When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to find my next Sports Afield Magazine in our mailbox. The magazine’s famed gun editor, Jack O’Connor, who often wrote stirring tales about his hunts, was one of my two favorite outdoor writers. He had most to do with my growing determination to become an outdoor writer some day as well and maybe even follow in his footsteps in mountains inhabited by Dall sheep. I finally did both, Dall sheep hunting twice. Remarkably, my guide during a three-week hunt in the Selwyn Mountains in the Yukon Territory, a Klinkit from Ross River named Paul Fox, had wrangled horses on Jack O’Connor sheep hunts run by Field Johnson, Jack’s favorite sheep guide who was later killed by a grizzly bear. That adventurous hunt, using a bolt action rifle chambered for .270 like Jack, of course, made it obvious to me why Jack so enjoyed sheep hunting.
Beginning in the early 2000s, my wife Jene and I often visited the Sonora Desert in Arizona where we had opportunities to observe and photograph the deer Jack first hunted in his youth – the elusive Coues (pronounced “cows’) sub-species of whitetails. Seeing them up close where Jack had seen them was a thrill to me as well.