View Full Version : Sheep Hunting - where to start ?
10-03-2003, 09:39 AM
I'm 38 years old and have hunted quite a bit of big game. I've never been bitten by the sheep hunting bug, but I can feel it coming on.
I'm seriously looking into applying for licenses next year to start building preference points and hopefully drawing a license before I turn 60.
Does anyone have any suggestions on where to start. In the past I've found the outfitter I've wanted to work with first, with sheep I was thinking of researching the areas I'd like to apply for and then worrying about which outfitter to use when and if I ever draw a tag. The reason for this is it would give me more flexibility since game populations are bound to change over the next 10-20 years and today's best area may not be the best then. Also, I can't help but think that once a non-resident draws a tag that the outfitters will be waiting in line to contact them.
I'm a working stiff so the guaranteed license hunts in Canada & Alaska are out of the question. The 10 day 1x1 guided hunts in Wyoming & Montana aren't priced much different than today's guided elk hunts. If I keep putting away my "quit smoking money" for a few years I think I can swing it.
There are a lot of variables but if anyone has any actual experience with what they've done I would appreciate any pointers you'd have to offer.
10-03-2003, 04:48 PM
They are out of my legue,but cool.Iwent to georgetown CO.on vacation once and we saw a bunch of sheep on the side of the mountianthe next morning .there were a lot of people standing around watching them.i heard the area is a real good sheep hunt area,dont know for sure though.you might check into it.
10-06-2003, 12:16 PM
To hunt for Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep...
Figure out a way to set aside a bunch of buck$. Start applying for tags in every state that offers a non-resident tag. Make some contacts in each state so when you are actually in the running, you can apply for a good unit.
Others may be able to help you with Wyoming and Montana. I would be happy to help with Colorado.
A non-resident tag in Colorado costs around $1600. You need to begin applying each year which means floating the license fee to the state for a couple months every year. You will not draw with less than 3 preference points (3 years) so consider it a loan to the state for a few months each year.
After you have 3 points they go into a weighted preference point systems where you might draw at any time and the odds get better with the more weight added with each unsuccessful year.
Colorado allocates 10 percent of its sheep tags to non-residents. Units with a small number of tags available may not have a non-resident license allocated.
Step one: Go to DOW website (http://wildlife.state.co.us) in February and request an application. Apply for any ram tag, send it back with $$$ and wait for your unsuccessfull letter with a check.
Step two: Deposit check in savings account.
Step three: Repeat steps one and two until 3 preference points are accumulated
Step four: Determine your goals. Sheep hunters are a fanatical lot who like to run the numbers, figure the odds and scout for sheep in the winter. Units with big rams will almost always be harder to draw than those with a history of small sheep. Decide whether you want to play the odds for a smaller ram or play lotto for a good area.
Step five: Go for the inside information. If I am still around, contact me. I am not an outfitter, but will give advice on where to apply based on what I know. I am a resident and not competing for the same tag you are anyway. I also love to go on sheep hunts and will help out if time permits.
Step six: repeat steps two, four and five anually until the coveted sheep tag arrives in the mail.
10-06-2003, 11:33 PM
Good Info QH ;)
10-09-2003, 11:46 AM
MT I can only offer this, I am 36 now and been hunting sheep for 15 years. The mountains are getting higher. It does seem to take me longer to get to the top. I think if you took out a loan,for a guided hunt, and paid it off with your "stop smoking fund" instead of saving up for it. Just the way sheep hunting seems to be going. The overall total number of hunters here in Alberta keeps drooping but the number sheep hunters is rising. It is still a general over the counter tag, but for how long?Are the states the same? Of course Albert is the primier place for sheep but B.C. has some good ones as well.Rocky mountain sheep I am talking about. I know you said you are a working stiff, just like me but with the higher dollar exchange you may be able to get a cancellation hunt. Go to the British Columbia hunting web site, they have all the guides listed. You could phone them or email them. Stones or Dall, maybe they can come around the 8 grand mark.Its high, thats why I have never been. But I just think that sooner is better.
10-10-2003, 07:29 AM
Thanks for the advise everyone. I'm going to explore both these options some more this winter before license application deadlines.
