Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Guides and Outfitters
Arizona Desert Sheep Hunts
Arizona Guided Hunts is proud to offer hunting trips for the most prized big game species in North America, the desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis mexicana and nelsoni). Arizona has produced numerous large rams and stands up to being the top state as a quality producer. Like all states, Arizona bighorn sheep tags are by a lottery drawing. If you are lucky enough to draw this "coveted tag", you stand a great chance of getting a record-book head. Desert big horn sheep tags are limited to such an extent that Arizona only allows each hunter one desert bighorn sheep in a lifetime. Tags may be difficult to draw, so our possible hunters are encouraged to apply each year and build points until drawn. You never know when you will draw. Some hunters draw with one bonus point, which means it is truly luck-of-the-draw!
If you have the itch for a beautiful desert ram and feel lucky enough to draw one of the "coveted tags," we have the hunt for you! Arizona Guided Hunts' master sheep guide, Pat Feldt and his assistants, have spent many years in the field with desert bighorn sheep and know them well. Pat is a member of the Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, has a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology and is very knowledgeable and experienced in locating, hunting, and judging bighorn sheep. Much of his and his assistants spare time is spent looking for and observing sheep, whether it is just for fun or trying to video another record-book ram. Pat's many years of sheep experience has allowed hunters to harvest exceptional quality bighorn rams. Several rams harvested over the years have made the Boone and Crockett minimum.
In Arizona, you have the ability to hunt two different sub-species of desert bighorn sheep: either the heavy-horned and tight-curled Mexicana subspecies or the wide, flare-horned Nelsoni subspecies. This depends upon which area or unit you draw. The sheep in the northwest areas of Arizona from the Bill Williams River northward are classified as Nelson desert bighorn sheep. The southern area below the Bill Williams River toward the Mexican border is home to the Mexicana.
We have hunted in various bighorn sheep units throughout the State of Arizona. Sheep locations within these units vary from year to year because desert bighorn rams have a very large home range. This is due mainly to the constantly changing food and water resources of the desert ecosystem. Rams also move around a lot during the late summer rut before settling down in late October or early November. Your area is scouted extensively prior to the December hunt to locate not only the best concentration of sheep, but the best rams in that area. We can often find the same rams during the hunt that were located during scouting. So, if we find a big ram during scouting in October or November, with patience, we will more than likely find him during your December hunt.
The lucky hunters can choose a standard one-on-one guided hunt, a premium hunt option or we even offer a reduced rate hunt. The standard 1-on-1 hunt is the most popular option where the hunter is assisted by one experienced sheep guide. The premium hunt includes two experienced bighorn sheep guides; one hunting with you and another at different vantage points to act as a scout or spotter. Having eyes in two places at one time increases the chance of obtaining an exceptional trophy or record-class ram.
Licenses and Seasons
Since desert sheep hunting is on a random draw basis, hunters that are interested in booking a sheep hunt will be emailed instructions on how to apply and which hunt numbers to use. The application period for sheep is in late May. Once a tag is drawn, we will book the hunt. The Arizona hunting license fee is $160.00 and tag fee is $1,815.00 (Non-Resident) or $313.00 (Resident). If applying online during the draw, your credit card will be charged for the full hunting license fee, since a license is required in order to apply. The tag fee will be charged at a later date if you are drawn. Arizona has a bonus point system which increases your odds of drawing a tag. Each time you apply and are not drawn for a particular species, you receive a bonus point. For each bonus point you have for sheep, your name goes into the drawing an additional time, slightly increasing your odds.
Draw applications accepted online starting late May. Drawing deadline: June 13th, 2023
Our Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Season: December 1 - December 31
The Arizona Big Game Super Raffle tag for desert bighorn sheep is another option. The lucky winner of this tag has a 365-day season to harvest a ram utilizing several areas (units 9-16). Raffle tickets are only $25 each and you can buy as many as you can afford! They can be purchased online via the AZ Big Game Super Raffle website.
