USA: Rockin-G-Ranch Three Ram Hunt

Ridgewalker

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Texas Dall, Corsican, and Merino Ram Hunt at the Rockin-G-Ranch


After talking to Gizmo (Erik) I decided to buy the special he was running on AH. He needed to get rid of these 3 rams in order to bring in some Mouflon ewes and didn’t want jealousy going on between his Mouflon rams and these. Another opportunity for me and my grand babe!


We had already been to the Rockin-G-Ranch in November 2018 for the granddaughter’s first big game hunt where she took 2 doe mule deer and a hen turkey and had an absolute blast! Justin, her guide, made it a great first big game hunting trip! She didn’t want to leave until I promised we would return ASAP. If you haven’t read it, the report is on AH.


After returning home from the granddaughter’s hunt, I reviewed the calendar, texted our best possible dates to Erik and as usual he bent over backwards to make the dates work.


Having no idea what these sheep looked like, during the granddaughter’s hunt, Justin pointed out the Merino ram, but we couldn’t locate either of the others. We found a couple of other sheep, red deer, aoudad and a couple of Catalina goats, but that was it. Only pictures on the internet gave me a clue, but they varied in colors a lot!


Watching the winter weather is always a good idea in Colorado before a road trip. And wouldn’t you know it a storm was coming in just as we were suppose to leave! Luckily it fizzled out before getting to the plains. The trip was thus uneventful! I like it!


We arrived pretty worn out from driving for over 9 1/2 hours and 600 miles. I say “we” were worn out, but the granddaughter was “ready to rumble!”


Erik had some pickled okra (I assume for martinis) in the refrigerator we tried. Now we’re going to have to get some for home. Grand babe loved them! I use to only have them in my dry martini, but I guess we will get them for salty snacks now.

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Somebody is excited about being here!


Not sure, but I’m thinking her first big game hunt created a hunting addict! She is assuming she gets to shoot all the game. We’ll see!


She hasn’t gotten to shoot her new Christmas Tikka T3x in 7mm-08, with a Leupold VXII 3-9x, but a half dozen rounds, so we need to test it more in the morning. So far, she loves it! I have yet to find some good loads for it. I was convinced the 7mm-08 would perform better on game up to elk and Africa PG than the 6.5 Creedmoor. If I thought she could handle a 308 or 30-06, I would have stepped up to one of them. I believe bigger is always better depending on the bullet used and the game shot.


The load I have her using consists of a 120 grain Barnes TTSX. I am starting her out with such a light bullet to help prevent too much recoil and bad habits of jerking the trigger due to fear of recoil. The bench work our first morning at the Rockin-G-Ranch seems to be proving it works for her.


Off to find the rams! Hard day with lots of walking and several failed stalks. Great practice for her! She is still very slow at getting on the sticks, finding the game in the scope and taking the shot. Her comfort zone is 100 yards or less because that is what we practiced. I hope to find a longer range where we can move the distance out, but I haven’t as of yet.


Late afternoon on the first day, we saw them moving along the north fence toward the ravine. We took off in the SxS to try to cut them off. Jumping out of the SxS and a fast walk toward where Erik thought we would find them. Sure enough there they were. We were fairly well hidden, but they seemed to know something was up. They were all staring in our direction and milling around with some mouflon getting in the way, or directly behind the target animal.


Ranging them at 151 yards Erik set up the bipod. She was on the bipod, but was having trouble holding it steady. Her confidence was slipping away. We shortened the legs and made her sit hoping to increase the stability. Meantime the milling and mixing was worsening. Her confidence began to settle in and she squeezed the trigger. BAM! The merino ram collapsed to the ground and the others ran around. Congratulating her on the excellent shot suddenly the ram was back up and they were all moving over the side of the ridge! Oh no! What happened? Was it a bad shot?


We took off in a panic! Moving as quickly as possible to the edge of the ridge we saw the others heading up the other side! Then the merino appeared going around the corner of the road below us. I took a quick “Hale Mary” shot. We took off down the side of the ridge. A few spots of blood showed, but not much. We had seen a big patch of red on the ram’s shoulder and one leg was not working, so we new it had been a good hit. Grand babe was worrying again thinking she had made a bad shot! Erik kept trying to be encouraging having seen the big red spot on the ram’s side. The wool soaks up the blood so not much sign.


We tried to track it, but lost the blood trail. Grand babe and Erik walked along the east side of the ravine while I crossed it and worked the west side. Maybe two hours went by from the time of the shot. We had pretty much given up and gotten back together. As we started walking back down the trail, Erik stopped. He pointed not 5 steps from where we had passed a couple of times already. There was the ram! We had passed the same spot, but had been looking west instead of toward the mountain. Merino ram down!


We winched it up to the road. I couldn’t help Erik load this pig, so we went back and got the Kawasaki Mule that had a winch over the top to pick it up.

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Erik and my wonderful granddaughter!

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Granddaughter looking on a bit apprehensive as he prepares the Merino ram.

The next morning we awakened to snow covering everything! By the time we had breakfast, it was beginning to melt.

We took off after number two which ever turned up first, Texas Dall or Corsican sheep. As we drove into the high fenced area, we spotted the Dall along with two mouflon. The stalk was on. Unfortunately they spotted us before grand babe could pull the trigger and they disappeared to who knows where.

