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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

Unit 2019
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*
31/32 6023 1 2
*37A (1st hunt)* *6024* *2* *2*
37B 6026 1 2
39W 6028 1 2
40B Mohawk 6031 1 2
41 East  6033 1 2
44BN 6040 2 3
45A 6042 1 3
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
6001 10 1 154 7 0  
6003 12A/12BW 1 157 8 0  
6004 12BE (1st hunt) 3 151.5, 162.6, 98.3 5, 7, 2 0  
6005 12BE (2nd hunt) 3 150.6, 172, 169 6, 9, 7 0  
6006 13A 1 162.7 6 0  
6007 13BN 3 169.2, 134.1, 152.3 7, 6, 5 1 0
6008 13BS 1 155.6 9 0  
6009 15A/15B 1 128.6 6 0  
6010 15BW 1 149.6 7 0  
6011 15CN 1 153.2 7 0  
6012 15CS 1 155.2 7 0  
6013 15DN 4 163, 146.2, 165, 171.6 7, 6, 7, 7 1  
6014 15DS 2 151.3, 164.3 7, 8 0  
6015 16A 2 143.3, 128 6, 5 0  
6016 18B/16AS 2 181.4, 142.4 7, 5 0  
6017 16B 1 175 10 0  
6018 22 2 171.1, 177.2 8, 10 14 2
6019 24B wilderness 1 182 8 7 1
6020 24BN 1 181.4 8 8 1
6021 24BS 1 167.6 8 16 1
6022 28S 2 189.3, 172.1 11, 7 6 2
6023 31/32 2 175.5, 179.7 10, 8 2 1
6024 37A (1st hunt) 2 175.4, 163.7 8, 10 8 2
6025 37A (2nd hunt) 2 177.3, 176.5 8, 8 2  
6026 37B 2 170.2, 173 8, 7 0 1
6027 39E 1 147.4 6 0  
6028 39W 2 152.5, 164.2 7, 6 1 1
6029 40A 2 149, 173 9, 7 1  
6030 40BWG 4 152.7, 164.7, 156.5, 155.5 7, 9, 8, 5 0  
6031 40BWCM 2 157.3, 159.6 8, 9 1 1
6032 40BT 2 164.1, 162.5 10, 9 2  
6033 41E 2 158.1, 158.2 8, 11 1 1
6034 41W 2 163.3, 184.3 8, 8 1  
6035 42/44A 1 174.4 7 0  
6036 43A 1 158.2 9 2  
6037 43B 5 167.7, 175.6, 157, 158.4, 169.6 9, 10, 9, 10, 9 1  
6038 44AE 2 178.4, 143.1 11, 5 0  
6039 44AW 1 172.4 12 0  
6040 44BN 3 168.2, 160.7, 165.7 10, 8, 10 8 2
6041 44BS 2 169.2, 172.7 11, 8 1  
6042 45A 4 165.2, 173.7, 146.7, 173.5 9, 9, 9, 7 1 1
6043 45B 3 173.5, 162.5, 153.4 11, 12, 6 0  
6044 45C 4 155.7, 154.3, 141.2, 164.4 9, 7, 4, 8 1  
6045 46AE 2 169.3, 159.7 9, 7 0  
6046 46AW 1 No harvest NA 1  
6047 46BE 1 156.5 8 0  
6048 46BW 5 163.5, 168.2, 140.2, 167.4, 161 6, 8, 6, 9, 8 0  
Total Desert 95   17

 

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

Unit 2014 scores 2013 scores 2012 scores
10 160 143 146
12A/12BW 128 155 162
12BE (1st hunt) 162, 160 131, 140, 145 160, 146, 170
12BE (2nd hunt) NA NA NA
13A 165 No kill 96
13BN 150, 172, not listed 163, no kill, no kill 159, 162, 163
13BS Score not listed No kill 148
15A/15B 141, 161, 154, (15BW only) 157, 146, 144, 155, (15BW only) 153, 135 (15B only)
15CN 154, 132, 133 171, 155, 150, 165, 145 164, 147, 162, 158, 166, 159
15CS 167, 160 166, 169 155, 169
15DN 158, 167, 172, 163, 149, 158, 160, 169 154, 170, 157, 167, 156, 152, 169,
154, 167, 165, 173
157, 140, 169, 163, 170, 167, 160, 167
15DS 169, 164, 148, 154 157, 150, 162, 179 NA
16A 171, 159, 156 168, 169 101, 179
16B 163, 115 165, 156 148, 156
18B/16AS 148 (18B only) 162 (18B only) NA
22 184, 175, 172 180, 181, 176 185, 186, 177
24B wilderness 173 (wilderness included) 180 (wilderness included) NA
24BN 170 179 180
24BS 185, 174 186, 182 163
28S 174 160 175
31/32 157, 158 152, 171 169, 163, 162
37A (1st hunt) 174 153, 164 159
37A (2nd hunt) One season One season NA
37B 172 163 NA
39E 159 166 NA
39W 165, 164 165, 158 169, 167
40A 170 NA NA
40BWG 158, 157 151, no kill NA
40BWCM 147, 172, 156 165, 157, 148 158, 158, 166, 163, 103, 164
40BT 159 163 NA
41E 156 172 168, 143
41W 149 169 151, 142
42/44AE 172, 174 169 NA
43A 165 182 144
43B 161, 153, 159, 160, 162, 164, 159 155, 159, 167, 144, 161 160, 161, 160, 157, 161, 170
44AE 156 159 165
44AW 173 170 173
44BN 180, 164 175, 172 164, 169
44BS 176 157 158
45A 164 147 150
45B 139 157 159
45C 157 156 158, 165, 119
46AE 171, 140 171, 162 165
46AW Combined with 46A Combined with 46B Combined with 46B
46BE Combined with 46B Combined with 46B Combined with 46B
46BW 138, 157, 146, 161, 166, 176, 166 164, 157, 148, 145, 163, 159, 164 169, 146, 133, 160, 153, 155, 151

