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Bowhunting Bighorn Sheep in the Lower 48

Big Horn Sheep

Wild sheep in North America are classified into 4 species. Both the Rocky Mountain Big Horn and Desert Big Horn sheep can be hunted in the lower 48 although it may take a lifetime to draw a permit to hunt either species. Pictured here is Tom Miranda with his Desert Bighorn from Old Mexico and Neil Summers with his Montana ram.

Getting permits can be a life long challenge for drawing a desert sheep permit and some at actions have went for nearly $500,000 recently - just for the permit! Drawing a bighorn tag in the Lower 48 can also takes years, if not decades to accomplish. There are a certain number of permits available in Old Mexico for outfitted hunts; these too are not cheap.

Sheep provide the bowhunter with a truly significant challenge in several ways. The P & Y club recognizes Dall, Stone, Bighorn, and Desert Bighorn classifications. Other record keeping organizations also recognize Fannin and California Big Horn sheep as well. Some things to keep in mind when considering sheep hunting:

  1. Bowhunting sheep can be tough physically, and in many cases, in the high country where sheep are often found, the topography is wide open, taking stalking to an all new level, not to mention excellent vision the sheep possess.
  2. Bowhunting sheep requires outfitters to get into hard to reach places. Bush planes, helicopters, horses, jet boats - all are expensive to charter, own, fix or feed! Hard to reach places, coupled with tough physical conditions, and longer duration's all add up to more money. Sheep hunting isn't out of reach to everyone, but you've got to be committed to bowhunting a tough to harvest trophy.
  3. There are always the auctioned permits that also are available for those who can afford it. It is worthy of noting that literally millions of dollars have been raised to put wild game on more mountains through the generous donations at sportsman at auctions around North America. Three items to remember - Physical condition & skill, Cost, and Time.

Mark Buehrer
North American Consultant
mark@bowhuntingsafari.com

Jay Osting
North American Consultant
jay@bowhuntingsafari.com