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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2017: Oregon Sheep, Goat, Antelope

 

Side view of bighorn ram
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Oregon's sheep, mountain goat and antelope application overview

Jump to: New for 2017 State Information Draw System Rocky Bighorn Breakdown Cali Bighorn Breakdown Mountain Goat Breakdown Antelope Breakdown

If you'd like to draw a sheep tag, but are behind in the "points game" across the west, you may want to consider applying in Oregon because sheep and mountain goat do not have a points system. But... it's safe to say that you may wait a very long time to draw, if you ever draw. So with that said, it's still a great time to start applying for these species. Nonresidents are severely limited on what units they can apply for. For 2017 there are only six nonresident sheep tags (five California and one Rocky) and two nonresident mountain goat tags. No less than 5% and no more than 10% of all bighorn sheep and mountain goat tags can be issued to nonresidents.

Note: The application deadline for all species in Oregon is May 15, 2017 and the application can be completed online here.



Why Oregon for sheep, mountain goat and antelope

  • There’s always a chance to draw.
    • Draw odds for sheep and mountain goat might be very low. Yet, with Oregon’s draw system, every single applicant has at least some chance.


New for 2017

  • The edible portions of game meat has been changed to include all quarters, the loins and tenderloins.
  • There are a number of changes to Wildlife Areas including winter range closures beginning in the fall of 2017.


State information

View important information and an overview of Oregon’s rules/regulations, the draw system, draw odds, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map on our State Profile. You can also view the Oregon species profiles to access historical and statistical data to help you locate trophy units. Note: point creep can and will happen. Keep that in mind when you are planning your future antelope hunts in Oregon. If a hunt is listed at 100% odds at a certain point level and you are five points behind, it could take a lot longer than five years to pull that tag due to the amount of people applying with more points than you.

Oregon State Profile Rocky Bighorn Profile Cali Bighorn Profile Mountain Goat Profile Antelope Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • You can apply online here.
  • The deadline to apply is May 15, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. PST for online applications.
  • Must purchase a nonrefundable $160.50 hunting license to apply.
  • You'll also need to pay an $8 application fee per species.
  • Results will be made available on or before June 20, 2017.
  • Tags must be purchased (or picked up as part of a SportsPac) no later than the day before the hunt begins.
  • You may only draw one controlled bighorn sheep ram tag and one mountain goat tag in a lifetime. 
  • Leftover antelope tags for hunts with fewer applicants than tags are sold on a first-come-first-served basis starting on July 1, 2017.
  • Apply for points only under the "Points Saver" program that is species specific. Below are the codes used:
    • 199 = buck deer point saver
    • 299 = elk point saver
    • 499 = antelope point saver
    • 699 = antlerless deer point saver
    • 799 = spring bear
  • Points only can be purchased from December 1 through May 15 and again from July 1 through November 30 if you didn't apply in the controlled hunt drawing.
  • Tags awarded to outfitters, but not sold by April 15 of the application year are available in that years' drawing.

Breakdown of Oregon tags

Resident and nonresident tags in Oregon

Species Resident
tags
Nonresident
tags
Rocky bighorn 6 1
California bighorn 73 5
Mountain goat 21 2

Note to all 2017 successful tag holders

  • There is a workshop and orientation that will be held July 22 at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center, 402 E. Scenic Dr, The Dalles, OR 97058. More information can be found here.


The Oregon draw system

Understanding the draw

Oregon's draw system is pretty straight forward. You have five hunt choices. All applicants first choice are considered before anyone's second through fifth choices. Any tags remaining after looking over everyone's first choice will be available as second through fifth choices or until all tags have been drawn. Note: antelope preference points are not impacted if you draw your second through fifth choice. If you draw a tag as your first choice, your points will revert back to zero, even if you don't purchase your tag.



