On Aug. 30, a 13-year-old girl made sheep hunting history. Cami Cunningham recently became the youngest female and the second youngest hunter ever to compete in the North American Sheep Grand Slam.
During the event, the Texas native successfully hunted four North American sheep species: the desert bighorn, the Dall, the Rocky Mountain bighorn, and the Stone.
For the Cunningham family, sheep hunting is less of a recreational sport than a family tradition. The children in the family grow up spending their time hunting for sheep in Alaska at just ten years old. The yearly ritual began with Cami’s grandfather Barry and her father, Russell.
Cami began her North American Sheep Grand Slam campaign in Texas, where at just nine years old, she tagged a 171-inch desert bighorn ram. That same year, she had a successful Dall sheep hunt in Alaska and hunted a caribou. In addition, she killed a grizzly bear that ran into camp with a 712-yard shot.
13-year-old makes history in North American Sheep Grand Slam: ‘I worked really hard for my sheep’
However, the Rocky Mountain bighorn was still on her list. So, Cami and her dad traveled to Montana to check the item off her grand slam bucket list.
However, they ran into some logistical challenges. First, the family had to travel to British Columbia to get the Stone sheep tag and complete Cami’s slam. Their first attempt to do so was in 2021, when Cami was 12. However, COVID-19 vaccine requirements forced them to go later in the year. Sadly, they came from the hunt empty-handed. However, they made it back to B.C. this year, and she got her slam on the 10th day of their trip with an uphill shot on a stud ram.
“As soon as he dropped, I just started bawling,” the young hunter said in a recent interview. “We were so excited. The weight had been lifted off our shoulders, it was so relieving.”
However, her road to a win was marred by challenging shots, strenuous hikes, never-ending days, and long horns. During all four hunts, she carried a 7 LRM from Gunwerks. “I worked really hard for my sheep,” she revealed.
As for her dad, he couldn’t be more proud this his daughter is carrying on the long-standing family tradition. He’s also thrilled that his youngest daughter Stormy is learning to love hunting sheep with her sister and dad.
“I had a premonition when I was 9 or 10 that I was going to have two daughters. And so it’s always been that I would take my daughters to Alaska to hunt Dall sheep,” Russell said. “Since they were born, I’ve been trying to teach them to be strong women. My wife and I have spent this time allowing the girls to be tough, allowing them to be strong.”