After 14 years of trying, this year I finally drew a coveted Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep tag for Unit S16 Colorado. Unit S16 is in the Weminuche Wilderness in southwestern Colorado. The Weminuche is the largest wilderness area in the state, and it lies in what is generally regarded as the most remote and rugged mountain range in our state, the San Juans.
Because of the generally tough nature of sheep hunting (sheep live in steep country at high altitude) coupled with the difficult access of my area (our camp was 11 miles into the wilderness from the trailhead), it was critical that I enlist the help of a few trusted hunting partners. My business partner here at Mirr Ranch Group, Pat Lancaster, and Pat’s son Shane were kind enough to volunteer their time, expertise and muscle on this escapade.
The story of my hunt is much too involved to adequately describe in this forum, but the bottom line is I killed a beautiful, mature 34” ram on August 26, the second morning of the season. We spotted the ram at daybreak and embarked on a 4 hour, 2500’ ascent to the top of a ridge where he was feeding. The stalk was perfect, and by 11am, I had killed the ram and we were in full commemoration mode. By 6 pm, we arrived back at camp exhausted, but very satisfied.
The next day we packed up camp early and were out of the wilderness by 3 pm.We drove down to Durango, checked the sheep in at the Division of Wildlife, got a hotel and shower, and then hit Main Street for our first real meal in days and a few beers.We got up the next morning, took pictures for one of our new property listings, Florida Mesa, and headed on back home.
I’ve hunted many animals in many conditions all over the world, but I’ve never experienced a more fulfilling adventure than my Colorado sheep hunt. There’s just something very special about these animals and the country they inhabit. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity, and I could not have done it without the invaluable support of Pat and Shane Lancaster.
By Jeff Hubbard