 

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

Unit 2018 scores 2017 scores 2016 scores 2015 scores
10 154 155 152 154
12A/12BW 157 145 136 161
12BE (1st hunt) 152, 163, 98 165, 163, 137, 96 149, 149, 147, not listed 168, 148, 119, 151
12BE (2nd hunt) 151, 172, 169 NA NA NA
13A 163 164 164 174
13BN 169, 152, 134 158, 172, 157 148, 161, 172 156, 168, 160
13BS 156 145 148 Score not listed
15A/15B 129 142 152 (15B only) 145, 135, 150 (15BW only)
15CN 153 110 163 154, 151, 152
15CS 155 165 162 No harvest, 150, 98
15DN 163, 165, 146, 172 170, 160, 172, 164 164, 162, 167, 147, 161, 151 166, 152, 155, 150, 172,
175, 156, 168
15DS 151, 164 Combined with 15DN Combined with 15DN 165, 159, 179, 164
16A 143, 128 166, 150 167, 154 No harvest, 150, 151
16B 175 157 156 157
18B/16AS 183, 143 170 (Combined) 171 (Combined) 156 (18B only)
22 171, 177 178, 184 170, 181 No harvest, 177, 178, 179
24B wilderness 182 177 178 178
24BN 182 178 No harvest  174
24BS 168 178 185 181, 174
28S 189, 172 170, 187 166 171
31/32 180, 176 174, 157, no harvest 165, 157, 173 170, 171
37A (1st hunt) 176, 164 183, 169 162, 170 153, 167
37A (2nd hunt) 177, 177 170, 175 Season split in 2017 One season
37B 173, 170 174 167 170
39E 148 163 171 156
39W 153, 164 164, no harvest 153, 161 162, 140
40A 173, 149 159, 161 166, 143 179, 178
40BWG 153, 165, 157, 156 165, 165, 155, 173 159, 161, 169, 143 161, 147
40BWCM 157, 160 159, 164 135, 168 155, 149, 154
40BT 164, 163 173, 177 176, 155 164
41E 158, 158 160, no harvest 164, no harvest 148
41W 184, 163 161, 154 178, 155 164
42/44AE 175 167 165 0, 168
43A 158 149 164 172
43B 176, 157, 159, 170, 168 167, 121, 155, 147, 167 152, 161, 157, 168, 156, 145, 167 175, 158, 158, 166, 179, 107, 156
44AE 179, 143 166, 172 161 149
44AW 173 No tag 2017 161 151
44BN 168, 166, 161 171, 171, 174 150, 154, 166, 169 154, 154, 162, 169
44BS 173, 169 165, 169 170, 178 No harvest, 174
45A 174, 165, 157, 147 117, 167, 155, 91 162, 144, 174 161, 156, 151
45B 174, 154, 163 153, 159 165 155, 135
45C 165, 141, 156, 154 161, 156 171, 149 154
46AE 169, 160 168, 158 173, 171 168, 160
46AW No harvest 170, 164 176, 167 151, 154
46BE 157 141, 122, 157, 153 156, 152, 158, 171 165, 151, 152, 152
46BW 168, 167, 164, 161, 140 170, 155, 136, 165 134, 155, 152, 164 172, 157, 145, 154

 


Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep recommendations

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep 

Unit 2019 Hunt
Code
Tags drawn
max in 2018
Total tags
issued in 2018
*1 & 27* *6051* *2* *2*
6A/22N (1st hunt) 6052 1 2
*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
6051 1/27N 2 183.4, 178 -- 8 2
6052 6A/22N 2 173.6, 174 7, 10 3 1
6053 6A/22N 2 177, 177.7 10, 6 2 0
6054 23/24A 1 166.1 8 1 1
6055 27UB (1st hunt) 2 172.1, no data 8, NA 1 0
6056 27UB (2nd hunt) 2 164.1, 166.7 9, 8 1 0
6057 27S/28N (1st hunt) 3 167.5, 173.7, 183.4 10, 9, 8 4 0
6058 27S/28N (2nd hunt) 2 177.2, 169.7 9, 8 1 1
Total Rocky 16   5

 

Rocky Mountain sheep scores
2012 to 2014

Unit 2014 scores 2013 scores 2012 scores
1/27N Hunt not offered Hunt not offered Hunt not offered
6A/22N 162, 168 177, 181 179, 174
6A/22N 179, 181 177, 169 Hunt not offered
23/24A Hunt not offered Hunt not offered Hunt not offered
27LB 165, 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 offered Hunt not offered Hunt not offered
27S/28N (1st hunt) 141, 165, 167 168, 169, 177, 179 161, 158, 161
27S/28N (2nd hunt) 172, 173, 158 159, 167, 138 162, 156, 171

 

Rocky Mountain sheep scores
2015 to 2018 (continued)

Unit 2018 scores 2017 scores 2016 scores 2015 scores
1/27N 183, 178 164 190 175
6A/22N 174, 174 171, 167 182, 183 179, 178
6A/22N 178, 177 179, 181 175, 170 185, 182
23/24A 166 181 138 170
27LB NA 168 No hunt 126, 168
27UB (1st hunt) 172 174, 179 187, 164, 174 168, 155, 153, 179, 167
27UB (2nd hunt) 164, 167 168, 181 162, 174 Hunt not offered
27S/28N (1st hunt) 184, 174, 168 170, 160, 186 162, 175, 171 159, 169, 178, 174, 155
27S/28N (2nd hunt) 177, 170 164, 174 168, 162 Only 1 hunt

Sample photos from Arizona bighorn sheep that were taken in 2018

Jennifer Griego 2018 Desert Bighorn

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Guided by:
Jennifer Griego 45A Desert bighorn
sheep
173 7/8" 9 NA

Jack Johnson Desert bighorn 2018

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Assisted by:
Jack Johnson 22 Desert bighorn
sheep
177 2/8" 10 Seth Meeske

Scott Drescher Desert bighorn

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Guided by:
Scott Drescher 40A Desert bighorn
sheep
173 0/8" 9 Arizona Desert
Outfitters

Chip Beiner 2018 Desert bighorn

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Guided by:
Chip Beiner 46B West Desert bighorn
sheep
167 4/8" 9

NA


William Acheson 2018 Rocky Mountain Bighorn

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Guided by:
William Acheson 1/27 Rocky Mountain
bighorn sheep
B&C
183 4/8"
NA Russ Jacoby
(Mossback AZ)

Ramey Oliver Desert bighorn

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Guided by:
Ramey Oliver 44BS Desert bighorn
sheep
169 2/8" 11 Arizona Desert
Outfitters

Logan Hall Desert bighorn

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Guided by:
Logan Hall 44B Desert bighorn
sheep
172 7/8" 8 NA

Andrew Sarat Desert bighorn 2018

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Guided by:
Andrew Sarat 12B East Desert bighorn
sheep
172 0/8" 9 Russ Jacoby
(Mossback AZ)

Bill Goldman Desert bighorn 2018

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Guided by:
Bill Goldman 44BN Desert bighorn
Sheep
168 2/8" 10 Arizona Desert
Outfitters

Zach Pallister Desert bighorn

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Guided by:
Zach Pallister 44BN Desert bighorn
sheep 
165 7/8" 10 Arizona Desert
Outfitters

Craig Shelley Desert bighorn 2018

Largest Desert bighorn taken in Arizona during the 2018 season.
Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Assisted by:
Craig Shelley 28 South Desert bighorn
sheep 
189 3/8" 11 Matt Holcomb

Doug Holland Desert bighorn 2018

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Guided by:
Doug Holland 44BN Desert bighorn
sheep 
172 4/8" 12 Arizona Desert
Outfitters

Mike Gibbons Desert bighorn 2018

Pictured left to right: Mike Gibbons, his son Zach, and Bob Kyhn
Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Assisted by:
Mike Gibbons 22 Desert bighorn
sheep 
171 1/8"" 8 Bob Kyhn

Mason Reynolds Desert Bighorn

Hunter Unit Species Score Ram age Guided by:
Mason Reynolds 37A Desert bighorn
sheep 
177 3/8"" 8 NA

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