Stewardship

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Adventures from the Archives – Frank Cook’s Dall’s Sheep

Alaska 1956

One man’s quest for a trophy Dall’s sheep takes him on a classic adventure in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains. His determination ends with a wild story and a World’s Record.

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During World War II, Frank Cook served in the Navy. He was a radio and radar operator on seaplanes and spent about a year in the South Pacific. When he returned home, he graduated from the University of Denver and promptly moved his young family to Alaska in 1951. 

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Frank (right) was a long time member of the Club's Records Committee and served as the chairman for the 14th Big Game Comptetition held at the Carnegie Museum in 1971.

Frank worked as a tax consultant and investment representative. He also served on various Boone and Crockett Club committees, becoming an Official Measurer in 1960 and a Regular member in 1964. For more on his work with the Club, check out this interview from the archives. 

Frank didn’t move to Alaska for work. He moved there to hunt. Growing up in New York, he had hunted since he was “old enough to lug a gun.” Alaska offered sprawling mountain ranges that captivated his imagination since he was a kid. First, he hunted moose, then set his sights on what he called one of the world’s finest trophies, the Dall’s sheep. 

He had taken a few rams, but his goal was a true trophy. He trained before his hunt, ensuring he could run two miles in 16 minutes and haul a 100-pound pack without stopping. He knew that to kill a truly fine specimen, he would need to allow at least 20 days to wait out any storms—not uncommon in sheep country. On that hunt in 1956, it was all or nothing. “If I couldn’t locate a real buster, I’d hold my fire,” he wrote in the October 1957 issue of Outdoor Life.

The Hunt 

Siawashing means camping in the open without a tent, and Frenchy Lamoreaux wasn’t having any part of it. Frank Cook was hunting with Frenchy and agreed—even though they had spotted five white specks of sheep on a bare, steep slope about five miles away. 

Frenchy moved on to check a nearby draw. Frank set up his spotting scope in a shallow depression to hide from “an icy wind [that] poured over the ridge above me, howling like a banshee,” he wrote. He studied each sheep one by one until he saw the dark curl of horns. Frank knew this was the kind of ram he had come for. They would get an early start the following day. 

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Frank approaches his downed ram.

At 3 a.m., Frank lit the cook stove. It was a cold and rainy August morning. The two men were headed for the band of five, and they earned every step. For hours, a sideways rain pelted their faces as they crossed a summit “with rain blowing up one side of the mountain and snow up the other.” They ran into impassible snow ridges, a band of ewes, ptarmigan, young rams, scared marmots, and shale, so much shale. 

Hours later, tired and soaked to the bone, Frank rounded a big rock, and there, right in the open pasture 100 yards below, were all five sheep. And every one of them was staring right at Frank and Frenchy. The rams didn’t spook, but they bunched together. The ram Frank was after stood solidly behind two younger rams. When they bolted, Frank took a shot with his .270 King Sporter. Frank hit him again, and the ram went down. 

In the meantime, Frenchy had fired his .30-06 at a different ram, but the distance was too far for iron sights. Frank handed him his scoped .270 before the ram bolted down a ravine. With one shot, the ram took a nose dive into the shale. 

 

The slope on which Frank’s ram died was too steep to even cape the animal. They dragged it to a narrow shelf, caped out both rams, loaded their packboards with 70 pounds of gear and capes, and headed for camp. The men would return the next day for the rest of the meat. 

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Frank packing out his ram. Notice the "plaid camo" that Frank is wearing. Does plaid actually work? Check that out here

Frank knew he had a special ram and was eager to get it measured. Boone and Crockett Official Measurers Harry Swank and Captain Louis Yearout measured the ram in Alaska and believed he likely had a new World’s Record. Frank sent the ram to New York City to measure the horns at Boone and Crockett headquarters. In late October, he received word that his ram took the top spot for Dall’s.

That same year, Cook received the Club’s coveted Sagamore Hill Award in recognition of his achievement. This award for the outstanding trophy in the Big Game Competitions recognizes hunting skills, conservation awareness, and fair chase—all while honoring Theodore Roosevelt’s vision for the Club.

Frank’s ram stood at the top spot for only five years. That’s when Harry Swank Jr. killed an even bigger ram in Alaska’s Wrangell Mountains. Swank’s ram still claims the top spot. 

Today Frank's ram is part of the Boone and Crockett Club's National Collection of Heads and Horns on display in Johnny L. Morris's Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium.


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About Adventures from the Archives

The Boone and Crockett Club’s records contain more than 70,000 big game entries, from musk ox to mule deer. Among those entries are more than a few stories of adventures afield. To celebrate those trophies, their habitat, and the hunter, we’re bringing those stories back to life with each installment of Boone and Crockett’s Adventures from the Archives.

 


 

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt