Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Guides and Outfitters
Arizona Desert Sheep Hunts
Arizona Guided Hunts is proud to offer hunting trips for the most prized big game species in North America, the desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis mexicana and nelsoni). Arizona has produced numerous large rams and stands up to being the top state as a quality producer. Like all states, Arizona bighorn sheep tags are by a lottery drawing. If you are lucky enough to draw this "coveted tag", you stand a great chance of getting a record-book head. Desert big horn sheep tags are limited to such an extent that Arizona only allows each hunter one desert bighorn sheep in a lifetime. Tags may be difficult to draw, so our possible hunters are encouraged to apply each year until drawn. You never know when you will draw. Some hunters draw their first try, which means it is truly luck-of-the-draw!
If you have the itch for an exceptional ram and feel lucky enough to draw one of the "coveted tags," we have the hunt for you! Arizona Guided Hunts' master sheep guide, Pat Feldt and his assistants, have spent many years in the field with desert bighorn sheep and know them well. Pat is a member of the Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, has a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology and is very knowledgeable and experienced in locating, hunting, and judging bighorn sheep. Much of his and his assistants spare time is spent looking for and observing sheep, whether it is just for fun or trying to video another record-book ram. Pat's many years of sheep experience has allowed hunters to harvest exceptional quality bighorn rams. Several rams harvested over the years have made the Boone and Crockett minimum.
In Arizona, you have the ability to hunt two different sub-species of desert bighorn sheep: either the heavy-horned and tight-curled Mexicana subspecies or the wide, flare-horned Nelsoni subspecies. This depends upon which area or unit you draw. The sheep in the northwest areas of Arizona from the Bill Williams River northward are classified as Nelson desert bighorn sheep. The southern area below the Bill Williams River toward the Mexican border is home to the Mexicana.
We have hunted in various bighorn sheep units throughout the State of Arizona. Sheep locations within these units vary from year to year because desert bighorn rams have a very large home range. This is due mainly to the constantly changing food and water resources of the desert ecosystem. Rams also move around a lot during the late summer rut before settling down in late October or early November. Your area is scouted extensively prior to the December hunt to locate not only the best concentration of sheep, but the best rams in that area. We can often find the same rams during the hunt that were located during scouting. So, if we find a big ram during scouting in October or November, with patience, we will more than likely find him during your December hunt.
The lucky hunters can choose a standard one-on-one guided hunt or choose the premium package. The standard 1-on-1 hunt is the most popular option where the hunter is assisted by one experienced sheep guide. The premium hunt includes two experienced bighorn sheep guides; one hunting with you and another at a different vantage point to act as a scout or spotter. Having eyes in two places at one time increases the chance of obtaining an exceptional trophy or record-class ram. There is also a more economical option (mainly for resident hunters) of hiring just the sheep guide (guide only, not outfitted, without camp or meals).
Licenses and Seasons
Since desert sheep hunting is on a lottery draw basis, hunters that are interested in booking a sheep hunt will be emailed instructions on how to apply and which hunt numbers to use. The application period for sheep is in May. Once a tag is drawn, we will book the hunt. The Arizona hunting license fee is $160.00 and tag fee is $1,815.00 (Non-Resident) or $313.00 (Resident). If applying online during the draw, your credit card will be charged for the full hunting license fee, since a license is required in order to apply. The tag fee will be charged at a later date if you are drawn. Arizona has a bonus point system which increases your odds of drawing a tag. Each time you are not drawn for a particular species, you receive a bonus point. For each bonus point you have for sheep, your name goes into the drawing an additional time, slightly increasing your odds.
Draw applications accepted starting early May. Drawing deadline: June 9th, 2015.
Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Season: December 1 - December 31 each year.
The Arizona Big Game Super Raffle tag for desert bighorn sheep is another option. The lucky winner of this tag has a 365-day season to harvest a ram utilizing several areas (units 9-16). Raffle tickets are only $25 each and you can buy as many as you can afford! They can be purchased online via the AZ Big Game Super Raffle website.
$ 2015 Rates $
Fully Guided and Outfitted Trophy Sheep Hunts
|Bighorn Package||# Days||Rate|
|Desert Bighorn Sheep: 1-on-1||10+||$6,000.00|
|Desert Bighorn Sheep: Premium||10+||$8,000.00|
|Desert Bighorn Sheep: Guide Only||10+||$4,000.00|
Description of Packages
1-on-1 Package is the standard guided sheep hunt where the hunter is assisted by one guide. Includes: camp accommodations (canvas tent camps with heat and cots or camping trailer where feasible), meals, complimentary airport transfer if needed, field transportation, and one guide. We understand that desert sheep hunting is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, therefore we want you to be successful. If a sheep hunter does not tag a ram within the 10 scheduled days, additional days for a later timeframe can be arranged for $300.00 per additional day up until the end of season (December 31). All of our past hunters have harvested a nice ram within the first scheduled 10 days, with most of them tagging within 5 days.
Premium Package means the hunter has 2 guides to assist in finding a trophy; 1 guide with him and 1 scout or spotter to assist at a different vantage point. This package increases your odds of taking a record book ram since there are 2 people working to locate your trophy sheep. Includes: camp accommodations (canvas tent camps with heat and cots or camping trailer), meals, complimentary airport transfer if needed, camp transportation, and guides. We understand that desert sheep hunting is a once- in- a- lifetime opportunity, therefore we want you to be successful. If a sheep hunter does not tag a ram within the 10 scheduled days, additional days with a guide for a later timeframe can be arranged for $300.00 per additional day up until the end of season (December 31). All of our past hunters have harvested a nice ram within the first scheduled 10 days, with most of them tagging within 5 days.
