FWP congratulates Geneva and Ray Becker for their successful “hunt of a lifetime” for Geneva’s Trophy Bighorn Sheep. Geneva Becker drew a Big Horn Sheep permit for Bighorn Sheep Hunting District 122, which is between Plains and not quite to St. Regis on the opposite side of the Clark Fork River. Ray and Geneva tell the story of their hunt in the story below:
Starting as early as August, we drove all over much of area 122 trying to spot some sheep. We never did see any sheep in September. On October 24th & 25th we took our 3-yr old son and went down for just the weekend to start hunting for sheep. We hiked and glassed a lot and saw a few sheep, but nothing we were looking for. Then, on Thursday, November 5th, Geneva took a four-day weekend to try again. This time we didn’t take our 3-yr old with us. At 8:30 Thursday morning we dropped him off with grandma, then stopped at Super 1 for supplies and were headed out of town toward Plains by 10am.
By noon we were in Plains and driving along East River Rd seeing lots of sheep; one person said they would give us permission to cross their property, but she had stipulations…she needed to see my permit, my ID, and wanted $3,000 in cash. Consequently, we drove on. There were several nice rams on the hillside right behind her house and at least four that would have been a great trophy. We had permission to go across another person’s property, but didn’t see anything to prompt us to climb the mountain.
We drove on toward St. Regis along the cut across road stopping to look in several places, but didn’t see any sheep. Then around 12:30 or 1pm, just past Quinn’s Hot Springs, we stopped again and saw a bunch of sheep. In the group were 8 good rams and several ewes, lambs and smaller rams, one of the rams got our attention. We could see he was heavy and had a curl that dropped below his jaw and back up again. We drove on around to the Big Horn Christian Camp and after getting permission to use their boat launch we crossed the river then hiked about ½ mile down river to where we could get a good look at them and a good shot. The sheep were still there milling around. The ram we were after was laying down about 150 yards up on the mountain, but got up when two smaller rams above him starting butting heads a little and the ewe standing near him started moving off. Geneva tried to get a rest on some tree branches, but wasn’t able to see through them so found a dirt mound and used it as a rest. Geneva held mid-body behind the shoulder and pulled the trigger – the sheep didn’t even flinch. Thinking I had over shot, Ray said shoot again. I put another shell in and took aim in the same area and shot again – still no reaction from the sheep other than to wander across the mountainside crossing behind a big tree. Ray asked where I was holding on him and told me when he comes out from behind that tree I should hold a bit lower and shoot again. This time the sheep went down. He rolled 20 to 30 yards down the hill and got hung up in some brush while the other sheep moved up the mountainside.
After taking lots of pictures of Geneva’s trophy ram, we moved him down a bit to a larger area where we could cape him out and quarter him. . It took us two trips each up and down the mountain to get the sheep and our gear down and we were back to our boat and across the river by 7 to 7:30 p.m.. It was a very quick – VERY successful hunt!
His bases are 16 6/8 inches around. He is broomed off on both the left and right sides at 37 ¼ inches and has great winter hair. If he had still had his lamb tips he would have had over a 40-inch curl. We took him in on Friday to the Fish and Game to have him rough green scored and Jim Williams, who is an official Boone & Crocket scorer, came up with 186 1/8 inches. It takes 180 to make B&C so he is a good solid book ram. We looked on-line at B&C to see what the world record Big Horn scored and his bases are only 15 7/8, but has over a 40-inch curl even being broomed off.
We were very fortunate to get the permit in the first place since the chance of drawing in that area was only 0 .43% then to get such a great ram under those circumstances.
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