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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2018: California Elk and Sheep

2018 California sheep and elk application strategy

California's 2018 elk and bighorn sheep application overview

Jump to: New for 2018 State Information Draw System Tule Elk Breakdown Rocky Elk Breakdown Roosevelt Elk Breakdown Desert Bighorn Sheep Breakdown

With so many different options available for deer, elk, bighorn sheep and antelope across the West, California is often overlooked, especially because of its expensive hunting license requirement, preference point system and long odds. Throw in the fact that there’s only one potential permit available for nonresidents who apply for bighorn sheep and elk and. it’s no wonder that California isn’t on many hunters’ application strategy. Usually, when you decide to apply for this state, it’s because you are either a resident—and to not apply in your home state is just unpatriotic—or you have set your sights on a specific goal. This could be as simple as a deer hunt you have wanted to try out or a harder goal like being the lucky recipient of the one nonresident elk permit or potential bighorn sheep permit each year. Whatever your reason, if you put a plan in motion for California and select to purchase the annual hunting license, to not apply for all available species would be a mistake. For only an additional $8.13 application fee after your license has been purchased, it is just too cheap to not throw your name in the hat. Whether you are hunting deer or bears with only the possibility of drawing one random nonresident tag for elk, antelope or desert bighorn sheep, the truth is any accrued points really do not carry any value so your odds of drawing are the same as any other applicant no matter how many times they have applied.

When building your application strategy, unless you are a California resident, applying here should be a long way down your list as there are states with better options for these species out West; however, if your goal is to harvest a Tule elk or you are the type of hunter who applies anywhere there is a permit available, then swing for the fence and who knows? Maybe it will be your year.

Note: The application deadline for all species in California is June 2, 2018, at Midnight. You can apply online here.



Why California for elk and sheep in 2018

The only state that offers Tule elk

If you want to harvest all recognized North American big game species, this will require at least one trip to California as this is the only place in the world that you can find the Tule elk. These amazing elk have adapted to living in wide open brush country as well as in the swamps and slews found along the coast.

Exceptional Rocky Mountain elk hunt

California only offers one opportunity to hunt Rocky Mountain elk through the state draw. This opportunity lies in the far northeast corner of the state and, although the odds are very long, this truly is a top shelf elk hunt with an opportunity at a 350”+ bull. You can choose to apply for either an archery or rifle hunt in this unit.

One more opportunity to apply for desert bighorn sheep

Drawing a bighorn sheep tag takes an enormous amount of luck or time and, often, both. Drawing a desert bighorn sheep permit is even harder and in a league of its own when it comes to odds. With a limited number of states offering permits—and the lack of permits available even in the states that are offering them—it would be considered a mistake to miss any options to apply if this species is a top priority in your hunting goals. Sometimes the odds aren’t so much based on each individual application as much as they are in the fact that you are in every bucket of raffle tickets you can find and it is really anyone’s guess on which bucket will draw your name, but every chance counts.

Deep discount for youth and veterans

If you are looking for another option for your youth hunter under the age of 18, California offers hunting licenses to nonresident youth for the same price as a resident youth: $12.70. Also, if you are a veteran with a service-related disability of 50% or higher or a recovering service member, you may purchase your hunting license for only $7.56 per year. There is no price break for the cost of the permit if your application is successful, but since the application fee is so low, if you fall into any of these categories, it would be a mistake to not apply.



New for 2018

A new law on poaching California's Trophy Class Wildlife

FGC 12013.3 increased the punishment for a conviction of poaching a trophy class animal out of season, spotlighting, baiting, waste of meat or take without a tag. The fine for a poaching conviction related to trophy deer, elk, antelope or bighorn sheep ranges between $5,000 and $40,000. If the conviction involves a wild turkey, you can be fined $2,000 to $5,000. Convictions can also include imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year. Recently, a massive blacktail buck was poached in California that was one of the first deer poaching cases to utilize the new trophy penalty enhancement. You can read more about that poaching story here.

Lead-free ammunition changes coming in 2019

Lead-free ammunition will be required statewide starting on July 1, 2019.

2018 INSIDER enhancement — Female draw odds

For 2018, goHUNT offers antlerless draw odds for California and many other states. If your ultimate goal is to fill the freezer, an antlerless permit may be just the ticket.

To review antlerless draw odds, log into your INSIDER account > hover over the INSIDER icon > select the “Draw Odds” link > select California and then your residency > scroll to select the antlerless species you are interested in near the bottom right portion of the page.

