Montana is typically the first state that comes to mind when you start thinking about hunting for a record book Rocky Mountain bighorn. Every year, Montana produces a pile of record book rams, and of those harvested in 2020, it is estimated that roughly 1 in 5 of these rams hit the 180” mark. Of the 123 rams checked in across the state, 38 of them had 16" or better bases. Unsurprisingly, most of these heavy-based rams came from the region 6 units of the famed Missouri River Breaks. It is no wonder why so many non-resident hunters are willing to take on the long odds in hopes of hitting the lottery for a chance at a world-class Montana bighorn sheep hunt.
For 2021, there will be up to 10 non-resident ram tags available. Montana has once again shuffled the units that non-residents are able to apply for, so be sure you look over our bighorn sheep table as we have included all non-resident sheep hunts available this fall. If you are a Montana resident and you would like to talk about the other units available to you, give us a call. If you’re after a shot at a 190"+ ram, you’ll want to stick with the best units in the state. Units 482-20, 680-20, and 622-20 are the three Missouri Breaks hunts available for non-residents, and each one is capable of producing that caliber of ram. Of these three units, the base measurements coming out of 680 have been a little better than those of 482 and 622 despite the rams harvested in 680 being a little younger than those in the other two units.
It’s fair to argue that non-residents got the short end of the stick with the remaining five hunts being offered to them for 2021. While the potential for a 180”+ ram is there in 421, the other four areas are not going to be easy hunts to pull a record book ram out of. This is especially true of the 123 hunt in the Cabinet Mountains. These four hunts are going to make more sense for applicants going after a little better odds in just getting a tag in their pocket than they are a chance at a top end ram.
Montana is the only state that offers over-the-counter bighorn sheep tags. Hunters can choose from five units – 300, 303, 500, 501, and 502. These tags must be purchased or applied for by May 1st. The odds of harvesting a ram are typically around 5%, but every year, some lucky hunters take rams home. 2020 was a great year for the unlimited area sheep hunters with 14 of them harvesting a ram. See the “Unlimited Bighorn Sheep” section for more information on all of the units and hunts.
The only bad news about sheep hunting in Montana are the odds that go with drawing a tag. Last year, 7,104 non-resident applicants applied for a ram tag and only 8 of them drew out. Despite the tough draw odds, if you are hoping for an opportunity to hunt big Rocky Mountain bighorns someday, applying in Montana should be at the top of your list!
Archery: September 4 – September 14
General: September 15 – November 28
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The Montana Bighorn Sheep application deadline is May 1, 2021
Our online/print magazine 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!
|Base Hunting License||$15|
|Bonus Points (optional/per species)||$20|
|Bow and Arrow License (required for all archery hunts)||$10|
|Bighorn Sheep Permit||$1,250|
|Wolf Permit (can purchase up to five)||$50|
|*Fees do not include the additional 2.5% convenience fee.|
Montana Bighorn Sheep Hunting Articles from Huntin' Fool Magazine