THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE BOONE AND CROCKETT CLUB
For Gary Guerrieri of Pennsylvania, there’s something about hunting bighorns.
“I guess some of us love the mountains, and, to me, the sheep there are as special as they come,” he says.
Guerrieri grew up hunting whitetails in Pennsylvania, but sheep hunting is on a different level for him.
“Once I started sheep hunting, it turned me topsy turvy. Just seeing them, and then figuring out how to get to them is not very easy. It’s very emotional.”
His sheep journey started 11 years ago at his 50th birthday party.
Before going on his first sheep hunt, Guerrieri would often share his dreams about hunting sheep with his wife Betty. At his birthday party, he said he was just sitting there, and Betty asked him what he was thinking about.
“Right then, it just hit me,” he says. He was thinking about hunting sheep. He wasn’t getting any younger. It was time to stop talking about it and get into the mountains. So that’s what he did.
First, he killed a Dall’s sheep in 2012 in the uppermost region of the Northwest Territories. In 2013, he killed a Stone’s. And then came 2015. He killed a desert ram in October and a bighorn in November. Those four rams placed him in the acclaimed 700 Club. Guerrieri says he’s been told that he’s only the second person ever to gain membership in the 700 Club with their first four rams.
“I tell everyone that I have been blessed by the sheep gods.”
Path to a State Record
Those gods were smiling on him before he traveled to Washington for his bighorn hunt in 2020. It all started when he bought more than a few raffle tickets.
“I buy a bunch of raffle tickets and hope for the best,” he says.
And if he spends a pile of cash on tickets and doesn’t draw?
“I look at it as I’m investing in the sheep herds in the West, in conservation.”
When he did draw in 2020, Guerrieri headed to Asotin County in southeastern Washington. There, the Grand Ronde river slices through the rugged country of the Columbia Plateau, which makes for some pretty good sheep country. He’s no stranger to the area, having taken record-book bighorns there in 2015 and 2016. With his guides, Glen Landrus and Bryan Bailey of Bailey & Landrus Hunting Company, Guerrieri did quite a bit of walking and a “whole bunch of glassing.” They would get up to a high point and glass the fairly open country each day. To prepare, he walked the hills in Pennsylvania every night.
“But that doesn’t prepare you for sheep hunting,” he says. “It’s not just a physical hunt, it’s equally a mental game. You have to be mentally focused to get through it. It busts you up.”
Even so, after more than a week in the field, Guerrieri found his ram within range of his McWhorter 7mm STW, but it was a steep downhill shot. Confident of his ability, Guerrieri took the shot and made the book once again—this time with a new Washington State Record.
When he’s not chasing sheep, Guerrieri works in the banking business and he still hunts whitetails near his home outside of Pittsburgh. When you have a sheep tag in your pocket, though, they “get a special place on the calendar.”