Bighorn Sheep?

nunt'nbutmuleys

Active Member
Feb 25, 2011
195
0
Any fellas on here been on a bighorn hunt ? Would ya go few days early before opening day? My plan was to go up day before but I've heard that guides are set up on Rams for opening day and after first couple days the Rams bail off tops down into timber and are harder to hunt. I should draw this year and never been on a sheep hunt with anyone let alone on my own tag. So I guess what I'm looking for is a day early early enough or should I plan on more days? Any input from some experience would be much appreciated!!
 

mntnguide

Very Active Member
I would put in as many freaking days as you can!!! I scouted over 2 weeks straight when I had a tag in Idaho and it was still the toughest hunt of my life...sheep hunting is not easy, and it's basically once in a lifetime damn near..I would be putting in far more time than 1 day ahead. Guides will be up there before openers set up on the big rams I would bet for sure. Whatever time you can put in,I highly suggest you do so! Sheep can disappear in a hurry and seem like they vanish in thin air..they aren't always gonna stay in an area especially when they get pressured

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hoshour

Veteran member
I agree. For a once in a lifetime hunt, you'd have to be crazy to wait until the day before on a DIY hunt. Spotting and stalking sheep is a lot harder than it looks, and if you want a big ram, you'll need to find him first. If it were me, I'd take at least a week to scout ahead of time and if I lived close to scout more, I would scout all I could before the season.
 

nunt'nbutmuleys

Active Member
Feb 25, 2011
195
0
Whoops my bad, I do plan to scout has much as possible during summer, just trying to decide when I find a Ram I want to hunt should I try and go in a few days ahead and sit on him or the day before. Don't wanna chance kicking him out of the country before the opener. Do sheep leave the country or stick around the same general area if bumped? I would watch from a distance but someone else could come into the area and bump them. Just curious how sheep act if bumped! Thanks fellas
 

mntnguide

Very Active Member
Haha..that makes sense. I figured you'd be scouting but just making sure! I would say it depends on which area you Drew and are hunting?..if it's one of the more popular units,you probably won't be the only one watching a good ram. Yes, sheep will flat out bail out of the country if spooked bad. If it were me and I found the ram I wanted to tag, I would be up there 2-3 days before opener depending on last time I had watched him so I had time to relocate him and I would try to do so at a distance. Set up camp further, then day before opener find your ram and literally sleep on him so you are right on him the next morning hopefully! I love sheep hunting, it is the most frustrating but incredible hunt. I wish I was drawing a tag anytime soon!haha. You should have a blast though no matter

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BuzzH

Very Active Member
Apr 15, 2015
822
707
I would definitely scout as much as you can.

I drew an AZ desert tag in 2012 and spent about 10 days prior to the season scouting. IME, the best part of the hunt was actually the scouting. I never saw another sheep hunter until 2 days before the season (granted there were only 6 total tags). I kept track of all the rams I was finding and had a list of 3-4 that were rams I would be happy with.

My number 1 ram was found by a group of hunters the night before the season opened. They were at the base of the hills watching them, I was watching them from a different angle. I had already decided at that point, I was going to hunt my number 2 ram rather than have that turn into a total cluster shag. I didn't want a once in a lifetime hunt turning into a foot-race competition with another hunter.

Interestingly enough, about 40 minutes before dark, those sheep, including my number 1 ram, moved about a mile north and the other hunters lost them. They weren't paying attention, too busy talking I guess, when the rams moved rather abruptly. You could see the hunters panicking, they split into 2 groups, one group looking north and one south...they flat couldn't see them anymore. The rams had tucked into a large draw and from where they were, I knew there was no way the other hunters could see them.

At that point, since I knew they didn't know where those rams went, I then planned to hunt my number 1 ram.

The next morning, before daylight, my buddy and I made our way into the draw we last saw the rams in. The other hunters were nowhere to be found. About 30 minutes into the season, I shot my ram at about 80 yards. The other hunters gambled that the rams had went south when they lost them, leaving me with a wonderful hunt, all by ourselves.

IMO, it was more important to enjoy hunting rams without worrying about other hunters. If they wouldn't have lost those sheep, I was planning on hunting a different ram.

It would be a real bummer to have to compete with another hunter over a ram...I personally wouldn't ever do that. Remember its supposed to be a fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience, not a foot-race.

Few pictures while scouting.

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BuzzH

Very Active Member
Apr 15, 2015
822
707
I've also hunted Montana with my Dad, and a good friend that drew.

Those hunts, we waited until later in the season, and did essentially no scouting prior to the season. In fact, we never hunted in either case until November, even though the season started Sept. 15.

My buddies tag, he just showed up and we started hunting. About 3 days in, we found a good group of rams and he as able to take a 10.5 year old ram, 40" on each horn, that qualified for the awards book, at 179 and change net. There was another ram with this one, that was an absolute dinosaur. It was a tough choice between the two. The other ram was killed the next year, and it was 14.5 years old, heavily broomed, and just squeaked into the record book at 180 and change. Wish I would have taken pictures of the other ram, it was a cool sheep.

