EP 94: An Epic Bighorn Sheep Hunt with Ryan Benson. In this episode we talk with Ryan Benson, CEO of Big Game Forever. Ryan is a client of Epic Outdoors License Application Service. This year we applied Ryan for Bighorn Sheep all across the western states. Ryan got lucky and drew a Bighorn Sheep Tag in Idaho. Ryan then booked with one of our Epic Approved Outfitters and headed on the hunt of a lifetime. Ryan ended up taking a monster of a ram. This is a fun story that makes us appreciate those rockies even more.

Disclaimer: this text was produced through an automated transcription service and likely contains errors. Please listen to the original audio for exact content.

00;45;07;02 –> 00;45;09;01
Speaker 1: Man, just a, an amazing experience.

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Speaker 2: And we did, we specifically targeted Idaho in a little bit easier drawing outs, but still have big rams,

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Speaker 1: Lots of miles, lots of pain.

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Speaker 2: Anything to do with Western Big Game.

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Speaker 3: Welcome

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Speaker 4: To the Epic Outdoors Podcast, powered by Under Armour.

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Speaker 2: Hey everybody. Jason Carter from the Epic Outdoors Podcast here in Southern Utah, coming at you with Ryan Benson, the c e o of Big Game forever. Before we get started on this awesome podcast, we’re gonna thank Under Armour for sponsoring these podcasts, everything else that we do as well. We also have a wide variety of other advertisers that work with us in the magazine, as well as sponsoring the podcast, including but not limited to, Thompson Long Range Phone Scope, Hillberg Kings Camo, and a few others. So anyway, we appreciate everybody. This

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Speaker 4: Week we’re gonna give away a phone scope system set up for your phone and your scope. If you haven’t used a phone scope, they’re pretty amazing tools. So much fun to be able to go out and see an animal and film it. And you can keep that with you forever. And remember what you saw, just an incredible tool. And it’s all right there on your phone. To enter, what we’re gonna do this week is I’m gonna post a post about this podcast. It’ll be the announcement post for this podcast, episode 94. All you have to do is go to our page on Instagram at epic hunts and repost the post about this podcast episode. And we want you to tag us and tag phone scope, so at Epic Hunts and also at phone scope. And then we’re gonna have you hashtag Epic phone scope. So that’ll get you entered and we will give that phone scope away this coming Friday morning. We’ll do the drawing so you’ve got one week to enter.

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Speaker 2: So, and make sure you use hashtag epic phone scope, and that way we, we can find you. And there’s nothing on that page at the moment. E P I C P H O N E Ss, k o p E, which I don’t know where chest and learned to spell. That’s not how you spell scope. But anyway, epic phone scope, use hashtag epic phone scope, get on Instagram. Of course you can put it on Twitter and any other social media places that you want. We’re gonna look on Instagram, tag us tag phone scope, use hashtag epic phone scope, and somebody’s gonna win some stuff. So anyway, it’d be probably pretty good drawing on. So anyway, feel free repost it and we will get some stuff out. Anyway, Ryan, you on the phone?

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Speaker 1: I’m here,

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Speaker 2: Ryan, good to be with you. Yeah, glad to have you, man. I know you’ve been busy. I know yesterday you had some five hour hike, which coming off that big old sheep hunt you just got done with was probably good timing. You’re in shape and probably nobody could beat you up the hill right now. Oh, you know, there’s nothing

00;48;03;20 –> 00;48;06;29
Speaker 1: Better for your conditioning than, than drawing a sheep tag.

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Speaker 2: Yeah. So it, so for those of you don’t know, again, Ryan is the c e o of big game forever. Let’s just before we jump into this hunt, we, and obviously we’ve got you on because you killed a freaking giant and everybody’s excited and people are getting cranking for their hunts in the fall 2018. But tell us a little bit about, just a little bit about Big Game Forever and your affiliation and how you got started there.

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Speaker 1: You know, big Game Forever is a, a nonprofit for sportsmen, for Conservation Minded sportsmen. Our purpose is to protect abundant big game populations for future generations. Where we really got started about oh nine or 10 years ago, was with the delisting of the Gray Wolf. And a lot of good people came together and, and did the work that was necessary to restore state management of wolves and begin the recovery process of hard hit elk herds across the west. You know, one of the, the, the landmark things that we did was a congressional delisting. It, it didn’t have everything in it that we wanted, but that’s the way that politics sometimes go. Yeah, Idaho and Montana got a permanent delisting and we’ve been working on taking care of the rest of the country ever since.

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Speaker 2: Oh, that’s awesome, man. Yeah, I remember when, I believe it’s Domey that introduced you, found, you, introduced you, I don’t know, and, you know, basically kind of got every, got the ball rolling on all this, had kind of a vision for it. And then you, you were the man that kind of took it over attorney wise, I guess, and just kind of full-time gig on working on the Wolf situation. Is that kind of, if I got it basically right.

00;49;56;29 –> 00;50;41;26
Speaker 1: So I was the lawyer for Barnes Bullets, so I knew Randy and Connie Brooks and represented them in a big, big transaction with, with Freedom Group and with Remington. And, you know, this was just before I was recruited, but yeah, they were the ones that actually introduced me to the topic and, and wrote the first check and, and encouraged Don Pay, who’s become a dear friend to, you know, to bring me on and, and that somehow working together we could get that Wolf listing done. Yeah. You know, one of the most meaningful things in my career and, you know, kind of restoring that brighter future for, for wildlife across America.

