Alaska MOUNTAIN HUNTERKile Thimsen
Alaska MOUNTAIN HUNTERKile Thimsen

Mat Bradshaw

I’ll never forget being 10 years old and hearing a story from a friend’s dad about his hunt for Dall sheep. As he was telling me I just stared at his sheep above his fireplace and took it all in. After that I knew that I’d one day do this hunt. That was probably the very first real hunting goal I ever set for myself. 

As I got older and became more and more passionate about hunting I have been on many amazing adventures hunting all over the United States. How I waited 40 years to hunt sheep I can’t explain.

In May of 2019 I was going to turn 50. I knew what my birthday gift to myself was going to be. In May of 2018 I booked a hunt with Top Gun Treks based on a recommendation from a friend who’d hunted there the year prior. He had nothing but great things to say.

September of 2019 came so quickly. The trip out to basecamp to meet my guide was everything I’d hoped for. So far so good. My guide Kile Thimsen was really eager to hit the trail and get up our 1st drainage. We got our gear and enough supplies for 6 days and headed off to our first spike camp. From there, the trip of my lifetime truly began. Within the first few hours I knew I was gonna like Kile. He had a sense of humor that rivaled mine and I’m pretty damn funny if I may say so myself! But more than that I knew that he was gonna bust his ass to make this a successful hunt. By day 2 I knew this guy would be a lifelong friend.

We spent the next 9 days chasing these amazing animals.  We hunted 4 separate drainages and were up and down mountains and drainages from sun up til sun down every day. I saw sights and learned things from Kile that will stick with me for every other hunt I go on. His knowledge about hunting Alaska was more than I’d hoped for.

Un fortunately I didn’t kill a ram. Not because we didn’t give it hell. We did! On day four I missed a ram that I should have killed. It wasn’t a gimme shot but I should have killed the ram. I can’t explain what happened. It’s hunting. I can give you a million excuses if you like.. but I just missed. I was heartbroken and absolutely hanging my head coming off that mountain. I was ready to give up. The whole way back to camp Kile let me whine and moan to myself in self pity. Knowing all the while that when I was done…. we were gonna get back on the horse and set a plan…We did! The next day Kile asked if I wanted to head back up to that same basin and see if by some chance those rams were back. Since the hunting gods weren’t letting us turn up many legal rams we went for it. When we created over the summit to peak down into the basin all of our anticipation and excitement came to a screeching halt. Nothing! An empty basin! I sat down and just stared.  We took about an out breather. In that time I reminded myself what this is all about. It’s about the experience, the landscapes, the wildlife, the pushing yourself farther than you thought you could and getting to know someone new. This is all part of the hunt. The misses and the empty basins make all these other experiences that much more addicting and wonderful. I was on my dream hunt and so far it was hitting the mark and then some!

We hunted the rest of the trip determined to kill a ram. Down to the last bit of light of the 2019 sheep season we gave it out all. A kill just wasn’t in my cards this trip.  That being said it will still go down as the best hunting experience I’ve had to date.

I’d like to thank Kile for his huge part in this. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking to hunt with him. He is not only a professional he’s a good man. He’ll be my friend for life I would image and I will kill a sheep with him one day.

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