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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2021: Oregon Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goat

OREGON'S 2021 BIGHORN SHEEP AND MOUNTAIN GOAT APPLICATION STRATEGY

Jump to: NEW FOR 2021 State Information Draw System Rocky Bighorn Breakdown Mountain Goat Breakdown

Note: The application deadline in Oregon for all species is May 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PST and all applications must be submitted online or at a licensed sales agent.


New for 2021

Bighorn sheep 

  • Oregon will offer five nonresident ram tags and one ewe tag in 2021.
  • There is a new Deschutes River hunt with five resident tags and one nonresident tag.
  • The Bear Creek unit will have one nonresident ram tag.
  • There are new John Day River hunts with five resident tags.
  • There is a new Riverside resident ram tag.

Mountain goat 

  • Oregon will offer two nonresident mountain goat tags in 2021.

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 goHUNT MAPS

Important dates and information

  • You can apply online here.
  • The deadline to apply is May 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PST. 
  • Results will be available by June 20, 2021.
  • 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 a 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 $172.00
Juvenile hunting license $10.00 $10.00
Application fee/per species $8.00 $8.00
*Bighorn sheep $142.00 $1,513.50
*Rocky Mountain goat $142.00 $1,513.50

*Tag fees only required if you are successful in the draw.

Drought and snowpack in Oregon

2021

Oregon 2021 NRCS

Oregon snow water equivalent as of April 26, 2021. Source: NRCS

In 2021, Oregon has fared better than many other western states in terms of snowpack, but the drought lingers and continues to worsen with the winter months behind us. In terms of the current snowpack, every portion of the state is having a better year when compared to 2020 except for Lake County/Goose Lake, Malheur and Owyhee. The northern portion of the state is at 100% of annual average and several areas are over 120%. The southern half of the state has not done nearly as well and the southeastern portion is really struggling, sitting in the 60% range. 

2020

Oregon snow water equivalent as of April 2020

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

Drought Status

2021

Oregon 2021 Drought Monitor

The drought outlook is not good with the bulk of the state in some stages of drought from abnormally dry to severely dry. The south central part of the state is experiencing extreme and exceptional drought conditions. Overall, the central part of the state is very dry. Going into the hunting seasons of 2021, it will likely be an average to below average antler and horn growth year.

2020

Oregon drought monitor 2020


The Oregon draw system

Oregon’s draw system for bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat is difficult because there is no point system at all. The draw is completely random and all applicants are on a level playing field for the tags available. This is different from Oregon’s elk, deer and antelope draws where tags are allocated on a modified preference point system. 

The cost to apply for bighorn sheep and mountain goat is not cheap given the fact that you have to buy a $172 nonresident hunting license and then pay the $8 application fee per species. You do not have to front the cost of the tags and will only be charged that cost if you are successful in the draw. To apply for bighorn sheep and mountain goat only, an applicant will be out of pocket approximately $188. 

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 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 one that matters.

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 2021 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep breakdown

Oregon offers both California and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herds. For nonresidents, they will offer six total tags. In 2021, one of those will be a Rocky Mountain bighorn ram tag in the Bear Creek unit and California bighorn ram tags in the John Day River, East Beatys Butte/Alvord Peaks and South Central as well as a ewe tag in the Deschutes River Unit. 

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.

OREGON ROCKY MOUNTAIN BIGHORN SHEEP POPULATION SIZE

OREGON CALIFORNIA BIGHORN SHEEP POPULATION SIZE - 2021

Top hit list units to consider for California bighorn sheep

Unit Trophy potential 2021 tags Resident odds Nonresident odds
43 - John Day Rv No.1 175”+ 7 resident tags .23% NA
43 - John Day Rv No. 2 175”+ 4 resident tags
2 nonresident tags
.52% .11%
43 - John Day Rv No. 3 175”+ 6 resident tags .48% NA
43 - E Deschutes Rv No. 1 175”+ 2 resident tags .43% NA
43 - E Deschutes Rv No. 2 175”+ 2 resident tags .51% NA
43 - E Deschutes Rv No. 3 175”+ 2 resident tags .98% NA
43 - W Deschutes Rv No. 1 175”+ 3 resident tags .63% NA
43 - W Deschutes Rv No. 2 175”+ 3 resident tags .55% NA
43 - W Deschutes Rv No. 3 175”+ 3 resident tags .79% NA
46 - Aldrich 170”+ 3 resident tags .25% NA
46 - McClellan 170”+ 2 resident tags .46% NA
48 - Potamus 170”+ 1 resident tag .15% NA
69 - Steens Mt No. 1 170”+ 3 resident tags .21% NA
69 - Steens Mt No. 2 170”+ 2 resident tags .41% NA
70 - E Beatys Butte/Alvord Peaks No. 1 170”+ 2 resident tags .21% NA
70 - E Beatys Butte/Alvord Peaks No. 2 170”+ 1 resident tag
1 nonresident tag
.41% .18%
70 - Coleman - E Guano 170”+ 2 resident tags .50% NA
74 - Warner 170”+ 3 resident tags .21% NA
75 - S Central No. 1 170”+ 2 resident tags
1 nonresident tags
.3% .22%
75 - S Central No. 2 170”+ 3 resident tags .57% NA

