Here's the story. I won the fundraiser tag so I got to start hunting 5 weeks before the other 2 hunters. I started DIY bowhunting on Nov. 2 for 5 weeks and came very close to filling the tag a few times, but it didn't happen. The rains after week 2 changed the summer patterns and the rut was over. All the sheep scattered and it was a new game. I switched to a rifle for week 6 and hired a guide for week 7.
For week 1, Joe (president of Oranco Bowmen) brought his trailer and we drove to glass/hunt from the trailer. This was definitely the most active week because the rut was on. We saw sheep every day and glassed this guy from the truck at about 2 miles. He was on the move, so we just watched.
On day four we watched a group of sheep with 1 good ram trying to mount 2 hot ewes. I didn't attempt a stalk because they had us pegged in the wide open. Here's a pic of him lip-curling and chasing ewes.
On day 5, we drove to a spot to hike from and as I'm getting my bow out of the truck, Joe walks a few yards and sees a giant ram at about 40 yards. He gets my attention and we watch the ram start up the rocks and out of sight. I took off on a run and get close. The rangefinder says 46 yards and just as I get the pins on him, he steps behind the rocks. The next time I see him, he's at 76 yards, and the next time, he's at 250. Damn - that encounter will haunt me for a while.
I decided that I would tent camp for week 2 so I don't have to drive miles each day. I was getting lot's of rams on a cam in a nearby saddle, so I setup on the saddle before light. About 8 am a truck drives up the wash and chases the above ram and 2 ewes right by me at 30 yards. They didn't stop, so no shot. It started raining on Thursday and all the sheep scattered. Here's some game cam pics from the saddle.
There was no more activity on the cams and I wasn't seeing sheep, so I started moving to other areas for weeks 4 and 5. All I was finding was young rams and ewes. I ran onto 2 guides that were scouting for their hunter the next week at a guzzler. I decided to move to a different area that I saw some rams before season and not interfere with their hunt. Of course, they showed up with their hunter in the new area I was hunting. Their hunter filled his tag that week. They showed me pics of a ram they were looking for and they were available so I hired them to guide me non-outfitted. We met up for week 7 and hunting with those guys was a real eye-opener for me. They found the ram we were looking for on day 1 and put him to bed. We went after him the next day and got to 500 yards. He was facing away and just blew out. He must have winded us. The next day, we setup where he was the previous evening and he showed up just as we hoped. He got to 200 yards and the wind shifted. He blew out again!
The next day, we went into where we thought he might have gone again. We didn't find him, but found 3 nice rams at about 2 miles. We went down the ridge, hiked the flat for 2 miles and climbed a ridge next to the sheep. We got to 290 yards, they finally settled down and fed. I took a shot and all 3 took off. I thought I missed, but he went down within a few seconds.
The Cady Mountains are beautiful and the sheep are amazing. I'm really happy with the ram I shot. The whole experience was epic for sure.