Antlerless Rocky Mountain elk draw odds

Find your resident antlerless Rocky Mountain elk draw odds here

Find your nonresident antlerless Rocky Mountain elk draw odds here

Antlerless Tule elk draw odds

Find your resident antlerless Tule elk draw odds here

Find your nonresident antlerless Tule elk draw odds here

Antlerless Roosevelt elk draw odds

Find your resident antlerless Roosevelt elk draw odds here

Find your nonresident antlerless Roosevelt elk draw odds here



State information

To view important information and an overview of the California rules/regulations, the draw system and bonus points, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map, check out our State Profile. You can also view the California Species Profiles to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy areas.

California State Profile Rocky Elk Profile Tule Elk Profile Roosevelt Elk Profile Desert Bighorn Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • You may begin applying now.
  • The deadline to apply is June 2, 2018, at Midnight PST.
  • You can apply online here.
  • Draw results will be posted on June 19, 2018.
  • The deadline to purchase drawn antelope, elk and desert bighorn sheep tags is July 17, 2018.
  • Leftover premium deer tags are available (first deer tag) July 2, 2018.
  • Leftover premium deer tags are available (second deer tag) August 2, 2018.

Drought and snowpack in California

California is experiencing some level of drought in approximately half of the state. However, in the areas most hunters are targeting, which are located in the northern half of the state, are in excellent conditions and snowpack across the tops of the Sierra Nevadas is currently between 50” and 75”. Overall, conditions this winter and spring have been fantastic and California should see this not only in antler growth but also in positive fawn recruitment, too.

California drought monitor status as of May 22 2018

Image date: May 22, 2018 Source: US Drought Monitor


The impact of wolves and other predators

California wolf activity map May 2018

California wolf activity map May 2018. Source: CDFW

There are currently two different established wolf packs that are monitored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The Shasta pack, which was first discovered in August 2014 by trail camera pictures, has bred at least once, producing a litter of pups, in the spring of 2015. Since then, it appears that the pack has moved on into another area. There have only been reports of one male, probably from that spring litter, moving to and from that area.

The other pack is an active pack dubbed the Lassen pack, which roams western Lassen and northernmost Plumas counties. This pack was first reported in August of 2015. The male is from the Rogue pack in Oregon and the female does not have any genetics linking her to a known pack. These two wolves had a litter of four pups in the spring of 2017. Three of these pups are still known to be alive as of this last March; another black wolf seems to come and go from the pack at different times. There have been three incidents of livestock depredation since last October, resulting in one confirmed calf that was killed, another probable calf mortality, and an adult cow most likely injured by a wolf. Overall, there are not many wolves located in California and the ones that have made it do not seem to be growing the population very quickly. However, based upon livestock damage and other reports, they are making their presence known quickly.



The California draw system

Understanding the draw

California’s draw system has a number of twists and turns, depending on the species you are focusing on. The state operates on a modified preference point system so whoever has the most points on any given hunt code will draw the tag.

All applicants are required to show proof of a hunter’s education course prior to applying. This can be done multiple different ways. For a full list of these options click here

All applicants are required to purchase an annual hunting license prior to applying for any big game hunt. Once you have purchased your license you will also have to pay an application fee of $8.13 per species.

Elk and antelope have an identical system; residents with the most points will receive 75% of the permits while 25% will be issued on a random basis. This does not apply to nonresidents and there will only be one elk and one antelope permit issued to nonresidents through the draw. What this means is if any antelope permit or any elk permit (including a cow elk) is drawn and awarded to a nonresident, all other nonresident applications will be rejected for these species. This makes the odds of drawing in California some of the toughest odds in the country for these species. Resident applicants may apply with one other applicant for antelope and elk. If your party draws the last available permit, the party leader will be awarded the permit and the other applicant will be placed on an alternate list. No party applications are ever rejected, but California is different than most states; there is potential for one member of your party to draw, but not the other. With only one permit available, there are no party applications allowed for either species for nonresidents.

Desert bighorn sheep awards up to 10% of their permits to nonresidents, but, due to overall numbers, only 17 permits this year, which means that there will be only one permit issued to nonresidents this year. No party applications are allowed for desert bighorn sheep for residents or nonresidents.

