Where to hunt Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn sheep is an all-American species. Two main varieties are recognized: desert bighorn and Rocky Mountains bighorn. The desert bighorn inhabits mountain ranges in the southwestern US, including Utah Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, as well as in Mexico. Rocky Mountain bighorn is a little bigger and dwells a bit to the north, in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. Bighorn sheep can also be hunted as exotic species in countries like Uruguay.
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Bighorn sheep hunts in the USA are priced between $5,000 and $10,000, but please note that all bighorn hunting offers in the USA cover only the outfitter’s services, and do not include a tag, which must be obtained by the hunter (and that’s the hardest part of bighorn hunting - see below). Hunts in Mexico and British Columbia, by contrast, typically come with tags included, but will set you back $30,000 and up.
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When to hunt Bighorn Sheep?
Bighorn seasons are typically generous. They may begin in early or late August and run all the way to October and November; in Mexico, bighorn sheep hunts continue to March 31. September and October are usually considered the prime time for a bighorn sheep hunt. Introduced bighorn sheep in exotic countries can often be hunted a year round.
Hunting methods All hunting methods (4)
Most bighorn sheep hunts are outfitted and guided; hunters usually don’t want to take any chances with a tag that cost a small fortune or was a once-in-a-lifetime draw. Like most mountain game hunts, Bighorn Sheep hunts are typically spot-and-stalk. It’s hard to say which part of this equation is more difficult. Bighorn sheep’s protective coloring makes them next to invisible on the mountain slopes, and their keen senses and always-on-the-alert attitude makes them difficult to approach. Hunters will usually have to cover a lot of ground on foot, as few sheep habitats allow the use of horses, to say nothing of motor vehicles. With desert bighorn, an additional challenge is shortage of water. A good spotting scope and high-quality binoculars are essential, and so is an accurate, lightweight rifle, that you are comfortable to take long shots with.
Why hunt Bighorn Sheep?
Habitat loss, disease carried by domestic sheep, and uncontrolled hunting in the late XIX-early XX centuries greatly reduced its range and numbers, making it one of the most desirable and difficult to get mountain hunting trophy. Mountain game hunting is often considered to be the ultimate big-game hunt. Very few corners can be cut here: the hunter must earn his or her trophy by covering many miles over challenging mountain terrain, be as wary and conscious of the environment as the sheep themselves, show patience and endurance. But the reward is much greater than a pair of full curl, thick, tight curled horns. To quote the sheep hunting legend Jack O’Connor, “the old bighorn will lead the hunter into the most beautiful country he’s ever seen. He’ll wear him out, give him buck fever, and break his heart; but if the hunter is the type that’s susceptible to sheep fever he’ll never be completely happy hunting anything else.”
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