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Daryll Hosker Print

hoskerokhotsk_soobDear Editor, After doing research on the 3 sub-species of Snow Sheep in Siberia it was obvious there was only one outfitter to hunt the Kolyma, Okhostk and Yakutsk sheep with. So I booked direct with Irene and Sergey Rudakov of Kulu Safaris at the 2012 GSCO convention. I set it up with them that I would hunt the 3 sheep over 2 season’s , that way depending on the weather we could adjust our schedule accordingly. I arrived in Magadan on August 1 to rain and was told that so far they had only 1 day of sunshine all summer. Luckily the fog had lifted so we were able to fly out the next day to the Kolyma area. As quick as the helicopter dropped us off the mosquito’s and flies hit us. I’m used to bugs living in northern B.C. , but had never experienced them this bad before ! The first day we hunted around our main tent camp and didn’t see any rams, then the fog and rain moved in for 2 solid days. After the weather broke we loaded our packs and headed down valley 7 hours to another area, where the bugs were even worse. We couldn’t find any rams there so we hiked back to base camp where we were rained and fogged in for another 2 ½ days. Finally on day 9 the head guide Sergey found  1 lone ram while out scouting in the fog.

Earlier in the hunt they asked the common question “ how big of ram are you looking for “ ? I always explain that it was not so much the horn length, but “ old “ and heavy is what was important.

The next morning we left camp in the dark and by 7:30 Sergey had me within 300yds of the old ram, we had lots of time to look him over and could see he was at least 10 yrs old and broomed on both sides. Snow Sheep typically feed at mid-day so we had to wait quite a while for the ram to get out of his bed. When he finally got up, he quickly moved to where I couldn’t get a shot off, so we had to run through the boulders to try and cut him off, after falling on my knee, slamming my rifle scope into the rocks and being out of breath I had to make a quick 340 yd. shot down on him, the first shot wowed him up and the second finished it. The old ram turned out to be 12 years old !

The weather was holding so that night we were moved to the Okhotsk area. My interpreter could only stay for the first hunt,  it’s always more interesting and fun without an interpreter anyway, so I wasn’t too worried. Regardless of how poor my Russian speaking was we managed to communicate very well, even telling jokes and having lots of laughs every day. We hunted hard on the first day and after 3 big climbs, we were ready to head back to camp, I went up to grab my pack and noticed something black on the opposite mountain, which turned out to be 2 rams, with one looking decent. We decided we didn’t have time to climb all the way around to get above them so Sergey decided we should try dropping off the mountain and simply walk straight towards them in plain sight. We ended up walking to within 400 yds. directly below them , after a quick look with the spotting scope , I decided he was a good ram with some age. Sergey had to wave his arms to get them to stand up, after a few NOT so good shots we had a 10 yr. old Okhotsk ram !

The weather was perfect the next day so we flew back to Magadan where Sergey Rudakov and I decided we should try for the Yakutia as I still had 6 days before having to return home. The next day we did the 6 hour drive west of Magadan to a village where the helicopter picked us up and flew us into the Yakutia mountains. Due to the poor weather, we were dropped off in a valley short of our original destination. After 1 foggy, rainy day in camp the weather improved so we did a long hike around the mountains close to our base camp, but could only find ewes and lambs. The next day we decided to pack up with 3 days of food and head out for the remainder of our hunt. At about noon we stumbled across a band of 7 rams that had been feeding in the valley below us, buy the time we got organized they moved up the opposite mountain and were heading out. We didn’t have time to put the spotting scope on them, but it appeared the lead ram was decent, again after some NOT so good shooting at 385 yds. we had an 8 year old ram, not the old ram that I was looking for, but sometimes shit happens.

After 18 hunting days my now good friends and guides Sergey and Mikail (president of Coca-Cola Magadan) and I had all 3 sub-species of Siberian snow sheep. This hunt/adventure will go down as one of the best and most fun international hunts I’ve ever been on ! It was extremely well organized by Sergey and Irene. Great guides and we ate everything from smoked salmon, salted crab meat, fresh mountain mushroom soup, lots of sheep meat, right down to stale bread fatty kielbasa. On my return to Magadan I ran into friends John Amistoso, Richard Sand and Brian Hauck who had just finished there successful hunts as well.  

Daryll Hosker