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Speaker 2: That’s awesome. Well, I just give us an idea, you know, I know it’s non-profit, but to most people that means somebody’s profiting. I mean, somebody’s making a living. You are making a living. So tell us a little bit about that. Like, how many people are consultants or, or are working toward and helping and, and fostering and, and growing big game forever? Is it you, are you the lone man in there? You got other guys that are helping you in and around? Or how does the day-to-day routine go?

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Speaker 1: You know, the, the real foundation for everything we do are the sportsmen. We’ve got about 85,000 member supporters across the country. Probably the biggest, the biggest group of those are across the west. We have a few states that have more than 10,000 members. One of the really unique things about Big In Forever is that the funding that pays my salary, that pays other people’s salary or, or through grants. Yeah. And so when somebody makes a donation that’s led at the Target that’s not Yep. Putting money into Ryan Benson’s pocket, even though this is my full-time gig, you know? Yeah. And

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Speaker 2: Honestly, if you’re not paid to do it, you might still work with them, but you’re not able, nobody can just do stuff for nothing. And, and so we all have things we’re passionate about and that’s fine, but when you’re paid to do it, you freaking do it. And, and, and there’s a difference when, when I see things that, that truly are just based off of volunteers, they fizzle. I mean, people have good intentions, but we have lives, we have bills, we have kids. I mean, you know, and so you end up where you’ve got bills and you end up not, you know, you do as best you can, but when you’re paid to do it, like you’re paid to do it, you do it. Right.

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Speaker 1: Well, the, the, you know, the interesting thing, my, my training was at Ivy League Law School and, and working in some of the most prestigious law firms in America. We’ve put together an incredible team of lawyers, you know, professional lobbyists both in DC and also back in some of the western states. And, and then we’ve got grassroots guys. I mean, we’ve got a professional team that is out there crushing it every day to protect the future of a rights as hunters of abundant wild game. And, you know, we all know the difference between a unit that has abundant game Yeah. And one that’s been hit hard. And, and yeah. You know, we wanna take our kids out, give them a great hunting opportunity, and that’s contingent on responsible management. And that’s, that’s what went away for a while. You know, with this wolf thing, it was one of the, the most dramatic declines of wildlife that we’ve seen in generations. Oh. And so, so getting ahead of that and then recognizing that there are powerful anti-hunting groups that are out there working every day to, to take away those rights. And so, you know, for me it’s been a privilege to represent the sports of America.

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Speaker 2: It’s awesome. Well, I know when Idaho first opened up their wolf hunting, I went up there, the guys in the office laughed, including my dad. They all sat here and just did whatever. And of course they work hard. But anyway, I went up there and smoked a wolf and, and, and did it. It was surreal that it really happened. But the more part of the story was, is the boneyard that I saw witnessed myself, I mean, dead cow elk laying on the side of the road with their guts, ate out the rear end, ate out, whatever, all the tender parts gone, and then moving on and, and bones everywhere and, and death. It was just death and destruction. It was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. And and they weren’t intimidated. They weren’t being hunted up until that year. And so there was no intimidation factor. They’re freaking scared of nobody. They, it was, it was, you know, they were King Kong. I mean, there was nothing that, that was a predator to them. And so it was pretty crazy. I mean, when you see it with your own eyes, you’re just like, it’s unbelievable that destruction. They

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Speaker 1: Do. Well, those wolf populations grew past a sustainable number very quickly. And, you know, sportsmen recognized it because they saw the herds starting to decline. They saw the abysmally, low calf recruitment. They saw, you know, herds disappearing. And it wasn’t just elk, it was moose, deer, deer harvest in Idaho. It was off, it was down in, in I think 10 years. It went down 25%. Elk harvest went down 40%. I mean, that’s tens of thousands of hunters that aren’t gonna harvest, have a chance at harvesting a a big game animal. And that’s just one of, one of the several states that has them. We’re starting to see Washington state go down that same, you know, their, their wolf populations are starting to skyrocket. Oregon’s gonna be in trouble. And now there’s a push to put ’em into Colorado and Utah. I mean, this is, this is a fight of a generation. It’s, it’s not over folks. Yeah.

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Speaker 2: So just, I, I’m just gonna be blunt. Do you, do you feel like you’ve done good work? Do you feel like there’s less wolves? Or do you feel like you’ve held the, the, you know, the wolf lovers at bay?

00;56;07;19 –> 00;56;44;29
Speaker 1: So wolf wolves are incredibly hard to manage. They reproduce at a high rate, a small number of wolves, take a high number of, of big game animals. We’re starting to see some units that are recovering. A lot of those are places where humans, you know, have, have easy access to. Some of the wilderness units are, are not even close to, to anything like recovery. So it’s a mixed bag. But without state management authority, none of the work that needs to be done can be done. So, and you

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Speaker 2: Feel like big game, or you feel like big game forever has been instrumental in that?

