Application Strategy 2023: Oregon bighorn sheep and mountain goat


Note: The application deadline in Oregon for all species is May 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. PT and all applications must be submitted online or at a licensed sales agent.

New for 2023


  • There is no Wenaha Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ram tag for the 2023 season.
  • John Day River hunts No. 1 and W. Deschutes No. 1 added an additional resident tag to each hunt. 
  • John Day River ewe hunt has seen an increase in bighorn sheep. They are offering a total of 14 resident and one nonresident tags for the 2023 season.
  • Oregon will offer two nonresident mountain goat tags in 2023.
  • Elkhorn No. 2 has added an additional resident goat tag for a total of two resident tags and one nonresident tag. 
  • Corrections to online applications can be made up until May 25. 
  • Draw results will be made available June 12.

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 Profile Cali Profile Mountain Goat Profile GOHUNT Maps Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • You can apply online here.
  • The deadline to apply is May 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. PT. 
  • Results will be available by June 12, 2023.
  • If you made an error on your application, corrections can be made until May 25.
  • 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 9 to 15 and enrolled in the youth mentor program.
  • Bighorn sheep and mountain goat tags are considered once-in-a-lifetime tags.
  • For mountain goat and bighorn ewe tag holders, an orientation class with the district biologist is required.

Oregon cost to apply and tag fees


Hunting license



Juvenile hunting license



Application fee/per species



*Bighorn sheep



*Rocky Mountain goat



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

Drought and snowpack in Oregon


Oregon snow water equivalent as of April 09, 2023. Source: NRCS

In 2023, Oregon has seen winter and spring conditions like most of the western U.S. In terms of the current snowpack, every portion of the state is well over 100% and most of the state is greater than 150%. It was in dire need and, just like its neighboring states, it’s much appreciated. This should work wonders for the feed needed to keep these animals healthy through the summer and into the fall seasons.


Oregon snow water equivalent from April 6, 2022. Source: NRCS

Drought Status


Source: US Drought Monitor

The drought outlook has shown a massive improvement since this time a year ago. I would expect this to get better at least for the next month or so due to the expected runoff. The very central part of the state is still in the most need of water, but much better than last year. Going into the 2023 hunting seasons, I would expect to see a big improvement on antler growth and overall herd health. 


Source: US Drought Monitor

The Oregon draw system

Oregon’s draw system for bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat is a simple one, but with some rough odds. The draw is completely random and all applicants are on the same playing field for the tags available. There is a separate pre-draw quota for both residencies. This means that residents have their own tags and nonresidents have theirs. One thing to pay attention to as a nonresident is that you don’t want to apply for units with zero nonresident tags available. 

The cost to apply for bighorn sheep and mountain goat isn’t cheap. 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’s really the only 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 2023 bighorn sheep breakdown

Oregon has both California and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herds. For nonresidents, they will offer seven tags total in 2023. One of those will be a Rocky Mountain bighorn ram tag in the Bear Creek Unit. The remaining six tags are for California bighorn sheep. Four of those are ram tags in the John Day, E. Beauty’s and S. Central Units and two are ewe tags for the John Day River and Deschutes River Units.

Overall, populations for California bighorn sheep have seen a slight uptick in statewide population, which explains the John Day ewe tag increases. Populations of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herds are maintaining, but they did remove the Wenaha ram tag for this season.

Top hit list units to consider for California bighorn sheep

2023 tags2022 Resident odds2022 Nonresident odds
43 - John Day Rv No.1175”+8 resident tags.26%NA
43 - John Day Rv No. 2175”+

5 resident tags

2 nonresident tags

43 - John Day Rv No. 3175”+7 resident tags.49%NA
43 - E Deschutes Rv No. 1175”+3 resident tags.43%NA
43 - E Deschutes Rv No. 2175”+2 resident tags.60%NA
43 - E Deschutes Rv No. 3175”+2 resident tags.86%NA
43 - W Deschutes Rv No. 1175”+4 resident tags.55%NA
43 - W Deschutes Rv No. 2175”+3 resident tags.67%NA
43 - W Deschutes Rv No. 3175”+3 resident tags.59%NA
46 - Aldrich170”+3 resident tags.25%NA
46 - McClellan170”+2 resident tags.34%NA
48 - Potamus170”+1 resident tag.22%NA
69 - Steens Mt No. 1170”+1 resident tags.14%NA
69 - Steens Mt No. 2170”+1 resident tags.34%NA
70 - E Beatys Butte/Alvord Peaks No. 1170”+2 resident tags.26%NA
70 - E Beatys Butte/Alvord Peaks No. 2170”+

