Western Hunting Journal, Premiere Issue whj001_premiere - Page 54

The author with his California bighorn sheep. equipment or your knowledge of the area you’re going to hunt, the calendar becomes a tick- ing clock and the second hand ticks louder and faster as open- ing day approaches. In my case, I felt like I was behind the proverbial 8 Ball as soon as I learned I was drawn. I was in decent physical shape, but not in the condition one needs to be in to hunt bighorn sheep in the steep, rocky can- yons where they live. I immedi- ately met with a trainer at my 52 WESTERN HUNTING JOURNAL gym and he created a program that focused on strengthening my legs and core. Along with lifting weights, I started run- ning more regularly and climb- ing stairs with a weighted back- pack. A casual shooter at best, I started going to the range more often. It was imperative that I was comfortable with my rifle and scope. After doing a lot of research I found out that I was woefully unprepared in the equipment department. That changed al- most overnight. I purchased a new rifle (Kimber Hunter in a 6.5 Creedmoor), added a new scope (SigSauer Whiskey 5 3x15x50), new binoculars (SigSauer Zulu9 11x45), a new spotting scope (Leupold, Kenai 2 25x60x80) and a new range- finder (SigSauer Kilo 2200MR). And stocked up on ammunition (Hornady Precision Hunter 143 grain ELD-X). While being able to climb mountains, shoot well, and hav- ing the necessary equipment, it all means nothing if you don’t know where to hunt. Scouting is paramount to success. This is where Kevin Madison proved to be my most valuable asset. Kevin, WHJ’s Shooting Editor, is a veteran of five bighorn sheep hunts including his own. I was coincidentally drawn for the same unit that Kevin drew three years prior. And even more of a coincidence, Doug Moncrief was drawn for the same unit in 2016. Doug is the father of Travis Moncrief, WHJ’s