Every aspect of a Dall Sheep hunt in Alaska is difficult. Very few people are ready for a hunt of this nature on a moment’s notice. That is where guides and specialists who have the experience come into the picture and act as a valuable resource. Especially when it comes to logistical aspects of the hunt.
Planning for travel and gear transport requires some foresight. In most cases you will plan well ahead, book your commercial airfare and your private charter to the mountains. In Alaska, you cannot fly and hunt in the same day. The rule discourages people from using the air as an unfair advantage. Lazy J Bar O plans for this by flying into a camp where you get settled and unpacked. The extra time on day one is used to check your rifle and prepare for the potential long shot requirements that come with Dall Sheep.
Hit the Range
Dall sheep live in steep, open country. You are not likely to get within close range and long range shooters have a major advantage. Hit the range on a very regular schedule leading up to the hunt and get yourself accurate to at least 500 yards. If you can push into the 600+ range, you may have more opportunities on the mountain. You may want to consider a shooting school to sharpen your skills.
Elevation and Incline
The best shooters around will struggle without physical preparations. Sheep live in the most rugged country around and walking in your local park simply won’t cut it. Train your legs on steep inclines and hike several times each week for at least a few hours in the months before your hunt. Hike with the same weighted pack you will carry on the hunt as well. Your muscles really need to train on steep uneven ground leading into the hunt.
Clothing and Gear
I’m all for throwing on jeans and an old flannel in the woods near my house. But an exposed mountain slope in the middle of Alaska is a different story. You are completely exposed and the temperature changes by the minute. Wind is a guarantee along with sweat from walking. Invest in the lightest, highest quality layering system around. Wind and moisture protection along with breathability. You tend to sweat hard until you’re on a group of rams. Then it’s a waiting game in the wind and potentially cold weather.
Working with your guides and companions is important on these hunts. The support system is really necessary to drive a successful hunt. If you’re going on the hunt with a friend or hunting partner, coordinate and get on the same training regimen to ensure everyone is ready and confident in each other’s abilities and physical condition.