Fundraising and random tags

With the odds of drawing so difficult and the cost of the annual hunting license so high another option to consider for some of the premier hunts in the state is to apply for the fundraising permits that are issued each year. There are four individual permits available in this state-run raffle program: one permit for deer, antelope, elk and bighorn sheep. The winner is required to purchase an annual hunting license if successful, but there is no charge for the cost of the permit. Here are a few of the details you need to know in order to get involved:

  • Any resident or nonresident who will be 12 years old or older as of July 1, 2018 may apply for the deer, pronghorn and elk tag.
  • Any resident or nonresident who will be 16 years old or older as of July 1, 2018 may apply for the bighorn sheep tag.
  • There is no limit on the number of applications you can submit.
  • It does not use or affect your preference points.
  • Winners are awarded a tag at no additional cost.
  • A hunting license is not required to apply, but must be purchased if drawn.
  • You can apply from April 15, 2018 through June 2, 2018 at license agents, CDFW license sales offices, online here or by telephone at (800) 565-1458.
  • Tags are awarded by random lottery, which is run within 10 business days of the deadline. Winners are notified by phone.
  • The cost to apply is $5.97 per entry per species.


California's 2018 Tule elk breakdown

If you are a nonresident applying in California, chances are high that one of the main reasons you are jumping through all of the hoops is to get your name for the chance at a Tule elk permit in California. With only one elk permit issued each year to nonresidents, your odds of being the one are less than 1% even if you have been applying for many years and have maximum points. As a nonresident, your points really carry no value and probably never will unless California changes the way their draw is conducted. The random drawing happens before the preference point round; therefore, every applicant has an equal chance in this round. If you are a resident applying for a permit, apply with caution and read each hunt description carefully as there are a few cow elk as well as spike only options available. There are three options in the apprentice category for the youth hunter to have a chance at taking a bull tule elk; two of these options are for spike only so apply with caution.

Current tule elk herd condition

The Tule elk herd in California is doing great with close to 6,000 animals in the state. The herd has more than doubled in size in the last 20 years and doesn’t show signs of slowing down. To get a little better picture of how the herd is doing we can look at the tooth age date provided by the state. There were 35 branched antler bulls harvested in 2016 and the average age class across all of these bulls was 5.3 years old. Below is a breakdown of age class by each area.

  • Bear Valley – 8 years old
  • Cache Creek – 4.7 years old
  • East Park Reservoir – 7 years old
  • Grizzly Island – 5.8 years old
  • La Panza – 5.1 years old
  • Lake Pillsbury – 7.5 years old
  • Lone Pine – 6.7 years old
  • Owens Valley – 5.5 years old
  • San Luis Reservoir – 4.2 years old
  • Tinemaha – 2 years old

California elk population graphic

California elk population graphic. Source: CDFW

Top units to consider for Tule elk in California
(not in order of quality)

Zone Trophy
Potential
6pt or
better %
Public land
%
10-Grizzly Island 300"+ 100% 100%
14-La Panza 280"+ 60% 22%
15-Fort Hunter Liggett 280"+ 100% 0.3%
5-Mendocino* 280"+ 100% 20%
7-East Park Reservoir 270"+ 100% 43%
9-Cache Creek 270"+ 50% 64%

*All the elk in this unit reside on private property; it is strongly advised to have arrangements made prior to applying for this hunt. Elk east of Hwy 101 are considered Tule elk. If found on the west side of Hwy 101 they will not qualify for either the Roosevelt or Tule elk category for Boone and Crockett (B&C).


How to uncover hidden gem Tule elk units

Uncovering a hidden gem for a nonresident is not necessary or should you be trying to find one. To not apply for the best tag in the state is a mistake for nonresidents. There is only one tag awarded for elk each year and, if you are lucky enough to come out of the hat as the first nonresident, by all means, do not sell your opportunity short by selecting to hunt in a subpar unit. If you are a resident, it all comes down to what your goal is. If you are simply looking to hunt a Tule elk, there are a number of cow elk permits to consider that offer better odds at drawing as well as the spike bull hunts with much fewer applicants. If the goal is to harvest a mature bull, use Filtering 2.0 to locate the perfect hunt based on your goal. Pay special attention to the success rates as well as the amount of public land if you are planning a do-it-yourself (DIY) style hunt as there are some areas that have little to no access where the elk live and it would be a shame to draw the permit and then realize there was no way of being successful because of access issues.



