Mathews Inc.
My 16 yr old son drew a CO tag - help
Wild Sheep
Contributors to this thread:
MooseHunter007 20-May-20
Quinn @work 20-May-20
Paul@thefort 20-May-20
Paul@thefort 20-May-20
Kurt 21-May-20
Ermine 21-May-20
OFFHNTN 21-May-20
tkjwonta 21-May-20
Rock 21-May-20
HULLHEAVER 24-May-20
Junior 24-May-20
Sandbrew 25-May-20
MooseHunter007 26-May-20
Greg S 31-May-20
Buffalo1 31-May-20
20-May-20
My 16 year old son drew an archery sheep tag and I am looking for some tips and advice on sheep behavior and on stalking methods that he can practice and that might work for a young man. We are working out and shooting nearly everyday, including shooting up and down steep inclines. We plan on several scouting trips. Any help to get us pointed in the right direction and guidance for a successful hunt is greatly appreciated. He is hunting S66, so some real steep and high mountains. - I apologize for the multiple posts, my computer was super slow and I hit submit several times

From: Quinn @work
20-May-20
Congrats to the young man. No experience in S66. I can tell you're excited you kept hammering the submit button for the thread.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-20

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Spend a lot of time behind a spotting scope and observe their daily movements. Find a legal ram, wait for it to bed down in the am, get above it with the wind in your favor, stalk in as close as possible to bow range and wait for it to get up. Or find a travel route, bed to feed and set up an ambush. You many only get one chance.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-20

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
from an article I wrote a few years back.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
from an article I wrote a few years back.
UNDERSTAND SHEEP AND GOATS: Understanding the species will be the key ingredient to your knowledge base as with any animals you hunt. Questions like, where do they frequent, what are their habits, what to they eat, what equipment do I need to hunt them and what will they be doing at the time I will be hunting them? I am not going into detail about each species as there are many resources available to you: books, magazines, videos, web-sources like Google, other hunters who have hunted these species, and regional CDOW biologists. Another great web-source is the goat and sheep conference on Bowsite.com. You will have plenty of time to do your research and get in shape; so do not concern yourself about where to hunt for the first couple of years. Take the opportunity to actually observe these animals. Close to Denver Colorado is Mount Evans and a great place to observe goats. Also check out the I-70 corridor near Georgetown for sheep viewing. In the sheep and goat brochure there is a map of the various game management units and you may find one of those close to home where you can search out the species. Check with your regional DOW biologist about the best places to start your observations. Especially for sheep, the CDOW conducts annual sheep counts in various management units during the summer and they are always looking for volunteers to hike or drive a designated route. This is a great way to participate and to explore some prime sheep habitat. Call the Denver CPW office for the dates of the various counts across the state. I highly recommend you join the Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep Society, as this is the main Colorado organization that keeps sheep on the ground and donates many dollars and man-hours towards that effort.

YOUR FIRST SCOUTING TRIP: So you have located some areas that sheep or goats frequent. Some of these areas may be in wilderness areas, miles from the nearest roads and some may be closer to civilization with fair vehicle or foot access. Your choice of which area may depend on your physical preparedness, time allocated to your hunt, or the particular season dates you have applied for. You may even wish to hire a qualified guide to do your scouting and help you during your hunt. Whatever the case, you should be in the best physical shape possible as you will be at elevations of 10,000 to 13,000 feet above sea level and the air is thin and the terrain can be rugged. Check for various sheep guides in the CBA magazine/newsletter, as they also support the CBA. I goat and sheep hunted solo but you may invite a friend to help with the hunt and at the same time, share the experience.

