Have you ever hunted Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep? If yes, then you are one of the lucky few. Getting the opportunity to hunt for bighorn sheep requires many factors ̶ not only skill and physical prowess but also some luck.
There is a very limited quota for bighorn sheep licenses. Depending on the area, the chances of drawing a tag in a random draw are typically less than one percent. And once you do obtain a license, then you have to wait another five years before applying again.
So, you got lucky! Now the work begins. Hunting for bighorn sheep is one of the most physically demanding hunts you may encounter. Typically, bighorn sheep live in extremely remote and rugged regions of the Rocky Mountains. Often it requires hiking long distances at very high elevations in wilderness regions to reach their habitat.
Scott Williams, Broker for Swan Land Company, had a successful sheep hunt this year. “Hunting Bighorn Sheep is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences that I have had the privilege to enjoy. After 21 years of applying for preference points in Wyoming, I was able to draw a bighorn sheep tag. The key to success is to assemble a team with experience in the mountains, who know the area you are hunting, who have trained eyes to spot game at long distances, and have enough grit to navigate the rugged terrain.” Scott harvested a trophy ram in northwest Wyoming in September 2018.
A Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ram, the largest wild sheep in North America, can weigh over 300 pounds and stand over 42 inches tall at the shoulder. They are known for their large curled horns which are both a symbol of status and a weapon used to defend their mating rights. Males fighting for dominance will hurl themselves, horns first, into each other at a rate of up to 20 miles per hours. Often these battles ensue for several hours and the sound of the clashing horns can be heard echoing through the mountains.
Because of the extreme circumstances that are entailed, even the most experienced hunters often utilize a guide when hunting for bighorn sheep. The success rate of coming home with a trophy is around 75 percent. Upon a successful hunt, bighorn sheep are scored by the size of their horns. There are four mass measurements for each horn that include the circumferences around the horn and one length for each horn. Take a look at the GoHunt blog “How to Accurately Score Bighorn Sheep Horns” (https://www.gohunt.com/read/skills/how-to-accurately-score-bighorn-sheep-horns#gs.uaWdgNc) for an interesting and in-depth description of measuring horns. Also, it is important to know that bighorn sheep must be checked and registered at a regional Game and Fish office within 15 days of harvest.
There are not many private ranches for sale that have big horn sheep, however there are a few in Montana and Wyoming. If you are interested in buying a hunting ranch in Montana or Wyoming that has big horn sheep, contact Scott Williams in our Sheridan, Wyoming office: [email protected] or 307.621.0098.