in the late of the afternoon, the hunter fired a single shot at a range of about 400 yards and brought down one of the beasts. It was a good, clean, patient shot. We made our way to the animal, dressed him out, and took him off the mountain. In the end, I guess we saved this guy's hunt, and up'd the adventure greatly, as at this point we were another 1500 ft above sea level and a good mile or two from the road in hard rugged country. He enjoyed a great hunt, and so did we. At best, the experience offered up a possible way to make money with cameras and video making equipment, personal game hunting memorabilia? We shall see what the future holds, big river.

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