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Speaker 1: Oh yeah. Okay. We, we’ve done our job. We, we walked the walls of, of Congress, we recruited the sponsors. We, we pushed and pushed and pushed on Western senators and, and congressmen. And, and like I said, the work is not done, but restoring state management authority is, is a huge deal. Just yesterday, secretary Zike, you know, the Secretary of Interior under President Trump Yeah. Announced that they are looking to the states as the, as the responsible managers of wildlife. That’s a huge statement. And, you know, that’s, that’s a result of a lot of work of, of hardworking people.

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Speaker 2: Well, I think, like you said, restoring it to the state, then also maintaining, you know, not backsliding ’cause ’cause it’s like you’ve constantly gotta be on the offensive or you’re gonna be backsliding. So maintaining the management authority,

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Speaker 1: You know, we talked about mule deer recovery in Utah on a program we started there and, and that demonstrated that controlling wild canids, you can restore a big game. You know, utah’s up a hundred thousand deer in four years. Yeah. That’s a 25% increase. And as many deer as we’ve seen in 40 years. So management is the answer. And predator conservation, you know, some people wanna make it controversial, but the truth is, it’s part of the equation.

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Speaker 2: Yeah, that’s right. Well, good. Well, we appreciate that of course. Wanted to just dive into that just a little bit, kind of set the stage for who you are and the, and the integral piece that you play within the hunting community. I just kind of wanna start off with that, but better yet, even on a personal level, you kill a freaking giant ram in Idaho. Tell us a little bit about that. Learning about the tag. Like, I, I remember calling you, letting you know you drew and Yeah, I don’t know, I, it was like, I couldn’t tell if you were excited or I think you were just blown away and like, I don’t know, why don’t you just send me proof that that happened, so

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Speaker 1: Well. Well, my, my wife, she said, I screamed like a little girl. She was laughing when you called. You know, the, the funny story here and you know, we, we love what you guys are doing at Epic. Anybody who knows me knows I’m a passionate hunter. You know, big game animals hang on the wall of my home. I, I try to spend as much time as I can every fall getting out and, and hunting for whatever species. And you know, it’s interesting, the first, the first ram I ever killed was in, in, in arctic red. Okay. Up in Northwest Territories. Yep. On that hunt. Before I killed my ram, I killed my first wolf. And, and that was just a cool trip. You know, it was a special place. And I never thought I would be able to go on a sheep hunt, you know, it’s expensive.

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It’s, it’s hard to draw the permits, but I kind of got that, you know, that flavor for it and, and started applying, well, I missed two or three years applications because I was working so hard. And, and the application period in the west is right in the middle of Congress and legislative sessions. Yeah. So I talked to you and you’re like, Hey, Ryan, put in, you know, put help. Let us help you. Yeah. And yeah, I, I drew the, the lucky straw this time and, and got a a, a big horn tag and man, just a, an amazing experience.

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Speaker 2: And so up to this point, tell us about some of the other Rams you’ve taken and, and that this was kinda, you know, the finale as far as killing your slam and just kind of bring that all together for a minute. And then, you know, obviously we had to, you know, work over your application strategy trying to get you a bighorn tag, those rocky Mountain bighorn sheep tags, maybe even tougher than deserts to obtain in, in large part, just because, I mean, you do have Mexico you can go to and you can get deserts and other roundabout fashions at times. But these Rockies are tough. They’re really tough.

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Speaker 1: Yeah. So this was, this was the, the rocky was the last sheep I was missing to get my, my full curl or my grand slam. I guess it depends on, on what group you’re following. But I had harvested, like I said, my first sheep was a doll killed a nice ram, like a, a 1 62 ram. Killed it on a six the last, well, the second to last day of a 16 day hunt. And we did 120 miles. I also killed a, a giant caribou on that hunt, but just, you know, the way you’d wanna start it. Lots of miles, lots of pain, sprained my knee, you know, just all the things that make you wanna quit. Yeah. And then a friend called me and he had just bought a stone sheep berry. And he said, Hey, I wanna take you stone sheep hunting. Well, I felt like I’d drawn the jackpot again. You know, that was a hunt that I couldn’t have ever afforded personally. So it

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Speaker 2: Wasn’t just that I want to take you, but I’m gonna take you for free. ’cause everybody wants to take you. Yeah. But they wanna take your money too. So

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Speaker 1: He, he wanted, he wanted me to do some work for him, and so I helped him out. Yeah. But at the end of the day, you know, I gotta go on the hunt of a lifetime. Wow. I, I killed that ram on day 23. Come on. It’s 23

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Speaker 2: Days in a row. Like 23 days in a row.

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Speaker 1: 23 days in a row. Oh man. And that, that hunt is a story unto itself, but just a great, you know, beautifully flared ram and dark and you know, everything you’d want out of a stone. Geez. And then, and then last year my wife said, Hey, you’re, you know, you’re halfway there. What if, you know, we just save up for a couple years and kill a desert and you go, go get, kill a desert and hunted with a n balderrama down in Sonora and, and killed a, a one 70, almost a 1 72 Ram. Geez. And so that was my second Boone and Crockett quality Ram. But my first, you know, all time. Wow. So I killed a desert, and that was just last December, so I think it was at the Western Hunting Expo. I sat down with you guys and Yeah. And we were applying in five or six states. And I asked, I said, so guys, what, you know, statistically, how do I draw Rocky? And you guys said, well, I don’t think you have enough points to be guaranteed anything, but we can help you, you know, let’s apply in every state.

