What's the Nosler Sheep Slam? See what John Nosler accomplished and you'll get the idea.
For sheep hunters, the pinnacle of their pursuit is completing a North American Grand Slam. But not every hunter has the time, patience, and most importantly, the stamina to successfully harvest Dall, Stone, Rocky Mountain bighorn and Desert bighorn sheep on fair chase hunts.
Now you can add John Nosler to the list of those who've done it. And while you're at it, let's start a whole new and super-exclusive list: the Nosler Sheep Slam.
What's the Nosler Sheep Slam? That's when you take the Grand Slam with four different Nosler cartridges. In this case, John took a Stone sheep with the 26 Nosler in 2014; the Dall sheep with the 28 Nosler in 2016; a Rocky Mountain bighorn with the 30 Nosler in 2018; and he completed the Nosler Slam with his Desert bighorn that he took with a 27 Nosler in 2020.
While no ram hunt is an easy one, the Desert bighorn proved to be a true test of the hunter, both in the field and in the wait.
The Artee family of Sonora, Mexico, has worked for years to help reestablish the population of Desert bighorn to the region. Historically, these wily sheep have called the area's mountains and valleys home, but as recent as 1990 these populations were all but gone.
Now, the herds have recovered to the point where a small number of permits are issued every year. The dollars raised go to further the effort to restore the native population. Because of this small number, John had to wait two years to get his shot at completing his slam.
Securing the tag, however, was the easy part. Now John had to cover miles of near vertical climbs and hours on the spotting scope looking for the elusive desert ram. Crafty creatures, they're virtually impossible to find among the scrub brush, yucca and other desert vegetation. Their coloration and knowledge of the terrain make it a true challenge to get the drop on one.
After several days with no luck, John finally was able to connect on a battle-hardened veteran that had successfully passed on its genes over many seasons. The 27 Nosler made a quick, clean kill, and that night John and the Artees celebrated with some freshly harvested sheep steaks on the grill.