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How to kill a ewe bighorn?
I drew the archery nonresident ewe tag for S32 in Colorado this year and since it'll be my first sheep hunt I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm looking for advice on bowhunting ewes specifically because everything I've found so far is about killing rams. I'll be flying out to scout in late july/early august so I'm not so much looking for advice on how to hunt this unit just yet but feel free to pm me if you're knowledgeable about the area or have done this hunt before.
1. What are some good resources for learning how to ID a ewe from a young ram? 2. Is spot and stalk the best method or are there other worthwhile strategies like setting up on travel corridors, decoying etc. ?
3. I have a set of swarovski 8x30 binoculars. Do I need a spotting scope/high power binos as well or are those mainly to determine age and size of rams?
Balls ID a ram. Seriously, until you watch some you have no idea how big they are. I have ball envy. From behind easy to spot. Horns are different. Ewes tend to be lower. Rams at ridgetops, ewes down lower, often near roads or 2 tracks. I drew S32 ewe a few years ago (2nd choice) and got some good help from guys here. I got CRAZY lucky and drew a desert bighorn tag in NV that year - unexpected so I turned my ewe tag in for a refund. I got to keep my points because I did not use any points. I got LUCKY. I was noy paying $2k to hunt ewes the same year as I had a ram tag.
Anyway hopefully some of the guy here that gave me intel chime in. I got a lot of good places to look. Do not worry to much that ram info is different. When I am in sheep country I find both ewes and rams. Ewes are sometimes lower that is about it.
#1 answered above
#3 it is a good idea. A decent spotting scope on a good tripod is life changing. Maybe someone can lend you one for a couple weeks. I strongly recommend having a good spotting scope/tripod on your trip. I use it a lot more then my binos when glassing.
I did not hunt and I am not sure if guys are ok with me sharing spots to check so I can't give you detailed info were to go but I strongly suspect you will get a lot of help here.
1. Can you make the Orientation class? That’s a good resource on all your questions. Once you spend time with sheep it’s way easier to tell ewes from small rams. Don’t sweat it, it won’t be a problem.
2- spot and stalk will be best unless you can pattern them which takes time. Ambush from above usually works better. If you come from above the success of your stalk will be higher.
3. This is up to you- if you add a spotter you should be fine. I prefer 10x or 12x binos on a tripod for glassing large areas. But your costs can climb immensely with optics!
They don't do the orientation class anymore. I sent you a PM.
Are you assuming a gender?
Question 1. Ewe's horns have much smaller bases than a young ram's. Visible from the front...
Ewe and young ram.
Ewe and young ram.
Question #2. Have only done spot & stalk, often with a spotter/flagger, and often transitioned to a still hunt.
Question #3. Prefer 10X binocs while on the mountain. I have a pair of 8X30 Swarovskis, but neither my wife or I ever use them since getting 10X. Use a spotter from glassing points from the vehicle.
We've hunted S32 3 times, but the last was still quite a while ago. More access points and accessible areas seem to get closed down every year.
Thank you guys for the insight and the pm's! I went from planning on an awesome hunt with a marginal chance at success to feeling pretty confident that I can get a crack at one of these things.
I did watch the sheep orientation class from 2019 on the CPW youtube channel and that was really informative too. It's kind of a general overview and probably doesn't change much from year to year though so maybe that's why they stopped doing it.
Ziek those pictures are incredible but I can see I have a lot of work to do before i'll be comfortable ID'ing the ewes especially just based off the horns. I definitely see what you're saying with the bases of the horns but i'm not sure I could tell them apart yet if you hadn't labeled them lol. I've got 4 months and a scouting trip to sort that out though
Yes, they still do the orientation seminar. Last year it was all on-line through zoom. They held a general session for all sheep and goat hunters and they had breakout meetings that were unit specific.
I guess I mean they don’t do the live in person class. Like they did until 17’ or 18’
I had the same tag about 10 years ago. Its a really fun hunt. You can find them near the roads or off in the basins, so dont get pinned down. Youre looking for good feed, water and bedding which is about the same for any sheep hunt.
I wouldnt buy a spotting scope just for a ewe tag because in the early season theyll be mostly seperated. If you can borrow one or need the excuse to buy one, then it will only help.
DonV - if you get drawn for female sheep but then ask for a refund - would that be considered a ewe turn?
I'll second what TXCO said. In the early season, the rams will generally be grouped up separate from the ewes, unless they are very young rams. And Don is also spot on, the testicles are a tell tale sign, even on the young rams.
IMO, a quality spotter is an absolute must for a sheep hunt. Notice I emphasized "quality". I spend far more time behind my spotter than my 10X binoculars, when I'm looking for sheep. It will save you time and dozens of miles of hiking trying to locate sheep.
Good luck on your hunt!!
Act like a hiker and walk up and shoot it. At least that’s how we do it here in Alberta.
Hey Mike - what’s fun is when you’re buying your hiker disguise at MEC, tell them you’re using the gear to go hunting. The snowflakes begin to melt.
Buckskin 21...Pm sent to you
Good luck! I shot one in MT years ago. Super fun and the best meat I ever ate!
Mike has it right. If you're in an area the sheep are used to seeing hikers the worst thing you can do is act like a hunter. Stay in sight and gradually work yourself in bow range.
I hunted an ewe in Montana 482 a few years back.
Good advice above given to ya as they do seem un-alarmed as long as ya don't go directly towards them, angle in and take your time to not spook them.
I bow hunted Rams in S-32 and saw ewe's every single day up on the mountain.
Good luck, Robb
I second what was just said. That’s exactly what I did. Paralleled them until I worked to within 35 or so yards. Never made direct eye contact. Acted like I was just hiking.
I for one spotting scope a must maybe not a expensive one or barrow one from a buddy or rent one get in shape
Rams have huge balls. Also, if you watch them long enough, they pee, and female sheep pee just like female deer.
I had that same tag about a dozen years ago. Tip 1 - Practice very steep downhill shots, from the roof of your house for example. But also, find a way to practice very steep uphill shots - not doing so cost me an excellent chance to fill my tag. Tip 2 - don’t hit the snooze button on your alarm, instead be at your glassing point or ambush spot at first light - hitting the snooze button too many times cost me another excellent chance to fill my tag. I had an unusual strategy - I backpacked into a more remote basin where there was a group of 21 ewes and basically hunted there for 8 days. Turns out that was much tougher than I expected, with 21 sets of eyeballs to have to overcome - stalking them was nearly impossible. I could glass most of the basin from my tent. After a few days, I figured out several trails that they preferred when they went in/out of the basin, and that’s where I had several chances.
Tip 3 - volunteer to assist with the sheep count in that unit - I did and requested to do it with another trad bowhunter, and I got paired up with Janet George! She was super helpful.
I really doubt that you will mistake a ewe for a young ram, after you see some sheep on your scouting trip/sheep count weekend. One young ram hung around me for most of my hunt and he showed me his family jewels on the first day, just to make sure I wouldn’t mistake him for a female…
I bought a spotting scope for the hunt and used it some, but my 10x binos were more useful to me.