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Speaker 2: Yeah.

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Speaker 1: And so we expanded the pool. You put me into some units and, you know, if I hadn’t have changed, if I hadn’t worked with you guys, I wouldn’t have drawn that, that permit. Yeah,

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Speaker 2: No, it’s awesome. And, and we did, we specifically targeted Idaho in a little bit easier drawing odds, but still have big rams. Didn’t really understand what we were talking, what we were thinking on big Rams. Tell us, let’s, I guess let’s, before we just jump to the punchline, tell us a little bit about your conditioning. Idaho has some of the most rugged country there is in Western us. I mean, it’s, it’s unbelievably rugged and maybe, and you live in rugged country, and maybe you can kind of tell us about that and tell us about your training and kind of what your thought process once you’ve got the tag.

01;04;39;03 –> 01;04;57;16
Speaker 1: Yeah. So I, I live at 5,500 vertical feet and my wife and I, we try to hike hills almost every day. But I’ll tell you the, when I realized I had that permit, you know, I put on the backpack and I said, you know, we’ve gotta improve our conditioning here. Yeah.

01;04;58;06 –> 01;05;00;05
Speaker 2: I, I told you to find a StairMaster and not get off it

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Speaker 1: And not get off it. It’s Right. That’s right. So I, you know, my, my training program was to try to do, we’ve, there’s a really steep trail near our home that’s like 800 vertical. And so I, I tried to do that four or five times a week along with some weight training. And then I just started adding to that distance and, and then did some long training hikes. We climbed Mount Tengas for those of you familiar with Utah, it’s like 4,100 vertical feet and 15 miles. And

01;05;34;04 –> 01;05;41;21
Speaker 2: I’ve hunting goats up there. It was a lone peak, or I can’t, you know, my buddy drew a goat tag up there and it’s, it’s straight up.

01;05;42;09 –> 01;06;30;13
Speaker 1: It’s straight up. It’s, and it’s beautiful. So, you know, getting ready for it, the anticipation that was part of the fun, getting in better shape, you know, dropping weight, but getting stronger, increasing the endurance. The, the mountain I killed my ram on, we climbed 5,500 vertical feet. And you didn’t, you, I mean, didn’t look at from a distance, but it just climbed, climbed ended and climbed Never ended. Yeah. Yeah. I’m looking at the altimeter like, holy cow. We’re, you know, the mules were worn out, the horses were worn out. But just, you know, that, that kind of conditioning is, is what it takes. And it was fun, you know, it was, I’m, I’m gonna be 45 this year, and so it takes a little more work than it did when I was 35. That’s,

01;06;30;13 –> 01;06;32;08
Speaker 2: That’s correct. That it takes a lot more work.

01;06;32;26 –> 01;06;36;12
Speaker 1: It takes a lot. After you hit, after I hit 40, it’s

01;06;36;12 –> 01;06;37;03
Speaker 2: Brutal. It felt

01;06;37;03 –> 01;07;02;14
Speaker 1: Like. Yeah. And you quit for two weeks and you start to lose it, so. Oh, yeah. Anyway, we, I worked really hard on, on just the training and, and in addition to just doing distance and miles, I started increasing the weight in my pack. I wanted to be ready to, you know, whatever it took, whether it was 65 pound pack for 10 miles, you know, that just your, your shoulders need that training just like your legs do. So

01;07;02;14 –> 01;07;18;26
Speaker 2: Initially when guys are thinking about Idaho, and, and of course a lot of these sheep hunts are done on horses or mules, it still wasn’t easy. So tell us, I mean, so you, you meet the outfitter, you start out on horseback. Just kinda give us a rundown of, of how this hunt commenced.

01;07;19;18 –> 01;08;28;22
Speaker 1: Yeah, no, it, you called me and you said, Hey look, you know, here’s, here’s some guys to talk to. And I found one that just felt like the right guy for me, you know, and kind of cut outta the same cloth. Yeah. And they had the experience in the area I was hunting in a wilderness area, and if you’ve hunted sheep, you know, it’s these pockets of rams and then it’s, you know, five, 10 miles to the next pocket of Rams and, and knowing where to go and how to get there. And I think these guys had been in there for over 30 years. And so just that knowledge and expertise. But then they had the logistics down, you know? Yeah. Where to get water, how to, how to get everything into camp, how to pack everything out. So yeah. Yeah. We, we, I think it was like 20 miles the first day, and then the second day we started, and this is all preseason, right? Yeah. Second day we start scouting and 13 ramps. So you, you go

01;08;28;22 –> 01;08;29;27
Speaker 2: Back in 20 miles on horses

01;08;30;20 –> 01;08;30;29
Speaker 1: Yeah.

01;08;31;09 –> 01;08;40;21
Speaker 2: Set up camp, or you’re at a camp maybe with their base camp that they’re licensed to have in a wilderness area. And then you’re spiking out from there. You’re, you’re taking off from there backpack.