The saying is, “goats are easy to find (because of their white color) but getting to them is the challenge.” Big Horn Sheep are multi-colored (tan to dark brown with a light colored rump and are very difficult to spot, especially when bedded down or slowly feeding near the timber. You will need a good pair of binoculars and a spotting scope for both species and especially if you will be hunting a larger horned animal. My binoculars are 10X43 and offer good viewing power to a point, but if you need to get up close and personal over a longer range, a spotting scope is necessary and when mounted on a stationary tripod, you can set up and observe at longer ranges. This type of scouting and hunting will require you to spend a lot of time on your butt and behind your optics. A typical trip will require you to observe 90% of the time, and hunt the remaining 10%. There is a direct correlation between the time you spend scouting and actually observing sheep or goats, and your success. If you draw a license, forget about elk and deer hunting for a while, and place all of your effort towards the sheep or the goat hunt, at least until your tag is filled. If you scout during another sheep or goat season prior to your hunt, be mindful that there can be other hunters in the area; show them some hunting courtesy.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Any archery equipment you hunt deer and elk with, should be fine to hunt sheep and goats but just make sure the broad heads are sharp and you are well aware of your comfortable/accurate shooting range. Because you will be hunting in various terrains and at steep angles, practice your shooting at different angles, not only up but down slope as well. I shot my ram at 32 yards but used my 20-yard sight pin, as the downward angle was 45 degrees. If I would have used the 30-yard pin, the arrow would have shot high or totally passed over the ram. I drilled him dead center! There are many camouflage patterns available but I prefer the more open pattern like the Predator brand. Take a small notebook and pencil so you can take notes on the trip, but also to make a map when you spot the animal of your choice. Most of your observing will be to the opposite valley side and when you spot that trophy and then circle around to get into position, finding the location of the animal will be made a lot easier if you have taken the time to note, on a map, the location of the animal and various key reference points near by. When you get to that “red pine tree” or the, “two large boulders” on the map, you will know you are close.

SO LET GO HUNTING: Most hunting for these two species is the spot and stalk method. Spot, then bed them down, get the wind correct even if you have to circle around, and then make the stalk. Coming in from above has been a proven way to get close. Find a high point when you have seen sheep or goats, set up the spotting scope or get comfortable with your binoculars and start looking. Do not pan the hillside quickly but pick the hillside apart by using the squared off block method. This method divides the observed area into equal blocks and each hillside block is then picked apart. If you are lucky, you may see the entire animal, but usually you will see only parts. Of course, mountain goats may stick out like a “sore thumb,” but if they are in the snow or around white quartz rocks, they can be hard to find. Because of the Bighorn Sheep’s coloration, they can be very hard to spot so look for a light colored rump patch, especially as they feed and the sun is reflecting off of the rump hairs. Also look for the sun reflecting off of the ram’s horns or the movement of their horns when they are feeding or even bedded. Once you have found them, lock in on them and find a reference point near by. Sheep and goats do travel along established routes so setting up in an ambush location near watering and feeding locations is another hunting method. If you can find a natural mineral lick, this is also a prime hunting location. Like any other big game species, sheep and goats also rely on their eyes and nose to detect danger. Waiting until mid-morning or early afternoon, when the warmer wind currents are coming up slope and away from the bedded animal, presuming you are above or across from them, is a good strategy. You may only be able to advance part way into your stalk because of the lack of cover, or you may have discovered another animal that went unnoticed. In these cases it may be best to just back out and wait for another opportunity. Remember, you may only get one chance at harvesting the trophy of a lifetime, so play it smart.

BE PREPARED! There is no doubt that the Colorado Mountains are breath taking when under clear blue skies, a bright sun, and a cool breeze. But this can all change in a moment so be prepared for quick weather changes. Lightning kills people as well and sheep and goats every year. Ice, snow and rain can happen anytime, and yes, even in the summer and early fall. You can get caught away from your truck or base camp and have to spend the night on the mountain. Will you be prepared to do so? Again, there is lot of information about surviving in the mountains and what to have on hand. At the very least, pack enough equipment in your day- pack to stay the night if you have to.

A FINAL THOUGHT: Of the 31% of archery sheep hunters and the 50% of the archery goat hunters, who are successful, will you have what it takes to be one of these elite hunters? Only you can answer this question. You now understand the process so start preparing, be safe and have a great Colorado sheep or goat hunt if you choose to do so. I can guarantee you that it will be a journey you will never forget, successful or not. Paul Navarre

From: Kurt
21-May-20
Moose, I just bumped up the post "Bowhunting Thinhorns", which are sheep just like bighorns. You'll find some good tips in that thread. And good luck!!!! Kurt

From: Ermine
21-May-20
My only experience hunting sheep was that they were much spookier than deer and elk. When they bust you they don’t run around the mtn and stop like a deer. They keep running for a couple mountains.

They are nomadic. Hardly do the same thing twice.

