Close Search

The Year of Many Firsts

April 2021
Story by Kate Robison
State: Nevada
Species: Sheep - Desert

While the year 2020 will always be remembered for the Covid-19 virus, I will always remember the year for the awesome hunting experiences I was lucky enough to enjoy as a young hunter. Utah was first to release their results, and I drew a youth any bull elk tag and a youth deer tag, but May 20th would end up being a day I would not forget anytime soon. You see, during quarantine, I was finally able to sleep in a little bit because of all the changes with school, that is until my dad, Bill Robison, came busting into my room at 6:30 a.m. to see if I drew any tags in Nevada. Still half asleep, I checked my email and mumbled, “I drew a Desert bighorn sheep.” Instantly, I woke up as it registered what I just said. At the same time, my dad grabbed my phone, saying, “What?” He confirmed what I had read and said, “I’m 49 years old and have never hunted sheep, and somehow my 15-year-old daughter just drew a sheep tag.” Needless to say, we were both shocked and excited. I told my dad that night that I was going to start writing my story so I could be on the cover of Huntin’ Fool. He told me I better shoot a big ram then.

My dad had already reached out to Garth at Huntin’ Fool to get help finding an outfitter for my elk hunt. After a few conversations and phone calls, my dad and I decided to use Pine Valley Outfitters for my elk tag and hunt Cedar Mountain, and then we would hunt the extended season archery in New Harmony and the sheep in Nevada with our good family friend, Shad Leeder. September could not get here fast enough. My dad and I spent the months of June, July, and August getting ready for my hunts. Every weekend, we would practice shooting. My dad would tape different colored balloons to cardboard and set up targets at 300, 400, and 500 yards. He would then tell me a color and the distance, and I would find the target, adjust the yardage, and pop the balloon color he called out. During the week, I would practice shooting my bow in the backyard, eventually building up the strength to pull it back at 40 pounds. By the time September rolled around, I was confident and ready to start what would end up being the best four months of my young hunting career.

While this story is about my sheep hunt, I did harvest my first elk with Wade Hollerman and Kyler Carrizosa of Pine Valley Outfitters. It was a small 5x6 that I took with one shot at 550 yards. I also harvested my first deer with a bow in November, a 4x3 at 20 yards.

Finally, December 5th came and we woke up really early. My dad, my brother, Zach Robison, and I left early in the morning and picked up my grandpa, Bradd Robison, and my uncle, Bradd Robison, and off we went to the Nevada/California border where we met Shad and his three boys, Austin, Ridge, and Grady Leeder, and Shad’s friend, Willy, and his son, Ken. With a three-truck caravan, my sheep hunt had begun, and it was an all hands on deck feeling for me with all these people helping me find a

ram. The first two hours were spent doing a lot of glassing, but there were no sheep to be found, so we continued around the mountain, making our way toward the water guzzler. We drove up the other side of the mountain, parked the vehicles, and hiked up a little hill where we could see everywhere. It did not take long for Shad to pick out a ram 1,500 yards away back down from where we had just come from. After looking at him for a minute, it was decided that we needed to get a closer look at him. Back in the trucks and back down the canyon we went. We parked the trucks around the corner so we were out of sight and then Shad and his boys hiked up to try and locate the ram. They looked for a good 45 minutes but never could turn up the ram we had seen.

At this point, we decided to go ahead and head back toward the water source and see what we could find. About halfway up the road to the water, Shad stopped his truck and came back to my dad and pointed out a ewe on the mountain about 500 yards away. While he was showing all of us in our vehicle where the ewe was, a ram which was at the top of the mountain stood up and turned toward us and then laid back down, facing us. Everyone got out of their vehicles, and spotting scopes went up. Shad told my dad to get me all set up just in case this was a shooter. While we were getting set up and in a comfortable position, a lot of conversations were taking place between Shad, my uncle, Willy, and my dad. It seemed like forever before my dad came back from talking with Shad and told me we were going to shoot that ram as it was a big one. My dad would later tell me that Shad told him, “I know it is the only ram you have seen and it is the first day we have hunted, but she needs to shoot that ram.” The only question at this point was which way he would go when he got up.

After sitting there for an hour and a half, the ram got up and turned away from us. I thought for sure he was going to go the wrong way, but then he turned and started walking to the right and came down on our side of the mountain. He stopped to grab a bite to eat and was at 450 yards. My first shot hit him, but it was a little far back. He ran and stopped again, so I shot a second time and that was a complete miss. He ran again and stopped at 468 yards. I tried my best to calm my nerves, so I took a couple extra breaths before I sent my third shot. This shot hit him in the lungs and put him down for good. I just sat there in disbelief that my sheep hunt was over as everyone was excited that I had just filled my tag.

We got the packs ready and grabbed some water bottles and then off we went to put my hands on my ram. We hiked up to the ram, and as I got closer to him, all I could think about was how gorgeous he was. His mass was incredible, and he carried it all the way through his curl. We took a lot of pictures and then got the dirty work of gutting and caping done. I wanted to pack out the head and cape, so I took that pack, and even though it was heavy, I felt like I floated back to the truck. Back at the truck, I took some more pictures with my grandpa, we ate lunch, said goodbye to everyone who came to help, and headed home.

The following Monday, my dad, grandpa, uncle, and I went to check in the ram with the Department of Wildlife. Mr. Pat Cummings was pretty much speechless that I drew the tag at 15 and that I shot him the first day hunting and it only took four hours. He did all the measuring, and my ram was 10 years old with a gross score of 169 3/8" and a B&C score of 168 7/8".

The year 2020 will be remembered as the year of my first elk, first deer with a bow, first sheep, and living through my first pandemic. I’d like to thank Wade and Kyler for my elk hunt, Shad for my deer and sheep hunts, and Garth at Huntin’ Fool for connecting us with outfitters. I also want to thank my grandpa, uncle, and brother for their support and for being there on my sheep hunt. I’m thankful that the sheep cooperated so that my grandpa could be a part of the hunt. Last but not least, thanks to my dad for all the hard work he does to allow all his kids to enjoy the outdoors hunting and for the time he spends with me doing the things I love. I look forward to many more adventures.