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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've decided I'm going to start putting in for bighorn sheep hunts. I've received good advice from several forum members about putting in for the draw in Utah.

I'm also investigating the possibility of applying for out of state sheep hunts, and I'm wondering if there are any folks on here who play that game and are willing to help me as I consider which other states I might want to apply in.

Yes, I know odds are horrendous. I have done enough research to have a pretty realistic view of the sheep hunting situation as it now stands. However, in some situations, it may still be worth it to apply.

Take Utah, for example. Last year, 7893 nonresidents applied for 3 desert bighorn tags. Those are some ridiculously bad odds, but $10 gets you a small chance and a point for next year (although points don't get you too far in a situation like that). At worst, you've made a $10 donation to a wildlife agency (which is small compared to my typical donations to conservation groups).

[Thank God I didn't grow up in Vegas. I just might be a destitute gambling addict by now. But anyway...]

By contrast, look at Idaho. Draw odds are better, and it's a lottery system, so I'm not behind the guys who have been applying for 20+ years. But, I've got to pay $155 for a license and front a $2100 tag fee to apply.

Then, there are bonus points to consider. I'm young, so is it worth it to start building points in some other states? I'm not sure on this one. My gut tells me that as a nonresident, points probably won't help a lot, unless I'm still able to hunt when I'm 75 years old and most of my competition have either drawn tags or died waiting. At the same time, I don't know where life will take me. If I end up moving to a state with some sheep later on, I'm going to wish I had some points there.

At this point in my life, I'm a college student, and I will be for 1-3 more years. This makes it hard to front large tag fees or buy expensive nonresident licenses. However, if the unthinkable happens and I draw a tag while in school, I do anticipate being able to finance a trip. After all, there are dozens of companies begging me to borrow some money from them. :mrgreen:

Once I'm on Christmas break, I will be conducting further research on the drawing policies/procedures of each state, as well as odds, areas, etc. But if you're already knowledgeable about these matters and wouldn't mind saving me a little bit of time, I would really appreciate a post or a pm about how different states operate and what I should consider before applying. If you want to tell me some good areas to apply for as well, I won't turn you down. However, I don't expect that information, since you probably don't want me making your odds any worse.

Thank you, and happy hunting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
:O--O--O:

Nobody? I'll answer my own question, then. The Cabela's T.A.G.S. website is a good resource for basic info on the license and fee information for each state, as well as which states are good to apply for. It's been a good starting point. Of course, you've got to pay for most of their good information. It looks like a nice service, but it may be a bit expensive for me, on top of everything else.
 

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Nevada for Desert BigHorn

Montana for Rocky Mountain BigHorn

Huntin' fool is the best place for research.

Lottery Sheep

New Mexico and Idaho
 

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yep, I play this game. Just my .02 cents worth. If you are looking for desert bighorn then you have to put in for Nevada, Arizona, NM and since you are a resident; Utah. If you are looking into Rocky's then Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, AZ, NM and Utah.

The downside to AZ and NV are that you must purchase the license prior to applying. Colorado started something last year but my memory is a little weak but essentially they are like ID, WY and NM in that the tag fee must be put up front. You do have the option of purchasing a point only in Wyoming from 1 Jul-30 Sep of each year for 100.

NM, ID has no bonus points straight up random draw. Colorado uses preference points but you must apply for three years before you get into the pool. NV, AZ, MT and UT have bonus points while WY has preference points that act the same. I also apply for California Deserts but I get a reduced hunting license or I wouldn't do it. Oregon and Washington state also have some great sheep hunting but in my opinion I cannot justify the expense of the state license for the odds.

I utilize Huntin fool, Eastman's and Cabelas T.A.G.S for my research. Now having said all that I have not drawn a sheep tag but, it sure is fun hoping that someday I will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks to both of you. I'm trying to justify the cost of applying in Nevada and/or Arizona to begin building points for desert bighorns, but we'll see what funds are looking like a little closer to app time (Nevada especially looks like one I need to get started in).

I also need to decide whether I'd rather play the point game for Colorado's RM bighorns or throw my name into the lottery draw for its desert bighorns.

Priority will probably go to desert bighorns for now, mainly because I like the idea of hunting them more than RM or California bighorns. Also, if I want to buy a hunt for deserts, it costs about twice as much as an RM hunt, so it would be preferable to draw the desert tag. I might (but probably won't) be able to afford to hunt rockies one day, but I doubt I will ever have the kind of money it takes to buy an auction desert tag or hunt them in Mexico.

Now having said all that I have not drawn a sheep tag but, it sure is fun hoping that someday I will.
Agreed. Right now, the hoping, dreaming, and planning is the only real fun sheep hunting has ever given me (I've never been on a hunt, or known anyone with a tag). But with patience and careful planning, I'll get that tag one way or another. 8)
 

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Arizona isn't so bad if you pick up a tag to hunt on after you purchase the hunting license for the draw. Javelina are plentiful and fun to hunt down there and the spring hunt gets you our of the house during the winter.

