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Artesia woman has memorable experience after drawing once-in-a-lifetime bighorn tag

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Kristen Young isn’t anywhere near your typical trophy wife, this local is mom of two is also a registered nurse, respiratory therapist, esthetician and entrepreneur. Although she spends much of her time researching beauty and wellness products for her Kože Esthetics clients, Kristen is rugged and fierce as they come.

By the age of 9, Kristen had already obtained her hunter safety license and grew up hunting deer and other wildlife with her dad. Now, she and her husband, Nolan have made hunting and the great outdoors an integral part of their family’s lifestyle. Together they have experienced a variety of unique hunts all over the country. Their two young children, Talon and Jensen share a love for outdoor adventures and both kiddos have a few trophies of their own.

Every year the family applies for the New Mexico Big Game Draw and this year Kristen hit the jackpot with a once in a lifetime Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ram tag. Knowing it would be a difficult tag to fill, Kristen was excited for the challenge and adventure.

Earlier this month, she punched her tag at Latir Wilderness, near Taos, scoring a 174 with her ram. With the help of Frontier Outfitting out of Belen, Kristen was able to accomplish her hunt in 3 days and 2 nights. Sleeping under the stars and filtering their drinking water from a nearby stream, this hunt was only meant for the rough and tough.

The group spent day 1 scouting the area and set up camp for the night knowing they had an early morning and intense day ahead of them. Day 2 began with a 4:00 a.m. wake up call, the group divided and hiked the rugged terrain before the sun came up as the guides wanted to get multiple views from above the timber line.

As the sun began to rise, a herd of sheep were spotted about two miles away. Kristen and the group spent the better part of the day hiking and glassing the mountain side in hopes of spotting the herd again that evening. During their journey, they spotted four bears and had to take cover on the mountainside as a hail storm came through.

After 6 hours of waiting, one of Kristen’s spotters located a herd of sheep across the canyon but they were all too young so they decided to return to their original post. To everyones surprise, the herd they spotted earlier in the day was emerging from over the ridge. Kristen dropped to the ground and eventually saw eight heads pop over the hill. When the sheep came in range, Kristen and her guide determined the most mature ram in the herd, she locked in on her target about 100 yards away, and that’s when she made her shot with her 300 Winchester Magnum rifle.

Shocked from the sounds and intensity of the shot, the crew lost sight of the ram at first but tracked him just 20 yards away from where he was standing. By the time they regrouped, it was too late and too dangerous for them to pack the animal out so they covered him with their extra rain gear and jackets so their human scent would deter other animals away.

Returning to camp, physically exhausted after 20+ hours of hunting the group only slept for a few hours and returned on horseback to pack out the ram the next morning. Kristen’s Rocky Mountain big horn sheep was taken to the the NM Game & Fish Department in Santa Fe where a sheep biologist measures and scores the animals. Blood samples and nasal swabs are also taken for research purposes.

Kristen explained to the Press “this was definitely a once in a lifetime hunt and experience that I will never forget. I also want to thank my husband Nolan for supporting me on this journey, he paid for it after all! Also our friend Robbie Miller for coming along and always being there to help me. And my guides, Bobby Duran and Dallas Kiker, I would have died without ya’ll!”

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