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Staff Article

Robert Hanneman

Montana Unlimited Sheep

By Robert Hanneman

April 2013


Travis Heater with sheep

I am no expert on hunting the unlimited sheep units in Montana, but in the last 10 years I have spent at least 70 days in them. I have held tags in two of the five unlimited units, and I will most likely be hunting an unlimited unit again this year. In 2009 I was hunting an unlimited area with my friends, Joe and Travis. On this hunt Travis Heater harvested a great ram. He deserved the ram more than the rest of us as he had done a solo hunt for 10 days in the unit the year before. It takes a special kind of guy to hunt alone in Grizzly country for 10 days, but that is what it takes if you want to kill a ram in the unlimited units. I truly believe that if a guy was to choose an unlimited unit and hunt that unit for 7 days, 5 years in a row he would have an opportunity at a legal ram.

Kristen Davis Hunsaker and Kenny Davis with sheep

One thing you need to know about the unlimited units is that you are hunting in areas with high Grizzly bear densities. I don’t want to scare anyone off; I just want you to be aware that you will see Grizzly bears. The country is some of the steepest, nastiest country there is in the West. Most all of the hunting is done by backpacking, but there are a few hunts where horses can be helpful. One thing I have learned is that the sheep in the unlimited units live in the timber. If you glass the bowls above the timberline, do not expect to see rams after the end of August as they drop down into the timber.

I have put together the last 5 years’ harvest information for all of the unlimited units. As you can see many hunters attempt the unlimited units, and some years the quotas are never reached. These hunts are very low success type hunts and are not for everyone, but if you want to attempt one of the toughest hunts in the West, buy a tag and give it a shot. After all, you will be sheep hunting at a cost almost everyone can afford.

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