Hunter Reports On Dall Sheep Hunting In Northwest Territories


Published: September - 2009

Matthew Hoffman reports taking a Dall sheep and four other species in the Northwest Territories on a backpack and spike-camp hunt that he says is the best hunt he has ever experienced. Hoffman hunted in September 2008 with Jim Lancaster of Nahanni Butte Outfitters and killed a Dall sheep that grossed 164 7/8 (14½-inch bases and 38½ inches on the curl), a mountain goat with 9 7/8-inch horns, and a 392-gross (382 net) mountain caribou, each on the first day of hunting for each species.

Hoffman hunted in the Nahanni Butte area of the Mackenzie Mountains, where the well-known Lancaster family controls 9,700 square miles of roadless wilderness. Access is by airplane, helicopter and boat. Hoffman says his hunt almost didn't happen because of a plane crash that happened just one week before the start of his hunt. Cam Lancaster, one of the owners of Nahanni Butte, died in the crash, which occurred near one of their wilderness landing strips. (See Article ID 2172.) Friends had advised Hoffman to cancel, but Clay Lancaster (Cam's brother) urged him to make the trip. Hoffman says that despite the terrible personal tragedy, the Lancasters were incredibly professional and absolutely dedicated to making sure that he got what he was after.

According to Hoffman, the game in the Nahanni Butte area was quite abundant. In addition to the other animals previously mentioned, he also took a 13-point Yukon moose. He notes that he was "too picky," and it took him over a week to get it, passing up on several bulls he says he should have shot. Also, although Hoffman had been told that no nonresident hunter had taken a black bear in the Mackenzies in the past 10 years, he killed one on the last day of his hunt. With only five minutes of daylight left, he took a large, old, boar black bear with a skull measuring 19½ inches. The only species he sought but failed to take was a wolf - they never saw any on his hunt despite the fact that there are many in the area.........(continued)

 
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