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June 2020
Story by Kai Jahnsen
Hunters: Jim Doering
State: California
Species: Sheep - Desert

Jim Doering is an 80-year-old with a rebuilt hip, one rebuilt knee, and five titanium discs in his back along with other health issues. Even with all that, he’s a huntin’ stud. Jim had been putting in for the California Desert bighorn sheep hunt since the drawing started in the early 80s. When the 2019/2020 application season began, he put in for the drawing just like every year. This time, he got it! Jim called me up and told me that he had been drawn. He told me that he had booked his hunt with Dry Creek Outfitters and that he was able to take one person along on the hunt with him for free. Jim asked if I wanted to go with him to be that person. I was so excited to be able to share this once-in-a-lifetime hunt with him.

The day came to head to Primm, Nevada where we would be staying for a possible nine days in hopes of Jim finding and bagging a big ram. Once at our destination, Cliff St. Martin met up with us, got us settled in, and told us we’d be eating breakfast at 0500 hours. Cliff and his crew, Kirk, Jason, and Jason’s father, Doyle, were awesome!

It was the first day of hunting, and we had just finished our breakfast and were heading out. Cliff sent his guys in all different areas in hopes someone would spot a nice ram for Jim. Jim and I hopped in the truck with Cliff, and we were off. It was approximately 28 degrees outside, and the wind was coming from the southeast. We checked out a few areas but spotted nothing. Cliff wanted to check out one area where he had previously seen sheep.
Once at the spot, we all got out and started glassing the mountains. Within approximately four minutes, Cliff spotted some sheep. We went to where Cliff was, and he pointed out to us where they were on the mountainside. He told us there were two rams and one looked good. Jim and I located them and saw the one he was talking about. I liked what I saw. Jim looked through Cliff’s spotting scope at the bigger ram, and I asked Jim what he thought. He looked at me and said, “I’m just not seeing the Wow Factor.” Cliff and I just laughed. Cliff told Jim he thought it was one of the nicest rams he had seen this season. The more Jim looked at it, the more he liked it.
The rams were approximately 1,500 yards from where we were, and there was a saddle just to the west of them. If we could make it there, Cliff calculated that we would be within 300 yards. Cliff called his guys, and they came over to where we were to keep an eye on the rams. Meanwhile, Cliff, Jim, and I made our way up to the saddle.
We drove around the west side of the mountain and parked. We made our hike up the mountain, and once at the top in the saddle, the wind was perfect. Cliff ranged the ram, and he was only 250 yards out and bedded. Cliff positioned his pack on some rocks for Jim to shoot from. Once Jim saw the ram through the scope, there was no question. He turned and looked at me with a huge smile and said, “I’m going to shoot him.” Boom! Cliff looked at me and then looked through his spotting scope at the ram. Jim had just bagged himself a trophy.

The closer we got to the ram, the bigger he was. Jim couldn’t contain his excitement when he picked up the massive horns. It was like a kid on Christmas morning. Cliff then called the guys up, and Kirk, Jason, and Doyle hiked up to where we were and all four of them processed the ram with a quickness.

The ram scored 180 1/8" gross, which made it the largest ram taken this year in California. I was so very honored to be a part of the whole hunt, and I’m thankful to Jim for inviting me. A huge thanks to Dry Creek Outfitters, Cliff, Kirk, Jason, and Doyle for showing us an epic time.