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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2020: Oregon Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goat

OREGON'S 2020 BIGHORN SHEEP AND MOUNTAIN GOAT APPLICATION STRATEGY

OREGON'S 2020 BIGHORN SHEEP AND MOUNTAIN GOAT APPLICATION STRATEGY

Jump to: NEW FOR 2020 State Information Draw System Rocky Bighorn Breakdown Mountain Goat Breakdown

As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, the in-person option for applications may become increasingly difficult. For 2020, it would be best to plan on online or phone applications. See all current COVID-19 state impacts on hunting here.

Note: The application deadline in Oregon for all species is May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PST and all applications must be submitted online or at a license sales agent.


New for 2020

Bighorn sheep 

  • There are three new bighorn sheep hunts on the John Day River Area. The previous east and west units have been combined. The second season will have two nonresident tags. This area is highlighted; private lands may limit access.
  • New Snake River hunt will have one resident tag.
  • Lookout Mt hunts have been cancelled due to disease in the herd.
  • Oregon will offer four bighorn sheep tags in 2020.
  • Hunting seasons in many units were lengthened. See state brochure for details.

Mountain goat 

  • New hunt on the S Wallowa Mt and Copper Cr Units. Those will both have one tag each for Oregon residents only.
  • Oregon will offer nonresidents a total of two mountain goat tags in 2020.
  • Hunting seasons in many areas have been lengthened. 

State information

To view more important information, including a state overview of Oregon’s rules/regulations, the draw system, draw odds and license fee, go to the Oregon state profile. It also includes an interactive map where you can research unit boundaries and data on a unit by unit basis.

Note: There is no point system for bighorn sheep or mountain goats in Oregon. Every applicant is on an equal playing field for the available permits

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

Important dates and information

  • You can apply online here.
  • The deadline to apply is May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PST. 
  • Results will be available by June 20, 2020.
  • If you made an error on your application, corrections can be made until June 1.
  • You are required to purchase a hunting license prior to applying.
  • Applicants do not have to front the cost of the permits they apply for.
  • There are no group applications accepted for bighorn sheep or mountain goat. 
  • If you are successful, you will receive notification to purchase your tag.
  • Hunters 17 years old or younger need to have a hunter’s education certificate unless they are ages nine to 15 and enrolled in the youth mentor program.
  • Bighorn sheep and mountain goat tags are considered once-in-a-lifetime tags.

Oregon cost to apply and tag fees

Item Resident Nonresident
Hunting license $34.50 $172
Juvenile hunting license $10 $10
Application fee/per species $8 $8
*Bighorn sheep $142 $1,513.50
*Rocky Mountain goat $142 $1,513.50
*Tag fees only required if you are successful in the draw.

Drought and snowpack in Oregon

2020

In 2020, Oregon is once again having a pretty average snowpack and moisture year. The central portion of the state is slightly below the 2019 totals with most areas at nearly 80% of annual precipitation. The northeast portion of the state is at 120% of annual precipitation and the rest of the state is hovering just below 100% of annual precipitation. 

Oregon snow water equivalent as of April 2020

Oregon snow water equivalent as of April 29, 2020. Source: NRCS

Oregon drought monitor 2020


The Oregon draw system

Oregon’s draw system for bighorn sheep and mountain goat is different from their system for deer, elk and antelope. While those are based on a modified preference point system, for bighorn sheep and mountain goat there is no point system at all. The draw for these two once-in-a-lifetime species is completely random and every applicant is on the same playing field for the available permits.

When you apply, you will be able to list up to five different selections on your application, but every applicant's first choice is considered before moving to any applicant's second choice. What this means is that there is almost no chance of drawing a tag on a second choice as all of the tags will be allocated before anyone’s second choice is considered. Choose your first choice carefully as it really is the only one that matters.

Nonresidents who apply for other species (deer, elk, antelope) and have purchased the $172 hunting license should absolutely apply for bighorn sheep and mountain goat. The $8 application fee is a minimal fee to pay for the chance at a really good tag. If you only apply for bighorn sheep and mountain goat, you should realize that you are paying $188 for a couple of raffle tickets. 