Walking back to the SxS Erik stops us in our tracks! There silhouetted is the Corsican at 150-175 yards! What a handsome critter! Erik sets the sticks and game on. Zooming in the scope to thread the bullet through the brush, she takes a long time, but the sheep doesn’t seem to recognize us. Boom the little 120 grain Barnes TTSX is sent! The Corsican lunges forward into the air! An obvious heart shot! Flop and he’s down for the count! What a handsome animal! A second shot from up close just because seals the handsome Corsican’s fate.
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One happy young lady with her second sheep down!

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Erik at work on the handsome Corsican ram while my granddaughter observes.

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We take a lunch break and the snows start again covering the ground, but not blowing.

Grand babe confides with me saying “Pappy, it’s your turn to hunt. After all, you paid for all this, so I think you need to get one.” What a caring and sharing young lady! So I made a deal if it was 100 yards or less it was hers, but if it was further, I’d take it.

Off we go looking for the final sheep! Erik believed they would be on the west end where there is a ridge they can escape over if danger shows. We head around the corner and sure enough there he is along with 2 mouflon and a dozen other animals mostly red deer bedded. Off the SxS and onto the sticks. Range 208 yards. We wait and wait and wait for the mouflon to clear from in front of the Dall. The red deer are getting nervous slowly getting up and moving off. Coyotes are howling west of us. The mouflon are refusing to clear. Time passes slowly. Erik moves around trying to get them to separate. No dice! The Dall knows to stay behind the mouflon. Smart old man Dall sheep.

I stay on the sticks, but have to move my legs and arms now and then to wake and warm them up. My old arthritic hands need warming. Snow gets on my eyes and I quickly clear it. I stay on the scope cranked to 6x so I still have a good field of view in case they shuffle around. Finally the mouflon steps clear! Crosshairs aligned. I start the trigger pull. Bam! I send the 165 Barnes TTSX at 3,100+ FPS. I don’t hear the hit, but only see the recoil lifting the rifle. Realigning the scope to see clearly, the old ram is down a few steps from where he had stood. Erik tells me to reload. Reloading done, I watch, but see no movement.

Erik comes over and congratulates me on the shot. I stay on the sticks a bit longer just in case the ram decides he’s not ready to give up, but it’s over. The grand babe gives me a hug! I thank her for letting me hunt too.
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The three rams, Corsican, Texas Dall and Merino, were complete. What a fun time hunting with my 12 year old granddaughter! I can only hope she has as fond of memories of it as I do!

On the last day, we tried to get her into some hogs by sitting in a blind morning and evening as well as a stalk on a group that were heading back to hide for the day that we couldn’t intercept. Unfortunately no luck. I did get to shoot a mange covered coyote moving across the far edge of the field shortly before dark at 185 yards. Looking straight into the sunset it was a tough shot, but a great end to another awesome Rockin-G-Ranch hunt!


Thanks Gizmo for a grand time again!
 
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gillettehunter

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Great job taking your granddaughter hunting again. I suspect she's in it for life. Congrats on a great hunt.
Bruce
 

gizmo

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Thank you Phil. I had a blast. I took a pic of the mangey yote. I’m sure he was glad you put him out of his misery.
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Congrats!

Always fun at the Rocking G!
 

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Well done!
 

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Good to see a family adventure.
Love the last photo.
 

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Well grandpa, this could be the start of something big. With her first hunt you set the hook, with this one she swallowed the bait. After Africa, you'll never get out of the house alone with a rifle. ;);)
 

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Nice animals and hunt. Memories for a lifetime. That first ram was big!
 

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Ridgewalker, please convey the following message to your granddaughter, telling her it is from a grandpa that has successfully recruited all of his grandsons but none of his granddaughters into the hunting fold. YOU ROCK GIRL!!
 

Ridgewalker

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Well grandpa, this could be the start of something big. With her first hunt you set the hook, with this one she swallowed the bait. After Africa, you'll never get out of the house alone with a rifle. ;);)
I can only hope you’re right Art! I would so enjoy having a family member like you have accompany me on hunts for 30 years! Not that I have nearly that many years left in me! I’ll settle for 20:D!
 

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What a lucky girl to be able to hunt with her Grandpa! Mine was not a hunter, but when I was young he would take me out into the pastures to shoot gophers...precious memories not 40-some years later and with him not with us anymore. Congrats to the both of you!!! And also to Erik for these great opportunities!
 

Ridgewalker

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Thanks everyone for reading my report! It makes my heart soar having a young one who loves hunting so much!

Ragman, you are 100% on how great it is that Erik has such opportunities for young kids and anyone starting out to hunt!
 

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Congrats on taking your grand daughter on a successful hunt!! Nice sheep. It's important to have success when young so you don't lose interest, I've seen that several times when hunting crowded public lands.
 

Ridgewalker

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Congrats on taking your grand daughter on a successful hunt!! Nice sheep. It's important to have success when young so you don't lose interest, I've seen that several times when hunting crowded public lands.
Jeff, I agree 100%. I’ve taken many adult guys hunting in Colorado and even if you get them into elk, they only have a brief instant to react and make the shot. Most never went again because it was too much work.
My next plan is for antelope probably in Wyoming. At least you get to see a lot of animals whether or not a shot is made.

On a side note, you live in a beautiful location in Salmon, ID!
 

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