Guide-Only Package is an economical package designed for hunters that have their own camping gear and high-clearance vehicles, but only need a guide. This reduced rate package is $2,000 less than the standard 1-on-1 rate. The trade-off is that the hunter must provide all ammenities for the guide and himself, including: the transportation, the camp accommodations, all meals, all supplies, fuel, water, etc.,...ALL ammenities. The experienced sheep guide will thoroughly pre-scout the area and will know the location of several good rams before the guided hunt begins. Basically, the guide will show up to your camp and take you into the field daily where rams had been observed during scouting. Since the location of the camp is predetermined by the guide's scouting efforts, he will recommend where to set up prior to the scheduled hunt. The hunter must have an SUV or high-clearance truck that can make it into the backcountry, since camp locations could be anywhere. The rate for additional Guide-Only days, if needed, are $300.00 per day. Each of our past Guide-Only hunters have harvested a nice ram within the scheduled timeframe.
1. For those serious about booking a hunt, the first step is to apply for the draw during May - June. Contact the outfitter for assistance with the drawing process. You will be subscribed to our newsletter, which gives instructions on when, how and which areas to apply.
2. If you already drew a tag, give us an email or phone call to see if we guide in your permitted area. Also, a high percentage of hunters try to hunt desert sheep on their own and realize halfway through December that they need an experienced sheep guide in order to be successful. Please contact us well in advance, as it takes time (usually 2 to 10 weeks) for hunting guides to obtain the required commercial Federal Land Use Permits for your specific hunt. Also, "the sooner, the better" so that we can scout your area. We prefer tag holders to book the hunt at least 3 months ahead of time.
3. Once a tag is drawn, a deposit to reserve your spot is required. A payment plan can be arranged. All payments are NON-REFUNDABLE. The remaining balance is due at least 21 days prior to the hunt. We recommend cancellation insurance for all of our guests. Visit our policy page for more details.
4. We do not charge a trophy fee. The rate shown is the only fee the hunter pays to us, besides optional gratuity.
5. Non-hunter fee: Fully guided sheep hunters can bring one family member or friend as an observer at an additional charge of $750.00 (fee applies to 1-on-1 and Premium Package hunters).
6. Cost for licenses and tags, butchering, shipping of meat, hotel stay before/after the hunt (if flying) are the hunter's responsibility. Gratuity for your guide is gladly accepted.
We have a 100% SUCCESS RATE on desert bighorn sheep hunts!
Latest Desert Bighorn Sheep Photos
Bill Blose with a big 10+ year-old ram! Bill made a one-shot kill at 442 yards with his .270 Winch. This ram's horns are very heavy and hold their mass well. Video of Bill's sheep hunt
Andy Charnoki with a big 8-year old desert bighorn sheep. This beautiful ram holds his mass well, has a great curl, and a neat laminated look to its horns. Andy made an impressive four hour stalk to the top of the mountain in 50mph winds and sideways stinging rain for a 329 yard shot. Read the article or View the video.
Claude Sanchez Jr. was the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle winner. The special sheep tag allows the hunter a whole year to harvest a Nelson desert bighorn ram in AZ game units 9 through 16. Claude made an impressive one shot kill to take the old ram at 405 yards using a custom built 300 RCM sheep rifle. Claude's big ram is 9 years old, has heavy 35" horns and great flare! The beat up horns and face, due to years of fighting, only add to this ram's character. This is a big Nelson desert sheep! Video of the hunt or Read the Article
Dan Rorbach took this big 9 year-old Arizona Mexicana desert bighorn ram at 375 yards using his .25-06 Ruger thumbhole topped with a 6.5-20X Leupold scope. We first found the old ram on a scouting trip a couple weeks prior and knew he would be the "one" for Dan. This great ram finished-off Dan's Arizona Big 10! View the Video or Read the Article.
Brian Vaughn with his once-in-a-lifetime Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep. Sheep Guide Pat Feldt spotted this ram at over one mile from our glassing spot. Brian and Pat made a very lengthy 2.5 hour stalk to the top of the mountain range for this nice ram. A Weatherby in .30-06 topped with a 4-16X Schmidt and Bender riflescope was used to take this sheep at 308 yards. The area Brian had drawn is very tough with few sheep. So, this nice 7.5 year old ram met or exceeded our goal of taking a mature bighorn. View the Video
Brian LeVan and sheep guide Pat Feldt with a Nelson variety desert bighorn sheep. This ram's body has a unique blonde color and it's 36" horns flare-out to 30 inches tip to tip. It is, to date, the largest ram ever taken in that particular hunt unit! Brian made an impressive shot on the animal as it was bedded at 396 yards. Read the Article of Brian's Hunt.
Roger Cook with his once-in-a-lifetime Arizona desert bighorn sheep. This incredibly tight-curled ram was taken with a .270 WSM at an unusually close distance of only 120 yards.
If you need a desert bighorn sheep for the Slam and don't want to pay $60,000 for a hunt in Mexico, contact us!
Members of Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society