Be prepared for really steap shots

Don’t have too much pressure on him. Want him to enjoy it and not ruin hunting for him. I know I can get a little intense and serious and often kids at that age aren’t as serious as we might be.

From: OFFHNTN
21-May-20
I have no advice as I'm still trying to get past the phrase "My 16 year old son drew an archery sheep tag....." Wow. Congrats to him.......I'd wish him luck buy he obviously already has it!

From: tkjwonta
21-May-20
No real hunting advice, but try not to put too much pressure on him and just enjoy a really unique experience with your son, successful or not. This is definitely a rare tag, but hopefully you can make it an enjoyable hunt that fosters future outdoor adventures even if you don't come home with a ram.

From: Rock
21-May-20
Just remember that every blown stalk or shot get you one closer to success.

From: HULLHEAVER
24-May-20
Enjoy the tag and cherish the hunt. Try not to put to much pressure on him. Remember ethics. I think sometimes such a rare tag people forget that because of the pressure to fill the tag. A few examples--- I hunted them in 08 and during a scouting trip I ran into another tag holder. His words to me were "I hear they die easy, just have to get an arrow in them" I promptly walked away. During the hunt, ran into another hunter who tried to shoot one in the back of the head as it was looking away (That's all he could see of the ram) and ended up sticking the arrow/broadhead into his horn, The ram ran off and if I had to guess was later seen by tourists along I-70. Again-- I quickly walked away from that dude too.

What I learned on the hunt- If you find them close to dark, they will likely be close by that same area the next morning. They didn't seem to move much at night. I noticed that if they were feeding a certain direction, rarely did they turn around and go back the way they had come. Find ALL the rams in the group. They seemed to bed close to one another and all facing different directions. On two cases though, they were spread out and bedded in the timber like deer. The ram I hadn't seen was the one that busted me. Archery season (August when I hunted them) rams were mostly in bachelor groups, Largest group I stalked was 16 rams avg group was 4. Less eye/noses the better. The ram I killed, I stalked from below. He saw me but because I was below him he stood there broadside long enough to eat an arrow, The times I stalked from above, they blew out of there before I could even get the sight pins on them. They have incredible eyes! They can pick you off from a long way, Stay hidden from view if at all possible and do not skyline yourself. When you get frustrated and things aren't going your way, Remember--You are sheep hunting! (Lots of people aren't) and you are sheep hunting for $250.00 in your own back yard (assuming you are residents) Cherish it! Above all stay positive. The mountain can beat you down, the weather can suck, other hunters can bump the sheep you were after, the wind can change........ect. Stay positive and remember, It can happen at any time and if it doesn't at least you got a chance to do it. If you do succeed, enjoy the moment and take lots of pictures. Take lots of pictures anyway. It's Hard to describe the feeling of putting your hands around the horns of such a magnificent animal. (For me, it brought a little sand to my eyes) Enjoy every steak and burger, they are delicious. Wishing you guys good luck!!! Enjoy the journey

From: Junior
24-May-20
Some great advice here! Good luck to you guys!

From: Sandbrew
25-May-20
Congrats to your son and you on the sheep tag! That is a VERY rare tag he has. Not to discourage you from attempting this as a DIY hunt I hope you realize this is probably the only ram tag he will every draw in Colorado. I would seriously consider hiring a guide that is familiar with the area and can prescout. Having someone who can provide a camp and knowledge will increase his odds of successfully harvest. I'm not sure where you live in relation to the unit , how well you already know it and if you can scout every chance you can preseason. The experience will be great no matter what you decide to do. S66 is a serious high country hunt and many rifle tags go unfilled. Good news you have the only tag in the unit for a month an scouting in mid/late July will be key to knowing where to be for the hunt. Best of luck and keep us in the loop. Nothing better and semi live Bowsite sheep hunt.

Sandbrew

26-May-20
Thank you all so very much for the great advice and encouragement!

From: Greg S
31-May-20
Assuming he is bowhunting? Make sure his sight is set for 2nd and 3rd axis. Most better bow shops have a Hooter Shooter and can do this. You can do it yourself following Spot Hogg videos on YouTube.

From: Buffalo1
31-May-20
I have no experience and spend very few nights in a Holiday Inn.

I simply wanted to say congrats on the draw and wish your son the best of luck. Don’t over pressure the situation and enjoy a memorable experience together. “He can do this!”

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