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Idaho Bighorn Sheep Hunting


Idaho Bighorn Sheep Hunting 2024

Available Idaho Bighorn Sheep Hunts --- Search HF Aventures

Idaho gives hunters the opportunity to apply for Rocky Mountain bighorn or California bighorn sheep. Between both subspecies, there were 96 draw permits available throughout the state in 2023. Of the 96 permits, 83 were for Rocky bighorns and 11 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. In 2023, there were 2,098 non-resident sheep applicants in the Idaho bighorn draw. Seven of them drew their Rocky tag, and another two drew a California ram tag.

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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 are looking for a 190" class ram, the only unit in Idaho that could potentially offer a ram of that caliber is going to be in Hells Canyon, unit 11. There is some potentially devastating news regarding the unit 11 Hells Canyon sheep herd. A pneumonia outbreak was detected in northern Hells Canyon in early December and is ongoing. As of early March, there have been at least 12 dead sheep that have tested positive for the disease. So far, nine rams, two ewes, and a lamb have been confirmed to have died from the outbreak on the Idaho side of the river. The severity of these die-offs can vary, with population declines ranging from 5% to 100%. On average, about 50% of the population survives the initial die-off. This is one of several pneumonia outbreaks in bighorn sheep that have occurred over the past century in the Hells Canyon area. At the time of print, IDFG is still planning to hold its 2024 hunt as planned but could change course depending on the extent of mortality before the season.

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 are having 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, but hunters are having to spend a lot of days in the field to harvest their sheep here as well. The sheep in unit 41 are not doing very well, and there are quite a few dead heads being found within the unit. There is no clear reason for the losses, though most likely cougar predation is mostly to blame. There is talk of this unit being closed after this season.


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. Give us a call if you’d like help finding the hunt that is right for you!

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Idaho Bighorn Sheep Season Dates

Please review the state regulations for specific units and dates.

Self-Guided, DIY Bighorn Sheep Hunts in Idaho

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 in Idaho

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Application Deadline for Idaho Sheep

The Idaho sheep application deadline is April 30, 2024.

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!

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


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