Editor’s Note: Pat Reeve and Nicole Jones’ TV show, Driven with Pat and Nicole, airs on the Outdoor Channel Tuesday nights at 8:00 pm and Friday nights at 10:00 pm EST. For the last 3 years, this husband- and-wife duo has won a Golden Moose Award for excellence in TV production from the Outdoor Channel. “Driven” features big-game hunting around the world, but its main focus has been whitetails. Pat and Nicole wear the Mossy Oak Treestand and Break-Up Infinity camo patterns.
One of my dream hunts was a Dall sheep hunt. The Dall sheep was on my bucket list of animals that I wanted to take. When Nicole and I were dating, I took her with me to Alaska to run the video camera on a Dall sheep hunt in the Wrangell Mountains. Our guide was Terry Overly of Pioneer Outfitters. We set this hunt up through George Winslow with Bullseye Outdoor Adventures. George had called us and said, “I have a client who won’t be able to go on his Dall sheep hunt in 2 weeks. Would you and Nicole like to take this hunt?” I said, “Absolutely.” Immediately, we tried to get in shape for this hunt. To be honest, you can’t get in shape for a Dall sheep hunt in 2 weeks, so neither one of us was in the best shape possible.
When we arrived in Alaska, we stayed in base camp for a few days and then packed up to go to a spike camp. One of the guides asked me to get on my horse, so he could measure the stirrups on the saddle to fit me. I was all ready to go – wearing Mossy Oak camouflage and my Nikon binoculars on an elastic bino harness that held them close to my chest, but still allowed me to reach down and pull them up to my eyes. As I leaned forward to climb down, my binoculars got hooked to the saddle horn. Just as my right foot hit the ground, I looked back toward the saddle and felt like Mike Tyson had hit me square in the mouth. The binoculars had come loose from the saddle horn about 5-feet above me, and the force of the elastic in the bino harness propelled them right to my face. These binoculars were a prototype of the Nikon Edge binoculars. The president of Nikon had said, “There only are three pairs of these binoculars in existence, so don’t lose them. I need them back as soon as your sheep hunt is over.” When the binoculars hit me, I thought it had knocked all my front teeth out. I started staggering and seeing stars. I didn’t go all the way to the ground, but I came close to being knocked-out. I grabbed my mouth as blood started pouring through my fingers. I found that I still had all my teeth, but my lip was cut wide open below my nose. We were days away from any hospital or doctor that could suture my lip. Luckily, we had some super glue, and we glued my lip back together.
Even though I felt terrible, I got on the horse, and we started making the 8-hour trip to the spike camp. I quickly discovered that I was terribly allergic to horses. My eyes swelled shut, I started itching, and my lip was hurting. I thought, “This scenario will look hideous on camera.” To make the horseback riding even worse, we were riding though some of the most-beautiful country in the world, and I could hardly see it through my swollen eyes. Finally, we reached the spike camp and set-up our tent. We all were exhausted, especially me. When we woke up the next morning, the temperature was somewhere between 30 and 40 degrees. We didn’t have a heater in our tent, so we had to dress inside our sleeping bags. When we finally got dressed, had a bite to eat and got back on our horses, we rode up a big drainage. At the end of the mountain system, we saw quite a few lambs and ewes but no legal rams. A legal ram has to have a full curl on his horns and must be 9-years old or older. You determine the age of a lamb by counting the rings on his horns. I told my guide I couldn’t shoot a ram unless he definitely was legal, so we stared to climb.