Premium Content

Become an Insider member to gain access to this article,
plus all of GOHUNT's research and mapping tools.

Learn more about Insider

How to make the most out of your Arizona sheep application in 2019

Andrew Sarat Desert bighorn

Pictured above: Andrew Sarat

Jump to: How the draw works Sheep projection D. Bighorn Recommendations R. Bighorn Recommnedations 2018 harvest photos

If you ever had the good fortune to be part of a bighorn sheep hunt then the odds are you likely have the bighorn sheep bug. At the early age of 17, I drew my first sheep tag in my home state of Arizona. I remember the feeling of drawing the tag like it was yesterday. Since that day, I have been hooked. I continually apply in every western state that offers a bighorn sheep tag. In 2013, I was fortunate to draw a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep tag in Arizona. Even as an Arizona resident, drawing a tag was highly unlikely; however, every year someone has to draw. With the cost of bighorn sheep hunts increasing yearly the least expensive way to participate in a bighorn sheep hunt is to draw a tag. In order to maximize your opportunity to draw a bighorn sheep tag, you need to understand how each draw system works. For this segment, I will focus on the nonresident applying for an Arizona bighorn sheep tag.

Arizona offers the nonresident hunter the opportunity to hunt desert bighorn sheep or Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Both species are combined; therefore, you can only submit one sheep application. You can list desert and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep on the same application. Arizona is known for some exceptional desert bighorn sheep and only average Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. The nonresident cost to apply is $160 for the hunting license and $15 for the application. If you are drawn, it will cost you an additional $1,815. This is relatively cheap for an exceptional bighorn sheep hunt.

How the draw works:

Arizona offers up to 10% of the total bighorn sheep tags to nonresident hunters. Last year, there were a total of 111 sheep tags (95 desert/16 Rocky Mountain). Of that 10%, half of them may be issued to the nonresident applicants with maximum points. Nonresidents were issued 11 total bighorn sheep tags in 2018. Out of those 11 tags, one tag was issued to an applicant with maximum points and the other 10 were issued in the random draw. This is good news because nearly all of the nonresident tags are issued in the random draw, meaning everyone who applies has the opportunity to draw the majority of the tags.

There are two phases in the Arizona draw system. The two phases are known as the Bonus Pass and the 1-2 Pass. The Bonus Pass is the draw for those applicants with maximum points. This phase is conducted first. Going into the 2019 draw, the maximum number of bighorn sheep points is 30. There are currently 45 residents and two nonresidents with 30 points. They will issue 20% of the tags to those individuals residents/nonresidents with maximum points. Once those tags have been issued, they will conduct the 1-2 pass draw which is the random draw. The random draw is where the majority of the nonresident tags are issued.

For a more in-depth look at the draw system you can check out goHUNT’s Arizona State Profile.

The three most important things you must know when applying:

  • Nonresidents must apply for a unit with at least two bighorn sheep tags. Don’t apply for one tag units! 
  • Avoid applying for the units that are sought after by those individuals with maximum points. These tags are issued to those individuals with maximum points in the Bonus Pass portion of the draw; therefore, you never have a chance at them. Note: In 2018, all tags in these units were drawn in the Bonus Pass: 22 South, 24B Wilderness, 24B North, 24B South, 28 South, 37a First Hunt, 1/27 Rocky, 23/24A Rocky
  • You have the opportunity to list five choices on your application; however, only the first two matter.

Researching your hunt on goHUNT's INSIDER

Desert Bighorn Units Rocky Bighorn Units Draw Odds


2019 bighorn sheep projection

Arizona had a stellar bighorn sheep season in 2018. There were a total of five desert rams that grossed over 180" and an additional 28 desert rams that grossed over 168". The largest ram in the state gross scored 189 3/8". Therefore, 33 out of 94 desert rams harvested in 2018 met or exceeded the Boone & Crockett (B&C) minimum. There were 10 of 15 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep harvest that scored over 170" with the largest ram gross scoring 183 4/8".

With the amount of moisture Arizona is currently receiving I am expecting 2019 to be another great year. I expect those individuals with maximum bonus points to continue to focus on the same units as 2018.

