Manila native bags near-record Dall

Thursday, October 3, 2002
Manila's Michael White with his Dall sheep ram he took in the Wrangell Mountains in Alaska. (photo submitted).

Be it muledeer, elk, caribou or a host of other wild game, Manila's Michael White has been on the hunt for the above-mentioned creatures all across the North America for over 30 years.

Recently, White made his first-ever excursion to the wild and treacherous Yukon State of Alaska and bagged himself a new trophy a 37" horn Dall sheep ram.

White, on a hunt with a preselected guide along with his brother-in-law Rob Veach of Victoria, took the sheep in the Wrangell Mountains in southeast Alaska on August 11.

Said White, "I've hunted across many different terrains throughout the years, but this one was by far the most difficult."

The trio, on a ten-day hunt that began on August 10, had to trek through mountains, ravines, and creek beds in 30-50 degree weather for the majority of an Alaskan day to search out the Dall.

"Our normal day began by leaving our base camp on horseback and riding for up to four hours before we hitched up the horses and took off on foot," White said.

"Our on-foot hiking would normally last six to nine hours," he added. "We'd then head back to our horses for the four hour ride back to camp. We'd usually end up back at base around 10:30 or 11 p.m."

The day White and his entourage got their kill, they were in a canyon creek bed 3,000 feet down the sides of the majestic Wrangells which are in the Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The park, six times the size of Yellowstone, is the largest national park in the United States.

"At times we were 4,000-5,000 feet down into the gorge," he said. "The rim of the canyon was 7,000-8,000 feet above us. Once we were in the creek beds, we would take our binoculars and visually search the mountains for white specks. The Dall is all white and very visible. When we spotted them, we'd climb up to take our positions."

Once the sheep was killed, the team had to take two days to retrieve the entire ram.

"According to Alaskan law, you have to get all the meat out before you can take out the horns," White explained.

"Meat first trophy last," he said.

The first day after the kill, White and his mates gathered as much meat as they could carry, then buried the rest under rocks to keep it away from ravens and other such scavengers. The second day they retrieved the remainder of the food and brought back the near-record horns.

White said that even though the team spent a good portion of their day on horseback, the travel was tireless, nonetheless.

He said, "The terrain was awfully rough. The horses were either climbling or descending constantly and that was always causing a strain on us. It was never easy."

White's trophy nearly made the hunter's record book with a point calculation of 156. A point toal of 170 is needed for a kill to be included in the Boone and Crockett record book.

"It was a very good kill," he said.

White has previously hunted caribou at the Arctic Circle, muledeer in New Mexico and elk in New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming. He has also hunted deer in Saskatchewan.

"I try and do something different every year," he said.

Last year, White and Veach bagged two bull caribou in Wyoming.

Getting the idea to hunt the Dall in Alaska came from White and Veach watching hunting videos. The duo got a recommendation for a guide and began their plan for the Yukon excursion.

White said he plans on returning to Wyoming in 2003 to hunt more elk.

The Wrangell's are also home to brown bears, mountain goats, moose, black bears, wolves and wolverines.

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