01;08;41;12 –> 01;09;27;13
Speaker 1: That’s right. And, you know, just putting in some, some boot leather and, and lots of hours behind binoculars and scopes and start picking out some, some deer and, and some sheep and start getting excited. So we, we found, the day before the season, we found this one group of 10, 10 sheep, and there was five mature rams in the group. And one of them was just bigger, you know, it’s, I’m looking at him and his body’s bigger, his drop is deeper, you know, more mass. And I start looking at him, I go, guys, that the hell looks like a pretty good ram. And, you know, outfitters, they’re like, yeah, he might be

01;09;28;24 –> 01;09;32;08
Speaker 2: Hard to tell. Well, you know, we might get a closer look.

01;09;33;13 –> 01;09;52;19
Speaker 1: Hard to tell how big the Ramsey’s width are and Yeah. But I’m just looking at his, you know, at his curl. And it goes way back and it drops way below his jaw, comes up above his nose and just heavy, you know, I’m like, wow. I, you know, I’m not a, I’m not an inches guy, but as I’m looking at, but there’s

01;09;52;19 –> 01;09;53;21
Speaker 2: A lot of inches on that ram

01;09;54;13 –> 01;09;58;11
Speaker 1: I’m, I’m excited about, about this, this ram. Yeah. He’s, he’s more

01;09;58;11 –> 01;09;58;21
Speaker 2: Than heavy

01;09;58;21 –> 01;10;00;27
Speaker 1: And long than I had ever hoped, hoped for. So

01;10;02;15 –> 01;10;07;25
Speaker 2: Still all the while the guides aren’t, aren’t gonna tell you what they really think yet.

01;10;08;26 –> 01;10;11;12
Speaker 1: Well, they, they don’t want you to get disappointed. Right? Yeah.

01;10;11;28 –> 01;10;12;05
Speaker 2: And,

01;10;12;07 –> 01;10;22;05
Speaker 1: And I, I just told ’em, I said, guys, look, you need to understand, again, I’m not an inches guy. I just want a, a, a nice old representative ram. And that’s it. You know, a

01;10;22;05 –> 01;10;28;10
Speaker 2: Preferably it’s not at the top of 5,500 feet. Alright.

01;10;28;12 –> 01;10;29;20
Speaker 1: But that’s where they always are, right?

01;10;29;22 –> 01;10;34;15
Speaker 2: Yeah, that’s right. So opening day.

01;10;35;06 –> 01;10;37;26
Speaker 1: So opening day we put a plan together

01;10;38;19 –> 01;10;42;04
Speaker 2: And they’re okay with you shooting this ram. They’re like, all right, let’s go kill this ram.

01;10;42;18 –> 01;11;09;17
Speaker 1: Oh no, they’re, I mean, we had seen another ram that we had dubbed a shooter. In fact, we thought in this group there’s probably three shooters, but the one, they’re like, yeah, you know, I, I don’t see any reason you should hold out. Let’s go get him. So we put a plan together and yeah, there was a couple of, just like any hunt, like the day before, all of these rams just take off running. I’m like, oh no, they’re gone. They’re gonna be gone. Yeah. Where did they run

01;11;09;22 –> 01;11;11;09
Speaker 2: From? Are they run from you or

01;11;12;14 –> 01;12;27;25
Speaker 1: Just a big group of rams? I think one of them got spooky. Yeah. And then they all responded to their buddy and Yeah. And it just snowballed. But fortunately they didn’t leave the basin. They just went into some cliffs and Yeah. Hung out for a few hours and we just, we just watched him until it was almost dark. So the next morning we climbed about a thousand vertical feet and, and just, you know, started the process of trying to get, you know, largely unseen to the rim above where they were betted. And, you know, it was the one, one time everything was right, the wind was right. The, you know, the cover was dry. The sheep were in a, in a good spot. And, you know, there’s just, in fact there was a, a big log where I could set up my rifle and, and there he was. And we just had to wait for one of the other rams to move and, and we were able to anchor him down. So it was, it, it actually went smooth other than when he started rolling down the mountain and, and rolled out of sight. We’re like, oh no. Like, we think we know where he is at. Yeah.

01;12;29;26 –> 01;12;30;05
Speaker 2: Yeah.

01;12;30;27 –> 01;12;46;05
Speaker 1: But it’s incredible. I mean, these sheep blend so perfectly. I would have my spotting scope on the sheep and talk to a guy for three minutes and turn around and the sun has changed. And look in the Ali scope and think that they had disappeared.

01;12;46;27 –> 01;12;47;05
Speaker 2: Geez.

01;12;48;00 –> 01;12;57;08
Speaker 1: You know, it, anyway, the, the guys I hunted with were, I mean, they were the PhD of sheep hunters and it was just a joy to, to hunt with them.

01;12;57;14 –> 01;13;06;28
Speaker 2: That’s awesome. So, so you smoke him No problem. 1, 2, 3 shot. Yeah. Get shots, anything. What’s the truth on the shooting? And everything else went smooth.

01;13;08;17 –> 01;13;09;02
Speaker 1: You know, you

01;13;09;02 –> 01;13;09;22
Speaker 2: Get ram fever.

