How to Hunt Bighorn Sheep? – Steps to Taking Down the Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn hunting is one of the most exciting outdoor adventures for anybody who is into hunting. From their massive sizes, powerful stance and huge curling horns, taking a bighorn sheep down will leave you filled with sheer excitement and pleasure.

The sheep inhabit some of the stunning places in the wild that make hunting so appealing. However, taking the bighorn sheep down is never an easy task. You need to prepare accordingly and get all your gears and weapons ready. The sheep inhabit mountains where the terrain is steep and difficult to maneuver.

A bighorn hunt is not something you want to take lightly. It is a once in a lifetime experience that requires proper planning. In this post, we will look at how to hunt a bighorn sheep by taking adequate preparation and planning. For the detail tactics & gear, you could see an awesome post here.

Step 1: Get in Shape

You have to be in the best physical shape to hunt a bighorn sheep. The hunt for a bighorn sheep will drain you physically as you have to trek the steep terrains in the mountains. Practice climbing on steep terrains to adapt to the same conditions you will be handling when hunting.

Walking through steep terrains requires more from you physically. You will need to strengthen the muscles of your legs as these are the ones that give you breaks on steep terrains. The only way to get into the best physical shape of climbing mountains where the bighorn sheep live is practicing.

Step 2: Join a Team or Recruit One

Bighorn sheep live in areas that you don’t want to go hunting alone. Do you have friends that would love to accompany you to the hunt? It even gets better when you meet someone that has hunted bighorn sheep in the past.

Make sure every person that wants to join you is committed towards the hunt. Hunting a bighorn sheep is something every member joining the hunt must take seriously. Planning for a bighorn sheep hunt will undoubtedly require the members to sacrifice some of their vacation time.

Step 3: Get a License/Apply for a Controlled Hunt

You need to have a license to be able to hunt bighorn sheep in most states. The rules for the controlled hunt usually vary from one state to another, but tags are usually obtained from controlled hunt draw, lottery/raffle and by auction. There are states where you must accumulate points to be in a position for a tug. In other states, every person starts from the same footing.

Game departments and State fish offer controlled hunt draw tugs while auction and raffle are offered by local chapters and the state of the game Department. Overall, the most difficult hunts have better odds of getting a tag as compared to easiest hunts.

Step 4: Get Information on the Physical Location of the Hunt

You will need to understand the area where you’re going to hunt. Get the topographic maps, and satellite imagery if possible. Study your maps and understand the terrain, routes, and access points. Bighorn sheep hunt units are in some of the remotest and wildest parts of the country that are difficult to access. By understanding the physical area and topography of the area; you will know the best ways to access the area.

Step 5: Taste Your Gear and Equipment on a Shakedown Trip

Hunting Gear

Gears and equipment sitting in the closet after a long time might not function properly. You need to test everything by going for a climb up the mountain and coming down. This is what we call a shakedown trip and one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the conditions of the hunt.

Step 6: Scout the Hunt Area

The map might appear simple but the real hunt area might so different. If possible, get a charter plane and have an aerial view of the hunt area.

Step 7: Know Your Weapon and Enjoy the Hunt

You’re not sure if you will get another opportunity to hunt a bighorn sheep. It is important to know your weapon well and be sure to hit the target when you see a bighorn sheep. You need to hunt smart and not hard. Don’t rush to get a kill but instead, take your time and enjoy the hunt. Take pictures and quality videos of the hunting trip. Set your binoculars on a tripod stand instead of just hiking hard.

The first step towards finding more bighorn sheep is spending more time on your optics as opposed to hiking.

You can check out this awesome video for more detail tips:

Choosing the Best Spotting Scope for Bighorn Sheep Hunting

Spotting scopes are one of the most expensive equipment for hunters, especially when involved in a type of hunting where enhanced visibility is a must. Scopes can cost twice the price of your best rifles or bows. You must choose carefully before investing in one.

So Are Spotting Scopes Worth the Cost?