B&C entry trends for Tule elk


Zones listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Zones in this table are included if any part of the zone is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

California's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for Tule elk

County No. of
entries
Zones found within county
Solano 11 10-Grizzly Island
Monterey 8 14-La Panza15-Fort Hunter Liggett
Mendocino 7 14-La Panza
Colusa 6 7-East Park Reservoir8-Bear Valley9-Cache Creek
San Luis Obispo 6 5-Mendocino

Map of California's top producing B&C tule elk counties all time - updated 2018


 

Managing points and expectations

The preference point race

2018 maximum preference points for elk: 16

California elk preference point totals going into the 2018 draw

California elk preference points going into 2018 table version

There was also 8,970 applicants who applied for a preference point only.

Residents

Resident hunters fall into one of two different categories when applying: you either have maximum points or you do not and, unfortunately, if you do not have maximum points even one year of point creep is something you are all too familiar with. Currently, there are no hunts offered for Tule elk that would have you in the maximum point pool with less than the maximum number of preference points possible, which is 16 this year. However, the Aug. 16 to 19 hunt on Zone 10 – Grizzly Island did draw 100% for applicants with maximum points last year and the Sept. 6 to 9 hunt on Zone 10 – Grizzly Island drew at 56% for maximum point holders so, maybe, there is hope for things to loosen up somewhere. The good news is that there is a random drawing as well and this random drawing happens first. If you are a youth hunter, then 50% of the available apprentice tags will be available in this random drawing and, if you are an adult, then 25% of the tags are in this random drawing. Because this random drawing occurs prior to the preference point draw, it really means that maximum point holders have another chance at successfully drawing a permit as they could be the lucky recipient during the random drawing, too. Your points carry no value in this random drawing, which means that everyone has one ticket in the bucket for the hunt that they have applied for. Some of the hunt codes offer less than four permits and, if this happens, then here is a breakdown of how the tags will be allocated.

  • For quotas of one, the tag will be awarded at random.
  • For quotas of two, one tag will be awarded using a preference point drawing and one tag will be awarded at random.
  • For quotas of three, two tags will be awarded using a preference point drawing and one tag will be awarded at random.
  • For quotas of four or more, 75% of the quota will be awarded using a preference point drawing. The remaining portion of the quota shall be awarded at random.

Nonresidents

The current draw system in California only allows for one nonresident to be drawn per year for elk regardless of the sex or species. This random drawing happens first and, therefore, any points you have or you accrue over the years carry no value as this is a random drawing. Study Filtering 2.0 to locate a hunt that fits your goals and apply. If you come out of the hat as the first nonresident, then, by all means, go on the hunt you have been dreaming of. Based on public land and caliber of bulls this would be a hunt on Zone 10 -Grizzly Island, but, who knows? If you have a solid lead on a bull in another area, swing for the fence; it could be your year.

Find your resident Tule elk draw odds here

Find your nonresident Tule elk draw odds here



California's 2018 Rocky Mountain elk breakdown

Zone 4 – Northeastern is the only available zone to apply for Rocky Mountain elk in California. The elk herd in this zone has held steady at approximately 1,500 animals since 1986 and is considered stable. The state offers one archery either sex hunt with 10 permits in late August and in early September as well as one rifle hunt in mid-September that has 15 bull tags. If you are interested in a cow hunt, they do have one here in late November with 10 permits available. Just remember: if you are a nonresident and you apply and draw a cow elk permit in California all other nonresident elk applicants will be rejected and, well, if you really want a cow elk, please look somewhere else. For more information about this unit click here to see the Filtering 2.0 full unit breakdown.


Rocky Mountain elk choice in California
(archery)

Zone Trophy
Potential
Applications/
success
Archery
max point odds
6pt or
better %
Public land
%
4-Northeastern 360"+ 614
40%
26% 100% 56%

 

Rocky Mountain elk choice in California
(rifle)

Zone Trophy
Potential
Applications/
success
Rifle
max point odds
6pt or
better %
Public land
%
4-Northeastern 360"+ 3,887
73%
2.1% 100% 56%

 



B&C entry trends for California Rocky Mountain elk


Zones listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Zones in this table are included if any part of the zone is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

California's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for typical Rocky Mountain elk

County No. of
entries
Zones found within county
Modoc 1 4-Northeastern
Shasta 1 4-Northeastern

Map of California's top producing B&C typical elk counties all time - updated 2018


There have been no nontypical Rocky Mountain elk entries since 2010.

