Wyoming Game & Fish License Application Deadline
Sheep | February 28
Contact us for our current price list, dates and contract.
The quoted trip price will exclude Wyoming Game & Fish Department license, Conservation stamp, Special management stamp, Archery permit, County sales tax, National Forest Service fees, BLM fees, Tips, Travel and Personal gear.
Archery Bighorn Sheep Hunts
Area 24 & 4 – Early Season
Requires Preference Points,
Conservation Stamp & Archery Permit
Season Dates: August 15 – August 31
Drive-in Camp | Spike Camp
10-day | 1-on-1
Pack-in Camp | Spike Camp – Wilderness Hunt
10-day | 1-on-1
Rifle Bighorn Sheep Hunts
Area 24 & 4 – Early Season
Requires Preference Points
& Conservation Stamp
Season Dates: September 1 – October 31
Drive-in Camp | Spike Camp
10-day | 1-on-1
Pack-in Camp | Spike Camp – Wilderness Hunt
10-day | 1-on-1
PREFERENCE POINTS may be purchased online July – October annually (Sheep $150.00). We strongly recommend that anyone wanting to hunt Wyoming in the future, go online each year and purchase a preference point for any and all species that you wish to hunt in the future!
Wyoming License Application Deadlines
Bighorn Sheep: Feb. 28
A 50% deposit of the value of your hunt will reserve your dates for the year you are successful in the license draw – (non-refundable). Remaining balance of 50% is due 60 days prior to your hunt dates or you may pay with cash the day before your hunt begins.
License Fees and Application Deadlines
Follow this link to the WG&FD Regulations
Apply January 1st – February 28th | License $2,320.00 | Preference Point $150.00 + Conservation Stamp $12.50 | Archery Permit $72.00.
Amount to be remitted includes nonrefundable $15.00 application fee | Online application service total will include a 2.5% processing fee | All applications, must be submitted by midnight mountain standard time (MST) on the deadline date | An applicant must be at least eleven (11) years old at the time of submitting an application to purchase a preference point and must be at least twelve (12) years old by December 31 of that year | All prices are subject to State taxes, 3% Forest Service and/or BLM Use Fee | All are subject to change at any time.
License Fees and Application Deadlines for all big game species are set by Wyoming Game & Fish Department, purchased on the WG&FD website and are drawn by the WG&FD lottery system. We can and recommend that we process your license applications, preference points and etc. as a service to you or you may apply online yourself at: Apply Here
Bighorn sheep are named for the large, curved horns borne by the rams (males). Ewes (females) also have horns, but they are shorter with less curvature. They range in color from light brown to grayish or dark, chocolate brown, with a white rump and lining on the backs of all four legs. Males typically weigh 127 to 316 pounds, are 36 to 41 inches tall at the shoulder, and 69 to 79 inches long from the nose to the tail.
Females are typically 75 to188 pounds, 30 to 36 inches tall and 54 to 67 inches long. Male bighorn sheep have large horn cores, enlarged cornual and frontal sinuses, and internal bony septa. These adaptations serve to protect the brain by absorbing the impact of clashes. Bighorn sheep have preorbital glands on the anterior corner of each eye, inguinal glands in the groin, and pedal glands on each foot. Secretions from these glands may support dominance behaviors.
Bighorns from the Rocky Mountains are relatively large, with males that occasionally exceed 500 pounds and females that exceed 200 pounds. Males’ horns can weigh up to 30 pounds, as much as the rest of the bones in the male’s body.
