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Application strategy 2022: Oregon Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goat

OREGON'S 2022 BIGHORN SHEEP AND MOUNTAIN GOAT APPLICATION STRATEGY OVERVIEW

Note: The application deadline in Oregon for all species is May 15, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. PST and all applications must be submitted online or at a licensed sales agent.


New for 2022

BIGHORN SHEEP

  • There is a new Wenaha Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep resident ram tag.
  • John Day River hunts No. 2 and 3, added an additional resident tag to each hunt.

MOUNTAIN GOAT 

  • Oregon will offer two nonresident mountain goat tags in 2022.


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


Important dates and information

  • You can apply online here.
  • The deadline to apply is May 15, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. PST. 
  • Results will be available by June 20, 2022.
  • 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.
  • For Mtn goat and Bighorn Ewe tag holders, an orientation class with the district biologist is required.

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

In 2022, Oregon’s drought continues to linger, with no signs of improving, as the winter months are now behind us. In terms of the current snowpack, every portion of the state has either stayed the same or declined, compared to 2021. Most of the state is struggling, with <50% - 90% of its annual average of snowpack.  Only one portion of the state, in the north-central section, is at 100% of its annual average.

The drought outlook is not good with the bulk of the state in some stages of drought from abnormally dry to extremely dry. The central, to south-central part of the state is experiencing extreme and exceptional drought conditions. Overall, the central part of the state is in bad shape. Going into the hunting seasons of 2022, it will likely be an average to below-average antler growth year again.


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 2022 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep breakdown

Oregon offers both California and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herds. For nonresidents, they will offer six total tags. In 2022, 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 estimate of approximately 4,012. Populations of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are also down with a statewide population estimate of 711.  

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 .22% NA
43 - John Day Rv No. 2 175”+

5 resident tags

2 nonresident tags

.34% .12%
43 - John Day Rv No. 3 175”+ 7 resident tags .52% NA
43 - E Deschutes Rv No. 1 175”+ 2 resident tags .39% NA
43 - E Deschutes Rv No. 2 175”+ 2 resident tags .52% NA
43 - E Deschutes Rv No. 3 175”+ 2 resident tags .63% NA
43 - W Deschutes Rv No. 1 175”+ 3 resident tags .58% NA
43 - W Deschutes Rv No. 2 175”+ 3 resident tags .55% NA
43 - W Deschutes Rv No. 3 175”+ 3 resident tags .92% NA
46 - Aldrich 170”+ 3 resident tags .23% NA
46 - McClellan 170”+ 2 resident tags .34% NA
48 - Potamus 170”+ 2 resident tag .12% NA
69 - Steens Mt No. 1 170”+ 3 resident tags .11% NA
69 - Steens Mt No. 2 170”+ 3 resident tags .26% NA
70 - E Beatys Butte/Alvord Peaks No. 1 170”+ 2 resident tags .22% NA
70 - E Beatys Butte/Alvord Peaks No. 2 170”+

1 resident tag

1 nonresident tag

.29% .16%
70 - Coleman - E Guano 170”+ 1 resident tags .51% NA
74 - Warner 170”+ 2 resident tags .19% NA
75 - S Central No. 1 170”+

1 resident tags

1 nonresident tags

.26% .24%
75 - S Central No. 2 170”+ 2 resident tags .5% NA

 

Top hit list units to consider for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep

Unit Trophy
potential
2021 tags Resident odds Nonresident odds
56 - Wenaha 170”+ 1 resident New 2022 N/A
59 - N Snake Rv 180”+ 2 resident .1% N/A
59 - S Snake Rv 180”+ 1 resident .14% N/A
60 - Bear Creek 170”+

1 resident

1 nonresident

.16% .14%

Managing expectations for Rocky Mountain and California bighorn sheep

Nonresidents have five ram hunts that they can apply for in 2022. One of those is a Rocky Mountain bighorn unit, which is the Bear Creek option.  Draw Odds for this hunt are displayed in the Rocky Mountain Bighorn table above.  

There are also three units that offer nonresident California bighorn ram tags. The John Day River second season is offering two tags; odds were .12%. The best odds were for the 75 - S Central No. 1 hunt at .24%. 

With the new Wenaha ram tag, residents now have four units they can apply for to hunt Rocky Mountain bighorn rams, with the best odds in Unit 60 - Bear Creek at .16%. 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 .92% odds. Resident applicants can review the odds in the hit list above for other options, trophy potentials and odds.

See your draw odds here


Oregon's 2022 mountain goat breakdown

In 2022, 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 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 2020. The best trophy potential has been in Unit 50 Elkhorn hunts, although, once again, most units will provide the opportunity to harvest a big mature billy. 

All but two of the goat herds were counted in 2021. The table below outlines the most recent counts for each herd.

Oregon mountain goat populations (2020-2021)

Unit Population
Wallowa Mountains 340
Elkhorn Mountains 257
Hat Point 150
Vinegar Hill 18
Strawberry Mountains 90
Wenaha River 60
South Wallowas 50
Steamboat Creek 110
Grande Ronde 20
Central Cascades 130

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.  The best odds were Unit 60 - Minam Goat Mt No.2 at .79% and Unit 60 - Minam Copper Creek at .52%.  The following table outlines every resident mountain goat hunt for 2022 and the odds.

GOHUNT hit list for New Mexico mule deer

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
Resident
draw odds
46 - Murderers Creek
Strawberry Mountain
2 resident tags .07% NA
50/51 - Elkhorn No. 1 3 resident tags .13% NA
50/51 - Elkhorn No. 2 1 resident tag
1 nonresident tag
.1% .1%
50/51 - Elkhorn No. 3 3 resident tags .2% NA
53 - S Wallowa Mt 1 resident tag .25% NA
56 - Wenaha
North Wenaha
1 resident tag .17% NA
59 - Snake River
Hat Point No. 1
1 resident tag
1 nonresident tag
.14% .13%
59 - Snake River
Hat Point No. 2
3 resident tags .36% NA
59 - Snake River
S Snake River No. 1
2 resident tags .26% NA
59 - Snake River
S Snake River No. 2
2 resident tags .29% NA
60 - Minam
E Hurricane Cr
1 resident tag .22% NA
60 - Minam
W Hurricane Cr
1 resident tag .3% NA
60 - Minam
Goat Mt No. 1
2 resident tags .3% NA
60 - Minam
Goat Mt No. 2
2 resident tags .79% NA
60 - Minam
Copper Creek
1 resident tag .52% NA
61 - Imnaha
Cusick Mt
1 resident tag .14% NA

NONRESIDENTS

Review the table above. As you can see, there were two hunts available to nonresidents.  The best odds out of the two nonresident options was Unit 59 - Snake River Hat Point No. 1 at .13%.

See your draw odds here

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