Definitely yes! Spotting scopes allow you to make the right judgment on the field about the game you’re about to hunt. This is especially the case when hunting games that are at long distances like the bighorn sheep or coyotes. The scopes help you determine whether the animal is worth the chase, energy, time and effort.  Regulations on bighorn sheep hunting are also strict in most states with hunters given age limits of sheep to hunt. This means you have to count the horn configurations of the sheep from a long distance of 1-5 miles to see if the sheep qualifies for a hunt.

Scouting Bighorn Sheep Through Vortex Diamondback spotting scope

Considerations to Choosing the Best Spotting Scope for Bighorn Sheep Hunting

Choosing the right spotting scope for bighorn hunting is much easier than buying things like binoculars. This is because there are few models of the scopes. Almost all brands on the market have a scope that works for sheep hunting.

Here are some considerations to check before making a purchase

Size and Weight of the Spotter

Even without looking at the features, space and weight are prime considerations for bighorn hunters that have to walk steep terrains to spot a sheep. The typical sizes of scopes available on the market are 50mm, 65mm and 80mm with this size indicating the size of the objective lens.

A larger objective lens means you will be able to spot your game better in the morning and evening when the light is dim. However, this is a feature you don’t want to give much consideration when hunting a bighorn sheep. These sheep are not nocturnal animals, and most of the hunting will be done during the day. Ideally, a small size scope of 65mm or even 50mm is enough to spot your sheep from long distances.

Eyepiece

The eyepiece is another excellent feature to consider as it helps determine the scope of your magnification. They are sometimes included in the package, but most of the time you have to buy them separately.

Choose a scope that allows for multiple eyepieces so that you can choose one that best suits your needs.

Eye Relief

This is the distance from the eyepiece to the viewer’s eye. It is an excellent feature to consider if you wear glasses. Choosing a big eye relief distance allows individuals with glasses to see full images without any problems.

Magnification

Higher magnification scopes are designed to see at long distances where binocular will not see. For sheep hunting, you will need high magnification in the range of 30X and 40X. A high-quality lens will mean quality images, but we all know some of the quality gets lost with increased magnifications. Dust, wind, and humidity further lower the image quality. However, when hunting bighorn sheep in the mountains, the low humid conditions ensure you can still get quality images at high magnification.

Lens Coating

Lenses are usually coated fully, multi-coated or fully multi-coated to help improve light transmitting through at high magnifications. Since you will be spotting at long distances and using high magnifications, premium scopes with fully multi-coating are required.

Body Style

We have two body types of scopes which are the straight body and angled body. Each of this body works well in different situations. A straight body scope is ideal for bighorn sheep hunting since it allows for better viewing from high points. Remember most of your sheep hunting will be on the mountains. Angled scopes are ideal for viewing on flat grounds or from the window of your car.

Fogproofing and Waterproofing

These are also excellent features that protect your scopes from atmospheric conditions on the mountains.

In Conclusion

Bighorn sheep might take an entire day on the field which requires a lightweight scope that is packable. No single spotter does everything you need perfectly. While 50mm spotters are lightweight and highly portable, they do give up some optical clarity, light gathering ability, and zooming power. 80mm spotters are ideal for dusk and dawn while the 65mm spotter makes lie between these two and make an excellent choice for bighorn sheep hunting. They will help you spot sheep at long distances and are portable.

Buying a Gun and Learning to Use It

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there was a 15.4% increase in background checks for gun purchases in the United States. A large number of people are buying guns for the first time. Add to the cost of the firearm the expense and time involved in taking a class in gun usage and safety, and a considerable investment has been made. A new gun owner can continue to enjoy that purchase by taking part in hunting and shooting sports.

Selecting the Right Gun

When deciding to buy a gun, the purchaser should know how you intend to use it, where you will store it, and that you will be comfortable firing it. A 12 gauge shotgun or an assault rifle with a hefty kick is not the best choice for everyone. A person of small stature may consider selecting a youth model rifle or shotgun. A professional salesperson at a reputable sporting goods company can advise the shopper so that the gun purchased is a good fit for that individual.

Finding a Place to Shoot

It is necessary to find a safe, appropriate place to hunt or shoot. The National Shooting Sports Foundation maintains a website that allows one to search for target shooting facilities around the United States. From that website, one can reach related websites to find places to hunt. The Department of Natural Resources for each state also provides up-to-date information about hunting.