Every year, there is a chance for a little variation in which tags are drawn by those individuals with maximum points. Below you will find a table showing which tags were drawn by those individuals with maximum points in 2018. The table also shows where all the applicants with maximum points applied.


Desert bighorn sheep recommendations

Desert bighorn sheep

Unit2019
Hunt Code
Tags drawn
max in 2018
Total tags
issued in 2018
*22 South**6018**2**2*
*24BW**6019**1**1*
*24BN**6020**1**1*
*24BS**6021**1**1*
*28S**6022**2**2*
31/32602312
*37A (1st hunt)**6024**2**2*
37B602612
39W602812
40B Mohawk603112
41 East 603312
44BN604023
45A604213
Total tags (drawn max)17 

*Signifies all tags drawn in max draw*

In 2019 there will be a total of 116 sheep tags issued in Arizona. Of those 100 permits will be issued for Desert Bighorn Sheep and 16 will be issued for Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. An increase of 5 Desert Sheep tags is huge for everyone. This will allow non-residents additional opportunities for some of the better units in the state. Two units that saw an increase from 1 tag to 2 tags making them now eligible for nonresidents are 24B South and 24B Wilderness. These units both have great potential for a book ram and I would bet at least one of these tags will go in the random draw.

Units to consider for Desert bighorn sheep

The following desert bighorn sheep units should be on your radar if you are a nonresident with less than maximum points applying for Arizona and you are looking for a possibility at a B&C ram.

  • 28 South (both tags will likely be drawn in the Bonus Pass with maximum points)
  • 22 South (both tags will likely be drawn in the Bonus Pass with maximum points)
  • 24B South (first year this unit has been eligible for nonresidents. Great potential for a book ram)
  • 24B Wilderness (first year this unit has been eligible for nonresidents. Physical, but great potential)
  • 44B North
  • 44B South
  • 37A second hunt
  • 16A South/18B (might get extra attention from the maximum point holders due to a 183" ram being killed)
  • 13B North
  • 31/32 (Solid unit that will have an extra tag in 2019)

The following desert bighorn sheep units offer a better opportunity for a nonresident tag, but it might be difficult to find a B&C ram.

  • 12B East (you will need a guide)
  • 15D North (tons of bighorn sheep and a fun hunt, but the quality has gone down)
  • 15D South (lots of bighorn sheep, but can be remote potential for a big ram)
  • 39 West
  • 39 East (first year this is eligible for nonresidents)
  • 40B Gila
  • 40B Copper Mountains
  • 40B Tinajas (very physical)
  • 41 East
  • 41 West (might get some extra attention from maximum point holders due to a 184 3/8" ram being killed)
  • 45A (remote unit/can be physical)
  • 45B (remote unit/can be physical)
  • 45C (remote unit/can be physical)
  • 46A East (very remote/very physical)
  • 46B West (very remote/very physical)

