I realized the other day that if I don't start getting points built I may never get to hunt sheep. I'm only in my early thirties so I feeling good about drawing before my legs give out, but I need to get started. I want to start with Bighorns.
I will most likely need to go self guided, not looking for a big time book ram but something mature, I also don't have reserves of cash for the fish and game to hold while they don't draw me, but I don't mind investing in prefernce points.
I have looked at Wyoming and have liked what I see, but I don't know.
So, what would be a good state, unit and way to go about it, looking for any ideas and advice?!?
For cheapness look at states that do not require you to buy a license in order to get a point.
There is not much need to specify a unit if you are just buying a point.
Check whether the state has a guide requirement for nonresidents. This is just a cheap way to bolster their economy and satisfy the people who hate living in a democracy where we are free to travel from one state to another. But it will increase the cost of your hunt by a tremendous amount. Some states require a guide for "wilderness" areas and that may be where the sheep live.
One of the problems will be that the rules may change over the ten years or so that it will take to build up enough points. Other problem is you might actually draw out unexpectedly and have to go. That is why I only bought a point in Nevada this year. Even being retired I can only spend so many months hunting and have to meet other obligations
So, download all of the states big game rules and try to decipher them and figure out the cost of a point build up in each state and the cost of the hunt.
It looked to me that in Wyoming I can buy points without applying for the tag and you only need a guide in the wilderness areas.
When I decided to start working on a sheep tag the first thing that popped into my mind is that if I had to apply in order to get a point that it would be my luck to draw and not be able to afford the hunt.
I'll look @ Nevada and check it out. Wyoming is close enough to do some good scouting, Unit 5 is 5 or 6 hours away so that is why so far I'm leaning Wyoming.
I'm in Montana and will start applying here but I know guys that have been applying for 15-16 years and still nothing.
First off, I would advise you to put in for your home state. MT has the least expensive sheep tag of any state and has the largest sheep and each year you fail to draw you get a bonus point.
Wyoming issues probably more sheep tags than any state and has some nice rams. If you want to apply the dates are Jan 1-Feb 28. The cost has gone up in recent years and is now $2,266, each year you fail to draw you build a preference point or you can send them $100 for points only July 1- Sep 30. You will need around 12 points currently to have a chance to draw in most of the best units.
Idaho has some good rams and issue a quite a few tags. Idaho has Rocky and California Bighorns. Idaho does not issue any bonus/preference points, but as far as drawing a tag the odds aren't too bad compared to other states. To put in the draw you must submit $141.50 for a hunting license(non-refundable) and $1765.75 for the sheep tag.
Colorado has good sheep, they also have a preference point system. However, they do require you to send the entire tag fee of $1,829. You will receive a refund minus a minimal application fee.
Nevada has good sheep. Desert, Rocky and California. Nevada has a bonus point system. To apply for a sheep tag/bonus point you must first purchase a $142 hunting license(non-refundable). The sheep tag is currently $1200 or if you want to apply for points only the cost is $10/species. Nevada also has some big Elk and Mulies, so I always apply for them along with sheep, since I have to fork out the cost of the hunting license. Might as well get the most bang for the buck.
Arizona is better known for its Desert sheep, however they also have Rocky's. If you think you would like to hunt Desert sheep someday I would most certainly build points in Arizona, Nevada too for that matter. Like Nevada if you wish to apply for a sheep tag or bonus point you must first purchase a $151.25 hunting license. The sheep tag is currently $1,407.50 or you can purchase a point only for $7.50/specie. Here again I go ahead and build points for sheep, elk, deer and antelope.
Hope this gives you a place to start researching a few states. I try to apply for what I can afford. This year I put in for MT and point only in AZ, NV and come July 1 WY. It seems the cost just keep escalating each year, I guess you have to ask yourself; just how badly you want to hunt sheep someday. I was around your age when I had the same idea. I have the most points in WY, in about 2 years I will start to send in the big $$$ and cross my fingers. Until then I will just keep buying points.
"GOD, GUTS, AND GUNS MADE AMERICA FREE" AND I'M KEEPING ALL THREE!
I will start putting in for Montana for sure next year and buy the preference point in Wyoming starting this year. I have decided that Wyoming is close enough to me that I can get down there and do some good scouting, maybe shoot some cow elk on the cheep or something. I really do believe in preseason scouting and scouting during the season, the other states are just to far to do the job I would want to do. I figure I can roll down there with the horse trailer and rent horse so I don't have to deal with transporting them across state lines then get into some good sheep areas without the expense of a guide. In state is no problem as the horses and buddies are always ready to hunt.
My boss and I checked out how he came out on Moose, Goat and Sheep and he drew zero's again, he's up to nine points on each. One of our friends son just drew a Goat and this was the first year he has applied.
Thanks again for the replies!!!
It's always best to apply in your own state to avoid the gouge non-resident tags.
Like you're aware, Wyoming REQUIRES non-resident hunters to have a guide hunt in FEDERAL wilderness areas. You can hike, camp, and fish in these same wilderness areas without a guide, but not hunt.
You posted that you live in Montana, so you might as well start collecting "bonus" points, although they are a JOKE! All bonus points do is enter your name in the drawing the number of times that you have bonus points. It also enters the name of every other applicant into the drawing the number of times that they have bonus points. It just makes the drawing more like winning the lottery than giving preference to those that build points.
I was lucky enough to get my sheep back in the early 80's when we could buy an unlimted area tag every year. I just wish I had been more serious about sheep hunting.
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Re: I need to start building points! Where?
If you want to hunt sheep before you die you NEED as many points in as MANY states as possible. Yes it is spendy to build points but you HAVE to pay to play when it comes to sheep.
Rule #1 dont ever apply for rockies in Arizona UNTIL after you kill your desert ram in AZ. This also applys in most other states that have both.
Rule #2 Apply, apply, apply. Period.
For deserts, apply in AZ, CA, NM, NV, UT. Colorado has some limited desert BH opprotunities but NOT for non-residents. For rockies, apply in MT, ID, OR, WA, WY, CO. You can always apply for rockies in states that have both AFTER you get your desert sheep. There are many more rocky opprotunities in this world than desert sheep. Build points for both but never burn all your points in a given state for a rocky when you havent taken a desert as in some states, a sheep point is a sheep point regardless of type. Nevada has seperate points for each type so NV isnt a problem.
If you want to hunt sheep over the counter, come to Alaska if you have an extra 10K to burn.
Did I mention apply apply apply?? Oh yeah apply like there is no tomarrow. You simply cannot rely on one state with one set of points. You need as many chances as possible. If youre very blessed, you may hunt sheep in the lower 48 twice before you life is up provided you see 70 or 80 years. If youre one of the rare few blessed beyond blessed you may see 3-4 permits. At least at this stage of the game. Some old timers may see more since they got to build points from the ground up. You however are starting to build points way late. It is never too late to start building points but it is much harder to draw the later you start.
Rule #3 stick with it and be persistent.
Rule #4 When you do draw, savor the flavor and enjoy.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (where the shot goes, how big the group is, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.