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Doubling Down in Alaska

Doubling Down in Alaska

Posted by True Magnum Elite, Daniel on Mar 11th 2020

True Magnum Elite Members, Kross and Daniel, took advantage of a last minute cancellation hunt in Alaska just a few weeks ago. This was a dream hunt for the both of them and as you can see, the hunt didn't disappoint.

"At 3:30 in the morning we were all packed up and went out on the stalk. At that point, it was day 9, the last scheduled day of the hunt, and we had been up for about 24 hours. We hiked somewhere in the range of 80 miles the first 8 days without seeing a legal ram... that was about to change. We stuck to the dwarf willows and thicker brush of the river bed. We would stop every so often to check on the rams bedded in the bowl above and to pick the best-concealed path going forward. The last 1/2 mile of the river provided no cover, so we put our head down and walked as quickly as possible, hoping the sheep didn't spook at the dark figures below. We finally got out of eyesight and huddled together to rehearse the game plan. It was a still morning and our stalk up the base of the mountain was slow. We went painfully slow, from ridge to ridge coming up the main green face checking every few steps to make sure the sheep hadn't gotten to higher ground. Every twig that snapped or rock that jostled sent a shiver down our spines. We were getting close now, not quite sure where the sheep were but knowing that every foot of elevation gained could bring us into view of those wary eyes.

Finally, we reached the last gentle knob that would hopefully afford us a reasonable shot and belly crawled up slowly to the crest. Kross and his guide inched up until they could just see the sheep. My guide and I sat about 10 feet behind them to limit the silhouettes. I couldn't see the sheep and had to watch Kross and his guide's expressions and movements to gain any insight as to what was unfolding just a few feet away. Initially, we expected the shot to be near 500 yards but luckily the sheep had fed down the mountain and now we're only 250 yards away. Kross and his guide identified the big ram and took their time. Kross closed the bolt, took some deep breaths, and let his first shot fly upon his third exhale. Bang. We raced up to the top and tried to get our bearings. I immediately saw the sheep on the left had fallen. I quickly fixed my eyes on the remaining four rams that were moving slightly uphill from left to right closing the distance between us. Amazingly, after about 50 yards, the group stopped to try and figure out what had just happened. We located my ram and the split second it took to run the crosshairs over those spiraling horns sent a bolt of nervous energy screaming through my body. The nerves were steadied, and the courage summoned when finally, the ram tracked clear of the other three. I squeezed the trigger and... click. The shell was a dud. I calmly racked another shell in the chamber while the sheep turned and walked a few steps back down the mountain. Clear from the others, I centered the crosshairs on his shoulder and squeezed the trigger again. This time there was no dud. The bullet hit hard with the all too recognizable "whop" of a solid hit. The ram staggered a few steps down the mountain and after a follow-up shot slightly back in his midsection dropped like a load of bricks, sliding and rolling 15-20 feet until he was laid to rest for good on the side of that ancient rock mountain. A brief moment of silence was interrupted by an eruption of joyous shouts. It was 5:38 in the morning, roughly 2 hours after we first set out, and two Alaskan giants laid dead on the mountain. Hugs, laughter, and tears awoke the high alpine from its slumber. We had backstrap and Budweiser for breakfast. It was glorious. After all, those tough miles and cold nights spent scaling near vertical shale cliffs and trekking through soggy tundra grass, that morning spent on top of the world will go down as the most memorable and rewarding adventure of our lives. Next time the phone rings with an opportunity to go on a hunt you have always dreamed of, do yourself a favor. Say yes. " - Daniel M.