01;13;11;03 –> 01;14;15;13
Speaker 1: I, I, my my philosophy on, on shooting is you don’t quit. I enjoy the stock. Like, hey, let’s, let’s get in as close as we can. Yeah. You know? Yeah. And so we got as reasonably close as we could. It was about 200, 220 yards. Oh, that’s awesome. And not, not a perfect rest, but a pretty good rest. And the, and the first shot, you know, zing through him, he stood up, started looking around the guides were like, I’m not sure if you hit him. And, and then he turned perfectly broadside and I, I, you know, put one right through the boiler room and he took three steps and started the tumble. Wow. So it went smooth. I was shooting a burns T S X. Yep. And recovered, actually both bullets, actually one still in the horn. I, one of my shots went through the body and into the horn. Just

01;14;15;13 –> 01;14;17;00
Speaker 2: The way he was positioned,

01;14;17;15 –> 01;14;43;10
Speaker 1: Just the way he was positioned. And he, it must have hit something and kind of went at an angle. ’cause I didn’t see that coming, but yeah, no, it, it, it went smooth. And then the work begins, right? Yeah. Brutal. But it was funny, we walk up on him and like, just way bigger than I’d even thought. And I started looking at him, me like, guys,

01;14;43;27 –> 01;14;44;25
Speaker 2: We does, I think

01;14;44;25 –> 01;14;57;22
Speaker 1: This is a big ram. And the one guy goes, oh yeah, he’s like 1 65. And I’m like, dude, you’re nuts. And I put my hands on his bases and they don’t even come close to touching. Yeah. And like, guys, I think there’s a giant

01;14;58;06 –> 01;14;58;15
Speaker 2: Yeah.

01;14;59;04 –> 01;15;18;28
Speaker 1: And the other guy who’s like 60 and his sheet seen a ton of sheep, walks up and said, dude, I think you just killed Goliath. This thing is a monster. Geez. And then we put the tape on him and he stretched out to 41 inches. And then we knew we really had something special. 41

01;15;18;28 –> 01;15;20;07
Speaker 2: Inch by 16 inch base.

01;15;20;24 –> 01;15;21;03
Speaker 1: Yeah.

01;15;22;05 –> 01;15;23;03
Speaker 2: He ended up at

01;15;23;26 –> 01;15;27;09
Speaker 1: 1 180 8 and five eight. That’s

01;15;27;22 –> 01;15;30;27
Speaker 2: Unbelievable. It’s unbelievable.

01;15;31;17 –> 01;16;05;15
Speaker 1: They killed like a 180 3 a few years ago and they were ecstatic. This is, this is a unit that kills, you know, lots of one 70 ish or mid one seventies rams. Yep. And an occasional 1 65, but over 180 is exceptional. And, and we, we just blew Pat, you know, it was funny ’cause we were sitting in camp and the, the outfitter looks at him. He is like, yeah, we, we bring him in. He is like, yeah, he’s, he’s 40 inches and 16 inch bases and

01;16;06;02 –> 01;16;06;22
Speaker 2: Not a big deal.

01;16;07;10 –> 01;16;34;08
Speaker 1: And he is like, yeah, he’s, he’s 1 79. And the, the guy who had already measured him got, gets his dumb green on his face. He’s like, dude, you’re full of it. So we start measuring him out and they hand me the book and say, okay, do the math. And he is like, guys, are you ready for this? Gee. And they’re like, we gotta check your math. We’ve never killed around that big. Yeah. But he was just big, you know, the body was big. Everything was oversized. It’s

01;16;34;08 –> 01;17;21;11
Speaker 2: Tough to judge those around. It’s tough to judge Ram state to state to state. Everything’s a little bit different. They have a different genetic, different body size, different look to ’em. Like your Rams reminds me of those Montana, Missouri breaks Rams. They’re just big and open. Yeah. And long. And, and you feel like you fit a soccer ball through ’em and they just, they’re just big and open. And those, they’re tough to judge. It’s not like a fist or comes up and fists out, you know what I mean? And it’s just, they’re tough to judge. And then, but when you’re holding them and you’re, and like you sent us a, you sent us a, a picture of a, of your ram against a Montana ram, two total, total different looks. But your ram like stands above it. It feels like, you know, giant, you know, in giant proportions. It really gives you a feel for what it is. Well,

01;17;21;11 –> 01;18;10;08
Speaker 1: The cool thing is, I mean, just kind of reflecting back, like you pinch yourself, right? Because fir in the first place, you draw the permit. And as a non-resident, anytime you draw a sheet permit, it’s just like, wow. Beside you. Yep. This is the first time I’d ever drawn one of those limited entry tags. And, and then going up into a beautiful special, you know, I love wilderness areas. Climb a giant mountain, find huge band of rams. You know, the, the, the totality of the experience just couldn’t have been more special. It’s, it’s an experience. I’ll never forget the, the fact that we harvested an exceptional ram. You know, that’s just the, the icing on the cake, I guess.

01;18;10;17 –> 01;18;26;20
Speaker 2: It’s unbelievable. Well, congratulations. I know your outfitter text me and then I have of course had to hit you. And I’m like, dude, what did you do? You’re like, how do you know I just got off the horse. I’m wore out. I don’t want to talk for a minute.

