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Drawing a sheep tag

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Unread 05-15-2014, 12:44 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Bend, Or
Posts: 429
Re: Drawing a sheep tag

Originally Posted by Hornporn View Post
I'm GREAT at math, in fact I'm an architect that went to Cornell University and I still apply. I think that you statement is completely ignorant. Life is full of uncertainties...but if you don't leave the house you will miss out on many expieriences.
Not trying to me rude back to you at all.

One fact, if you don't apply, you will most certainly never draw. I got my sheep tags the old fashion way (bought them)

ALL sheep tags are hard to draw. However if you bow hunt Colorado is an excellent choice. NM and Idaho are also the best odds because there are no point systems.
NM gave out 2 NR ram sheep tags this year in the 10% guided pool and the "rounding" process used to allocate those 2 tags is being challenged. There could be ZERO ram sheep tags for a NR next year. If you didn't apply to one of those 2 hunts, you had ZERO chance at a tag. Just how is that "the best odds?

In AZ, without the data showing how many of the NR tags are drawn in the Bonus pass, and the hunt codes, you have no idea if a NR tag is even available to a NR without being in the max pool. How is applying with ZERO chance at a tag a good plan?

The OP will likely never be in a max pool for a sheep tag, leaving his draw prospects to the random draws. He would do well to learn the different draw methods, where he has a chance, and those where he has zero chance.
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Unread 05-15-2014, 01:30 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 66
Re: Drawing a sheep tag

Originally Posted by davkrat View Post
The point system for extremely limited tags is in my mind the single greatest injustice to big game hunters. When the point system first started in CA I was finishing up school, bought a house, newly married and a baby in the way. I had always just bought my over the counter deer tag and never put much thought in to applying for other hunts as most of them had been once in a lifetime and i knew there as no way i had the time or money to do one of those hunts justice. Several years later life settled down and I started earning points. I soon realized that being a few points behind max I will most likely never draw a tag. With 3/4 of tags only available to max point holders and there being several thousand folks in the point leves above me I will NEVER be able to draw those max tags. Not in my physically capable of sheep hunting lifetime. For my kids who are going to be 15+ years behind the curve they really have no hope under the current system. I understand some states give you one ticket in the hat for each of your points rather than hold the majority of tags for max pointers. Seems like the sane and fair way to do it.

Ok this is true...I didn't realize this on NM with new changes. What I do like about NM is that they have no point system.

AZ is completely jacked up! I did draw two tags there in great units for elk 9 & 27 however it's still jacked up and I only apply there for coues deer now which is easy to get tags for NR...at least I'm lucky. I don't always apply for late tags.

I stand corrected ;-)
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Unread 05-15-2014, 02:42 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 61
Re: Drawing a sheep tag

Regards to Arizona, the 2013 hunt harvest data book isn't out yet so this is from 2012.

Group Bonus Points going into the 2011 Fall Draw (22)
No. Hunters per Bonus Point going into the 2011 Fall Draw (222)
Percent Drawn during the 2011 Fall Draw within Max Bonus Point grouping (9.5%)
Individual Bonus Points going into the 2012 Fall Draw -
205 (Resident) 10 (Nonresident) 215 Total

As you can see it is probable that only one Nonresident will be drawn in the bonus point pass leaving an average of 9 nonresident opportunities in the regular draw.

BTW, I feel that Arizona has one of the best draw systems out and I don't have and never will have the max bonus points for sheep.
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Unread 05-16-2014, 11:40 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Bend, Or
Posts: 429
Re: Drawing a sheep tag

For AZ 2013, 1 NR drew a tag for hunt 6005 in the Bonus Pass. Total res 1st/2nd choices were 18,068. NR there were 10,635 choices.

The remaining 9 nr tags were drawn in the 1-2 Pass where the res choices increased to 19,625, nr to 12,264. Difference is the 0 point guys are only in the 1-2 Pass. The total app pressure was 31,889.

Is there a chance you could draw, yes. My point was, paying for a license to be able to apply and the odds of actually drawing warrants some study.
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Unread 05-18-2014, 04:09 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 28
Re: Drawing a sheep tag

Montana has areas with a guarantee sheep tag. However season usually ends after the first day. Limit is two rams for the area and some people are known to watch rams for a week before the season so they have a chance on opening day.
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Unread 05-18-2014, 05:24 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Central AZ
Posts: 1,148
Re: Drawing a sheep tag

If you spend much time talking with hunters going for their sheep grand slam, you will quickly learn that the Desert Bighorn is the toughest to draw and/or most expensive tag to purchase. If any sheep species will do to get your feet wet, then I would focus on the Rocky Mountain sheep. More tags available.

It's true that sheep will be very difficult to draw in AZ. The odds are definitely against you. You would have little to lose by applying, except for the fact that you have to purchase a NR license to even apply for the tag each and every year. It is a costly proposition to be sure. But bear in mind, residents have to purchase a license as well just to get into the draw.

As for Az draw being all jacked up...... if anybody can come up with a better way, please step forward. Az does not have the amount of favorable habitat that most other states have - be it for sheep, elk, deer or antelope. We have a lot of desert with no water. We have a thin strip of forest that runs southeast through the northern third of the state. Approx. 30% of the state is tribal land and not available for hunting except for those with a fat wallet.

Our elk herd is estimated between 20k-30k, while CO has over 300k of elk. And yet, AZ is a destination state for trophy desert bighorn, elk and mule deer. With more than 3 Million residents in the greater Phx area alone putting pressure on these limited resources, this ain't no accident. AZ Game & Fish have done nothing short of a miracle to keep hunting opportunities open for as many as possible. Do I like the institution of a draw? No. Was it necessary given the limited resources? You bet! Look how many other states have had to follow suit.

AZ has exported bighorn sheep to UT, CO and NM. These are sheep that could have been used to increase tags for hunters. But instead, AZGFD has taken a long term approach by attempting to establish herds in other states that will one day be huntable to local residents w/o them having to buy out of state licenses and tags. I hate the wait....but my hat is off to the AZGFD.
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Unread 05-18-2014, 06:09 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: The Motherlode
Posts: 655
Re: Drawing a sheep tag

I would never argue against the need or implementation of any draw for extremely limited tags. Not sure how AZ does it but here in CA it is not uncommon for there to be only 4 tags per area each year. 3 out of those 4 tags are only available to max point holders the thousands of the rest of us are limited to one random tag. Even the max point holders that were not drawn get tossed into that single random draw.

Last year there were around 13000 applicants for 19 tags. 11 of those tags were only available to the max point holders of which there were 2431 max point applicants. At the rate of 11 tags a year it's going to take 221 years for the max point applicants to be exhausted. Then you would simply go down to the max points minus 1 group which kicks you back in to a few thousand applicants. If you were stupid like me and didn't get in at the beginning of the draw system or a new hunter like my kids there is no hope of you ever being a max point holder. The majority of even the current max point holders will probably take their points to the grave with them. If a guy applied every year he could maybe hope to simply out live his competitors and end up in the max pool sometime in his 70's. Don't know how many 70 year olds can hike up and down mountains for sheep?

Would be nice if they had a 20-30 year old bracket. Let some kid out of college play the lottery. You'd pretty much be guaranteed to have max points on your thirtieth birthday. Or maybe just offer one or two junior hunts for 12-18 year old again you would at least have a chance at max points in your lifetime.

I don't remember what state it was but one of them supposedly gives you one number in the draw for each point you have. If you had 50 points you have 50 chances to have your random number come up. That seems much more fair than holding 3/4 of tags for a select few.
Now it's time fore me to go. The Autumn moon lights my way.
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