CANADA: Ruby Range Outfitters - Yukon

LivingTheDream

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First and foremost - All I can say is this hunt was just absolutely awesome! There is nothing I can complain about and it far exceeded my expectations. Just an amazing hunt with great people. To give everyone a heads up I got my sheep! But I would give them 6 out of 5 stars.

I also want to thank many of the members here. @375 Ruger Fan is the man! But I talked with many members here and they gave me a lot of advice and what to look for and who to talk to and how to prepare. It goes without saying this is why this site is special is the members here really do help other hunters.

But wanted to give everyone a full review of equipment and training since I know this is big for sheep hunters.

I started saving for a sheep hunt over 7 years ago, saving change and what not and buying I-bonds as part of my saving strategy. Taking any extra and saving it and slowly buying equipment along the way. It would be a pair of pants for Christmas or buying a new backpack here, but slowly getting all of the equipment. Not knowing the type of sheep hunt I would do, I was super weight focused and happy to report that when I weight my full pack minus ammo and gun I was at 22.5lbs, so I was ready.

Training Preparation - I started the stairmaster 2 years ago, I could barely go 30 minutes and get 150 flights in that time. The first time I did 60 minutes, I did 280 flights and thought I was the man. Overtime this got better and better, by the end of it I was doing 450 in 80 minutes and could hit 200 flights in 30 minutes. This help with stamina but lacked some of the core balancing muscles. I did a lot of planks for the core muscles (look up "bring Sally up planks" on Youtube and this is a great 3 to 4 minute core workout). Finally, I walked, I walked a lot, with my pack and about 60lbs total. I did 2 to 3 hours a week in a hilly spot, this pretty much got my muscles ready and by the end I could walk up and down for 3 hours and would not even be sore. I would say start this 4 to 5 months out. There was a some slight burnout on my part. On a side note and the to show the benefits of sheep shape, I was walking with my pack where there is waterfalls, and one day someone was doing a swimsuit photo shoot! That was awesome! Next trip, I will walk on rocks more with my pack, just to build balancing muscles and get some extra confidence. I think my guide was part goat because he could fly in the rocks, I did alright once I lost the pack but I didn't have the balance in the rocks.

Lowa Hunter GTX - Awesome Boots - A little tough to break in, but you can feel them grip. I haven't feel once while wearing them, and they give awesome ankle support. For mountain hunting, they were great.

Kuiu Ultralight 6000 pack - Weighs about 3.5 lbs and can handle some weight. The buckle system can be a little frustrating at times but they expand and collapse for almost any situation and get handle some weight. Can add different pockets and features. The rifle system they use to carry your rifle is ok, if you get it locked in right it is nice, but you have to get it perfect.

Sitka layers - Great stuff and held up great. Was able to easily layer, morning were about 30 and afternoons about 80, being able to layer was a lifesaver and never felt cold and never got too sweaty.

Kuiu Guide Jacket - A little bulky but was great for riding horses.

Must haves - Camp shoes, camp pants, and T-shirt. Also buy compression shorts, those things are great for hiking. Trust me on this - buy compression shorts, I wish I had them on my elephant hunt.

Ok so now that is out of the way onto the hunt!

IMG_20170803_200651425_HDR.jpg
 
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LivingTheDream

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So I arrived in Whitehorse, it took 3 flights and I made it. But due to some guy who bought a ticket for his Cello, and he had to get it properly anchored we were delayed 45 minutes from Toronto to Vancouver, I made my flight to Whitehorse, by gun and luggage did not. My gun would make the next flight, and my luggage the one after that, Air Canada did a good job and delivered it right to the Gold Rush Inn, since I have taken 2 previous international hunting trips and my gun has failed to arrive the same flight as me, I allowed an extra day in Whitehorse just for this to happen. So I was not to worried. Everyone at the Gold Rush Inn was wonderful, they do a great job.

