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So where does it happen? I've seen a couple shows on TV where it basically looks like they were tame? Walked right up to obvious hunters, or videos of them walking thru yards in town? Does this happen?
90% of the units in Montana.
You sure they aren't Rambouillets?
I saw a picture of a friend of mine (not a hunter) feeding a couple ewes a cliff bar. He was hiking up around Canmore.
There are some very tame desert sheep near Las Vegas in the town of Boulder City Nevada.
Here's a young desert ram and ewe from this summer. They were out on a pitch and put course at Hidden Shores RV Park near Imperial Dam. Probably tough to see on here.
Sheep and mtn goats often get acclimated to hikers, bikers, and 4 wheelers here in Colo. I know a few spots where you can walk right up to them along well used hiking and 4 wheeler trails. In fact, you better look around before taking a leak near mtn goats or they may get impatient and ram into you trying to get to a "man-made" mineral lick!
If they were Desert sheep in Mexico..It could have been in a high fence
Sheep near residential areas seem to acclimate to human interaction very well. I've noticed on several hunts where I've accompanied others who had the tag that the same animals behaved differently in different environments.
In the same unit, my friend and I drove up beside peoples houses and took pictures and video of multiple 170-180 class rams rutting in their yard. That same day, less than 3 miles away we had rams spooking at 2-300 yards as soon as they spotted us.
I took this picture on a recent elk hunt. Back in Sept. these guys would have been either in an unlimited wilderness area or very close to it. I was sitting in a pickup trying to keep the road and fences out of my pictures. :)
Bottom line is there are a lot of units in MT where it can be easy or almost impossible.
The Las Vegas/Boulder City area in southern NV is famous for having desert bighorns wander around in town. Same thing for the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area in CA.
As far as an easy sheep hunt, I've got to think the Okanogan in southern BC would be hard to beat.
Here's some sheep we saw hanging out at a park near Golden, B.C. during a trip to town for the compulsory horn inspection after I shot my mountain goat in 2013.
Some "keepers" in that group for sure!
I think generally sheep aren't as pressured by hunting as much as say deer and elk. I think it's the terrain that they live in that makes the hunt tough.
With that said there are units in Colorado where sheep and goat are used to people. They will come up to you and try to eat your power bar out of your hand. You can ride your atv into a herd of goats in one unit. But In other unit's where they don't see people I've seen Mtn goats spook at a couple hundred yards and run way high into the cliffs.
It happens in all the units that are impossible to draw! Hahaha
When I lived in South Dakota way back when, from time-to-time late in the goose season we hunted near Pierre, the state capitol.
There's a very small lake between the capitol building and the Governor's mansion and the ducks and Canada geese would frequent that lake in November. They were called "The Governor's Geese." You could walk around the lake and those geese would barely move out of your way.
BUT, once they left that little secure 'refuge' to go out to feed, they were totally wild again.
Canmore, during my sheep hunt in 2003.
These are all ewes and lambs and we got within 40 yards without them giving a hoot. However, we were on a well used hiking trail, so they were used to people.
This was one of the coolest and funniest things I've ever experienced on a hunt.
The first night we had a tremendous snow hit the area, dropping 22" in town. The following day, Frank Simpson and I were taking turns breaking trail up the main hiking trail when we stopped for a breather and a snack.
This little banana head (see this photo and the one that follows) came onto the trail on our back trail, then started walking right to us. He stopped about 25' behind us and looked at us like he was thinking, "Will you guys please get going again? I've got places to go!"
Finally, he got frustrated that we weren't moving, so he walked a bit closer yet and decided to get off the trail and circle above us. That lasted for about 30,' whence he stopped after trying to get through three feet of fresh snow. He had a, "This totally sucks." look on his face, then turned around and went right back to where he'd left the trail.
We were ready to take off again and when we did, he followed close behind us like a puppy dog for another fifty yards, before breaking off the trail and heading down.
Unfortunately, my roll of film ran out right after he got on the trail and started towards us, so these two photos are all I've got.
Suffice it to sat Frank and I were laughing our butts off!
Some guys sure make it look easy. personally that has not been the case for me. With bow in hand, every sheep has been a challenge. I am still waiting for an eight yard shot...
It is in hard to draw areas in the US where they see way more hikers than sheep hunters. Hard to get the tag, easy to kill the sheep. Anywhere they are hunted a decent amount they are not standing around waiting to be shot, Park sheep, ewes and banana horns in Canmore have nothing to do with the ease of hunting them.
To answer the original question. Yes it does happen. :)
Ive yet to be in a limited sheep unit here in MT where the sheep would be what I consider spooky. When I had my tag i found getting within bow range very easy.
sheep can be like 3d targets
MT, don't be jealous of my 8 yard shot :-)
Right now you can go onto the elk refuge in Jackson WY and get out and take pics of over 100 sheep 10 yards away - that migrated in from hunted areas.
Odd how they behave differently - same sheep would not let you do that during hunting season.