Map of California's top producing B&C nontypical rocky mountain elk counties all time - updated 2018


Managing points and expectations

The preference point race

2018 maximum preference points for elk: 16

See the bonus point table in the Tule elk section above for a breakdown of applicants by point level.

Find your resident Rocky Mountain elk draw odds here

Find your nonresident Rocky Mountain elk draw odds here



California's 2018 Roosevelt elk breakdown

California currently estimates their Roosevelt elk herd at just shy of 6,000 animals. With four different zones to choose from and six different hunts in those zones, northwestern California offers some fantastic Roosevelt elk hunting for the lucky applicants that draw these permits. If you want to hunt with archery equipment, you will need to apply for the late hunt in Zone 2-Marble Mountain, which is actually a muzzleloader/archery hunt, as this is the only option. All other hunts are rifle hunts that happen in September. If you are looking to take a B&C qualifying bull you will need to be hunting in Del Norte, Humboldt or Trinity Counties, as well as the western side of Interstate – 5 in Siskiyou County; these areas, fall within B&C’s predetermined boundary. The bulls found along the coast in Mendocino County will not qualify for the record books, but, if you were to hunt east of Hwy 101, the bulls you would find there are considered Tule elk and would qualify for that record book.


Top units to consider for Roosevelt elk in California
(not in order of quality)

Zone Trophy
Potential
6pt or
better %
Public land
%
Success rate
(2017)
1-Northwestern 320"+ 100% 40% 80% rifle - bull only
67% rifle - either sex
2-Marble Mountains 310"+ 60% 66% 66% rifle - bull only
80% archery/muzzleloader - either sex
3-Siskiyou 310"+ 69% 48% 65% rifle - bull only
5-Mendocino* 310"+ 100% 20% 100% rifle - bull only

*All the elk in this unit reside on private property; it is strongly advised to have arrangements made prior to applying for this hunt. Elk east of Hwy 101 are considered Tule elk; if found on the west side of Hwy 101, they will not qualify for either the Roosevelt or Tule elk category for B&C.


B&C entry trends for California Roosevelt elk


Zones listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Zones in this table are included if any part of the zone is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

California's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for Roosevelt elk

County No. of
entries
Zones found within county
Humboldt 37 1-Northwestern2-Marble Mountains
Del Norte 9 1-Northwestern
Siskiyou 5 2-Marble Mountains3-Siskiyou
Trinity 3 2-Marble Mountains

Map of California's top producing B&C Roosevelt elk counties all time - updated 2018

Top B&C Roosevelt elk locations since 2010 - California 2018 app strategy


Managing points and expectations

The preference point race

2018 maximum preference points for elk: 16

See the bonus point table in the Tule elk section above for a breakdown of applicants by point level.

Find your resident Roosevelt elk draw odds here

Find your nonresident Roosevelt elk draw odds here



California's 2018 desert bighorn sheep breakdown

There are actually three different species of sheep that call California home. Unfortunately, the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and the Peninsular desert bighorn sheep do not have large enough populations to allow hunting. With extensive conservation projects underway, hopefully, the day will come sooner rather than later. The Nelsoni Desert bighorn sheep, on the other hand, is doing quite well in California and has a large range across the southeast quadrant of the state. There are seven different hunt areas with 17 tags for these amazing sheep that are offered in the state draw. There is a nonresident quota of up to 10%, but until there is over 20 sheep there is only a chance for one of these 17 to be a for a nonresident. Because this is an “up to” state and the nonresident tag is not guaranteed, it has actually been many years since a nonresident received a tag. But, as the saying goes, you can’t win if you don’t play.

Bighorn sheep ranges in California

Bighorn sheep range in California. Source: CDFW

Note: Zone 2- Old Dad/Kelso Peak Mountains as well as Zone 6- Sheep Hole Mountains are listed in the state regulations as selections, but do not have any sheep tags associated with either of these areas for 2018.

Current desert bighorn sheep herd condition

With over 5,000 Nelsoni bighorn sheep found in California this truly is a fantastic story of conservation. In the 1940s, the California herd was comprised of roughly 250 animals. Reintroduction efforts as well as sound management have resulted in an amazing opportunity for the lucky hunters who draw one of these coveted tags. In 2017, the state record for California was broken with a breathtaking ram, fittingly named Goliath. He stretched the tape to over 190”, shattering the previous record by 5”. Rams like this don’t come around very often, but it goes to show you that the good ol’ days for bighorn hunting in California are back. Success rates were 100% across the board in 2017 except for one hunter who was not successful in Zone 7-White Mountains.

