by Randy Johnson, Hunting Consultant at WTA
July 24, 2016
I would like to wish a couple of close friends the very best of luck on their Stone Sheep Hunts that they will be leaving for this week! I won’t mention names, but they both know who they are. One, is an outstanding WY sheep guide. The other, a passionate hunter, horseman, and outdoorsman. Both have dreamed of this day and unique opportunity their entire lives. I understand better than most the kind of pressure that is placed upon our shoulders when we “bite the bullet” to book a Stone Sheep Hunt as they are extremely expensive and challenging. For most people it will be the only chance they ever get to “chase this dream” as they have saved and sacrificed for years in ways some people may find difficult to understand to fund such an endeavor. Yes, that does equate to pressure for when any of us hunt wild sheep we are definitely at the mercy of countless, intangible elements and unknowns that we have little or no control over such as; weather, outfitters/guides, terrain, rivers, injury, rules, regulations, the unpredictability of rams and TIME itself!
I personally recall so vividly my Stone Sheep hunt, a turnback hunt that I booked at the last minute where I only had a month to prepare before leaving! I knew it would be my only chance and that I would never be able to go on such a hunt again! Although I really didn’t have the money to spend I had to reach deep as my wife and young family supported me in the decision to pursue my dream. On my hunt we fought all kind of obstacles and we didn’t see a ram until the 9th day out on the mountain as TIME was running out. However, I hadn’t given up and after spotting a group of rams miles away in some cliffs it took us the entire day to cross a rugged valley covered with suffocating shintangle to reach a vantage point we had identified that was directly across a lake from where the rams had been. Peering through our binos we watched helplessly as the rams moved out of the cliffs and disappeared from sight. I remember my outfitter/guide saying, “we don’t have a chance of finding those rams before dark and that we would have to hike back out to base camp the next day.” I remember looking at him and saying, “I’m going after those rams now as this will be the only chance I ever get to take a Stone Sheep and you can either stay or come with me!” I believe he thought I was crazy because we were dead tired and the odds were stacked against us but he chose to go with me on an epic scramble/stalk where I shot my ram at 700 yards minutes before dark! That same guide still talks about that hunt today when I run into him at shows! I’m sure many of you have had similar hunts and situations. The point I’m trying to make here is that you should never give up. Don’t be hesitant in daring to challenge yourself to fulfill your dream whatever it may be. I know that my two friends will pursue the harvesting of their Stone Rams later this week with a relentless belief in themselves, even if they have to reach deeper than they ever dreamed possible to find the strength, determination and desire to finish the race that they started in their minds many years ago! GOOD LUCK GUYS!
Many of you may have heard of Tiburon Island as it is famous for producing some giant desert rams. If you don’t know much about it take a few minutes to research the island as its history is fascinating and it is indeed one of the rarest places on earth to hunt! I say this because of not only where it is located but how it is managed for tags. If you know of someone who has dreamed of hunting the island and has the financial means then please have them contact me as soon as possible as we want to lock in the best dates possible. Thanks.
I appreciate those of you who choose to share your stories and hunting pictures with us. I’m attaching a few personal photos this evening of animals that you may enjoy as you continue to dream of this hunting season.
Never forget the importance of stopping to appreciate the smallest details in life and to smell the roses! Since it is impossible for any of us to shift LIFE INTO REVERSE make it a point of emphasis on your personal journey to cherish your family and those you can count as true friends! Although we may be able to slow the sands of time down just a little there is no way we will ever completely stop those tiny granules from eventually sifting through our personal hour glasses in life. Remember, “record and appreciate the entire experience in your mind, in a journal, or through pictures, video, etc, as we only get one chance at a wide variety of circumstances/events in this world we live in. Stay safe and always keep your boots warm as each and every day presents a new mountain and adventure for us to explore in life!