 

Top hit list units to consider for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep

Unit Trophy potential 2021 tags Resident odds Nonresident odds
59 - N Snake Rv 180”+ 2 resident .145 NA
59 - S Snake Rv 180”+ 1 resident .16% NA
60 - Bear Creek 170”+ 1 resident
1 nonresident
.41% New 2021

Managing expectations for Rocky Mountain and California bighorn sheep

Nonresidents have five ram hunts that they can apply for in 2021. One of those is a Rocky Mountain bighorn unit, which is the Bear Creek option. Odds for that hunt will not be displayed since it’s a brand new opportunity for nonresidents in 2021. 

There are also three units that offered nonresident California bighorn ram tags. The John Day River second season is offering two tags; odds were .11%. The best odds were for the 75 - S Central No. 1 hunt at .22%. 

Residents have three units they can apply for to hunt Rocky Mountain bighorn rams with the best odds in Unit 60 - Bear Creek at .41%. California bighorn ram tags were offered for 26 hunts — all of them offering less than 1% odds. The best odds were for the Unit 43 - Biggs/E Deschutes Rv No.3 hunt with .98% odds. Resident applicants can review the odds in the hit list above for other options, trophy potentials and odds.

Find your resident Rocky bighorn controlled hunt draw odds here

Find your nonresident Rocky bighorn controlled hunt draw odds here


Oregon's 2021 mountain goat breakdown

In 2021, there will be a total of 29 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.

Trophy potential is good in Oregon’s mountain goat units and the harvest success was 100% across all hunts in 2019. The best trophy potential has been in Unit 50 Elkhorn hunts, although, once again, most units will provide the opportunity to harvest a mature big billy. 

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

OREGON MOUNTAIN GOAT POPULATION HERD ESTIMATES - updated 2021


Managing expectations for mountain goats

Residents

There are 16 different hunt selections for resident hunters. They are spread out with different season dates across ten 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 tags

Unit Tags Resident odds Resident tags
46 - Murderers Creek
Strawberry Mountain
2 resident tags .05% NA
50/51 - Elkhorn No. 1 3 resident tags .1% NA
50/51 - Elkhorn No. 2 1 resident tag
1 nonresident tag
.13% .1%
50/51 - Elkhorn No. 3 3 resident tags .21% NA
53 - S Wallowa Mt 1 resident tag .14% NA
56 - Wenaha
North Wenaha
1 resident tag .17% NA
59 - Snake River
Hat Point No. 1
1 resident tag
1 nonresident tag
.14% .16%
59 - Snake River
Hat Point No. 2
3 resident tags .35% NA
59 - Snake River
S Snake River No. 1
2 resident tags .25% NA
59 - Snake River
S Snake River No. 2
2 resident tags .26% NA
60 - Minam
E Hurricane Cr
1 resident tag .19% NA
60 - Minam
W Hurricane Cr
1 resident tag .34% NA
60 - Minam
Goat Mt No. 1
2 resident tags .39% NA
60 - Minam
Goat Mt No. 2
2 resident tags .28% NA
60 - Minam
Copper Creek
1 resident tag .43% NA
61 - Imnaha
Cusick Mt
1 resident tag .51% NA

Nonresidents

Review the table above. As you can see, the best odds for a nonresident was Unit 59 - Snake River Hat Point No. 1 at .16%. For residents, the best odds were for the Unit 60 - Minam Copper Creek and 61 - Imnaha Cusick Mt at .51% and .43%.

Find your resident mountain goat controlled hunt draw odds here

Find your nonresident mountain goat controlled hunt draw odds here

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