Colorado you have to have 3 preference points before you are even considered for the draw, then it goes to a bonus points system and if you want the point you need to pay for it unless you have a yearly hunting or fishing license from the previous year.

I figured that it is a lot easier to just save the money and then go somewhere that you can purchase the tag over the counter, but then that area usually also requires that you hire a guide.
 

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Wyoming's Bighorn Sheep from http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyl...le_05219ab1-a776-557e-a476-5aff035fd278.html:
For bighorn sheep, 192 licenses were issued with 144 going to residents, resulting in drawing odds of 3.7 percent. Nonresident sheep hunters bucked even more difficult odds with 2,303 hunters putting in for 48 licenses with 2.1 percent drawing odds. Odds for individual hunters vary depending on hunt areas and the number of preference points each hunter had before applying.

Of the 48 Wyoming non-resident sheep tags offered in 2015, 7 were from the random draw and 41 were from the Preference Point system. Maximum number of preference points in 2015 = 19.

25% of all sheep tags in Wyoming go to non-residents; most sheep states are 10%. Most all Wyoming sheep are in the wilderness areas and non-residents must have a guide to hunt in the wilderness areas. Guided sheep hunts run from $6000 to $9000.

The Wyoming Fish & Game answers to the Recreation and Tourism Board and the outfitters have a lot of clout with them.

 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alright - I've got apps in for Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and Utah.

I couldn't swing an app for Wyoming this year, but I guess I can still buy a point if I want to. It's hard to justify it when (if I understand the system correctly) points don't do you any good until you're at the max pool for the unit you want to apply for. That probably wouldn't occur until I'm in my 60s, at least.

Idaho and New Mexico will follow when I have more money (it was enough of a trial to float the CO tag fee this year - and all for a #@&! bonus point).

Part of me feels entirely crazy for attempting this. But I'm buying chances and daydreams, all while funding wildlife agencies. I suppose there are worse ways to spend my entertainment budget. And, if I keep this going for 30-40 years, my odds of drawing a tag do become appreciable.

Good luck, everyone. We'll see what comes of it all as the years go by.
 

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If you're single and will have the time, look into the OTC bighorn hunt in Montana. Terrible success rates and bear issues but you'll at least have a tag...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you're single and will have the time, look into the OTC bighorn hunt in Montana. Terrible success rates and bear issues but you'll at least have a tag...
I've done some reading on the unlimited areas. Harvesting a ram on an unlimited unit would probably be the pinnacle of my hunting career... it sounds like quite a challenge, but a very tempting one to pursue.

That hunt is certainly on my radar. I hope to be well-equipped and savvy enough to do that hunt within a decade. I'm not to that point yet. And I think I'd need to find someone to go with.
 

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Agreed, my only concern would be if you think the OTC hunt will last that long. I was going to do it 5 years ago, spend the month prior to the opener camping/scouting but then I met this girl... And next thing you know I'm married with 2 kids! My advice if you want to do an awesome, challenging hunt like that is to avoid women and their devil vagina magic.
 

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It will probably be cheaper and you will hunt sooner, if you save for a Dall Sheep hunt in Alaska with an outfitter.

Clarq, I may be game to give the unlimited sheep a run in a few years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It will probably be cheaper and you will hunt sooner, if you save for a Dall Sheep hunt in Alaska with an outfitter.

Clarq, I may be game to give the unlimited sheep a run in a few years.
True. I'm planning on a Dall Sheep hunt (my goal is to do it by age 35). Once I'm out of school, I figure I'll save for a few months to pay for hunt apps, and the rest of the year for a trip up north.

I'm open to try the unlimited hunt, if I can survive a few more years of school...

Agreed, my only concern would be if you think the OTC hunt will last that long. I was going to do it 5 years ago, spend the month prior to the opener camping/scouting but then I met this girl... And next thing you know I'm married with 2 kids! My advice if you want to do an awesome, challenging hunt like that is to avoid women and their devil vagina magic.
Women tend to avoid me like the plague, so I shouldn't have any trouble there. :mrgreen:

( :cry: )

If priorities change, well... priorities change. Some things are more important than hunting, family being one of them. If I ever end up in your situation, maybe I'll just haul the whole family up to Alaska so I can get my outdoor fix (and my Dall sheep hunt) on the cheap. ;-)
 

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True. I'm planning on a Dall Sheep hunt (my goal is to do it by age 35). Once I'm out of school, I figure I'll save for a few months to pay for hunt apps, and the rest of the year for a trip up north.

I'm open to try the unlimited hunt, if I can survive a few more years of school...