Learning About Shooting Sports

Shooting disciplines are categorized by type of firearm, target, and technique. Shotgun sports include Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays. Bench Rest, Silhouette, and Position are rifle shooting sports. Action Shooting, Silhouette, and Precision Shooting are handgun sports. A person contemplating a first gun purchase would benefit from visiting a shooting range before deciding which type of firearm to purchase. If the purchase has already been made, a visit to the range is in order to find out about the shooting sports available for that type of gun. Gun enthusiasts at the range will be glad to help a new gun owner try out various types of shooting.

Learning to Hunt

While many gun enthusiasts are strictly competitive shooters, shooting ranges are certainly frequented by hunters. Gun owners who want to learn about hunting can meet hunters who pursue all types of game. These folks can provide a wealth of information about their sport. They may not give away the location of their best duck blind or tree stand, but they will be happy to discuss gun care and hunting technique. Who doesn’t love to tell stories about their favorite pursuit? Hunt clubs offer hunting experiences that include experienced guides and even trained hunting dogs. For women, The National Wild Turkey Federation presents several Women in the Outdoors events around the country each year. These events feature workshops in shooting and hunting, along with many other activities such as fly fishing, bass fishing, campfire cooking, archery, and self defense.

How to Choosing the Best Hunting Rifle?

The starting point for determining the best rifle is to consider the game to be pursued. A rifle for rabbits or coyotes will be very different than a rifle for moose or mountain bighorn sheep. A rifle that is too powerful for a given animal will result in unnecessary recoil and loss of meat. A rifle that is not powerful enough to dispatch the animal quickly in normal hunting conditions and ranges is unethical and often illegal.

Rifle Calibers and What Those Numbers Mean

After deciding on the game to be pursued, the next step is to pick a caliber, which is the approximate diameter of the bullet expressed in inches or millimeters. There are numerous rifle calibers available, from “varmint” calibers like the .17 and .223 used for coyotes and prairie dogs, all the way up to the large rounds used for Africa’s dangerous game, such as the .375 and .458. Among the most popular calibers for whitetail deer are the .308, .270, 7mm and .30.

When there are two numbers in the cartridge name, such as .30-06, only the first number refers to the caliber. The second number can refer to several things. With some, like the .30-06, the second number refers to the year the cartridge was first available – 1906. Sometimes it means a new “wildcat” round was developed using the cartridge from existing round, as in the case of the .25-06 – a .25 caliber round based on the .30-06 cartridge. The second number can also refer to the grains of black powder used in the original round, as in the case of the venerable .30-30.

There can be several different specific types of ammunition for each caliber, and these will generally include the name of the manufacturer that developed them, such as the .300 Winchester Magnum and the .30-06 Springfield.

Choosing the Best Caliber for Shot Distance

Another important consideration in choosing a rifle is the terrain in which it will be used. If most shots will be taken at 100 yards or less, a slug gun or a rifle with a larger, slower bullet such as the .30-30 Winchester or .35 Remington works very well. If the rifle is to be used over longer distances, 200 to 300 yards, then fast, “flat-shooting” rounds such as the .243 Winchester for deer or the .22-250 Remington for varmints are good choices. Cartridges like the .30-06 and .308 are excellent all-purpose rounds for large game.

Other Considerations When Choosing a Rifle

Once a hunter has determined the type of game to be hunted, the appropriate caliber and round, and the typical shooting distance, the rest becomes largely a matter of personal preference.

Bolt action guns are the most popular, but other types such as lever action and pump action have their devotees as well.

A longer, heavier barrel is better for longer shots, whereas a short-barrelled “brush gun” like the .30-30 is great for getting off quick shots in the woods.

Some hunters prefer the look and feel of natural wood stocks, while others prefer synthetics, which are less affected by temperature and humidity.

If the hunter is sensitive to recoil, that should be a consideration when choosing a rifle. Caliber isn’t always an accurate indicator of how much a rifle “kicks”.

Price is often an issue, and there are usually several good choices at each price point.

A good hunting rifle, properly cared-for, will provide years of faithful service and enjoyment. In many cases, they become treasured family heirlooms handed down from generation to generation.