Unlocking Oregon's system

Controlled tags are issued to winners of an annual computerized tag lottery. Each applicant or party of applicants is assigned a random number and may apply for five hunt choices. Party size for application purposes is to two for antelope. No party applications are accepted for mountain goat or bighorn sheep. Unsuccessful antelope applicants will receive a preference point every year when they apply for a first-choice hunt but do not draw a tag. All applicants must buy a nonrefundable hunting license to apply for tags.

  • Preference points are considered only for first choice hunts
  • In each antelope hunt choice 75% of tags are issued to applicants who have preference points
  • Applicants who have more preference points than others are drawn first
  • 25% of tags for each hunt choice are issued by random
  • Leftover tags after the preference point drawing are added to the 25% of random tags
  • Tags issued to outfitters’ clients are part of the nonresident quota
  • A maximum of 3% of antelope tags are issued to nonresidents
  • There is no minimum quota antelope tags drawn by nonresidents
  • Hunters may apply for just a preference point rather than a tag if they do not want to hunt in a given year
  • Hunters should not apply for any tag they do not want. Select your first hunt choice wisely because all accumulated preference points are forfeited if you draw your first choice antelope tag.


Oregon's 2017 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep breakdown

There are seven units that hold huntable populations of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in Oregon. There is only one nonresident sheep tag for 2017 and the only valid unit for a nonresident  2017 is Unit 64 - Lookout Mt. You can see the full list of hunt options here. According to a 2014 report, up to that year the average B&C score for the latest 313 Rocky bighorns take was 166 3/8" with the largest being a giant 9.5 year old 203 5/8" ram that was taken in Unit 60 - Minam back in 2000.

Current Rocky bighorn sheep herd condition

Note: in the graph below that survey data was incomplete from 2012 to 2016 and surveys were not conducted in the majority of herds.

OREGON ROCKY MOUNTAIN BIGHORN SHEEP POPULATION SIZE
ROCKY MOUNTAIN BIGHORN SHEEP HERD SIZE IN OREGON (2010 - 2015)
AVERAGE AGE OF OREGON BIGHORN SHEEP HARVESTED IN 2015

The graph above includes California and Rocky bighorns.



How to uncover hidden gem Rocky bighorn sheep units

While all of the units are truly capable of providing a chance at harvesting a 170” or better ram, some do it with more regularity. Utilize our Unit Profiles to locate a history of the bighorn sheep hunts within the unit. This will not indicate a trend in trophy quality, but it will provide a historical look at the longevity of that herd. 

Top hit list units to consider for 170" or better Rocky bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Ram:ewe
ratio
Harvest
success
58 - Chesnimnus 180"+ NA 100%
59 - Snake River 180"+ 33:100 100%
64 - Lookout Mt 180"+ 44:100 100%
60 - Minam 170"+ 34:100 100%
61 - Imnaha 170"+ NA 100%
62 - Pine Creek 170"+ NA 100%
63 - Keating 170"+ NA 100%

 

Top units for ram:ewe ratios

Unit Ram:ewe
ratio
Trophy
potential
64 - Lookout Mt 44:100 180"+
60 - Minam 34:100 170"+
59 - Snake River 33:100 180"+

 



B&C entry trends for Oregon Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep

TOP B&C ROCKY BIGHORN SHEEP LOCATIONS ALL-TIME
Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are considered if any part of the unit is found within any part of the county.

Oregon's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Baker 11 62, 63, 64
Wallowa 3 59. 60, 62
Wasco 3 43
Gilliam 1 43
Malheur 1 68

Malheur, Wasco and Gilliam counties hold California bighorns.
 


Managing expectations for Rocky bighorn sheep

Let’s face it: it's possible that you will never draw a tag since there are no points in Oregon for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, but we all know that someone will and you can't draw if you don't apply. Remember that one thing is always for certain: you cannot draw if you do not apply. You best plan of action is picking one of the seven units to apply for by studying Filtering 2.0 and Draw Odds to find the hunt that meets your specific criteria. Note for nonresidents: Remember that for 2017, the only hunt that has a nonresident tag is Unit 64 - Lookout Mt. Draw odds for a resident range from 0.11% to 0.32% and nonresident draw odds are 0.19%.