Women tend to avoid me like the plague, so I shouldn't have any trouble there. :mrgreen:

( :cry: )

If priorities change, well... priorities change. Some things are more important than hunting, family being one of them. If I ever end up in your situation, maybe I'll just haul the whole family up to Alaska so I can get my outdoor fix (and my Dall sheep hunt) on the cheap. ;-)
Why do you think I'm moving the family up this May?! 8)
 

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If it really is about sheep hunting, you can do it every year, in any state you want. Save up $1,000, and buy a really nice camera. Mount it on a rifle stock, and treat your photography trip like a hunt. Scout, prepare, camp, hike, everything like you'd do for a hunt. And then head out for your "shot" at a sheep. Once you get it, take the money you would have dropped on a tag, and buy half a beef or a pig or something to fill the freezer. And get the pictures printed to hang in your man-cave. Seriously, for these kinds of OIL tags that have powerball kind of odds, the camera route can really be a cool deal. If it really is about the pursuit, then you can do that part, and have an amazing time doing it. Then when you are rich and famous from your photography, you can hire out a hunt in Canada or something so you can kill one if that is still your deal.

I'm getting more and more turned on with the photography deal. On Monday this week, I shot 6 mountain goats and a moose, and yesterday I took a nice bull elk - one of the few in the herd still packing his antlers. If it really is the hunt you are after, photography can fill in nicely for "hunting" expeditions. In addition to doing it every year, you can do it all year, and inside National Parks. You can also do it for threatened and endangered species. Who wouldn't love to take a shot at a rumbling grizzly in Yellowstone? what about the alpha of the Druid pack in the Park? The opportunities are limitless.
 
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I'm getting more and more turned on with the photography deal. On Monday this week, I shot 6 mountain goats and a moose, and yesterday I took a nice bull elk - one of the few in the herd still packing his antlers. If it really is the hunt you are after, photography can fill in nicely for "hunting" expeditions. In addition to doing it every year, you can do it all year, and inside National Parks. You can also do it for threatened and endangered species. Who wouldn't love to take a shot at a rumbling grizzly in Yellowstone? what about the alpha of the Druid pack in the Park? The opportunities are limitless.
But for those of us who would rather get blood on our hands and sweat on our brows by packing it out there is just no satisfaction in just hitting that little button on a camera.

.:llama: _O\\
 

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I get that. But in the interim years while you anxiously wait for that rejection letter, it is a nice substitute. Besides, look at it like practice hunting. Because once you finally do draw a tag, and swap the camera for the rifle, you will already have shot a few hundred rams/moose/goats/bears . Clearly not the same thing, but beats sitting home and wishing you were hunting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If it really is about sheep hunting, you can do it every year, in any state you want. Save up $1,000, and buy a really nice camera. Mount it on a rifle stock, and treat your photography trip like a hunt. Scout, prepare, camp, hike, everything like you'd do for a hunt. And then head out for your "shot" at a sheep. Once you get it, take the money you would have dropped on a tag, and buy half a beef or a pig or something to fill the freezer. And get the pictures printed to hang in your man-cave. Seriously, for these kinds of OIL tags that have powerball kind of odds, the camera route can really be a cool deal. If it really is about the pursuit, then you can do that part, and have an amazing time doing it. Then when you are rich and famous from your photography, you can hire out a hunt in Canada or something so you can kill one if that is still your deal.

I'm getting more and more turned on with the photography deal. On Monday this week, I shot 6 mountain goats and a moose, and yesterday I took a nice bull elk - one of the few in the herd still packing his antlers. If it really is the hunt you are after, photography can fill in nicely for "hunting" expeditions. In addition to doing it every year, you can do it all year, and inside National Parks. You can also do it for threatened and endangered species. Who wouldn't love to take a shot at a rumbling grizzly in Yellowstone? what about the alpha of the Druid pack in the Park? The opportunities are limitless.
I did go on a sheep, pronghorn, and bison "hunt" with the spotting scope at Antelope Island last month. I went on another pronghorn "hunt" (scouting trip) just last weekend. It was all fun and enjoyable, but let's just say I'm not hanging up the rifle yet. ;-)

I'll agree 100% that wildlife watching and photography is a great way to pass the time (much better than staying home), but it isn't at all the same to me. It would be nice if it were.
 

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If it really is about sheep hunting, you can do it every year, in any state you want. Save up $1,000, and buy a really nice camera. Mount it on a rifle stock, and treat your photography trip like a hunt. Scout, prepare, camp, hike, everything like you'd do for a hunt. And then head out for your "shot" at a sheep. Once you get it, take the money you would have dropped on a tag, and buy half a beef or a pig or something to fill the freezer. And get the pictures printed to hang in your man-cave. Seriously, for these kinds of OIL tags that have powerball kind of odds, the camera route can really be a cool deal. If it really is about the pursuit, then you can do that part, and have an amazing time doing it. Then when you are rich and famous from your photography, you can hire out a hunt in Canada or something so you can kill one if that is still your deal.

I'm getting more and more turned on with the photography deal. On Monday this week, I shot 6 mountain goats and a moose, and yesterday I took a nice bull elk - one of the few in the herd still packing his antlers. If it really is the hunt you are after, photography can fill in nicely for "hunting" expeditions. In addition to doing it every year, you can do it all year, and inside National Parks. You can also do it for threatened and endangered species. Who wouldn't love to take a shot at a rumbling grizzly in Yellowstone? what about the alpha of the Druid pack in the Park? The opportunities are limitless.
Wow, impressive.

Hey, have you hunted any white-tailed ptarmigan with a camera yet?

.
 
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