If you have kids, we would strongly suggest that they apply for youth bighorn sheep and mountain goat tags. The juvenile hunting license is only $10. For $26, your kids would have a chance to draw for both species.


Oregon's 2020 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep breakdown

Oregon offers both California and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herds. In 2020, they will offer only California bighorn sheep tags to nonresidents in three separate units: the John Day second hunt, the E. Beaty’s Butte/Alvord Peaks second hunt and the S Central first hunt. The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep tag that was available to nonresidents was canceled due to disease issues within the Lookout Mt herd. 

Overall, populations for California bighorn sheep are down with a statewide population of approximately 3,110. Populations of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are also down with disease and predation being an issue in some units. The two tables below outline populations for each herd and ram:ratios.

California bighorn sheep populations and ram:ewe ratios (2019)

Unit Population Ram:ewe ratios
Abert Rim 100 33:100
Aldrich Mountain 150 35:100
Burnt River 127 23:100
Coglan Buttes 80 36:100
Coleman Rim 60 38:100
Deschutes River 420 46:100
Devils Garden/Lava Beds 15 -
Diablo Mountain/Sheep Rock 70 0:100
Doherty Rim 70 40:100
Dry Valley Rim 90 7:100
East Whitehorse 288 5:100
Fish Creek Rim 64 0:100
Hadley Buttes 40 23:100
Hart Mountain 39 17:100
I-84 130 33:100
Lower John Day River (east) 375 43:100
Lower John Day River (west) 350 37:100
McClellan Mountain 125 45:100
Mutton Mountain 125 -
Owhyee 92 4:100
Potamus Creek 175 16:100
ReHart Rim 40 25:100
Service Creek 85 20:100

 

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep populations and ram:ewe ratios (most recent data)

Unit Population Ram:ewe ratios
Bear Creek 95 45:100
Black Butte 110 45:100
Imnaha 110 60:100
Lookout Mtn/Fox Creek 157 24:100
Lostine 55 26:100
Lower Hells Canyon 45 36:100
Muir Creek 10 -
Saddle Creek 55 46:100
Sheep Mountain 5 -
Upper Hells Canyon 5 -
Wenaha 115 45:100

 

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

Unit Trophy
potential
2020 tags Resident
odds (2019)
Nonresident
odds (2019)
43-John Day Rv
No. 1
175”+ 6 resident New for 2020 NA
43-John Day Rv
No. 2
175”+

4 resident

2 nonresident

New for 2020 New for 2020
43-John Day Rv
No. 3
175”+ 6 resident New for 2020 NA
43-E Deschutes Rv
No. 1
175”+ 2 resident .64% NA
43-E Deschutes Rv
No. 2
175”+ 2 resident .82% NA
43-E Deschutes Rv
No. 3
175”+ 2 resident .75% NA
43-W Deschutes Rv
No. 1
175”+ 3 resident .66% NA
43-W Deschutes Rv
No. 2
175”+ 2 resident .61% NA
43-W Deschutes Rv
No. 3
175”+ 3 resident .85% NA
46-Aldrich 170”+ 3 resident .37% NA
46-McClellan 170”+ 2 resident .47% NA
48-Potamus 170”+ 1 resident .20% NA
69-Steens Mt
No. 1
170”+ 3 resident .17% NA
69-Steens Mt
No. 2
170”+ 3 resident .45% NA
70-E Beatys Butte/Alvord Peaks
No. 1
170”+ 2 resident .57% NA
70-E Beatys Butte/Alvord Peaks
No. 2
170”+ 2 resident
1 nonresident
.39% .21%
74-Warner Unit 170”+ 3 resident .25% NA
75-S Central
No. 1
170”+ 2 resident
1 nonresident
.33% .34%
75-S Central
No. 2
170”+ 2 resident .56% NA

 

California bighorn sheep populations and ram:ewe ratios (2019)

Unit Trophy
potential
2020 tags Resident odds (2019) Nonresident odds (2019)
59-N. Snake Rv 180”+ 2 resident .10% NA
59-S. Snake Rv 180”+ 1 resident New 2020 NA
60-Hurricane Divide 170”+ 1 resident .32% NA
60-Bear Creek 170”+ 2 resident .67% NA

B&C entry trends for Oregon Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep


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. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

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

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Baker 14 62, 63, 64
Wasco 4 43
Wallowa 3 59. 60, 62
Gilliam 2 43
Malheur 1 68

Malheur, Wasco and Gilliam counties hold California bighorns.

