Hunting can be a highly rewarding or disappointing experience. You can bag the animal of your dreams with proper research, planning, and effort – but if you need more preparation, you may question why you even attempted.
A DIY wild sheep hunt can check off a big item on your bucket list if successful.
You may start to doubt your sanity if you are not in good physical shape or need the proper hunting equipment. Several types of sheep can be hunted, each with unique tactics and gear requirements. When planning your first DIY sheep hunt, research the specific species you’re interested in and what it will take to hunt it successfully.
Common Sheep Species You Can Hunt
Although it is possible to chase numerous feral sheep in North America, pursuing them independently posits a few issues. In several jurisdictions, it is only allowable to appeal for a particular species hunt once in one’s life, and appointments can be delayed. Various locales allot different rules for hunting, so a DIY pursuit could not be determined by where you reside. Unless you have a direct blood relation in Alaska who can accompany you on the quest, non-Canadian citizens must employ a guide. Before departing on one of these hunts, comprehend all the instructions and regulations.
Sheep possess exceptional vision and can detect hunters from far away unless the hunter is concealed. Many of these sheep hunts happen beyond the timberline, so you will probably only have rocks and the land’s formation to assist you during your endeavors. Mountainous terrain generally has more severe climate conditions than other places. The temperature can be uncertain, so you should be adaptable to your hunt place. Extra details on hunting sheep kinds are attainable from the Wild Sheep Foundation. Here are several of the more widespread varieties.
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep
The renowned Rocky Mountain Bighorn is the most common sheep type and a mesmerizing icon for America’s formidable mountain range. The largest of North America’s sheep species occupy most of the western USA and Canada. Since they tend to spend their days in woodlands or snoozing on rocky outcrops, tracking them down can be troublesome. Additionally, their pigmentation allows them to blend effortlessly into their environment with conspicuous vision. Numerous individuals become overly enthusiastic about bighorn sheep hunting due to the enthralling terrain these creatures surround themselves in and the difficulty of catching them.
Compared to the bighorn sheep, Dall sheep are smaller and have white coats. The animals only occur in Alaska and northwest Canada down to British Columbia. Unlike other sheep species, Dall sheep’s white coats make them easier to spot when hunting. This is especially true when there is little snow cover. Although it may be possible to see the animal, getting close enough to hunt it is much more challenging. When planning a Dall sheep hunt, be aware that you will be exposed to steep, rocky slopes with little vegetation to provide cover.
Desert Bighorn Sheep
The desert bighorn is the smallest native sheep species in North America and primarily occupies the American southwest and Mexico. The color of the sandstone is dusty brown or tan, which helps it blend in with the arid desert landscape. The horns on this sheep are thinner than those on the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. It’s doubtful that most people will be able to get a tag to hunt a desert bighorn, which makes it challenging to complete a DYI. North American Grand Slam for Sheep.
Stone sheep occupy the same general area as Dall sheep but have horns more like those of bighorn sheep. Although their colors can differ, dolphins typically range from dark gray to black, white, and chocolate. The sheep’s unique coloration is what makes them attractive to hunters.
The aoudad sheep has introduced to the southwest states from North Africa decades ago. Today, it can be found in several southwest states or on private hunting ranches in Texas. The pronghorn is a species of antelope well-suited to living in arid conditions, similar in size to the desert bighorn. The horns of a pronghorn antelope spread outward and back, curling as they grow. The animal has a blond-yellow mane below its neck and chest, which extends down the front legs and is called “chaps.”
DIY Sheep Hunting Tactics
It can be tricky to go hunting for sheep on your own. Although they are challenging to see, sheep can see you quite easily. In addition, the terrain where the sheep live is very harsh, difficult to access, and isolated, which tests your strength and perseverance with every step. This is why it is beneficial to be in good physical shape and have mental endurance before going on a hunt. Be prepared to hike over rugged terrain while carrying all your hunting supplies. I have an article with several videos on hunting workouts to get you started. Mountain sheep hunting can help you prepare for a future do-it-yourself mountain goat hunt!
The main thing you’ll notice with most do-it-yourself sheep hunting is that you must spend a lot of time looking through binoculars. Once you have finished searching an area, recheck it after some time. Given that rams wear conspicuous headgear, it is surprising that they manage to avoid being seen.
