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Staff Article

Robert Hanneman

Montana Unlimited Bighorn Sheep

By Robert Hanneman

April 2015


Jeff Pickenpaugh with ram

For the last 2 years I have had the pleasure to write this article on hunting the Unlimited Bighorn sheep units in Montana. I can honestly say I look forward to this article more than any other throughout the year. Talking to the biologists, other hunters, and going over all the harvest data since the beginning of the Unlimited sheep areas is definitely a passion of mine. If you read this article last year, you know I had an Unlimited Bighorn sheep tag in 2014. Last year, I ended up with a few really good tags, so I was unable to make the opening day of my Bighorn sheep hunt. By the time I was ready to go, my unit quota had been reached. I did get to spend some time in an Unlimited sheep area, but I was helping a buddy on his goat hunt. This year will once again find me in the Unlimited units, but I think I may be switching units.

I am by no means claiming to be an expert on the Unlimited areas, but I have spent enough nights looking up at the stars in those units to have a pretty good idea of what I am doing there. I have had the pleasure to hunt most of the Unlimited units, but I have spent time looking for Bighorn sheep in all of the different Unlimited areas. I probably have more unpunched Bighorn sheep tags than most people would believe. I have had the opportunity to harvest legal rams on a few different occasions but have passed, looking for a better ram. In Montana, if you harvest a ram in an Unlimited area, you must wait 7 years before you can hunt the Unlimited areas again. The rams I passed on were just barely legal, and I did not want to wait 7 years to try my luck against one of the big old rams that had outsmarted predators and countless sheep hunters for the last decade.

There are five units in Montana that you can just buy a Bighorn sheep tag over-the-counter by May 1st and then you are going Bighorn sheep hunting in Montana. At first this may sound too good to be true, but for a hunter, like myself, who loves to hunt Bighorn sheep every year in remote, roadless, Grizzlyfilled country, you should probably think about the Unlimited Bighorn sheep areas of Montana.

To help others who might be thinking of hunting Montana’s Unlimited sheep units, I have updated all of the Unlimited Bighorn sheep information for this article. As always, if you have any questions on these areas or any other Montana sheep units, give me a call here at the office or post your question on the Huntin’ Fool Forum. Good luck to all who are hunting the Unlimited units this year!

2014 Bighorn Sheep Season Quota Status Sheep Harvest Table Sheep Harvest Table Continued Robert and tent