The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep occupy the cooler mountainous regions of Canada and the United States. Bighorn sheep generally inhabit alpine meadows, grassy mountain slopes, and foothill country near rugged, rocky cliffs and bluffs. Since bighorn sheep cannot move through deep snow, they prefer drier slopes, where the annual snowfall is less than about 60 inches per year. A bighorn’s winter range usually lies at lower elevations than its summer range. Bighorn sheep are highly susceptible to certain diseases carried by domestic sheep, such as scabies and pneumonia; additional mortality occurs as a result of accidents involving rock falls or falling off cliffs (a hazard of living in steep, rugged terrain). Bighorns are well adapted to climbing steep terrain where they seek cover from predators. Predation primarily occurs with lambs, which are hunted by coyotes, bobcats, lynxes and golden eagles. Bighorn sheep of all ages are threatened by bears, wolves and especially cougars, which are perhaps best equipped with the agility to prey on them in uneven, rocky habitats. They are considered good indicators of land health because the species is sensitive to many human-induced environmental problems. Aesthetic value contributes to the many reasons bighorn sheep are considered desirable game animals by hunters.
Bighorn sheep graze on grasses and browse shrubs, particularly in fall and winter, and seek minerals at natural salt licks. Females tend to forage and walk, possibly to avoid predators and protect lambs, while males tend to eat and then rest and ruminate, which lends to more effective digestion and greater increase in body size.
Bighorn sheep live in large herds, and do not typically follow a single leader ram. Prior to the mating season or “rut,” the rams attempt to establish a dominance hierarchy to determine access to ewes for mating. During the pre-rut period, most of the characteristic horn clashing occurs between rams, although this behavior may occur to a limited extent throughout the year. Rams’ horns can frequently exhibit damage from repeated clashes. Females exhibit a stable, nonlinear hierarchy that correlates with age. Females may fight for high social status when they are integrated into the hierarchy at one to two years of age.
Rocky Mountain bighorn rams employ at least three different courting strategies. The most common and successful is the tending strategy, in which a ram follows and defends an estrous ewe. Tending takes considerable strength and dominance, so ewes are more receptive to tending males, feeling they are the most fit. Another tactic is coursing, which is when rams fight for an already tended ewe. Ewes typically avoid coursing males so the strategy is not effective. Rams will also employ a blocking strategy. They will prevent a ewe from accessing tending areas before she even goes into estrus.
Bighorn ewes have a six-month gestation. In temperate climates, the peak of the rut occurs in November with one, or rarely two, lambs being born in May. Most births occur in the first two weeks of the lambing period. Pregnant ewes of the Rocky Mountains migrate to alpine areas in spring, presumably to give birth in areas safer from predation, but are away from areas with good quality forage. Lambs born earlier in the season are more likely to survive than lambs born later. Lambs born late may not have access to sufficient milk, as their mothers are lactating at a time when food quality is lower. Newborn lambs weigh from eight to 10 pounds and can walk within hours. The lambs are then weaned when they reach four to six months old. The lifespan of rams is typically nine to 12 years, and 10 to14 years for ewes.
Bighorn sheep were among the most admired animals of the Apsaalooka (Crow) people, and what is today called the Bighorn Mountain Range was central to the Apsaalooka tribal lands. In the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area book, storyteller Old Coyote describes a legend related to the bighorn sheep. A man possessed by evil spirits attempts to kill his heir by pushing the young man over a cliff, but the victim is saved by getting caught in trees. Rescued by bighorn sheep, the man takes the name of their leader, Big Metal. The other sheep grant him power, wisdom, sharp eyes, sure-footedness, keen ears, great strength, and a strong heart. Big Metal returns to his people with the message that the Apsaalooka people will survive only as long as the river winding out of the mountains is known as the Bighorn River. Bighorn sheep are hunted for their meat and horns, which are used in ceremonies, as food and as hunting trophies.
Bighorn sheep were once known by the scientific identification “argali” or “argalia” due to the assumption that they were the same animal as the Asiatic argali (Ovis ammon). Lewis and Clark recorded numerous sightings of Ovis canadensis in the journals of their exploration, sometimes using the name argalia. In addition, they recorded the use of bighorn sheep by the Shoshone in making bows. William Clark’s Track Map produced after the expedition in 1814 indicated a tributary of the Yellowstone River named Argalia Creek and a tributary of the Missouri River named Argalia River, both in what is today Montana. Neither of these tributaries retained these names, however. The Bighorn River, another tributary of the Yellowstone, and its tributary stream, the Little Bighorn River were both indicated on Clark’s map and did retain their names, the latter being the namesake of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep make their homes in the highest elevations of the mountains, where people find it difficult to go. The grace and beauty of the majestic creature is a treasure to see if you are lucky enough to come across any. Their agility and grace in their steep and rocky home is a marvel to watch. Sheep country is a remote land; extremes of weather and the pitch of the terrain have made it unsuitable for human habitation and nature. Because the severity supports no more than a handful of species, only a select few critters have become the denizens of the mountain slopes. So, as the eagle rules the skies, the bighorn is master of these high places.