Travel Day - July 31st

We get to Alpine Aviation to get our float plane, we take off around 8 am and this was my first time in the float plane. What a cool experience. The other guys going to camp were great and I enjoyed talking with them. They were older than me, but could tell they were ready. We talked about how this is a dream and different hunts, just good guys and I was happy to be traveling with them. We landed at base camp! Where I meet the outfitter Ross Elliot (who is just a stand up guy) and all of the other guides, I was going to be going with Dustin, Ross's son who has guided these mountains for over 10 years and has over 40 successful sheep hunts under his belt. The rest of the day was pretty casual, unpacking and getting settled in. I did get some fishing in and just decided to throw a spinner from the shore, caught 1/2 dozen lake trout and 2 artic grayling. I was restless and was ready to go sheep hunting. I did a little glassing as well but mostly drank coffee and fished. We had beautiful weather and it was great to relax and joke. We all went to bed early as we knew tomorrow was going to be a big day.

I will try to get some pictures in here but having trouble getting to load.
 

LivingTheDream

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Day 1 - Morning - I rode a horse named Shotgun

So we wake up, have an egg and potato scrambler and start to do final packing. I was going to ride a horse named shotgun and we had a 6 hour ride into spike camp. We packed the horses and since I apparently was packing lite, and much to the happiness of the wrangler we had room for Candy! Man can those horses can carry some weight. I haven't rode a horse in 10 years but the horses were well behaved and did a great job, the first 3 hours I was so excited and it was just cool to ride a horse across that big country. Handled some river crossings and we were moving a long pretty good. I loved Shotgun and he was a great horse, seemed like me and him got a long well. Totally we had 7 horses, 3 ridings and 4 packing gear. I was ready for mountain house meals but since we had horses and watching them pack I knew the meals were going to be much better. There is so many little details here that I can't really do justice, we got to our first stopping point and we look on the side of the mountain and there are 15 sheep, all ewes and lambs but what a good sign. We weren't even really looking, a quick lunch and we were riding again. We get to some real good looking sheep country, green but with real narly rocks and drops, and a little intimidating. Not like the nice rolling stuff we had been looking at but I knew this was sheep country. We get to where we are going to spike camp, and set up tents and what not and decide to do some glassing. Before we could a caribou ran through camp, a little cow but not 30 yards away, pretty cool. We start glassing and Dustin goes there is a Ram, and he has some buddies with him. Overall there was a 11 rams in a Basin 3 miles away, too far to do a stalk today, but looked like there were 3 we should look over. I was pumped! What a great start! Seeing sheep already! We were making a plan for tomorrow but thought we should talk it over dinner.
 

LivingTheDream

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Day 1 - Evening - The Decision

We are starting to cook and I go to get something from my tent, I look on this ridge and go man that looks like an animal head what a weird shaped rock. About that time the rock turned sideways and it was obvious this was a good ram. We all run around and get binoculars. We stare at it and it stares at us, there are 2 rams 500 yards away. It looks ok, but we can't get a good look at the head. It finally starts to move and we think for sure it is going to go away, we debate about a stalk but he immediately pops up and is getting closer to camp. At 400 yards we get a good look, one horn is busted and the other is legal full curl, about 34 inches. He is about 8 years old. We decide to pass and we just watch it. I do put the scope on it just to get familiar, never took the tape off the barrel of chambered a round. Just wanted to get a feel for what a legal sheep looked like in my scope. We joked if he came within 300 yards we might have to take him.

Well an hour of him hanging around he is now at 300 yards...I am starting to get antsy, we have a legal ram at 300 yards, I have the perfect rest due to the tundra. We start debating again. No we are going to pass, he is going to walk over that cliff and be gone, don't worry he won't hang around.

Well he hung around, we did a full 180 degrees around us between 300 and 370 yards that took over 90 minutes. It was awesome watching him but to have a legal ram so close, the dream is right there, it is Day 1! You shouldn't pass on Day 1 what you would shoot on Day 10. Dustin goes good things come to those that wait. I go except old ladies they die with 70 cats! We laugh and decide this is not the one, no matter how close it gets. He reminds me of the sheep 3 miles away, and that is our focus. The Ram beds in the rocks at 650 yards.