01;18;29;20 –> 01;19;07;00
Speaker 1: No, it was fun. And you know, I, I actually remember again at the Western Hunting Expo, probably nine, 10 years ago, it was the first year of the full Curl Society. Yeah. And I think they gave away five or six sheep hunts, and they just said, Hey, our vision is to make deer and elk hunters into sheep hunters, and we want people to start dreaming about hunting sheep. And I remember that day, just like, I was so excited for the guys that drew, and I just thought, man, it’d be cool if one day I could go on one sheep hunt.

01;19;07;14 –> 01;19;07;22
Speaker 2: Yeah.

01;19;08;13 –> 01;19;26;15
Speaker 1: And so, you know, 10 years later having finished off all four, you know, and each one of those was just a unique and, and special. And, and each one of them was in, you know, the coolest, mountainous, rugged country you can imagine.

01;19;27;05 –> 01;20;11;23
Speaker 2: Yeah. That’s a crazy, that’s an amazing hunt right there that you, you just experienced. I mean, you killed, like I was telling you, and I don’t know if it really sunk in. I mean, you knew it was big, obviously you’re in the, you’re in the business, but that’s a big money ram. Those are go, that’s a governor ram. You know what I mean? I mean, that’s what guys are paying big money for. And you draw a tag and go up there and kill an unnamed, so to speak, a ram that people haven’t named and aren’t, you know, lining clients up for whatever biding tags or whatever. That’s like a, that’s a rim you would want to kill in unit 11 that’s known for, known for it, got the genetics for it, and the, and the guys are buying the big tags to go in there and, and you did it on a draw tag. You know, and that,

01;20;11;23 –> 01;21;16;17
Speaker 1: And that’s one of the things that I think is special about the North American wildlife model. You know, when you, when you really sit back and think about it, here we have 200, 250 AC million acres of public land around the west. And by public land, I, I include all the forest and wilderness areas into that. We’ve got states that are managing for the, the regular guy. You know, I, a friend of mine who is a janitor finished his slam this year and we kind of were on the journey at the same time. He, he actually drew one of those full curl society permits. And you know, it, it’s amazing that the regular guy can just go out and, and fulfill his dream and, and chase 400 inch bulls and 190 inch rams and, or, or, you know, maybe, maybe just have a permit in his pocket. But the cool thing is, it’s, it’s open to everyone, and I think it’s one of the things that makes America special. Yeah.

01;21;16;17 –> 01;21;46;27
Speaker 2: That’s awesome. Fantastic. Couldn’t have happened to a better guy. I wanted to just kind of have you on, it’s one of the, I mean, it’s, it’s early September, mid-September I guess, and already, you know, there’s big stuff hitting the dirt and it’s kind of fun. It gets us excited and, and we’re super happy for you and, and the success you had. And anyway, just wanted to kind of tell that story. What’s, what’s next on your list? We need to review this application process again. It

01;21;46;27 –> 01;22;15;28
Speaker 1: May be paying for some taxidermy. No, I, you know, I, I, I’m probably like a lot of guys, like, I, I could hunt deer and elk every year and I try to, and, and then I’m, I also like to do bucket list stuff, so I’m kind of working my way through. I think I’m at 14 North American species. Yeah. And, you know, there’s a couple that are pretty unique and I, I need to get a goat.

01;22;16;21 –> 01;22;16;28
Speaker 2: Yep.

01;22;17;22 –> 01;22;51;18
Speaker 1: So goat’s high on the list. I’m also fascinated right now by Muskox. And so just kinda looking at muskox and, and you know, the big boss horns and Yeah. Everything there about. So, but always, you know, the other one that, that has been kind of a lifetime pursuit is a giant mule deer. Yeah. I’ve killed some nice mul deer and one day I’ll, you know, I’ll kill one that I might be able to hang on the wall next to one of yours. But that, that’s kind of a dream.

01;22;51;29 –> 01;22;55;10
Speaker 2: Well, we can, I know a guy, maybe we can work on that. So

01;22;55;26 –> 01;23;03;08
Speaker 1: Well that Well, thanks for what you do. You know, and, and again, you know, epic was a key part of this story and they couldn’t have done it without you guys.

01;23;03;24 –> 01;23;12;10
Speaker 2: No, we appreciate you and all you’ve, all you’ve been doing. It sounded like, you know, a judge got in the way of us killing some grizzlies this year.

01;23;14;04 –> 01;24;40;25
Speaker 1: Yeah. Ballot, ballot box biology and, and, and, you know, judicial activism kind of pushed by the environmental left is, is not a good thing for abundant wildlife. Yeah. You know, it, it, it kind of is shocking to me. There’s people that will do everything they can to stop responsible management of our wildlife. Yep. They’d rather not have wildlife, then have abundant wildlife and, you know, there’s an ideology that’s out there and, you know, there’s pretty passionate people behind that. There’s big dollars behind it. Yeah. And it’s, it’s taken root in American politics to some level. Yeah. So, I mean, this is just a time where sportsmen, if we care about the future, we care about letting our kids have the amazing experiences we’ve had. You know, we, we need to step up and, and be part of the solution. So that’s really, you know, it’s been a privilege for me to, to work in the industry and, you know, we’re starting to win a lot of these fights that historically we’ve lost. And it’s because, you know, there’s good people doing the work, people sending emails to Congress, you know, people join us on trips back to DC sitting down with their governors and say, Hey, you know, we care. We’ll show up. We vote and it’s what it’s gonna take. Wow.

