Hunters Take Two Boone & Crocket Stone Sheep
with Yukon Big Game Outfitters
Compiled and Edited by Barbara Crown, Editor
Two big Stone sheep were taken recently in the Yukon Territory with new hunting operator Yukon Big Game Outfitters. We told Hunting Report subscribers about these Boone & Crocket rams in a September 28 Email Extra Bulletin and the brief story in our November issue, but we did not have photos and details at the time. Here now are the details on those sheep, as sent to us in an email by outfitter Shawn Raymond. You can read all about Raymond's newly acquired area and its untapped potential in the December issue of The Hunting Report.
John Hoover Stone Sheep caption: John Hoover's ram field scored 171 3/8 B&C.
Ritchie LeSperance's trophy field scored 170 5/8 B&C.
"Partner Don Loewen and I bought Teslin Outfitters this past spring and re-named it Yukon Big Game Outfitters, Ltd (YBGO). We took on two more partners/friends, Chad Lenz and Dave Marsters, to help develop this large area.
"The two rams were taken in the Yukon Territory in YBGO's outfitting area, purchased this spring from the Teslin Native Band, who bought it from Doug Smarch. Doug had outfitted the area since 1972 and sold it to the Teslin Native Band in 1998. I believe it is the largest outfitting area in the Yukon Territory: over 21,000 square miles, running from the British Columbia border to the Northwest Territories border. It's larger then one can imagine. The area is known for quality Stone/Fannin sheep, big moose and great mountain caribou hunting.
"This year, Chad Lenz and I took two hunters, John Hoover and Ritchie LeSperance, into uncharted country in search of big rams. We hunted by horseback for nine days looking over a lot of big country. During the hunt we saw grizzly, big bull moose, and caribou while dealing with the elements of a sheep hunt -- rain, rain and more rain. I can honestly say after 20 years of guiding in the north this hunt was more than any of us hoped for but not more than what we had planned -- easier said now that we are off the mountain. Here's the deal. Chad and I did just what we set out to do. In the spring when Chad, Don and I met to talk about the area, we looked over the maps and past harvest stats, including age and size of sheep taken for the last five years. We knew where there were other bands of rams with good sheep to hunt, but we hand-picked an area most likely to produce big rams and away we went in search of big sheep.
"At some point our hunters felt more like they were on an expedition, as we marched them from valley to mountain top and through uncharted country. After nine days we ended up in a beautiful high mountain basin filled with glaciers and grass slopes and steep mountain peaks. Most likely the first to have ever had horses in this part of the area, we set camp and climbed to the south slope to hunt. As we were having lunch and enjoying each other's company, Chad looked over his shoulder to notice a large ram -- a very large ram -- was standing there watching us. When I turned around to see the ram just 100 yards away, I nearly choked on my lunch.
"There we were, all spread out in our glory, scrambling to get organized, which meant we needed to decide who would shoot first. 'Why didn't we do this before the hunt?' we wondered as we lay there watching the ram and looking for a coin to flip. Who carries a coin on a sheep hunt? We could see three other rams feeding up behind this ram and one more looked to be just as big as the one now standing there looking at us while chewing his grass. It felt like forever.
"I estimated the first ram to be 44 inches. While Chad and I talked and tried to decide whether to let him go in hopes of finding them all together later, we quickly decided to flip a purple and white-backed pill found in the bottom of Chad's pack. (Yes, after 25 years of sheep guiding we pack a few pills.) The call on the flip was over, and Ritchie put the big ram down. It was an emotional time as Ritchie took a ram-of-a-lifetime, and John was left with no sheep in sight. We chose to shoot the first ram as the other three fed off, hoping we would not spook them.
"Chad and John quickly moved off and followed the rams across the slope. Within 20 minutes Chad had John on his ram and his brass was flying. At the last possible shot, John put the second big ram down. Both rams were 15-1/2 years old. We skinned the rams for full-body mounts and packed them off in a thunderstorm. Back at camp we scored the sheep, the first ram was 43-4/8 on each horn and scored 170-5/8. The second ram was 43-3/8 x 39 and scored 171-3/8. Wow, needless to say that after 50 years of sheep hunting between me and Chad, this hunt was at the top of great hunts.... We did just what we set out to do, produce some big rams for our hunters. This was Ritchie's second ram and John's first ram, and truly an amazing hunt with good company." -- Shawn Raymond, Yukon Big Game Outfitters
Postscript: See photos of the monster moose and big mountain caribou also taken by Raymond's clients this past season. Just click below to see photos in our online Trophy Gallery.