Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Unit 22 AZ Desert Bighorn Sheep-The Dolly Ram

The Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep season in Unit 22 is over and the 3 tag quota has been filled.  In my an earlier post I showed the three rams that were harvested.  Congrats again to the hunters and their guides on the successful hunts.  I thought I would compile some photos and video of the ram that Darr Colburn and I nicknamed Dolly.  We witnessed Dolly on many occasions while scouting for the AZ Desert Sheep Auction hunter wandering in all parts of the unit.  Most of the time he was just traveling from one ewe group to another.  Sometimes he was completely alone in his wanderings and sometimes he had a companion or two.  We estimated Dolly to be 6.5 years old and thought he would score somewhere around 182.  We figured his horns to be in the 37 to 37.5 inch range and to have about 107-108 inches of mass.  We figured his bases at around 15 6/8.  Dolly was harvested and has been scored at 184 3/8 Net by AZGFD and was aged at 7 years old.  As a student of the game of field judging I ask myself where did we miss this ram on score?  The answer is simply buried inside the numbers.  We underestimated the mass.  I think the mass of the horn was hidden somewhat by the depth of the curl and the drop of the horns.  Dolly, unlike most rams, did not curl up it curled back and down creating a very large depth of curl.  Dolly had the frame to break the magical 190" mark.  Now with that being said you never know if he might broom or break one of his horns or get ate by a lion.  Another thing to note is that the more we learn about these awesome animals the more we realize that they are extremely hard to judge exactly.  Body size can often be so different between each animal making it almost impossible to be 100% accurate every time.  It is always our preference to not over score an animal because the quickest way to lose credibility in our business is to be known as someone who over scores animals.  It seems the more I dig into the numbers the more I learn and no matter how much I learn it seems I am always humbled as to how difficult complete accuracy is. 

Dolly Ram AZGFD Checkout Score
L-37 0/8, 16 3/8, 15 5/8, 13 6/8, 9 3/8=92 1/8
Please note the mass on the left side totaled a whopping 55 1/8
R-37 2/8, 16 4/8, 15 5/8, 13 6/8, 9 2/8=92 4/8
Please note the mass on the right side totaled a whopping 55 2/8
184 5/8 Gross 184 3/8 Net AZGFD Checkout Score

The Dolly Ram fooled us because he had a whopping 110 3/8 inches of mass.  There are very few rams in the history of Arizona Desert Bighorn that have more than110 inches of mass.  Ernie Meeske's 2012 Giant ram had 110 2/8 inches of mass and Carl Ludeman's Monster 24B South ram last year had 110 inches of mass.  I also believe Michael Carpenito's 24B South giant in 2011 had right at 110 inches of mass.  You have to search long and hard to many rams with more mass than those three.

As you will see in the photos and video below that Dolly hid the mass somewhat in the depth of curl and drop of the horns.  Try to find the 4 year ring that is very prominent on this ram.  Some rams it is not quite as obvious.

All of the photos below of the Dolly Ram were taken in November 2014 with my Swarovski 95mm Spotting Scope with the Swarovski TLSAPO Digiscoping Adapter from the Outdoorsmans in Phoenix.

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