01;24;41;14 –> 01;24;49;14
Speaker 2: Have you heard anything about the, about the grizzly? Are they gonna be able to resume the hunts? Or, or is there any update that you’ve heard on that?

01;24;50;15 –> 01;25;40;17
Speaker 1: I don’t have any updates. I, the, the stay was pretty recent and, and could take some time. But, you know, it’s, it’s a troubling pattern. We, it’s unfortunate that we had to go to Congress to get the right to manage wolves. You know, there were commitments made that once there were 300 wolves states would be able to manage. But more than a decade of litigation prevented that. And really the only solution that, that we could see that would last was to have congress pass a law that, that that made that a permanent delisting. And, and yeah. And there’s still states that need that. Yeah. We need to, you know, the one thing I gotta tell you, we’re in this huge wilderness area that historically was prime, prime area for moose.

01;25;41;06 –> 01;25;41;15
Speaker 2: Yeah.

01;25;42;04 –> 01;26;17;11
Speaker 1: And you know, we were in there for days and I finally said to the outfitter, I said, Hey, I haven’t seen a moose. And he’s like, you and me both. And I said, when’s the last time you saw a moose? And he said, it’s been, it’s been years. Unbelievable. It’s been years. And he said, this used to be the best elk hunting country there were. And he said, well, you know, we still take two or three bulls, but they’re just gone. Yeah. And you know, that’s a human caused catastrophe. And the sportsmen are, are the ones that are gonna have to fix it. Yeah.

01;26;17;19 –> 01;26;23;03
Speaker 2: Well, I agree with you a hundred percent. All right, well how can they get involved? Give us a little spiel real quick.

01;26;23;29 –> 01;27;01;27
Speaker 1: Yeah, go to big game forever.org and sign the petition. That’s the simplest way to get involved. It’s, it’s really fast. Takes about 30 seconds, it’s free when we’re in the middle of a firefight, we need your voice and we’ll send you an email. We won’t worry you out, but a few times a year you might get an email that says, take action, send a letter to Congress on this issue or that issue. Wolf delisting is, is still a big deal. The Southern Rockies are now in the crosshairs. So yeah, just take 30 seconds, go to big game forever.org, sign the petition and, and become part of the solution.

01;27;02;07 –> 01;27;13;16
Speaker 2: Right on. Okay, well we sure appreciate you man. We appreciate the support. Glad to be working with you here and there, especially when it’s, when you’re drawing special tags and killing big crap. It’s awesome. Love

01;27;13;16 –> 01;27;14;09
Speaker 1: It. Thanks Jason.

01;27;14;13 –> 01;27;16;21
Speaker 2: Love it. Thanks. Alright buddy, buddy. Appreciate it buddy. Sounds good.

01;27;17;21 –> 01;27;18;20
Speaker 1: Talk to you later. Okay,

01;27;18;28 –> 01;28;19;16
Speaker 2: So we just wanna throw a little shout out to Thompson Long range Mark and Scotty Thompson up in northern Utah at Logan, Logan area. Great guys. Anyway, they introduced me to long range hunting and it really kind of started it off, it was kind of crazy. They were, they were one of the major first major companies to, to take on the long range thing and do it in a way that was what we consider to be ethical. It was one of those things where you could actually, you know, count on your gun doing what it was supposed to do. And so anyway, they’re using Weatherbee rifles for the most part. 33 70 eights, the three hundreds, seven mm 2 76 5 3 hundreds, two 50 sevens, two fortys wide variety of options there using loop pulled optics and a radical system. Great guys, well worth visiting with. Very affordable and it kills a lot of stuff.

01;28;19;25 –> 01;29;48;24
I kill my 270 inch mul deer with their rifle. So anyway, don’t hesitate to give ’em a call. It’s thompson long range.com or 4 3 5 7 1 3 4 2 4 8. Give mark some grief. He’s a good friend so you can just give, give, tell him my, tell him I said to say hello and give him a little grief. We also work with Hillberg tents, the tent maker, Hillberg the tent maker. They’re awesome. They make a wide variety of tents. In fact, catalogs dang near half inch, six full of options. So anyway, we’ve used them very aggressively. Laid the tents straight out on tundra water. Doesn’t come up through ’em. Pretty impressive. Anyway, a lot of sheep hunts up there in Canada, Alaska, as well as even my desert hunt down here in the middle of ES County desert. So we’ve used them in all kinds of environments. We love ’em. They’re, they’re good people and we’re really proud to be associated with them. And so anyway, you can go on hillberg.com/epic. So H I L L E B E R g.com/e P I C or call 8 6 6 8 4 8 8 3 6 8. And then also right now, if you tell ’em, they’ll probably give you an opportunity to get some free shipping. So anyway, you buy a tent from ’em, say, Jason said you might gimme free shipping. I’m pretty sure they’re gonna do it anyway. Hit ’em up, buy a tent. Tis the season. We’re right in the middle of hunting, hunting season. And then it’s a good time to get a new tent.