2018 Arizona Desert bighorn harvest green scores

2019 Hunt
code
Unit# of
tags
Green
score
Age
rings
# of Applicants
w/max points who applied
Max tags
drawn
600110115470 
600312A/12BW115780 
600412BE (1st hunt)3151.5, 162.6, 98.35, 7, 20 
600512BE (2nd hunt)3150.6, 172, 1696, 9, 70 
600613A1162.760 
600713BN3169.2, 134.1, 152.37, 6, 510
600813BS1155.690 
600915A/15B1128.660 
601015BW1149.670 
601115CN1153.270 
601215CS1155.270 
601315DN4163, 146.2, 165, 171.67, 6, 7, 71 
601415DS2151.3, 164.37, 80 
601516A2143.3, 1286, 50 
601618B/16AS2181.4, 142.47, 50 
601716B1175100 
6018222171.1, 177.28, 10142
601924B wilderness1182871
602024BN1181.4881
602124BS1167.68161
602228S2189.3, 172.111, 762
602331/322175.5, 179.710, 821
602437A (1st hunt)2175.4, 163.78, 1082
602537A (2nd hunt)2177.3, 176.58, 82 
602637B2170.2, 1738, 701
602739E1147.460 
602839W2152.5, 164.27, 611
602940A2149, 1739, 71 
603040BWG4152.7, 164.7, 156.5, 155.57, 9, 8, 50 
603140BWCM2157.3, 159.68, 911
603240BT2164.1, 162.510, 92 
603341E2158.1, 158.28, 1111
603441W2163.3, 184.38, 81 
603542/44A1174.470 
603643A1158.292 
603743B5167.7, 175.6, 157, 158.4, 169.69, 10, 9, 10, 91 
603844AE2178.4, 143.111, 50 
603944AW1172.4120 
604044BN3168.2, 160.7, 165.710, 8, 1082
604144BS2169.2, 172.711, 81 
604245A4165.2, 173.7, 146.7, 173.59, 9, 9, 711
604345B3173.5, 162.5, 153.411, 12, 60 
604445C4155.7, 154.3, 141.2, 164.49, 7, 4, 81 
604546AE2169.3, 159.79, 70 
604646AW1No harvestNA1 
604746BE1156.580 
604846BW5163.5, 168.2, 140.2, 167.4, 1616, 8, 6, 9, 80 
Total Desert95 17

 

Desert bighorn sheep scores across the units
(2012 to 2014)

Unit2014 scores2013 scores2012 scores
10160143146
12A/12BW128155162
12BE (1st hunt)162, 160131, 140, 145160, 146, 170
12BE (2nd hunt)NANANA
13A165No kill96
13BN150, 172, not listed163, no kill, no kill159, 162, 163
13BSScore not listedNo kill148
15A/15B141, 161, 154, (15BW only)157, 146, 144, 155, (15BW only)153, 135 (15B only)
15CN154, 132, 133171, 155, 150, 165, 145164, 147, 162, 158, 166, 159
15CS167, 160166, 169155, 169
15DN158, 167, 172, 163, 149, 158, 160, 169154, 170, 157, 167, 156, 152, 169,
154, 167, 165, 173
157, 140, 169, 163, 170, 167, 160, 167
15DS169, 164, 148, 154157, 150, 162, 179NA
16A171, 159, 156168, 169101, 179
16B163, 115165, 156148, 156
18B/16AS148 (18B only)162 (18B only)NA
22184, 175, 172180, 181, 176185, 186, 177
24B wilderness173 (wilderness included)180 (wilderness included)NA
24BN170179180
24BS185, 174186, 182163
28S174160175
31/32157, 158152, 171169, 163, 162
37A (1st hunt)174153, 164159
37A (2nd hunt)One seasonOne seasonNA
37B172163NA
39E159166NA
39W165, 164165, 158169, 167
40A170NANA
40BWG158, 157151, no killNA
40BWCM147, 172, 156165, 157, 148158, 158, 166, 163, 103, 164
40BT159163NA
41E156172168, 143
41W149169151, 142
42/44AE172, 174169NA
43A165182144
43B161, 153, 159, 160, 162, 164, 159155, 159, 167, 144, 161160, 161, 160, 157, 161, 170
44AE156159165
44AW173170173
44BN180, 164175, 172164, 169
44BS176157158
45A164147150
45B139157159
45C157156158, 165, 119
46AE171, 140171, 162165
46AWCombined with 46ACombined with 46BCombined with 46B
46BECombined with 46BCombined with 46BCombined with 46B
46BW138, 157, 146, 161, 166, 176, 166164, 157, 148, 145, 163, 159, 164169, 146, 133, 160, 153, 155, 151

 

Desert bighorn sheep scores across the units
(2015 to 2018)

