Don't know what else to add as it has been covered pretty well already. My advice is to save money and go to Alaska on a dall hunt ASAP before those hunts get unaffordable. I wish I had done that when I was your age. Going to alaska this fall and drew a wa sheep tag in 2010, praying to draw a desert at some point in my life but a stone is a pipe dream. Do count the cost of applying because it is a very expensive game with little return most of the time but when you hit the jackpot it will be worth it.
Im not exactly sure how all the states work but if you are willing to take a long shot most states have a raffle, you can buy a ticket for fairly cheap and still get your name in the hat. I know here in California having max points doesn't necessarily I mean you have better odds in some areas, for example some of the areas that have only 1 tag will be a random draw instead of going to a max point holder. The reason why they do this is because everyone has to have a chance. Other areas with 2 to 3 tags will benefit max point holders more because maybe only 1 of those tags will go to random draw.
Also forgot to add everything stated above is for Resident of ca
Building on what Montana and ProjectCO said:
If you live in a sheep state, apply in your home state. It is usually fairly reasonable. That is what ProjectCO is doing in his home state is the right way to go, but still don't expect to be drawn, most won't. I've been at it 30 years in my home state of Oregon.
As Montana mentioned, applying in units with 160 class sheep does have better for draw odds. All the sheep tags we have drawn are in those types of units. Draw odds in the top units in each state are horrible. Still to draw every 10-15 years will require a substantial financial investment, that may be better spent on saving for a guaranteed tag with a guide.
Things have changed a lot over the years. When I first got into applying for limited entry hunts (early 1980's), there were some great opportunities and lots of "sleeper" hunts for various species. More recently, over the past couple years, I've spent months digging up half a dozen of those "sleeper" hunting opportunities for elk, only to have the big magazines promote them and have the draw odds ruined.
I just tell you this stuff so you have your eyes wide open when you go into it.
This is the problem with sites like this one. I love them, but when it comes to discussing draw units, the word gets out.
Originally Posted by Umpqua Hunter
About 10 years ago I started to apply for a really neat mule deer draw here in MT. The odds were around 20%, and I figured with points and just a touch of luck I might be able to draw it twice in 15 years.
The unit has a very low success rate, and trophy quality is better than average, but not great.
the unit hit the MRS and HF a few years ago, and odds have gone to 3%! Hunter success has not gone up. People apply for it solely based on the magazine write up and expect it to be 200 inch deer off the road. They try to penetrate the nasty country and soon give up.
So now it is a once-in-a-lifetime tag for guys that could make the most of it. Sad for sure, and I now apply in different units, and might just not apply for deer permits at all, to do my part to increase the odds for the other guys.
I think MT should allow for points-only draws also, so folks can just apply for a point, and not ruin odds for those that actually want to draw that year.
Originally Posted by Bitterroot Bulls
I am totally with you on that one BB. Last year we did that in Montana for antelope. Applied for a unit with 2% draw odds expecting not to be drawn. We were and we nearly walked away from the tags due to very difficult scheduling issues.
Thanks for all the great information everyone. I really only plan on applying in one or two states in the hope that someday I will draw, but I also planned on starting to save money so hopefully one day I can go to Alaska after dall sheep. Reading all of your posts, its rather sad what the commercialization of hunting has done to the sport. Hunting the west is something every hunter should do, unfortunately, only a handful of people will ever be able to do so, and it doesnt look like it will get any better in the future.
I'll throw one more post into this string.
Idaho has a reputation as being one of the easier states to draw a tag so I am going to use that as an illustration.
Many guys think that Idaho California Bighorns have great odds. Some magazines publish the simple odds which increases "hope". Magazine publishers do that because they sell magazines by selling "hope". In reality what the magazine is actually publishing is the resident odds (Idaho resident). Non residents on the other hand have a far lower allocation of the sheep tags. Here is the history for non-resident draw for California Bighorns in Idaho:
2012: 414 applicants, 3 tags = 0.72%
2011: 417 applicants, 3 tags = 0.72%
2010: 444 applicants, 3 tags = 0.67%
2009: 281 applicants, 3 tags = 1.07%
Today you basically have a 0.7% chance to draw. To apply it costs $154.75 for the hunting license, and $14.75 for the application fee. You have to front the $2100 license fee as well, which at 2% annual interest for 2 months is $7.00, for a grand total out of pocket of $176.50 for less than a 1% chance to draw.
I'm just going to do a simplified theoretical calculation, and believe me, I realize there are a lot of other variables. Let's assume all things being equal, you could apply in 10 states with those odds and each state had the exact same costs (theoretical I know). You would have a 7% chance to draw, which doesn't seem too bad. That 7% chance to draw would have cost you $1765 each year with all things being equal. Statistically, you would need to apply for about 14 years to draw, now costing you $24,710 total. You would then have to buy the sheep license for $2,100 costing you $26,730. Then after all that time and financial investment you would likely hire an outfitter for say $7000 bringing the grand total to $33,730. (Note: Of course if you hunt Idaho on an OTC elk or deer hunt you would already need the hunting license, and it makes sense to throw your name in the hat for a sheep tag).
Let's say instead you saved that $1765 each year, in about 7 to 8 years (with interest), about half the time to draw a sheep tag, you would have $15,000 saved towards a hunt of your choice. Something to think about.
A lot of truth in that last post. If a guy really wants to hunt sheep Alaska is the best option going right now. Book a hunt now must outfitters will honor the price, plus it gives you a few years to save the money.
if you don't apply you don't draw. with that said. i have not fully let my wife in on how much the application process cost me every year. But i want that desert ram. And when i look at the cost of a desert sheep hunt in mexico i better keep applying. But i probably spend $2500 a year to apply in all the states with desert sheep hunts and the cost of the service. I am also applying for some other sheep hunts. I just need that desert and the grand slam is mine.
I would have to have the expensive goals.
Good point Tim. The goal for a grand slam changes everything. That's a different scenario than if someone wants to hunt sheep one time in their lifetime. That person would be far better off saving for a Dall sheep hunt.
Originally Posted by tim