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Richard Sand Print

sand_soob_smallDennis:Thanks for your great advice to me! When I told you at the GSCO/Ovis convention in January 2013 that I wanted to hunt the Okhotsk Snow Sheep you immediately said to me: Just make sure to go with Kulu Safaris! And so I did. I booked the hunt immediately with Kulu Safaris on the convention, and now 1 ½ years later I came home yesterday.

Going out on 13 August in Moscow I met and teamed up with some of the world’s greatest sheep hunters: John Amistoso and Bryan Hauck, and we all flew together to Magadan.

Kulu Safaris, Sergey and Irene Rudakov arranged a perfect hunt for the Okhotsk Snow Sheep for all three of us. We were flown in by one of the big MI8 Russian helicopters into 3 different camps all about 1 hours flying (approx. 200 km) Northwest of Magadan. John and Bryan had camps only about 20 km from one another. I had camp about 60 km from John and Bryan. Altitude was very low. 900 – 1,300 meters. Some places quite easy to climb and walk, but some places on the steep rock slides it could be tough.

As you know this is quite a physical hunt, but just exactly a hunt like I like it. Great landscape. When the weather was good we were 10 – 12 hours in our boots on the ground every day in these mountains. I had 3 hunting days where we walked approx. 20 - 30 km a day.

For sure there are Okhotsk Snow Sheep in all of these mountains, but I must say, there is quite far between them. On the first 2 hunting days, meaning after covering more than 40 km on the ground, I had not seen any sheep, male or female, but we did see lots of tracks, etc. On the 3rd day my guides spotted 3 mature rams far, far away, and too far away for us to judge the horns, but we could see that they were mature, and the hunt started. 2 ½ hours later we had sneaked up to where we thought those rams should be, but it took us a long time to locate them again, as they were in a very small, narrow and very steep rock slide canyon which was only 80 meters wide, and we did not spot the rams until they were only 40 or 50 meters away from us. I could have taken them with a bow easily. Two of the rams were very good average trophies in the 33 to 35 inch range. The last ram was an authentic monster. This was the purest luck, but what a sight. The rams spooked and ran down the steep rock slide at a 60 degrees angle with loose rocks flying everywhere. I waited till they came about 200 meters down, made a loud whistle, which made them stop, and then I shot the biggest of the 3 rams right through the shoulders. To me it is a dream trophy, and I regard it as one of my best rams ever. Almost 42 ½ inches x almost 14 inches, and with great mass all the way, like if it had been a California Bighorn Sheep. What huge luck we had had, and how we cherished it. The rock slide was so steep and dangerous that it took us more than 1 hour to get down to the ram, which had rolled another 400 meters down. Luckily none of the horns were broken, but they were bruised a lot from the rolling, and he had lost a few 1/8 on both sides, but not enough to ruin the trophy.

Both John and Bryan were also lucky, and each bagged a great trophy ram in the same 3 days. One of the reasons for our great luck was the very careful planning by Sergey and Irene Rudakov, and of course also the fact that we actually had very good weather all of these 3 hunting days, and were only pestered by millions and millions and millions of mosquitos. You kind of have to get used to the hammering.

When we came back to Magadan we met with Daryll Hosker who had managed to bag 3 different species of Snow Sheep in 17 days, which was a new record. He had bagged the Kolyma, the Okhotsk and the Yakutia.

All I can say is that Kulu Safaris is just a great, great outfitting company that I will recommend to anyone, but remember to be in excellent sheep shape when you arrive, because only by walking, walking and walking you can make sure to get good trophies. Sheep are there, everywhere, but they move great distances every day, and you have to find them yourself.

Once again, Dennis: Thanks for your great advice.

Best regards

Richard

 

RICHARD: This is one of the most magnificent Okhotsk snow sheep I have ever seen. Matter of fact, it is the greatest snow sheep of ANY subspecies I have ever seen. Unless I am missing something really bad, this ram will definitely be the new #1 Okhotsk by a long shot. It may even end up being the largest snow sheep ever taken. I know photos can be a little deceiving, but with the ram being over 42” and almost 14” bases, it will have to score near 175 points.

Anyway, congratulations on your wonderful success. I knew you would love Sergey & Irene, as they are the best. You must get that ram scored, and your other great trophies too, and be at our convention in 2015 to receive multiple awards. This ram and your other trophies are truly deserving.

Dennis