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November 2019
Story by Mark Fox
State: Alaska
Species: Sheep - Dall

It all started back in 2016 when my good sheep hunting buddy, Greg James, gave me a subscription to the Huntin’ Fool Magazine. The following year, for the 2017 Membership Drive, I purchased a Platinum and a Gold package to make sure I got my name in for those once-in-a- lifetime hunt tickets. I decided I wanted to put all six of my Gold tickets towards the Alaska Dall sheep hunt and all six of the Platinum tickets towards the British Columbia Stone sheep hunt. Either hunt would be an amazing experience.

I hadn’t given the giveaway another thought until Friday, June 2, 2017 when I was mowing the lawn and my wife, Dianna, came out with the phone and said, “Huntin’ Fool is on the phone.” I figured it was a sales call wanting me to buy more tickets, but I still shut down the mower and grabbed the phone. The woman on the phone started talking about sheep hunting, but it took me a few seconds before I hesitantly mumbled, “Are you trying to tell me what I think you’re trying to tell me?” She said I was the winner of the Alaska Dall sheep hunt. I ran hooting and hollering to Dianna, shouting, “I won the Dall sheep hunt!” My hunt would be September 1-10 with Ron Lambert from Ron Lambert Guide Services in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The next year was full of preparation, finding out all the details of the hunt, and getting the gear I’d need for the best possible success on my upcoming hunt. With the help of my sheep hunting buddies, Vince and Greg James, I built a Tikka T3X .300 Win Mag rifle topped with a Leupold VX-6 scope with a turret. I started getting in sheep shape by hiking the hogback behind my house and walking on my Bowflex stair stepper. For insurance, I also had my doctor fill both my arthritic knees with cortisone shots. I felt that I did a pretty good job getting ready for this hunt-of-a-lifetime. I only hoped that my guide would think the same.

The day of my flight to Anchorage, Alaska finally came. I had a late flight and landed at midnight after several connecting flights. I was picked up by my guide’s brother, Tracey, and he brought me to their family home for the night. In the morning, it was rainy and wet as we flew out of Wright Flying Service and arrived at Lambert’s Wood River Glacier Sheep Camp in the Alaska range. I met my guide, Ron Lambert, his partner, Atlin Daugherty, and the horse wrangler, Harvey Anderson, at camp. The scenery that I had been set down into was breathtaking. The previous week, it had rained and snowed a lot and there was six inches of snow everywhere. We sighted in my gun on the runway, and it was still dead on. I was ready for the morning hunt.

This hunt would be off of horseback. Ron was on Regal, and I would be riding Prince. Prince and I took in the sights as we trekked over the next few days, glassing and finding smaller rams but not finding any shooters. The weather was in and out, and we saw nice caribou mixed in with the sheep. I will never forget Lambert glacier and how spectacular the scenery truly was, including the full curl ram we finally found high above it in the craggy areas on top of the mountain above the glacier. The question now was, how do we get to him? Just when the route was figured out, the weather came in. We could not see once the clouds came in. Reluctantly, we went back to camp to try again the next day. However, after a full day of glassing the next day, we came up empty. I didn’t lose hope, though, and was grateful that Ron had come up with another plan for the next day.

It was day five, and we had located my ram again in another drainage. This morning, we tied up the horses to glass the bowl we had left him and his two buddies in, and low and behold, we were able to find three more rams bedded with the other three. Excitedly, I told Ron there was a new, bigger ram with them. Ron knew the area well, and the stalk was on. The creek bed in between us and the rams proved to be a challenge as we crossed it 21 times.

We finally belly crawled up a steep, boggy slope out of the creek to see my ram above us 360 yards away. I got set up in the prone position, and Ron confirmed the ram was legal and that I should take him. It all seemed in slow motion as my breath slowed, my crosshairs lined up, and I squeezed off the shot. Thwack! That sound confirmed I had hammered him, except he now turned broadside the other way. I hit him again. After the second shot, I slid on the slope but couldn’t find my ram in my scope. At that point, I looked up and watched him go down.

This hunt was truly a hunt-of-a-lifetime thanks to Huntin’ Fool. Thank you so much for making this possible, and thanks again to Ron Lambert Guiding Services, my family, and the good Lord above! The camp accommodations were extremely comfortable, and the food was great. What an Alaskan experience!