Hunting bighorn sheep is not a task for the timid. They are the true monarch of the Rocky Mountains, and reside among amid cliff faces and scrambling talus slopes, at altitudes that cause most people to gasp (for oxygen). Among all North American game species, they exemplify the essence of wilderness and dignity. Few creatures can survive where they thrive. Bighorns are considered the most regal of all big game animals. In this space where they live between forests and sky, between earth and the Heaven, is a place endeared to the mind and the heart of the hunter.
Their range is from southern Canada to Colorado. During the summer they inhabit high elevation alpine meadows, grassy mountain slopes and foothill country— all near rugged, rocky cliffs and bluffs, allowing for quick escape from mountain lion, wolves, bears and hunters. The Greater Yellowstone region bighorn sheep have always been a premier trophy hunt for sportsmen from around the world. The outfitting industry in this area has a long respected reputation as producers of trophies for their clients.
The Greater Yellowstone region is a stronghold of the bighorn and has gained a worldwide reputation for producing some of the biggest Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. There have been many fabulous rams harvested here with a good number of them scoring over 200. Bighorn sheep are heavy horned and often broom (breaking the tips of the horns off to help vision). It is very difficult to find an old ram that reaches anywhere near 40 inches long after the loss of the lamb tips from brooming. However, most sheep hunters value a heavy horned old ram as a fine trophy, despite brooming.
Most early hunting expeditions were by pack train to the incredible ram country in the highest reaches along the spine of the Rocky Mountains, and today’s hunts remain quite the same. For many, part of the attraction to this hunt remains in the process of saddling up horses and loading packhorses and mules to set out for sheep camp high in the mountains. Almost all sheep outfitting in the Greater Yellowstone region is done in this old-time style, with packhorses and tent frame camps. This is still the most efficient way to get to the remote, high altitude home of the sheep. Many elk and deer outfitters provide hunting camps like this as well.
Sheep hunting involves a lot of glassing. Binoculars of the top quality are recommended. Many sheep stay in the timber for most of the day and it takes long hours of looking to find them. Look high on the mountain, but don’t forget to look below you as well. Big rams can be found in the timbered foothills, the rockiest gorges, as well as the highest peaks. There is no predicting where you will find rams. Often the terrain will be hillsides with at least 2,000 vertical feet elevation difference bottom to top. Sheep often like terrain that is more open from burning in previous years, with forage richer in burns. The best possible mix is good bedding and escape territory (talus and rock outcropping with a good view) not far from water and some timber nearby if they want shade or cover.
There are a few tips that are essential to mountain hunting. The first important requirement is to understand that hunting sheep country is steep, tough and a long way from anywhere. Scout your hunt area in advance. This may not be easy as many of the hunt areas are a long way from civilization and not manageable on a weekend trip. Consider chartering a plane and fly the area, many outfitters do the same. For several hundred dollars you get a good look; you may not see sheep, but you’ll see what you’re up against.
Always remember, sheep have excellent eyes. Stay off the skylines, take it slow; use your optics. A high vantage point is helpful; it is helpful to get above them. When you are below them you’ll be looking for the heads of bedded sheep; when above them, you can look for full bodies. Early in the season they don’t move much. Glass for animals; look for signs. If you find ewes and lambs, you’re probably at the wrong elevation.