2 resident tag

1 nonresident tag

74 - Warner170”+2 resident tags.15%NA
75 - S Central No. 1170”+

1 resident tags

1 nonresident tags

75 - S Central No. 2170”+2 resident tags.38%NA


Top hit list units to consider for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep

2023 tags2022 Resident odds2023 Nonresident odds
59 - N Snake Rv180”+2 resident.12%N/A
59 - S Snake Rv180”+1 resident.17%N/A
60 - Bear Creek170”+

1 resident

1 nonresident


Managing expectations for Rocky Mountain and California bighorn sheep

Nonresidents don’t have many options available when it comes to bighorn sheep tags in Oregon. However, if you plan to apply in Oregon for any other species, it is definitely worth the application fee to give yourself a chance. Although the odds are steep, they are actually a little better than some states. 

Residents have three units they can apply for to hunt Rocky Mountain bighorn rams with the best odds in Unit 60 Bear Creek at .23%. 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 .86% odds. The biggest thing to pay attention to with the central/northern California bighorn sheep units is the lack of public land. So take that into consideration before applying.

See your draw odds here

Oregon's 2023 mountain goat breakdown

In 2023, there will be a total of 30 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.

The trophy potential is overall pretty darn good in Oregon’s mountain goat units and all but one unit had a 100% harvest success in the 2022 season. The best trophy potential has been in the Unit 50 Elkhorn hunts with a chance at 50”+ goats; however, most units will provide the opportunity to harvest a big mature billy. 

The Oregon mountain goat herds haven’t been counted since 2021, but the overall population is pretty strong throughout the units. This can be explained by the slight increase in tag numbers.

Oregon mountain goat populations (2021)

Wallowa Mountains340
Elkhorn Mountains257
Hat Point150
Vinegar Hill18
Strawberry Mountains90
Wenaha River60
South Wallowas50
Steamboat Creek110
Grande Ronde20
Central Cascades130


Oregon Rocky Mountain goat tags

Unit2023 Tags2022
46 - Murderers Creek
Strawberry Mountain
2 resident tags.06%NA
50/51 - Elkhorn No. 13 resident tags.1%NA
50/51 - Elkhorn No. 22 resident tag
1 nonresident tag
50/51 - Elkhorn No. 33 resident tags.19%NA
53 - S Wallowa Mt1 resident tag.2%NA
56 - Wenaha
North Wenaha
1 resident tag.13%NA
59 - Snake River
Hat Point No. 1
1 resident tag
1 nonresident tag
59 - Snake River
Hat Point No. 2
3 resident tags.33%NA
59 - Snake River
S Snake River No. 1
2 resident tags.2%NA
59 - Snake River
S Snake River No. 2
2 resident tags.32%NA
60 - Minam
E Hurricane Cr
1 resident tag.22%NA
60 - Minam
W Hurricane Cr
1 resident tag.32%NA
60 - Minam
Goat Mt No. 1
2 resident tags.28%NA
60 - Minam
Goat Mt No. 2
2 resident tags.35%NA
60 - Minam
Copper Creek
1 resident tag.38%NA
61 - Imnaha
Cusick Mt
1 resident tag.24%NA

Managing expectations for mountain goats


There are 16 different hunt selections for resident hunters. They are spread out with different season dates across 10 different hunt areas. The best odds were Unit 69 Snake River No.2 at .37% and Unit 60 Minam Copper Creek at .38%. Although the odds seem to be steep, they are actually slightly better than most states — even those with hybrid point systems. So if you’re a resident, it only makes sense to give it a shot. 


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 .15%. I know that Oregon doesn’t offer many opportunities for the nonresident, but if you are applying in the state for any other species, then why not take a chance and put your name in the hat?.

See your draw odds here


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