Suppose you live in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon, or the Northwest Territories. In that case, you can track down four of the subspecies of creatures each year. Even though it requires a considerable expenditure for prepping, travel, and management, it is still an excellent opportunity. You can discover hike-able terrain in these regions and territories. Regrettably, however, the prime spots are only accessible using transport vehicles or packers/natty services, or costly seaplane rentals. You can acquire a permit to pursue Dall’s sheep in Alaska from any hunting and fishing store. Accessing the best zones of sheep-hunting in Alaska encounters similar predicaments to those experienced for those found in Canada. Often, paid service sand guides are necessitated.
The risk of pursuing bighorn sheep is a pricey undertaking. No matter what species of game you seek, it will be expensive. If you aim to hunt Bighorns, Dall’s, Stone, or Desert Bighorns, be ready to dish out more than if you were after a different type of game. Hunting these critters necessitates a substantial monetary commitment. These creatures generally inhabit rural and mountainous areas. So, you can incur a considerable expense to make your way to the hunt location. It may take some time before you reach the expedition’s starting point.
For non-resident sheep hunters, a Dall’s sheep hunt is usually their first experience hunting rams. Hunting Dall is typically the cheapest and most accessible of the four in North America. Hunts generally cost $16,000-$20,000 USD. If you’re looking at a hunt offered at a discount, be aware that there’s usually a reason for the lower price, and buyers beware. Spending your money in a good area is a wise investment as it will save you money in the long term. Dall’s sheep can be found in remote regions of Alaska, BC, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The most remote hunts in the territories command a price of more than $20,000. For many people, the positive aspects of being in a remote location with beautiful scenery and the opportunity to experience the wilderness in its natural state outweigh the costs.
The Stone’s Sheep live in Northern BC and the southeastern part of the Yukon Territory. Non-resident hunters must be accompanied by a guide. A hunt for a Stone can cost between $38,000 and $50,000, making them more expensive than Dall’s hunting trips. The quantity of tags issued each year is managed closely, leading to high demand and increased cost. Hunting Stone’s sheep is a fantastic experience. However, it can be challenging. Located in remote, rugged mountain environments, these sheep are hard to spot because of their dark fur coats.
You’ll find bighorns with distinctive horns in the Western U.S., British Columbia, and Alberta. In the US, many horns are on a draw system, making them difficult to obtain. Despite many attempts, some people
Governor’s Tags can be bought at auction in most US states, so you don’t have to rely on the draw system if you can afford one. In British Columbia and Alberta, you need a guide to hunting sheep unless you can afford to buy a “special” Minister’s Permit from the province where the sheep live. A permit to hunt guided is expensive in both the US and Canada. Lower Mainland Moose Tag for $85,600.00 In 2012, the Montana Governor’s Tag sold for $300,000, and the BC. Lower Mainland Moose Tag for $85,600. The minister’s Permit was sold for $250,000. Most people who want sheep hunting must go on a guided hunt as they cannot get the necessary permits.
Bighorns are the most difficult of the wild sheep because they have low populations compared to Dall’s and Stone’s. There are restrictions on horns, and there are limited outfitter tags. The terrain in which they live is also rough. An average market value hunt costs between $25,000 and $35,000 with reputable outfits with a successful track record.
Desert Bighorn numbers have increased significantly in Mexico and the US over the past few decades. However, they are still on a waiting list in the US, so it usually means applying for several years without guaranteeing success.
In Mexico, Desert Bighorn hunts typically cost between $45,000 and $50,000, with the most reputable outfits in areas with solid populations and high historical success rates. The price of this hunt is decreasing as the population increases, and more outfitters are available. The cost of a Desert sheep hunt can vary depending on the class of sheep you hope to harvest, with some hunts costing upwards of $90,000.
If you want to hunt sheep, choose your favorite species and get after it. If you’re going to hunt all four types of sheep, start with the Dall’s sheep since it is less expensive, and you are more likely to be successful. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with multiple subspecies of sheep, pick one and go out and explore! One of the best things about sheep hunting is seeing the animals in their natural habitat.
Assuming you are looking into purchasing a guided sheep hunt, here are a few key steps that will help you choose the guide/outfitter and area. This may be your only chance to get a ram. So take your time to research and select the most reputable outfit for your hunt, as this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.