Unit2018 scores2017 scores2016 scores2015 scores
10154155152154
12A/12BW157145136161
12BE (1st hunt)152, 163, 98165, 163, 137, 96149, 149, 147, not listed168, 148, 119, 151
12BE (2nd hunt)151, 172, 169NANANA
13A163164164174
13BN169, 152, 134158, 172, 157148, 161, 172156, 168, 160
13BS156145148Score not listed
15A/15B129142152 (15B only)145, 135, 150 (15BW only)
15CN153110163154, 151, 152
15CS155165162No harvest, 150, 98
15DN163, 165, 146, 172170, 160, 172, 164164, 162, 167, 147, 161, 151166, 152, 155, 150, 172,
175, 156, 168
15DS151, 164Combined with 15DNCombined with 15DN165, 159, 179, 164
16A143, 128166, 150167, 154No harvest, 150, 151
16B175157156157
18B/16AS183, 143170 (Combined)171 (Combined)156 (18B only)
22171, 177178, 184170, 181No harvest, 177, 178, 179
24B wilderness182177178178
24BN182178No harvest 174
24BS168178185181, 174
28S189, 172170, 187166171
31/32180, 176174, 157, no harvest165, 157, 173170, 171
37A (1st hunt)176, 164183, 169162, 170153, 167
37A (2nd hunt)177, 177170, 175Season split in 2017One season
37B173, 170174167170
39E148163171156
39W153, 164164, no harvest153, 161162, 140
40A173, 149159, 161166, 143179, 178
40BWG153, 165, 157, 156165, 165, 155, 173159, 161, 169, 143161, 147
40BWCM157, 160159, 164135, 168155, 149, 154
40BT164, 163173, 177176, 155164
41E158, 158160, no harvest164, no harvest148
41W184, 163161, 154178, 155164
42/44AE1751671650, 168
43A158149164172
43B176, 157, 159, 170, 168167, 121, 155, 147, 167152, 161, 157, 168, 156, 145, 167175, 158, 158, 166, 179, 107, 156
44AE179, 143166, 172161149
44AW173No tag 2017161151
44BN168, 166, 161171, 171, 174150, 154, 166, 169154, 154, 162, 169
44BS173, 169165, 169170, 178No harvest, 174
45A174, 165, 157, 147117, 167, 155, 91162, 144, 174161, 156, 151
45B174, 154, 163153, 159165155, 135
45C165, 141, 156, 154161, 156171, 149154
46AE169, 160168, 158173, 171168, 160
46AWNo harvest170, 164176, 167151, 154
46BE157141, 122, 157, 153156, 152, 158, 171165, 151, 152, 152
46BW168, 167, 164, 161, 140170, 155, 136, 165134, 155, 152, 164172, 157, 145, 154

 


Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep recommendations

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep 

Unit2019 Hunt
Code
Tags drawn
max in 2018
Total tags
issued in 2018
*1 & 27**6051**2**2*
6A/22N (1st hunt)605212
*23/24A**6054**1**1*
*27/28 (2nd hunt)**6058**1**2*
Total tags (drawn max)5

*Signifies all tags drawn in max draw*

Every Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep unit in Arizona offers an opportunity at a solid 170” ram. However, some of the units are very remote and difficult to access. Each of the hunts I am listing had a first and second season in 2018. Generally speaking, the first season is more desired due to having the first crack at the rams.

  • 1/27 (both tags are likely to go to maximum point holders)
  • 6A/22 North (lots of bighorn sheep with some solid rams, but quality has slipped a little)
  • 27 South/28 North (lots of bighorn sheep with some solid rams, but had the most nonresident applicants in 2018)
  • 27 Upper Blue (can be very remote and much more difficult to access—you need to be in shape)

2018 Arizona Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep green scores

2019 Hunt
code
Unit# of
tags
Green
score
Age
rings
# of applicants
w/max point who applied
Max tags
drawn
60511/27N2183.4, 178--82
60526A/22N2173.6, 1747, 1031
60536A/22N2177, 177.710, 620
605423/24A1166.1811
605527UB (1st hunt)2172.1, no data8, NA10
605627UB (2nd hunt)2164.1, 166.79, 810
605727S/28N (1st hunt)3167.5, 173.7, 183.410, 9, 840
605827S/28N (2nd hunt)2177.2, 169.79, 811
Total Rocky16 5

 

