7 days with only 1 sheep sighting makes a black bear look pretty good. That is exactly how my 2013 Beartooth mountains sheep hunt unfolded. After sighting 7 big horns (all ewes and young rams) on day 1, our hopes were high. The week to follow was full of some incredible experiences in some of Montana’s most beautiful scenery. The rugged, uninviting Beartooths threw just about every type of weather at us from rain and lightning to snow and hail over the week and a half we spent deep in the mountains.
On day two we spotted a brut of a black bear only a few hundred yards from our cliff dwelling camp sight. We kept an eye on the bear as we continued our fruitless search for a legal ram. After foraging on berries for over an hour, the bear made its way to a mountain goat kill we failed to notice only a stones throw from the berry patch.
The bear gorged on the decaying white goat for the next day and a half before leaving the valley for good. A couple of days later we followed in the bears foot steps up and out of the drainage to search for sheep to the north. After a few nights of terrible weather we had our first chance to scour our new hunting grounds. It didn’t take long for this bear to make its way back into our spotting scopes.
We decided going home with a bear was better than nothing at all and took off after the portly omnivore. A few hours and thousands of feet later, we were right on top of the brut in the same meadow we spotting it in hours before. One well placed two hundred and four yard shot put down my biggest bear to date in just a few steps.
The pack out to follow was ludicrous at best and pushed both of us and our gear to the absolute verge of total breakdown. Luckily for us we were well trained for the outing and had invested in great gear like Schnee’s boots, Stone Glacier backpacks, and Sitka Gear clothing.
Although I went in for a ram, I was more than happy to fill my bear tag and come out heavy on this monumental backpack hunt through Montana’s Beartooth mountains. I shall return.
We are excited to introduce our newest addition to the Schnee’s line of Mountain Boots, The Absaroka. Our goal when designing this boot was to construct a non-insulated, 6 inch, mountain style boot without sacrificing ankle support or overall capability. Check out this boot in action in our newest product video.
Schnee’s recently hosted the first ever, Boone & Crockett Trophy Day. We invited the public into our downtown Bozeman store for a day of free, official Boone & Crockett trophy scoring. We were happy to see countless hunters with respectable North American trophies walk through the door. Without the unprecedented conservational efforts of the Boone & Crockett Club over the last 126 years, most of these animals would have never existed. These trophies are a measurement of conservational success of North American wildlife. We will certainly be hosting this event again and hope to see you there.
The big horn sheep is arguably Montana’s most coveted big game species. This past winter, the big horn Governor’s tag auctioned for $480,000. This quickly puts the value of this animal into perspective. Close management, reintroductions, and ongoing research are all vital elements to preserving this asset.
Robert Garrot, a Montana State University professor, is head of an ongoing study titled The Greater Yellowstone Mountain Ungulate Project (GYMUP). In association with a grassroots volunteer group, The Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance (RMGA), Schnee’s offered a helping hand this past spring. Our job was simple. Locate collared ewes using telemetry and observe to determine whether or not they were nursing a lamb.
Our morning started early at Corwin Springs, just outside of Gardiner, Montana. By random chance, we located and spotted a collared ewe from our morning rendezvous point. After several confirmations, we determined without a doubt she was nursing her own lamb. Success!
Our day continued up the Tom Miner basin where we honed in on 3 more collars. As we made our way up the 10,000ft Ramshorn mountain, it became glaringly obvious we were in an Eden of sheep and goats. Band after band came crawling out of the cliffs and cracks. Lambs and kids alike carelessly played around the steep country they call home.
At the end of the day we had seen over 40 big horn sheep and 20 mountain goats. Our time volunteering was applicable to the GYMUP and gave all in attendance our seasonal reminder of just how demanding the mountain can be.
We are excited to kick off our first ever Instagram contest! The rules are simple and the prizes are sweet. Start by following us @SchneesMontana on the wild world of Instagram. Next tag your best outdoor, spring adventure photos with hashtag: #SpringIntoSchnees. It’s that easy! Submit as many photos as you like. Prizes include Schnee’s gift cards, Nikwax boot care products, and selections from our new awesome line of merino wool hunting socks. We will select our winners June 15, 2013. So what are you waiting for!? Get shootin’ and get taggin’ @SchneesMontana and #SpringIntoSchnees. Good luck!