It was a tough decision but turned out to the right one. But it was so close, I slept well but had dreams of sheep!!
 

cpr0312

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Awesome, look forward to more of the report!
 

cagkt3

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Very cool....I probably would've shot!
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Great report so far! Hope you get where you can upload some photos.
 

gillettehunter

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Wow what a cool experience to start off your hunt. Sounds like you were really prepared physically. I am excited to read the rest of the report. Bruce
 

LivingTheDream

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Moved to the phone and see if I have better results loading photos.

Float plane
IMG_20170731_073813670_HDR.jpg


My Lodge at base camp
IMG_20170804_153947203.jpg


Will have to transfer some from my camera.
 
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LivingTheDream

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Ok onto Day 2 - The Stalk

We wake up and sure enough my boy is still bedded at 600 yards. Dustin starts to cook breakfast and asks if I want eggs, I say Eggs are for guys who kill sheep, so we had Bacon and pancakes (yeah not a bad alternative). As that is going on I look in the mountains and say there is sheep, and get the binoculars...a group of 20 ewes and lambs had climb in the basin with us and were all within 400 and 700 yards spread out feeding and playing. It was cool to sit there and watch them. We locate the rams from last night and they are in a good spot to make a stalk. We load up the horses and take off, down the valley and circle around and start to work our way up. We got about halfway up before we tied off the horses, now it was time to climb, we went up and up and up. The plan was to get up top and work our way around in the rocks to them. So 1000 to 1500 feet of elevation later we are close to the top. It wasn't too bad, I'm slow in the rocks, but we got 50 paces or so and stop. The elevation worked on me some as a guy who lives at sea level. Basically, you breath heavy while you walk and as soon as you stop within 3 breaths you were good to go. Just had to pace myself but that is the key. This climb did take a little while but once on top we ate a sandwich and grab some water from a spring. I love spring water, I don't think there is anything better.

We are slowing snaking our way through the rocks, finally we can start to see the Basin, we can see the far side and rock walls around it...no sheep. Ok that is a good sign they might be right where we last saw them. I range it, 700 yards to the far side. Ok we continue to sneak, moving slowly, looking...we had the wind in our face, and thermals moving up. We are in a good place for this stalk. Ok stop look again, can see halfway in...no sheep, 450 yards. Ok so they are within 450, hope they are still there, could they have left? Little doubts but you have to trust the process, trust the stalk, they have no reason to leave. We keep going, slowly, judging every step and keeping close to the rocks. 35o now, no sheep. They are within 350 if they are here, that is damn close to my feel good range for shooting. Ok please still be here. Keep moving, not time to take the pack off yet, 300 no sheep...oh if they are here, they are within range, my heart is starting to beat a little faster. Could this be it. Dustin drops down and slowly glasses, turns to me and mouths 2 Rams, I range it not seeing the sheep but seeing the basin floor, 245...ok stay calm.

We creep a long and get to a nice set of rocks, we can see all of the sheep, there is a good legal one and a good broomed one. Range them 197 yards. OH MY GOD! We are right on top of them 197 yards away. Take pack off, take the tape of the rifle barrel, put a round in the chamber. Sneak to a good rock for a base. Get in position. They are bedded down, 196 yards. I'm in the prone position, laying at about 25 degree angle, feet above my head. But I have a solid base, I put my head down in my left arm, my right arm wrapped around the gun. Now I wait for them to stand up. I told myself don't get excited yet, it will be a long wait. Yeah about 2 minutes later, Dustin goes he is up. It makes it easy, the big boy is the only one standing up. I get on him and he is licking his side, those heavy horns blocking the front shoulder. He almost broadside, slight angling towards me. Very slight, I knew if I hit that front shoulder he is down. My heart is beating a 100 miles a minute, I am telling myself to calm down, I then realize my position so solid that even though my heart is beating the cross hairs aren't moving, they are rock solid on the shoulder. His head turns, breath and squeeze....bam! I reload and reacquire, all I see is a the Ram dead right there. Never took a step, just dropped. 7 years of saving, dreaming and planning, 2 years of training, thousand of miles travelled and I just did what I never thought I would do. I had my Ram!

