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Idaho Bighorn Sheep Hunting

Idaho Bighorn Sheep Hunting

Idaho gives hunters the opportunity to apply for Rocky Mountain bighorn or California bighorn sheep. Between both subspecies, there were 94 draw permits available throughout the state in 2021. Of the 94 permits, 78 were for Rocky bighorns and 16 were for California bighorns. IDFG allocates up to one non-resident permit for each hunt code. When 10% of the overall statewide quota is met by non-residents, the draw is then shut down for all remaining non-resident applicants and the remaining permits are all awarded to residents. The 10% cap applies to the Rocky Mountain and California permit total collectively. Keep in mind that our draw odds take into account the total number of non-resident applicants in each hunt code and the relative probability of being drawn for each hunt before the 10% non-resident cap is met between both subspecies. The bottom line is that your odds of drawing a sheep permit in Idaho are below 1%, but they are still better than those of any state in the West. In 2021, 8 of the 1,623 non-resident applicants who applied for Rocky Mountain bighorn were drawn for their tags. Of the 307 non-resident California bighorn applicants, only one was successful in drawing.

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Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep hunting in Idaho is arguably some of the toughest sheep hunting in the West today. The terrain in which they live is some of the most steep, rugged, remote wilderness country found anywhere. While the average ram coming from Idaho is typically in the low to mid-160s, there are a handful of 170" class rams and a few 180" harvested each year. If you are just looking for a good, mature ram, there are plenty of units to choose from. If you aren’t playing the bighorn sheep raffle, you should be. For $20, the lucky winner of the raffle will be allowed to hunt unit 11 in 2022.

California bighorns occupy Southern Idaho’s Great Basin canyon and rangelands south of Interstate 84. The California sheep population is stable to decreasing. While harvest success has been holding steady, hunters have had to spend more days in the field to fill their permits over the last few seasons. For the most part, all of Idaho’s California sheep hunts offer similar sized rams, with the exception being area 40. The rams harvested on this hunt have had better bases than those in neighboring units and produced a giant ram in 2021.

 

If you need a Rocky Mountain or California bighorn and can justify the out-of-pocket cost, make sure you are applying in Idaho every year. Idaho offers every type of hunt a sheep hunter could want, from giant rams in Hells Canyon and the most rugged horseback experience in the Frank Church to floating the river through the wilderness, flying into a wilderness landing strip, or battling the heat in the southern desert country. With a little research, any hunter can find a sheep hunt that would suit their own personal style. If you want a Rocky or a California ram, you should be applying in Idaho every year.

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Bighorn Sheep Season Dates

Please review the state regulations for specific units and dates.

Self-Guided Bighorn Sheep Hunts

Over the last 20+ years, we've collected hunting research and data, so join Huntin' Fool today and access the best research tools for hunting bighorn sheep in Idaho, including 3D Maps, Draw Odds, Consultations, and much more. Go on more hunts with better information!

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Private Land, Semi-Guided, and Guided Bighorn Sheep Hunts 

Search our database for Idaho Bighorn Sheep opportunities.

 

Application Deadline 

The Idaho sheep application deadline is April 30, 2022.

Our magazine, which is available in print and online, has everything in one location - application info, draw details and odds, fees, hunter requirements, point structure, age restrictions, youth information, weapon restrictions, other tag opportunities, hunt planning, and much more. If you would like access to all of our research, join today!

2022 IDAHO NON-RESIDENT FEES
Adult Up-Front Fees
Annual Hunting License and Access Fee $195 Non-refundable
Trophy Species Application Fee $45.75 Non-refundable
Online and Phone Application Processing Fee $90.03 Non-refundable
Bighorn Sheep Permit $2,626.75 Refunded if unsuccessful
Adult Application Subtotal $2,957.53 $330.78 total non-refundable
Youth Up-Front Fees
Annual Hunting License and Access Fee $95.75 Non-refundable
Trophy Species Application Fee $45.75 Non-refundable
Online and Phone Application Processing Fee $87.05 Non-refundable
Bighorn Sheep Permit $2,626.75 Refunded if unsuccessful
Youth Applicant Subtotal $2,855.30 $228.55 total non-refundable