There will be long days in the saddle—or worse on foot, and the climbing will be tough on your body. It is absolutely essential to get your body in good physical condition. It is important to remember that the air is thinner at higher elevations than it is at sea level and getting enough oxygen for some might be tough. Don’t let your poor physical condition stress your hunt. You have to rough it to hunt sheep and you can count on long days and cold nights. Rain is a possibility and snow is a probability in sheep country in the fall. A healthy body and attitude is important to survive a long hunt in the mountains. Always use caution in the mountains and take a pack with emergency gear, as you are usually a long way away from anywhere. It is foolish to spend any time in the mountains without adequate clothing. You cannot have too many clothes; mountain weather can turn dangerous in hours, if not minutes. All the rules of safety must be observed and these preparations are as important as your physical conditioning. A GPS is a great safety device to have in your pack also.
Bighorn sheep tags are obtained in the United States by controlled hunt draw, auction or lottery/raffle. Rules vary from state to state. In some states, everyone starts on equal footing every year, while in others you must accumulate points to get in position for a tag. Some states even offer a blend of raffles/lotteries and limited draws.
Big Horn Sheep hunting in Wyoming is one the most sought after, exciting, migratory and free ranging big game animals in the world to pursue. Mature rams possess unreal eyesight, they’re extremely cagey, and can make for a very challenging hunt. The mountains and plains of western Wyoming are famous for producing trophy class rams and are home to one of the largest bighorn sheep herds in the world. There are several factors specific to our areas which allow our rams to grow and reach their genetic potential at maturity. These factors include a high ram to ewe ratio, outstanding genetics, predators kept in check and fabulous habitat. The quality winter range is also a great benefit to our sheep herds, giving them the nutrition necessary to survive the harsh Wyoming winters. Along with these factors, the Wyoming draw system has kept the hunting pressure low which allows our rams to have an even better chance at reaching their genetic potential at maturity.
Our East Fork pack in camp and availability of multiple spike camps lie within the boundaries of all sheep areas, which allows us easy access and the ability to hunt the best bighorn sheep area in Wyoming. This area routinely produces rams ranging from 170” to well over 190” gross, each and every year. Our season typically runs from the 1st of September thru the 31st of October, offering us a wide range of hunting opportunities, such as hunting rams in their bachelor groups, to migrating down towards their winter range. These reasons are why this area is without a doubt, not only Wyoming’s finest trophy sheep hunting, but also considered some of the best bighorn sheep hunting in the world.
Along with hunting in an area with superior genetics and low pressure (from both hunters and predators), another key to success in a sheep hunt is our preseason scouting. Forty five to sixty days prior to our first hunt, we are glassing with high quality optics in the mornings and evenings, which always prove beneficial to our clients and contributes greatly to the odds of harvesting a trophy while on your hunt of a lifetime.
Our hunts take place in Western Wyoming’s high country, with elevations up to 7,000 feet and over 10,000 feet in many cases. You will be hunting high alpine bowls, boulder fields, rocky slides, and timber areas often higher than 9,000 feet.
Your mornings will begin at 3:00 am, at which time your guides will already be catching, feeding, and saddling horses. We will all meet in the dining tent for a hearty breakfast; pack your lunch and discuss the plans for the day. After breakfast, still well before daylight, you and your guide will ride from camp and head up the trails a horseback for a full day of hunting. Once you reach your destination, we will spend most of the day glassing and locating rams with binoculars and/or a spotting scope. Our time and efforts are focused on areas where we have historically found and recently located mature rams in our scouting efforts. Once we spot your trophy bighorn, we plan our stalk carefully and hike to a vantage point to where you can make your shot.
In summary, the rugged and steep terrain is challenging. This is a mentally and physically demanding hunt, one you will need to start preparing for long before your hunt dates. The better shape you are in, the better your chances of success. It is also very important to be familiar and proficient with your firearm because it is often necessary to shoot from an average of 300 yards, after a long hard hike up the mountain. The rough mountainous terrain of the Wyoming Range produces record class rams annually. This is without a doubt the hunt of a lifetime for that hunter who is looking for a true trophy class bighorn sheep.