California desert bighorn sheep map

California desert bighorn sheep map. Source: CDFW

Top desert bighorn hunts in California
(not in order of quality)

Zone Trophy
Potential
Public land
%
# of
apps
Tags available
in 2018
1-Marble Mountains 160"+ 95% 2,652 4
3-Clark Kingston Mountain Range 165"+ 96% 1,418 2
4-Orocopia Mountains 170"+ 54% 1,026 1
5-San Gorgonio Wilderness 170"+ 50% 1,349 2
7-White Mountains 165"+ 96% 1,837 3
8-South Bristol Mountains 160"+ 96% 651 1
9-Cady Mountains 160"+ 77% 2,191 4

 


How to uncover hidden gem California desert bighorn sheep units

With only seven different selections to choose from, unlocking a hidden gem in California for desert bighorn sheep is unrealistic because the demand is so high and the supply is so low. The odds are very long no matter what you select, resident or not. However, success rates, as well as the physicality of a hunt area, will deter some applicants from applying. If you are up for a very physical hunt or are not as concerned with taking a B&C qualifying ram, then use Filtering 2.0 to sort out your hunt details and learn some of the more subtle information about each unit and what you will be up against when you arrive. Truly, the hidden gems in California are the specific rams themselves and without an extensive amount of time in each of these units or working with a proven outfitter, being in the loop of some above average ram is unlikely.



B&C entry trends for California desert bighorn sheep


Zones listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Zones in this table are included if any part of the zone is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

California's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for desert bighorn sheep

County

No. of
entries
Zones found within county
San Bernardino 12 1-Marble/Clipper Mountains, 2-Kelso Peak/Old Dad Mountains, 3-Clark/Kingston Mountains,
5-San Gorgonio Mountains, 6-Sheep Hole Mountains, 8-South Bristol Mountains, 9-Cady Mountains
Riverside 4 4-Orocopia Mountains, 5-San Gorgonio Mountains

Map of California's top producing B&C desert bighorn sheep counties all time - updated 2018


Managing points and expectations 

The preference point race

2018 maximum preference points for desert bighorn sheep: 16

California desert bighorn sheep preference point totals going into the 2018 draw

California desert bighorn sheep preference points going into 2018 table version

There was also 5,168 applicants who applied for a preference point only.

Find your draw odds

Resident

Maximum point holders essentially have two chances to draw prior to the preference point draw; all applicants have a chance to draw during the random drawing. There is little strategy when applying in California for a desert bighorn sheep unless you have maximum points. The odds are steep to say the least no matter which hunt you set your sights on. If you are looking for some advantage, study the number of applicants in each unit over the last few years; that may produce a unit that tends to roller coaster on the number of applicants who apply for it. It pays to be consistent when applying for units like these because while the odds could be bad, you will know your name is in the hat during the years when its popularity dips again; therefore, creating the best odds you may get. Consistently trying to outguess the other applicants as to which unit will have the best odds any given year tends to lend itself to having the worst odds most of the time because you have the same strategy as many other applicants. With limited information, you and the other hunters will jump to the same conclusions. For reference, here is how the tags are allocated, depending on the number of tags allotted per unit.

  • For quotas of one, the tag will be awarded at random
  • For quotas of two, one tag will be awarded using a preference point drawing and one tag will be awarded at random.
  • For quotas of three, two tags will be awarded using a preference point drawing and one tag will be awarded at random.
  • For quotas of four or more, 75% of the quota will be awarded using a preference point drawing. The remaining portion of the quota will be awarded at random.

Nonresidents

With only one permit potentially available to nonresidents. there is some good and bad to this fact, depending on who you are. The good news is, if you have zero points, you truly have the same odds of drawing as an applicant who has been applying for many years. The bad news is, if you have been applying for many years, you still have the same odds as if you had never applied before; you are getting no value for your points whatsoever. If drawing a desert bighorn sheep tag is a high priority in your hunting goals, to miss a chance to apply for one of these permits especially with equal odds may be a mistake. California should not be applied for if you are not already applying for all other options out there; however, it is a chance to draw. If this species is the reason you are purchasing your annual hunting license, to not at least apply for a chance at the Tule elk for only an extra $8.13, would be a huge mistake.

Find your resident desert bighorn sheep draw odds here

Find your nonresident desert bighorn sheep draw odds here

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