Find your draw odds



Oregon's 2017 California bighorn sheep breakdown

Oregon is another of the western states that is fortunate enough to have a huntable population of California bighorns. Although considered a different subspecies of bighorn sheep, B&C classifies them with the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. For this reason, California bighorns rarely qualify for the B&C record book. According to a 2014 report, up to that year the average B&C score for the latest 2,003 Californai bighorns taken was 153 2/8" with the largest being a 184 7/8" ram that was only 6 years old and was taken in Unit 70 - Beatys Butte back in 2000.

There are only five tags issued to nonresidents in 2017. The list of nonresident options are found below.

Unit 43 - Biggs - East John Day River #2 (Oct. 30 - Nov. 7)
Unit 43 - Biggs - West John Day River #2 (Oct. 30 - Nov. 7)
Unit 70 - Beatys Butte - Heart Mt Refuge (Sept. 2 - 15)
Unit 70 - Beatys Butte - East Beatys Butte/Alvord Peaks #2 (Sept. 5 - Sept. 18)
Unit 75 - Interstate - South Central #1 (Aug. 19 - Sept. 1)

Current herd condition

The current population is stable.

OREGON CALIFORNIA BIGHORN SHEEP POPULATION SIZE
California bighorn sheep herd size in Oregon


How to uncover hidden gem California bighorn sheep units

The truth is that all of Oregon's California bighorn sheep units are capable of fulfilling dreams of a 160”+ ram. What makes a unit a true gem is finding the hunt choice that fits your needs and specific criteria. Read through the Unit Profiles to settle on a unit that meets your physical requirements or limitations.



B&C entry trends for Oregon California bighorn sheep

B&C classifies California bighorns as Rocky Mountain bighorns. So the B&C table is the same as the one above in the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep section. 



 

Top hit list units to consider for 165" or better California bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Ram:ewe
ratio
43 - Biggs 175"+ 63:100
46 - Murderers Creek 170"+ 47:100
48 - Heppner 170"+ 75:100
69 - Steens Mt 170"+ 46:100
73 - Wagontire 170"+ 46:100
74 - Warner 170"+ 53:100
75 - Interstate 170"+ 46:100
68 - Whitehorse 165"+ 52:100
70 - Beatys Butte 165"+ 19:100
51 - Sumpter 160"+ 61:100
 
 


Managing expectations for California bighorn sheep

As mentioned, Oregon does not utilize a point system for any of their sheep species. This is great news for the first time applicant because it is never too late to jump in the race. The playing field is even and this creates equal chance for all. The bad news, draw odds are extremely low.

Prepare yourself to have a lot of patience. Remember that one thing is for certain: you cannot draw if you do not apply. Draw odds range from an extremely low 0.15% to 1.3% and for nonresidents, draw odds range from 0.20 to 0.34%.

Remember, for 2017, nonresidents only have five options to apply for:

Unit 43 - Biggs - East John Day River #2 (Oct. 30 - Nov. 7)
Unit 43 - Biggs - West John Day River #2 (Oct. 30 - Nov. 7)
Unit 70 - Beatys Butte - Heart Mt Refuge (Sept. 2 - 15)
Unit 70 - Beatys Butte - East Beatys Butte/Alvord Peaks #2 (Sept. 5 - Sept. 18)
Unit 75 - Interstate - South Central #1 (Aug. 19 - Sept. 1)

Find your draw odds



Oregon's 2017 mountain goat breakdown

With only 23 total tags, odds are very slim to pull a tag, especially for the nonresident because there's only two tags offered. Mountain goats are doing well in Oregon, especially in the Elkhorn mountains of Unit 50 and 51. Hunters who are lucky enough to draw one of the highly sought after tags have a good chance of taking a mature mountain goat and a fair chance of finding a trophy-quality animal.


