By McKenzie Sims
In 2015 I had planned to try and finish my North American Grand slam in 2017 with Prophet Muskwa and after two long years of waiting it was finally time for my stone sheep hunt. Fresh out of the Caucasus Mountains of Azerbaijan I boarded my flight to Vancouver Island and after the normal airport routine and a few other flights i was in ( last place I landed on a bigger plane ), Where I was met by Sean Olmstead who would be flying me to the main lodge for lunch. After lunch Sean flew me to the landing strip where my guide Marty would be waiting with the horses. The horse ride would take 4 hours to get into Spike Camp. Upon arriving at our Camp, I expected there to be a few small tents but instead there were several little cabins with a nice set of corrals and a small shed. Our wrangler Ethan, a young man from the north island of New Zealand was ready to unsaddle our horse and pack our gear away. It was almost dark, so I hurried to get my cabin organized before I wouldn't have a lot of light to see. The cabins were nice, but there was no electricity or even a generator that could have been packed into this remote area. After a nice dinner I hit the hay because I was quite wore out from all the traveling, and needed to be well rested for my first day of hunting.
The First morning we woke up just as it was getting light. When your hunting sheep there is no reason to get up before daylight because sheep don’t often get down into the thick cover, they stay up high in the wide open country where they can see. It was a smokey morning from all the fires that BC was having and we knew visibility would be tough. Marty had talked on his sat phone the night before to Sean who said Marty’s son Mat would be bringing his hunter in to our camp tomorrow. They had been hunting for 12 days and had yet to see even a ram. This had me a bit nervous seeing that one client hadn't seen a ram and my 1x1 hunt just turned in to a 2x2 hunt. Anyhow knowing what we knew we decided to head for a short ride up onto a bench where we could hopefully see the country we wanted to glass. 45 minutes later we where in position to look, unfortunately the smoke was so thick we had a hard time glassing. After 3 hours all we saw were a couple of bull elk, so we decided to head back to camp for lunch and wait for Matt. After lunch Matt and Glen Landrus rolled in to camp, I’d never met Glen but we had been friends on Facebook for some time and within 30 minutes I knew I already liked him. We didn't go out that afternoon due to the smoke and our new guest having some tired horse but that gave us all plenty of time to get to know one another and settle in. Glen had already finished his grand slam but was looking for a ram of a special caliber to maybe push him into that 700 club. All he needed was a 165” stone to be in the 700 club.
The second morning Glen and Mat went up the mountain while Marty and I stayed low to wrap around and glass up towards them. We unfortunately only located a few small rams on the opposite range. Glen and Marty's boy had seen several rams but nothing significant either. My third day was much similar very few sheep where spotted in the morning but just before dark Marty, Glen and I glassed a group of rams off in the far distance across the canyon on a new mountain range. Two of the rams looked to have serious potential, so we made a plan to make our move first thing in the morning.
The next morning arrived, we knew it would be a long ride so we woke up a bit earlier to saddle horses and eat breakfast. Just after sunrise we started to leave camp, but before we could even leave my wrangler Ethan had a small rodeo on his horse. His horse took him through the trees scattering his gear all over and then finally falling down sending Ethan air born. After Ethan regained himself and caught back up with the group we proceeded our journey up the canyon to the range the Rams called home. Just before 11 A.M. we reached the mountain, and after a short while of glassing we picked two groups of sheep up close to the top. We then began to walk up the mountain to try and get a closer look, after an hour of hiking and stalking we got into position on the sheep and could see a for sure shooter ram. It was Glen's 16th day so he was up first, we worked in closer and closed the distance to around a 100 yards. Glen was able to fire a few good shots into his ram before it dropped into a crevice out of sight.
The sheep had not moved far so Marty began to look through the first group to see if he could find a legal shooter ram for me, but the first group was a bust. The second group was small and farther away but after some time studying Marty confirmed that there was a shooter. I got behind my gunwerks 7mm, dialed my turret to 400 yards and squeezed the trigger, the shot was good but the ram moved about 1o yards up the hill and stood perfectly still so I quickly reracked another round in my chamber and fired again dropping my slam ram in his tracks. The entire group erupted with high fives and cheers at getting a double on two big beautiful stone sheep. After recovering the rams, taking lots of photos, quartering and caping, we headed back to camp to enjoy a good hot dinner and a well deserved goodnights rest.
This was a 8 day adventure where I got to meet some really cool people, experience new places and make new friends along the way. It was a tip that I will soon not forget.
With the harvesting of this stone sheep, I completed my quest for the North American Grand Slam and became slammer #1986.