My buddy (on the left), with his Montana ram.



My Dad's hunt was a bit different. I went up a week early and scouted for him, since he was still working. Again, that was the most fun for me, just getting to look over a bunch of rams. I found about 40-50 rams that were 3/4 curl or better, maybe 5-6 that were record book heads.

I took a TON of photos of sheep, and when Dad got off work, I showed him all the pictures I'd taken. It was a tough call on the top 5, but he liked the looks of this one, better than the rest:



It took a day to find this one again, as I hadn't kept real close track of him, too busy looking for more rams. We watched the ram until dark. The next morning we hiked into where he was, and found him in a hell of a snowstorm. Actually, got pretty lucky, as they had not moved more than a few hundred yards from the night before.

Dad shot it at about 90 yards or so, turned out being over 40 on the long side, 8.5 years old, and officially scored 183 3/8 net.



Again, the most fun for me on all the hunts was the scouting.
 

mtncowboy

Member
May 10, 2014
76
0
WY
I have mulled this question over a lot. I was too scared that I would bump the rams if I was in there super early, so we went in the day before. We relocated the ram the day before the season, I took cover a half a mile away out of sight. It was super hard, but I didn't want to blow him out. We were out of sight all afternoon. Snuck in opening morning and he was no where to be found. Waited and glassed all day, nothing. Luckily, turned him up the next day and we got the job done. I think each case is unique and there is no perfect answer. Is it a Wyoming tag with 40 other hunters or a AZ desert tag and you have the area to yourself, is it close to the rut or not, are there wolves in the area....the list goes on and on. Good luck, it will be fantastic!
 

Timberstalker

Veteran member
Feb 1, 2012
2,242
3
Bend, Or
I had a Oregon sheep tag in '11. I scouted a couple times in the summer and found two shooter rams. I went a week prior to season to make sure they were there and keep tabs on them, they were gone. I searched the entire week before season and couldn't find them. Once the season started I had a two week season and one week of vacation left and I was at ground zero. It took me seven more days to find a good ram with no more vacation time remaining. If I had it to do over I would have saved some pre season scouting days for the actual season. I could have very easily ended up empty, and having to go back to work with an entire week of season left. I would have certainly lost my job and my wife wouldn't have been too pleased with me. It turned out to be the most difficult, stressful and rewarding hunt of my life. I don't know what your situation is but use your time wisely, I didn't do a very good job at that.
 

nunt'nbutmuleys

Active Member
Feb 25, 2011
195
0
Thanks guys for all the input. I'll see where I'm at for vaca time and see what I can do. Depending on area and drainage I could be hunting or scouting in about 4 hrs from home. I've got some research done but plenty more to do. I've already put in but coming up with some good info on neighboring unit, so I may be changing my choice depending on how rest of my research plays out before they modify time is up. Either area I should draw at 100% going off last years odds assuming things don't get crazy. Anyway getting pretty fired up for the expierence!!! The only part I'm not to thrilled about is the grizzlies. I would love to see them but from some distance I'm hoping haha!!!
 

Umpqua Hunter

Veteran member
May 26, 2011
3,564
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58
North Umpqua, Oregon
Wyoming has a long sheep season so you have a lot of options. In Oregon we have a week so you need to be there early.

On my Wyoming hunt, I went mid season. The only other sheep hunter I saw was at the trailhead coming out with his guide and a ram. I saw 40+ rams.

On my son's Wyoming tag we went for the next to the last week of the season and he shot his rams within sight of the road as the rams were dropping down to the sage for the winter.
 
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nunt'nbutmuleys

Active Member
Feb 25, 2011
195
0
Anyone know if game and fish still sells a list of the previous tag holders for sheep? Tried looking on the site but can't find anything.
 

sheephunter

Active Member
Jan 29, 2012
245
10
Colorado
However you decide to start out your hunt I would recommend having a Plan B in place. And also Plans C&D. I was up to about plan E and had to adapt quickly before I was successful on my sheep hunt.
 

WEST RIVER

New Member
Jan 25, 2016
10
0
If you go to a regional game and fish office they will let you look at the pictures they take of every ram and give you a sheet that has all the harvest information date killed drainage killed and that kind of stuff for not just last year but previous years
and it is free.
 

CoHiCntry

Veteran member
Mar 31, 2011
1,390
19
Colorado Mountains
If you go to a regional game and fish office they will let you look at the pictures they take of every ram
Sounds more like grocery shopping... I'm all for stacking the odds in your favor, especially on a once in a lifetime hunt, but seeing a pic of every ram on the mountain definitely takes some of the adventure & element of surprise out of it!
 

nunt'nbutmuleys

Active Member
Feb 25, 2011
195
0
I wouldn't mind looking at Rams that have been harvested so I can get some idea what to look for in size. I think my goal is gonna be 160+ but if I see a ram I like not matter score I'm gonna try my damnest to harvest him. And I'm thinking no sheep hunt is ever gonna be like grocery shopping!! Ok maybe in one aspect, shopping with the wife now that's a challenge ��