Rocky Mountain sheep scores
2012 to 2014

Unit2014 scores2013 scores2012 scores
1/27NHunt not offeredHunt not offeredHunt not offered
6A/22N162, 168177, 181179, 174
6A/22N179, 181177, 169Hunt not offered
23/24AHunt not offeredHunt not offeredHunt not offered
27LB165, 169, 148 (Unit 27S)No kill, 185, 186 (Unit 27S)183 (Unit 27S)
27UB (1st hunt)170, 170 (Unit 27N)184, 172 (Unit 27N)167, 165 (Unit 27N)
27UB (2nd hunt)Hunt not offeredHunt not offeredHunt not offered
27S/28N (1st hunt)141, 165, 167168, 169, 177, 179161, 158, 161
27S/28N (2nd hunt)172, 173, 158159, 167, 138162, 156, 171

 

Rocky Mountain sheep scores
2015 to 2018 (continued)

Unit2018 scores2017 scores2016 scores2015 scores
1/27N183, 178164190175
6A/22N174, 174171, 167182, 183179, 178
6A/22N178, 177179, 181175, 170185, 182
23/24A166181138170
27LBNA168No hunt126, 168
27UB (1st hunt)172174, 179187, 164, 174168, 155, 153, 179, 167
27UB (2nd hunt)164, 167168, 181162, 174Hunt not offered
27S/28N (1st hunt)184, 174, 168170, 160, 186162, 175, 171159, 169, 178, 174, 155
27S/28N (2nd hunt)177, 170164, 174168, 162Only 1 hunt

Sample photos from Arizona bighorn sheep that were taken in 2018

Jennifer Griego 2018 Desert Bighorn

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageGuided by:
Jennifer Griego45ADesert bighorn
sheep
173 7/8"9NA

Jack Johnson Desert bighorn 2018

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageAssisted by:
Jack Johnson22Desert bighorn
sheep
177 2/8"10Seth Meeske

Scott Drescher Desert bighorn

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageGuided by:
Scott Drescher40ADesert bighorn
sheep
173 0/8"9Arizona Desert
Outfitters

Chip Beiner 2018 Desert bighorn

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageGuided by:
Chip Beiner46B WestDesert bighorn
sheep
167 4/8"9

NA


William Acheson 2018 Rocky Mountain Bighorn

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageGuided by:
William Acheson1/27Rocky Mountain
bighorn sheep
B&C
183 4/8"
NARuss Jacoby
(Mossback AZ)

Ramey Oliver Desert bighorn

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageGuided by:
Ramey Oliver44BSDesert bighorn
sheep
169 2/8"11Arizona Desert
Outfitters

Logan Hall Desert bighorn

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageGuided by:
Logan Hall44BDesert bighorn
sheep
172 7/8"8NA

Andrew Sarat Desert bighorn 2018

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageGuided by:
Andrew Sarat12B EastDesert bighorn
sheep
172 0/8"9Russ Jacoby
(Mossback AZ)

Bill Goldman Desert bighorn 2018

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageGuided by:
Bill Goldman44BNDesert bighorn
Sheep
168 2/8"10Arizona Desert
Outfitters

Zach Pallister Desert bighorn

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageGuided by:
Zach Pallister44BNDesert bighorn
sheep 
165 7/8"10Arizona Desert
Outfitters

Craig Shelley Desert bighorn 2018

Largest Desert bighorn taken in Arizona during the 2018 season.
HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageAssisted by:
Craig Shelley28 SouthDesert bighorn
sheep 
189 3/8"11Matt Holcomb

Doug Holland Desert bighorn 2018

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageGuided by:
Doug Holland44BNDesert bighorn
sheep 
172 4/8"12Arizona Desert
Outfitters

Mike Gibbons Desert bighorn 2018

Pictured left to right: Mike Gibbons, his son Zach, and Bob Kyhn
HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageAssisted by:
Mike Gibbons22Desert bighorn
sheep 
171 1/8""8Bob Kyhn

Mason Reynolds Desert Bighorn

HunterUnitSpeciesScoreRam ageGuided by:
Mason Reynolds37ADesert bighorn
sheep 
177 3/8""8NA

Shop article bar

Comments

The only all-in-one hunting membership
Get up to 50% off select hunting gear in our bonus sale!
Hunt Planner is now live!