 

B&C entry trends for Oregon mountain goat

While Oregon may not be home to the biggest mountain goats in the West, it does offer many great hunts that can occasionally produce record book animals. Below is a list of the top record book producing counties found in the state.

TOP B&C MOUNTAIN GOAT LOCATIONS ALL-TIME

Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are considered if any part of the unit is found within any part of the county.

Oregon's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for mountain goat

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Wallowa 12 56, 59, 60
Baker 9 51
Union 1 52, 53, 54, 60

 


 

Managing expectations for mountain goats

The odds of drawing a tag for mountain goat are very low for nonresidents, and residents for that matter. Be prepared to wait several years or decades. When the opportunity does arise and you are drawn, you will be in for a great hunt. The only two options for nonresidents are Unit 51 - Sumpter (Elkhorn No. 2 with season dates of Sept. 18 - 26) and Unit 59 - Snake River (Hat Point No. 1 with season dates of Sept. 9 - 24). Draw odds for nonresidents are extremely low at less than 0.01% and draw odds for residents are all below 0.50%.

Find your draw odds



Oregon's 2017 antelope breakdown

Antelope are doing very well in Oregon and we expect several giant bucks to come from Oregon this year due to the great weather patterns this winter and spring. The population is on an upward trend. Expect a very long wait to pull any of the coveted tags in the Unit 69 - Steens, Unit 70 - Beatys Butte, Unit 71 - Juniper and Unit 74 - Warner. Not only do these units produce trophy caliber antelope, they also have relatively high buck:doe ratios.

OREGON ANTELOPE POPULATION SIZE (WINTER COUNTS)

How to uncover hidden gem antelope units

The only real secret in trying to draw an Oregon antelope tag is picking up a limited range weapon, especially archery.

Top 10 units for antelope buck:doe ratios

Unit Buck:doe
ratio
Trophy
potential
64 - Lookout Mt 107:100 75"+
51 - Sumpter 80:100 75"+
36 - Maury 72:100 75"+
72 - Silvies 56:100 75"+
71 - Juniper 51:100 80"+
70 - Beatys Butte 48:100 80"+
69 - Steens Mt 40:100 80"+
74 - Warner 39:100 80"+
65 - Beulah 30:100 75"+
66 - Malheur River 28:100 75"+

 



B&C entry trends for Oregon antelope

TOP B&C ANTELOPE LOCATIONS ALL-TIME - OREGON 2017 app

Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are considered if any part of the unit is found within any part of the county.

Oregon's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for antelope

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Lake 5 35367071727374757677
Harney 4 65666869707172
Baker 3 51636465
Malheur 2 5165666768
Deschutes 1 3536387273
Jefferson 1 38

 



Hit list units for antelope in Oregon
 

Top hit list units to consider for 75" or better antelope
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Buck:doe
ratio
68 - Whitehorse 80"+ 15:100
69 - Steens Mt 80"+ 40:100
70 - Beatys Butte 80"+ 48:100
71 - Juniper 80"+ 51:100
73 - Wagontire 80"+ 23:100
74 - Warner 80"+ 39:100
66 - Malheur River 75"+ 28:100
67 - Owyhee 75"+ 22:100
32 - Klamath Falls 75"+ NA
36 - Maury 75"+ 72:100

 



Managing points and expectations

I have 0 antelope preference points. What can I expect?

Residents

If you're looking to hunt this year, there are only two hunts that a resident can draw with 100% odds. Those hunts are: Unit 75 - Interstate and Unit 77 - Fort Rock. Besides for those two hunts, your draw odds with zero points for archery range from 1.3 to 38%. You can see the list of archery hunt options and draw odds here. Note: you do have a 32% chance to draw Unit 77 - Fort Rock archery as a second choice.

It's going to be a long wait for muzzleloader and rifle hunts if you're just starting out. Draw odds for muzzleloader with zero points range from 1.5 to 8.3%. When it comes to controlled rifle hunts, your draw odds are going to be even steeper at 0.33 to 4.1%.

