I just got the annual EHJ sheep issue . As I read through I can't help wondering why it's so popular. I understand the magnificence of a large ram. I'm also fully committed to drawing a tag in my home state of Colorado some day. To me they seem very similar to a bear or MT. Lion where people hunt them but no one talks about eating them. Do they taste good? Or will I end up feeding most of it to my dog? Why does EHJ have a whole issue dedicated to this species.? Why not a moose issue instead or goat or bear? Plus it seems rather exclusive as well.
You obviously have never been on a sheep hunt. . Its an addiction once you start. They are an amazing animal to pursue and I assure you will not be feeding it to the dog. My sheep was one of the best meats i have eaten.
No you don't want to ever hunt sheep....and tell your buddies that too ;-) JK You used to have an amazing sheep herd near you that wintered on the Almont Triangle, in fact I took a bighorn there in 1988. We were deer hunting there last fall and saw a big herd of ewes and a couple small rams.
Sheep hunting is awesome. I would put a Montana sheep tag in one of the top 5 units, at the very top of my most desired tags to draw in my lifetime.
Sheep are quite good eating. In the journals of Lewis and Clark, I understand sheep was their favorite meat to eat.
gatheringsheds, I never understood either. I mean I know guys who dam near pull there hair out right before the draws sick with anticipation of a sheep tag. Hopefully I dont get the sickness, I havent killed enough deer and elk to start a new addiction yet :)
I would think the draw is that wild sheep are cool ... really cool.
Beside the fact that sheep are cool animals, I liked the fact that when I hunted my ram I was the only one allowed to hunt my unit. That in itself was one of the most unique hunting experiances I have ever had, knowing I was the only guy with the sheep tag. I have been bitten by the sheep hunting bug badly, I will likely not get anoter tag, but that doesn't mean I will never go sheep hunting again. Someone I know will someday and I hope to tag along. You will understand if you ever get to hunt them. It is addicting.
I have hunted sheep once, and been on about a dozen sheep hunts. With sheep hunting, it is all about the experience.
First of all, tags are about impossible to come by. This, combined with the majesty of a big ram and the country the live in create a situation where sheep hunts and all that they encompass create a life of their own.
Before applying, I spend a lot of time going over stats, looking at harvest reports, herd estimates, and any information I can get my hands on. I usually "know" where I am going to apply, but I do this to make sure I am not missing anything - I only have so many chances to apply in a lifetime and with extreme odds of success in drawing I need to make sure I am doing the right thing for me.
When I drew my tag in 1998, the scouting begain in earnest immediately upon finding out I had the tag. I was down at the DOW getting harvest reports for the previous 15 years. I bought maps of the area, started calling previous hunters, DOW biologists and, oh yeah CELEBRATING.
With three months between drawing and the actual hunt, I began to get in the best shape I could during the week, and spent weekends scouting. All of my friends who are sheep nuts joined in. By the time the season had rolled around I think there were about 60 man days of scouting that had gone on - and my tag was not in a premium or highly sought after unit. This unit at that time had a herd estimate of 100 sheep - I saw over 50 different rams in my scouting and too many ewes/lambs to keep count of. By the time the season rolled around I had a list of three specific rams I would consider shooting. I was in the mountains 5 days prior to opening day looking for the number one sheep with the goal of patterning him. The evening before season opened I was able to watch the ram from 100 yards and was so excited I could not sleep that night. Then, on opening day, I could not find him. I found the ones he ran with, other sheep, a full curl ram (that has a good story behing him later), but I could not find "my" ram. After 5 days, he appeared one evening on a ridge at the end of legal shooting light. The next morning I was where I had seen him last, but no luck... until my friend spotted him on another ridge, headed for timber. I used every bit of energy and endurance I had make the one mile sprint at 12,500' to get in front of him for a shot. And he was delicious.
There is really no comparison between this kind of a hunt and going after random deer, or elk for that matter.
I have a similar story from 2002 when I was priveleged to help a friend of mine in S-26 (your backyard) take a 15 year old, 39 1/2" bruiser. Sheep, sheep country and all that goes with it really get into your blood.
Gatheringsheds, I also drew the only tag in my unit. I compare it to hunting high country deer, except they hardly ever went to the trees, they never bedded unless all the rams bedded in a circle and had eyes looking 360 degrees, if they got a little snow they toughed it out ( they didn' start to move down like deer). They are a tough customer to hunt. It is addicting! I hunted during 9 11, so I had a lot to take in while I listened to the radio and glassed for sheep.
Originally Posted by Timberstalker
Laid eyes on my first Sheep in RMNP as a kid during vacation...always knew I wanted to bowhunt them someday.
Currently accumulating points in CO...and as a NR I know it's some long odds...but I'm only 34 and hope to hunt them in CO before the knees are gone...Luckily, High country Elk and eventually Mulies will help me pass the time:)...sure wish the Rockies were a little closer to IL.
I only get EBJ...might need to get a copy of this Sheep issue...
Wow, thanks for all the great info. I'm looking forward to eating sheep now! Having the only tag seems like something to look forward to as well. Some of you hunted Colorado, did you use archery equipment or a rifle? When do they rut and what's the difference with their routine between archery and rifle?