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So You Wanna Hunt Sheep

Photo credit: Brandon VanDyken

As I looked down at my ram laying on the shelf below us, I realized that I had finally killed a ram. The excitement and emotions got even higher as I picked my way down the cliff towards him. This was our seventh year of hunting sheep in this unit, we had blown opportunities and missed shots in past years.  My buddies and I had burned all our points to hunt this unit and it was worth it. We were sheep hunting, something we had always wanted to do. 

Being up in this country makes you feel small, with only the gear you can carry on your back or on the back of your buddy’s mules, which helps a lot. Either way, it requires you to bring your best. Being in shape is a must and having the right gear is helpful. None of this matters though, you first have to have a tag in your pocket. That is the biggest hurdle to sheep hunting – the tag.

Sheep hunting in recent years has become increasingly more expensive with hunts for Dall’s and Stone’s costing more than your child’s college tuition. The draw odds in states with Rocky Mountain and Desert sheep have become harder to draw than the PowerBall jackpot. However, there ARE ways to increase your chances of getting to sheep hunt.  

Yes, it may still take time and will cost money. The one thing that holds true is that you have to pay to play. Whether that is in state drawings or going to events like Wild Sheep Foundation banquets and playing the raffles. It all increases your chances, and you need to start now. I want to give you ideas on how to do that and a few on what you may need to do once you have successfully acquired a tag.

A strategy I wish I had started sooner is applying in other states and getting in raffles. The Wild Sheep Foundation holds both their national show and local banquets, all of which have raffles or drawings.  Your chances of winning at one of these are usually far higher than in the state draws. Even if you only buy one ticket at these, you are drastically increasing your odds of hunting.  

When looking at the state-to-state drawings, look at draw odds in each unit. Play the percentages but, keep in mind that higher odds can mean lower trophy quality. You will have to decide what you are after.  This will require more research in each state, and some may require an outfitter.  States use different definitions of what a legal or mature ram is, usually by age or by curl. Local biologists and past hunters can be very helpful in this. The state draws can be a lot to navigate, but it again increases the odds of drawing a tag. 

Going back to the raffle side of it, Wild Sheep Foundation has their


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