Map of Oregon's rocky mountain bighorn B&C all time entries 2020

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

Managing expectations for Rocky Mountain and California bighorn sheep

As indicated in the tables above, the best draw odds for residents were in Unit 60 with .67%. There are no nonresident Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep tags available in 2020. The other options for residents would be the new hunt in Unit 59 S Snake River and the N Snake River with .10% odds. 

California bighorn sheep hunts for residents all had odds of less than 1%. The best odds were for Unit 43 W Deschutes Rv No. 3 with .85%. Use the standalone draw odds pages and the trophy potential to explore options worth applying for. 

Nonresidents have three hunts they can apply for and the new hunt in Unit 43 John Day Rv No. 3 will have two nonresident tags in 2020. Odds are expected to be less than 1%. The best odds were in Unit 75 S Central No. 1 with .34% in 2019. There will be a tag in that unit once again in 2020.

Find your resident Rocky bighorn controlled hunt draw odds here

Find your nonresident Rocky bighorn controlled hunt draw odds here


Oregon's 2020 mountain goat breakdown

In 2020, there will be a total of 28 mountain goat tags; two of those will be available to nonresidents. The two units/hunts that will have a nonresident tag each will be Unit 51 Elkhorn No. 2 and Unit 59 Hat Point No. 1. For residents, there are a couple new hunts in Unit 60 Copper Cr and Unit 53 S Wallows Mt.

OREGON MOUNTAIN GOAT POPULATION HERD ESTIMATES - updated 2020

Only four of the herds were counted in 2019; the bulk of the herds were counted in 2018. The table below outlines the most recent counts for each herd.

Oregon mountain goat populations

Unit Population
Wallowa Mountains 330
Elkhorn Mountains 253
Hat Point 150
Vinegar Hill 25
Strawberry Mountains 90
Wenaha River 60
Steamboat Creek 95
Grande Ronde 20
Central Cascades 130

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.


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. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

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

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Wallowa 10 56, 59, 60
Baker 6 51
Union 1 52, 53, 54, 60

Map of Oregon's mountain goat B&C all time entries 2020


Managing expectations for mountain goats

Residents

There are 14 different hunt selections for resident hunters. They are spread out with different season dates across nine different hunt areas. Two of these hunt areas also have a nonresident permit available in Unit 50-51 Elkhorn No. 2 and Unit 59 Hat Point No. 1. The following table outlines every resident mountain goat hunt for 2020 and the odds. 

Oregon Rocky Mountain goat resident tags

Unit Harvest success Resident odds (2019) Resident tags (2020)
46-Murderers Creek
Strawberry Mountain
100% .05% 1
50/51-Elkhorn No. 1 100% .13% 3
50/51-Elkhorn No. 2 100% .12% 1
50/51-Elkhorn No. 3 100% .2% 3
53- S Wallowa Mt New for 2020 New for 2020 1
56-Wenaha
North Wenaha
100% .017% 1
59-Snake River
Hat Point No. 1
100% .26% 1
59-Snake River
Hat Point No. 2
100% .15% 3
59-Snake River
S Snake River No. 1
100% .29% 2
59-Snake River
S Snake River No. 2
100% .21% 1
60-Minam
E Hurricane Cr
100% .32% 1
60-Minam
W Hurricane Cr
100% .26% 1
60-Minam
Goat Mt No. 1
100% .21% 2
60-Minam
Goat Mt No. 2
100% .62% 2
60-Minam
Copper Creek
New for 2020 New for 2020 1
61-Imnaha
Cusick Mt
100% .19% 1

Nonresidents

There are two nonresident tags available; one in each of the following two units: Unit 51 Elkhorn No. 2 and Unit 59 Hat Point No. 1. The draw odds for those in 2019 were .11% and .14%. 

Find your resident mountain goat controlled hunt draw odds here

Find your nonresident mountain goat controlled hunt draw odds here

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