All the rams stood up, and just looked around. They didn't run and started to feed some. This was the dominate guy and they didn't want to leave their leader. We were hugging and hand shaking in the mountain, I was tearing up some. We just watched them walk away after 30 minutes...they slowly walked to the next ridge and went back to being sheep.

The view after the shot
DSCF1627.JPG


What we crawled through
IMG_20170802_135704074.jpg


The most beautiful animal in the world
IMG_20170802_150748043.jpg


One more
DSCF1657.JPG
 
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LivingTheDream

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So we determine he is at least 38 inches on the long side, the other side being broomed, but great bases and we are just admiring it. Dustin starts to rub the hide and goes, huh, how about that. Moves to the saddle and starts looking it over and rubbing it. I finally go "what, something wrong?". He goes its a fannin, come look here, black and gray hairs, usually it is dirt, but about 5 to 10% are fannin, that's pretty cool. I am thinking you have to be kidding me. Both front legs gray, saddle gray, and back left hip and side, black hairs.
IMG_20170802_152559508_HDR.jpg

IMG_20170802_152626808.jpg

IMG_20170802_150902352_HDR.jpg


Still pretty light, but just a really cool animal.

Next the fun part of packing him out.

I got the head and horns :)

I could have walked forever with that load. Back the horses. It was about 5 oclock when we go to them. We looked and on the far ridge was the band of rams, still being sheep. There was much celebration at dinner. I joked tomorrow we have eggs for breakfast.
 
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Pheroze

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Awesome, very good. What a great experience.(y)(y)
 

LivingTheDream

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Day 3 - Back to camp. Pretty uneventful, we just road back to base camp. Great weather again, and it was a great ride. The horses knew they were headed home so we were pretty much at a trot. So cool. Get to camp and Dustin takes off and gets a tape measurer. He goes I know you don't care but I have to know. The long horn is 40. Are you kidding me! A 40 inch Ram! The broomed side 37. We green score him and I know there will be deduction but 163 green.

IMG_20170804_121014265_HDR.jpg


IMG_20170803_200651425_HDR.jpg


That is pretty much it, took a float plane home on Day 4! Right as we left the Sat phone beep, one of the other guys just killed a sheep. I am not sure how the other hunter is doing but hope to give an update.
 
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cagkt3

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Wow great stuff - sounds like a dream!!
 

billc

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wow you had one heck of a hunt. Great pictures and that is a pretty ram you took. Great job
 

LivingTheDream

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In conclusion

The whole thing was humbling. Most guys plan to hunt sheep once. Hardcore sheep hunters will go many times and pass on a bunch of sheep trying to get a 40 incher. I like to say it was due to my physical preparation, or pure determination, or patience that did it. But it was luck, pure dumb luck. I know I am very lucky and very blessed.

It was an honor to hunt should a cool area, to be around the sheep and to get to ride horses. I enjoyed every minute of it.

I was trying to compare it to hunting in Africa. Africa is like a drug it is addicting, you will do anything to go back, you are depressed afterwards, and constantly think about it. You have to go back! Sheep hunting is more like sex. You scared the first time going into it, to have the most fun - it is good to be in shape, you don't know when it is going to happen (due to the lottery hunts), and once you do it you are going to think about it a lot and try to figure out how to do it again.

I would highy recommend anyone thinking about doing a sheep hunt to think about Ruby Range. Ross the owner is great, down to earth and just a pleasure to talk to. All the guides were good and were fun to hang out with. The food was awesome! The horses are great, and it is just fun to be there.

I'm sure my story telling doesn't do the hunt justice but thanks everyone for their support on my lifetime dream hunt.
 

BRICKBURN

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Luck works for me.

That is a dandy ram and I never even needed to hear the 40 number.

Awesome Ram.
Congratulations.
 

Ryan

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Congratulations!. Heck of a ram. I did it once, hoping it happens again.
 

Travis2282

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Awesome hunt! Great ram! Congrats! Love reading a sheep hunt! What was the rifle scope combo you chose?
 

CEO

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What a trophy and experience. Sheep have been creeping into my mind as of late.
 

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