10-10-2003, 07:46 AM
I know nothing about sheep, but watched alot of them when elk hunting Co. I was hunting the area south of Gunnison toward North Pass in the Sawtooth Mountain area. Dont know if you are familiar with that or not. I saw several sheep that with what little knowledge I have and from pics looked to be full curl rams. I have no idea what kind of sheep they were or anything about them. There were enough, I wished I was hunting sheep instead of elk. LOL. Let me know if you know anything about that area or sheep. I am curious.
Good luck M.T., Nice elk by the way.
10-10-2003, 10:41 AM
That unit (S10) has some decent rams in it, but the population of that herd is rather small. The sheep are often seen from the road going over Cochetopa Pass. Due to the small herd size, 1 archery and 1 rifle tag are allocated there per year and no non-resident tags are available.
I believe I know the outfitter who has that area. Between that and one other area he is gaining quite a reputation. He has managed to help harvest a fairly high percentage of B&C sheep. The other area he has has 6 rifle tags each year and one of those is for a non-resident. Last year I helped a good friend of mine take a 190 plus class ram there.
If you really have an interest, start building those preference points! The odds are better than lottery, but you have to play to win.
I talked with you earlier this year about sheep hunting. I took a very nice ram in the Powderhorn area on 9/26. I was very lucky in that I tried hunting on foot,and although I knew where the rams were at, I could not get to them...they were just too far away. I was able to line up some horses toward the latter part of the season and since I knew where the rams were it was relatively easy to get up where they were at.
M.T.-may I make a suggestion? If you are thinking about applying for CO sheep then you are looking at a minimum of 4 years before you have a shot at drawing. When I was sheep hunting (and scouting over the summer) I saw very good numbers of very nice mule deer hanging out at and above timberline. If a guy was willing to invest the time and effort I think hunting these deer with a bow would be a blast, and it would get you into sheep country to look around. You could do this while you are building your preference points. I think it would be a great excuse to spend time in sheep country (although there's really no BAD excuse for spending time in sheep country).
10-15-2003, 10:14 AM
Sheep hunting must have nicotine in it. I know I am hooked.
I offered help when we chatted earlier and we actually had our horses north of Gunnison most of September. It would have been real easy to get them down and get you to your sheep.
Do you have measurments, pictures or details?
Sorry but I haven't figured out how to post photos. But if anyone wants to see a photo send me a PM with your address and I can send one direct from my developer.
My ram was aged at 11 years, with the largest horn 34" with 15"base (the other horn was measured just a bit smaller). He is broomed back to 7/8 curl and carries the mass from the bases quite a ways out. He was the largest in a group of 13 rams. He was missing several front teeth and I don't expect he would have been around much longer-he was an old ram. I was actually looking for a smaller band of 5 rams that I had seen several times and found this bunch by accident. Midway into the stalk for the larger group I did see the smaller bunch but opted to continue after the larger band of rams. They were feeding when I first saw them but bedded down shortly after. I belly crawled into some scattered boulders on the ridge and caught them unaware. But it was 300 yards and no getting any closer. I watched them for a good 15 minutes before deciding which ram to take. Then I had the safety off 4 different times before I was absolutely certain. I wasn't particularly comfortable with a 300 yard shot but I had shot my rifle at that distance and was able to get a solid prone rest over a rock with my daypack under the butt. When I shot it was like a sheep explosion except for my ram which had rolled and was kicking. I had to give him 2 more shots to put him down, and they were all good shots. This ram was tougher than I was lead to believe sheep are supposed to be. I was using my M70 .280 shooting 140 gr. Sierra boattails, with which I have now taken 6 species of big game.
Sheep hunting was a rush like no other and I don't ever expect to duplicate the excitement again.
10-16-2003, 11:30 PM
Congratulations again echo.
I like to hear about old rams being taken. Last year I helped my Father-In-Law kill a 14 year old ram. Saw a couple others that were in the same age group, but were broomed back to 3/4 or more.
A 34" ram is very good for that area. 15" bases are about the norm. You did well and should be proud.
01-29-2005, 10:44 PM
Go Now: I didn't and now that I am 57 I will be going to Texas in 06 and shoot one off one of those farms.
02-28-2005, 11:10 AM
M. T. Pockets.......My advice is to trim ALL the FAT off your body and get into the best possible shape of your life period. You will have a much better time on this hunt and enjoy the high country a lot better while climbing skyward. You might want to also practice shooting that rifle when you are out of breath somewhat because that can and does happen on a sheep hunt.
I outfit bighorn hunts in the World Famous Cadomin mine area of Alberta . If you want a big ram lets talk.
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