S.H. girl gets tag andbags first big horn sheep

For many hunters, the thought of drawing a big horn sheep tag is only a dream.

For a Sweet Home Junior High school student, the dream became a reality on her first tag application.

Julia Henthorne, now 14, was just 13 when she successfully drew a tag to hunt the elusive sheep in eastern Oregon.

Her father, Ron, an avid outdoorsman, said the entire family applied for tags.

“She really wasn’t excited when I first told her she’d drawn a tag,” Henthorne said. “Then, after I explained what that meant, she got pumped up.”

The younger Henthorne is a cross country runner at the SHJH, but hadn’t worked out all summer. Some of the terrain she, her dad and their friend, Roger Leabow of Harrisburg encountered put them to a test.

“It was nearly vertical when we were in some of the canyons,” Henthorne said. “The first day we walked 3 1/2 miles up Lone Creek to find a sheep trail and then it was straight up.”

Animal numbers were good, Henthorne said. She saw at least one sheep every day in the Catlow Rim area west of the Steens Mountains.

“It was dry, rough, rocky…a lot of lava,” she said.

September 7, the hunting party left their pickup truck about daylight and by noon they had located Henthorne’s sheep. They were about five miles from their truck.

“We were in a wilderness area so we had to walk most of the time,” Julia’s dad said.

Julia’s ram was among nine others and the hunters got within 50 yards of them.

She used a .243 and fell the animal with one shot.

“I’d been practicing at about 200 yards and could hit two inch patterns,” Henthorne said.

The sheep’s horns green scored a 161 1/8.

“She lost about 16 points because the horns had been broomed (rubbed or broken off),” Ron Henthorne said. “If that hadn’t happened it would have been close to the state record. The record did come out of that area, about a half mile away. So, they probably came out of the same gene pool.”

“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had but I wouldn’t want to do it again,” Julia said.

The hunters packed the animal in one trip.

Its meat was ground up and mixed with a mountain lion Ron killed on the trip.

“We found four lion kills, two sheep a doe and a beef calf,” he said.

Julia says she enjoys hunting because it’s something other girls at her school don’t usually do.

Her dad said he is very proud of his daughter, because the hunt was tough.

“I was very glad she shot it when she did because I was just about to start complaining,” he said. “We figured that over the four days of the hunt we walked about 60 miles.”

In addition to hunting, Julia enjoys riding horses, cross country and track.