Nin Ridge Guides

Karl Braendel 
Alaska Registered Guide
Kodiak Brown Bear Hunting

                 Dall Sheep Hunting in the Chugach

 

          As nice a group of rams as you'll ever see, that I photographed in the Chugach one spring      

 

I am now offering fly in Chugach Mountain sheep hunts in Guide Use Area 13 – 05. I first guided sheep hunters in this area in 1969. Three clients that year, three rams 38 1/4”, 41 ½”, and 41 ½”. Over the years these mountains were hunted pretty hard keeping the size of rams down, but two years ago this area was made into two drawing permit areas with separate resident and nonresident draws.

The catch is, you first have to draw a very difficult to draw permit. The State is suppose to be coming up with a preference points system, but I haven't seen it yet. The incentive to keep trying for one of these permits is that - should you draw - you would have an excellent chance to kill a large ram since sheep genetics are impressive here, and there are so few permits given out. The application period is Nov. 1st thru Dec. 31st,. You must also apply for an $85.00 Alaska hunting license (unless you hunted here the previous year where you can use that license number for the application) as the drawing applications require it. The two hunt #'s to apply for are DS 260 (two nonresident permits) and DS 265 (eight nonresident permits). These two hunts also require a “Guide-client Agreement” to be signed before the application is submitted. So if you were interested in hunting with me you'd contact Nin Ridge Guides and I'd Fax or mail the guide-client agreement for your signature before you made an application.

On these fly in sheep hunts I normally use a packer. You will be using and external frame pack or high capacity internal frame (5000 to 7000 cubic inch) to carry your hunting gear. Backpacks are the easiest way to carry a load in rough country.

For the first time sheep hunter it is usually tougher than you imagine even when you have conscientiously worked at getting into condition. Any form of hard workouts from running to deep knee bends will help, and I've always thought one of the best exercises is bicycle riding. Bicycle riding works out both your cardio-vascular system and the leg muscles you use to climb with. Carrying your pack with a moderate load in it, say 50 – 60 pounds, up hills or long stairs will help condition your body to the rigors of packing. A good physical condition does several things; it gives you confidence, it improves your chances of success, and it makes the adventure a lot more fun.

I have not found age to be an important factor, by itself, in limiting one’s ability to hunt sheep. A number of years ago we had a client 67 years old who not only killed a 38” ram on a moderately tough hunt, he had fun doing it. I have guided a number of men in their 50’s who did just fine, and conversely, I have guided men in their 20’s who had a tough time of it. Mainly, one must be honest with one’s self. Once you’ve done it a person knows what to expect. It’s the first time that’s the hardest. Sheep hunting tests you physically and mentally, and because of that it can be one of your most rewarding experiences.

The 270 Winchester is the classic sheep cartridge. It’s a dandy, but of course there are many other rounds that approximate its ballistics. Shoot spitzer (pointed) bullets, and sight in 2” high at 100 yards. This same sighting is excellent for all our hunting up here including brown bear. PRACTICE. While I’ve hunted with some great shots in my time, I’ve also been surprised by how negligent a few people are in this area considering the demands of time, money, and energy.

Because of the very conservative permit system recently enacted for the Chugach Mountains a permit-tee there would have a good chance at a very quality hunt. I would be happy to do a Chugach hunt at the present time.

Because of the flying involved the Chugach hunt is more expensive. The charter flying alone can cost $2400.00. I'm charging $12,950.00 at the present time for a 10 day hunt with packer. The point of outfitting is Anchorage. If you are interested, please give me a call.

 

 

             Dall Sheep Hunting in the Talkeetnas

   

                                               A  group of rams in the Talkeetnas 

 

Dall sheep hunting is one of the world’s great adventures. I have mainly hunted the Chickaloon River country of the Talkeetna Mountains along with several other nearby drainage's to the Matanuska River. This is a generally rugged area tilted on end and penetrated by a variety of trails cutting up the river valleys. Soaring walls of rock looming over the green sheep meadows will remind you of our most spectacular National Parks. It’s a beautiful place to just “be”, the sheep make it special. Full curl rams typically run 34 to 39 inches with 12 ½ to 13 ½ inch bases. The smallest ram we’ve taken went 32 inches, the largest 40 3/4” .

On these sheep hunts I normally use human packers, and occasionally pack dogs; sometimes we use an ATV to get to where we start walking. It depends on the valley we are hunting. In addition, you will be using and external frame pack or high capacity internal frame (5000 to 7000 cubic inch) to carry your hunting gear. Backpacks are the easiest way to carry a load in rough country.

For the first time sheep hunter it is usually tougher than you imagine even when you have conscientiously worked at getting into condition. Almost any form of hard workouts from running to deep knee bends will help, but I think one of the best exercises is bicycle riding. Bicycle riding works out both your cardio-vascular system and the leg muscles you use to climb with. Also, carrying your pack with a moderate load in it, say 50 – 60 pounds, up hills or long stairs will help condition your body to the rigors of packing. I would add here that while those of you going on a backpack brown bear hunt probably won’t face quite the same level of difficulty as the sheep hunter, you do need to be in good condition. And a few of our brown bear hunts proved every bit as tough as a sheep hunt. A good physical condition does several things; it gives you confidence, it improves your chances of success, and it makes the adventure a lot more fun.

I have not found age to be an important factor, by itself, in limiting one’s ability to hunt sheep. A number of years ago we had a client 67 years old who not only killed a 38” ram on a moderately tough hunt, he had fun doing it. I have guided a number of men in their 50’s who did just fine, and conversely, I have guided men in their 20’s who had a tough time of it. Mainly, one must be honest with one’s self. Once you’ve done it a person knows what to expect. It’s the first time that’s the hardest. Sheep hunting tests you physically and mentally, and because of that it can be one of your most rewarding experiences.

The 270 Winchester is the classic sheep cartridge. It’s a dandy, but of course there are many other rounds that approximate its ballistics. Shoot spitzer (pointed) bullets, and sight in 2” high at 100 yards. This same sighting is excellent for all our hunting up here including brown bear. PRACTICE. While I’ve hunted with some great shots in my time, I’ve also been surprised by how negligent a few people are in this area considering the demands of time, money, and energy.

Sheep hunting prospects are on the upswing. The winter of 99-00 killed half the sheep in these mountains, and for the past couple of years full curl rams have been hard to find. We've been seeing good numbers of young rams, “up-an-comers”, but it takes about 8 years for a ram to reach full curl. Most rams will make it by age 9, but a few won't. They are legal by age once they reach 8 but then you get into counting their growth rings which isn't always easy to do, or even possible.

Pack in Dall sheep hunts – 10 days – 1 on 1 with packer are priced at $8950.00, and are dependent on improved numbers of full curl rams. This is a year to year decision.