Sheep hunting is exciting and physical, but most of all, it’s a mental game. Tell yourself you can do it: that helps quell the feelings that a hunt is becoming impossible. When you’re in sheep’s territory slow and steady wins, and so does being totally prepared.
Everything you need to eat and sleep for the duration of your sheep hunt must be carried with you. Simple enough…but every ounce counts when you’re climbing steep ridges, trying to keep your balance and conserve energy! Visit sheep outfitters’ websites and look at recommended packing lists. And don’t forget your optics. Whatever your final list might entail, every sheep hunter continually revises their gear to reduce weight and become more effective in the field.
Don’t wait until hunt day to carry your loaded pack and test your endurance and strength. Put your loaded pack on your back and walk five kilometres. This will help condition you for the hunt and reveal if you need to lighten the load.
Food with lots of energy is a must for a sheep hunt. Likely you’ll burn more calories in a day sheep hunting than you normally do three days at home. Carbohydrates are important for sustained energy, and freeze-dried meals help keep the overall weight down. Protein bars and dried fruit fill your belly and keep hunger at bay.
Water is critical in sheep country. You can’t always pack enough, so make sure you know your hunting area and identify water sources. A filtration system, iodine tablets, boiling or storing are all ways to ensure you drink safe water and don’t end up sick.
Day trips are possible, but most sheep hunts are multi-day adventures requiring you to overnight with the gear you are carrying. Some sheep country in Alberta can be day hunted, meaning you hike in early and check specific basins and hike back out. The sheep are either in the hidden sweet spots, or they aren’t. Most sheep hunters plan for several days, or even a week or more, to continually move to new sheep country and check as many ram hideouts as possible. The amount of time you have for the adventure, or how much weight you can carry, often dictates the length of your hunt.
Sheep hunting is supposed to be fun and rewarding. Take your time, enjoy the incredible surroundings, and remember to look through your binoculars as much as you hike. Make sure you are at a vantage point during twilight hours to scour sheep country, and potentially catch rams living in the trees during the day. Get lots of sleep. Don’t scrimp on calories or hydration.
When you do harvest a sheep, revise your pack to carry what you can, but always keep your eating and sleeping essentials with you. It might take a few trips, but eventually you’ll relive the adventure with every bite of sheep for the rest of the year.
Check out our list of must-pack hunting basics for any day hunting trip right here.