Nonresidents

It's going to be a long wait for a nonresident at most of the point levels. If you're just starting out and want to hunt this year, the only hunt you'd have a decent chance of drawing is Unit 77 - Fort Rock archery. The other archery hunts have draw odds ranging from zero to 3.3%. Unfortunately the same low draw odds holds true for muzzleloader and rifle hunts. Odds for muzzleloader hunts range from zero to 1.6%. The highest draw odds for a rifle antelope hunt is Unit group 47 - Northside, 48 - Heppner at 1.1%.

The unfortunate truth... you're going to be in for a long wait with any weapon choice as a nonresident trying to hunt antelope in Oregon. You best bet is to pick a dream unit and build points.

What can I expect with 5 to 6 antelope preference points?

Residents

Of the 12 controlled archery hunts, at six points you have the potential to draw eight different hunts: Unit group - 32, 33, 75, Unit 35 - Paulina, Unit 36 - Maury, Unit 64 - Lookout Mt, Unit 66 - Malheur River, Unit 67 - Owyhee, Unit 75 - Interstate and Unit 77 - Fort Rock. If you're looking for a muzzleloader hunt, you can now pull two hunts: Unit group 32, 33, 75 and Unit group 76, 77. The other four options have draw odds ranging from 1.5 to 4.5%... so expect a long wait to draw any of those hunts.

Even with 6 points, your odds at drawing a rifle antelope tag are slim to none. Draw odds range from 0.33 to 4.1%. You can see this of choices and draw odds here for rifle controlled hunts at six points.

Nonresidents

At six points, you're finally in the game to draw an antelope tag. You have a great chance to draw the following units: Unit group - 323375Unit 35 - PaulinaUnit 36 - MauryUnit 66 - Malheur River and Unit 77 - Fort Rock. Also, muzzleloader hunt for Unit group 76 Silver Lake, 77 - Fort Rock is within reach, but all other muzzy hunts are still less than 2% draw odds. If you want a rifle hunt, your best bet is going to be picking a dream unit due to the extremely low odds that are not even over 1.5%.

What can I expect with 10 plus antelope preference points?

Residents

At 10 points, a resident can draw any archery antelope hunt except for Unit 70 - Beatys Butte, 71 - Juniper. You can also draw any of the muzzleloader hunts. Unit 73 - Wagontire most likely will experience point creep, so this unit might be out of reach.

With 10 years of points built up, you can finally draw a few of the rifle controlled antelope hunts. You have a chance at seven of the 31 hunt choices. Those that you have the potential to draw are: Unit 46 - Murderers Creek, Unit group 47 - Northside, Unit 48 - Heppner, Unit 51 - Sumpter, Unit 66 - Malheur River, Unit 75 - Interstate and Unit group 76 - Silver Lake, 77 - Fort Rock.

Nonresidents

Ten preference points opens up a lot of options. You can draw any archery hunt except for Unit 70 - Beatys Butte, Unit group 70 - Beatys Butte, 71 - Juniper and Unit 74 - Warner. Muzzleloader options are Unit 35 - Paulina, Unit 73 - Wagontire (Aug. 26 to Sept. 3), and Unit group 76 - Silver Lake77 - Fort Rock. A few other units are going to take a few more years to draw. You can see the list of muzzleloader options here. Even with 10 points, the list of hunts you can bank on drawing are very low. You have great odds to draw the following hunts: Unit group 47 - Northside, 48 - Heppner, Unit 51 - Sumpter (Aug. 12 to 20) and Unit group 76 - Silver Lake77 - Fort Rock.

Unit 66 - Malheur River, 68 - Whitehorse, and 69 - Steens Mt will take another seven years, Unit 67 - Owyhee will take six more years. You'll need 22 points to draw Unit group 70 - Beatys Butte, 71 - Juniper.

Find your draw odds

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