"At the 2006 GSCO convention in Tunica I bid on the Fannin sheep hunt donated by Pete & Sharon Jensen of Hunt Yukon. I was unsuccessful in obtaining that donated hunt, so my husband Larry and I visited with Pete & Sharon the next day concerning any remaining openings for 2006. They had one opening for August 10-22, which I booked.
Sharon picked us up in Dawson City where we drove the Dempster Highway to their main camp. We met the other sheep hunters, Brian Hauck (#1181, AB) and Ben Ralston and his son Greg. We all went our separate ways the next morning. Larry and I and my guide Eric Rae, with our pack string of seven horses, put in a 12-hour ride the first day. Over two more days and another five hours on horseback we arrived in the Ogilvie Mt. sheep country Eric was anxious to hunt. Those 27 hours on horseback consisted of traversing bog, muskeg, river crossings and trying to locate lost trails, all in the pouring rain. It rained day and night; it just would not quit. In my 10-day hunt I think we had about four hours of sun.
On the seventh day Eric spotted five rams in a basin, three immature Dall rams, one legal Dall ram and one really nice dusty grey Fannin ram with wide flaring horns. That's all we needed to know because that sounded like what I was looking for! The weather decided to throw everything at us that afternoon as we hiked up the ridges to get within shooting range. We belly crawled up the last part of the ridge where the guys set up scopes and started counting rams: four rams with no Fannin. We could not see one small side of the bowl so we backed off and crawled further up the ridge, peeked over again and the wild gleam in the guys' eyes and the big grins told me the ram was there. He was up and feeding but he was 450 yards away. I got set up for a shot and we waited with the rain stinging our faces and the wind howling. The ram turned and began walking toward us. I kept him in the scope and he stopped broadside at 275 yards and with one shot he fell off the ridge and down a rockslide. After the yelling and congratulations, we hiked over to look at my Fannin ram!
He was really great looking with light grey dusting and black tail. His horns measured 37 x 13 1/2 and we aged him at 9 1/2 years. There was nothing better than coming out of the tent the next morning and seeing those sheep horns - I had my Fannin!"
Stephanie Altimus #1169 (AZ)
Thank you for printing my comments on the Fannin sheep in the “Inbox” of the last GRAND SLAM magazine. I am writing this on my return flight from Whitehorse to Calgary following a most successful Fannin hunt. As I have the Dall and Stone as part of my Grand Slam, I was specifically after a Fannin. I did this hunt with Pete & Sharon Jensen, a longtime outfitter with a solid reputation. The trip was well organized, the horses were great and I had a terrific guide in Greg Paquin.
I have learned that the first day is the best day to take a ram, and this turned out to be a first day ram that stretched into a two-day hunt. Greg and I rode into the area we were to hunt the first morning and started by finding a large group of ewes and lambs. We then climbed to a spotting point and in the end bowl of one of several drainages we could see into we found five rams. This was across a river and on the next mountain range but thanks to Sworovski, we found them. Now it was 3:30 in the afternoon but we made a plan and were off.
The horses got us to the base of the mountain; we then had a long steep climb. We stayed on the top of the ridge reaching the bowl where we could scope the rams, and now the real fun began. In all there were 10 rams spread out in this bowl, with at least two past full curl. This is one of sheep hunting’s greatest thrills as we watched them, judged horns, made a plan and unique to this hunt, carefully assessed color.
It was now early evening and the lighting was changing, which helped differentiate Dalls from light Fannins. To get a better position on the group, we dropped into the adjacent draw and went down to just above their level. From here we had an ideal look and I picked my ram. We had enjoyed this for well over an hour before it was time; I waited for the perfect broadside view from 328 yards, and my very trusted 30-378 put a Ballistic Tip right through both shoulders. This is what those afflicted with sheep fever are addicted to, and only we know the feeling. We gave the remaining nine rams 20 minutes to organize themselves and leave. The pictures, caping and deboning I also enjoy as an integral part of the hunt. At 10 p.m. on a perfect Yukon night, with the sun starting to go down and no bugs, we started off the mountain. Once we got to the horses we loaded the packs on them and the four of us walked back to camp arriving at 3 a.m. - thus a two-day hunt. My colleagues don’t understand how walking down a mountain with a heavy pack and rifle then walking into the middle of the night can feel so good.
Analyzing the color of these rams was fascinating following the previous discussion of color. There were rams that were clearly Fannins, like mine, those that looked white with black tail tip, some of which likely had some dark hair, and a minority white with a white tail. I believe, as you do, Dennis, that the next generation of sheep hunters will have a much harder time completing the Grand Slam with a true Dall.
Many thanks to Pete & Sharon Jensen and Greg for a great hunt and ram #16 toward my Ovis Super 20. Unfortunately my Pakistan hunt in February coincides with the convention in Tunica and I will miss the tremendous event.
Brian Hauck #1181 (AB)