Our 2023 HUNT RATES
Desert Bighorn Sheep Hunts
|Desert Bighorn Hunt Options||# Days||Rate|
|Bighorn Sheep: Reduced Rate Hunt||6+||$6,500.00|
|Bighorn Sheep: Standard 1-on-1 Hunt||10+||$9,000.00|
|Bighorn Sheep: Premium Hunt||10+||$14,000.00|
Non-Hunter Fee: Some hunters like to bring along a buddy to camp and share the experience while they hunt. There might be an option to invite one person as a non-hunter or observer while on your guided bighorn sheep hunt. Non-hunter space is very limited. Based upon availability. Bighorn Sheep Hunt Non-Hunter Fee: $1,500.00
Description of Options
Choose from a standard 1-on-1 Hunt, a Premium Hunt, or a Reduced Rate Hunt
Standard 1-on-1 Hunt is our normal guided sheep hunt where the hunter is assisted by one guide and all amenities are provided. Includes: camp accommodations (typically canvas tent camps with heat and cots), meals, up to 10 days of hunting, skinning, packing out of animal, trophy prep, and one guide. We understand that desert sheep hunting is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, therefore we want you to be successful. If a "1-on-1" sheep hunter does not tag a ram within the 10 consecutive scheduled days, additional days for a later timeframe can be arranged for $500.00 per additional day up until the end of season (December 31). All of our past 1-on-1 hunters have harvested a nice trophy ram within the first scheduled 10 days though.
Premium Hunt means the hunter has 2 experienced sheep guides to assist in finding a trophy; 1 guide with him and 1 scout or spotter to assist at different vantage points. This option increases your odds of finding an exceptional ram, since there are 2 experienced sheep guides working to locate your trophy bighorn. Includes: camp accommodations (typical canvas tent camps with heat and cots), meals, up to 10 days of hunting, skinning, trophy prep, packing out of animal, and guides. We understand that desert sheep hunting is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, therefore we want you to be successful. If a "premium" sheep hunter does not tag a ram within the 10 consecutive scheduled days, additional days with a guide for a later timeframe can be arranged for $500.00 per additional day up until the end of season (December 31). All of our past "premium" hunters have harvested a nice trophy ram within the first scheduled 10 days though.
Reduced Rate Hunt is our more economical sheep hunt option. There are some trade-offs to a lower rate. First, it is a one-on-one "guide-only" hunt, meaning the reduced rate hunter must provide their transportation, their camp, their accommodations, their supplies, their meals, etc. Second, the Reduced Rate Hunt is only scheduled up to 6 consecutive days in duration instead of the normal 10. Third, since it is a shorter hunt, the main goal of the "reduced rate" option is to harvest the first mature ram encountered, instead of searching for the biggest ram possible for the area. Most hunters choosing this option have coincidentally taken the best ram for the area though. The sheep guide will pre-scout the area and recommend where to set up camp. The guide and hunter will proceed from camp into the mountains daily searching for a mature ram. We understand that desert sheep hunting is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, therefore we want you to be successful. If a "Reduced Rate" sheep hunter does not tag a ram within the 6 consecutive days, additional days with a guide for a later timeframe can be arranged for $500.00 per additional day up until the end of season (December 31). All of our past "Reduced Rate" hunters have harvested a mature ram within the first 6 scheduled days though.
1. For those serious about booking a hunt, the first step is to apply for the draw during May - June. Contact the outfitter for assistance with the drawing process. You will be given instructions on when, how and which areas to apply.
2. If you already drew a tag and need a guide, give us an email or phone call to see if we guide in your permitted area. A high percentage of hunters try to hunt desert sheep on their own then realize 2 weeks before the end of season that they need an experienced sheep guide in order to be successful. Don't let this happen to you on your once-in-a-lifetime sheep hunt! Please contact us well in advance, as it takes time for hunting guides/outfitters to obtain the required commercial Federal Land Use Permits for your specific hunt. Also, "the sooner, the better" so that we can scout your area.
3. Once a tag is drawn, a 50% nonrefundable deposit is required to reserve your spot. All payments are NON-REFUNDABLE. The remaining balance is due at least 21 days prior to the hunt. We recommend cancellation insurance for all of our guests. Visit our policy page for more details.
4. We do not charge a trophy fee. The rate shown is the only fee the hunter pays to us, besides gratuity to the guide.
5. Non-Hunter Fee: Some hunters like to bring along a buddy to camp and share the experience while they hunt. There might be an option to invite one person as a non-hunter or observer while on your guided bighorn sheep hunt. Non-hunter space is very limited. Based upon availability. Bighorn Sheep Hunt Non-Hunter Fee: $1,500.00
6. Other Costs and Considerations that are the hunter's responsibility: Licenses and tags, transporting yourself to/from the camp, rental vehicle, butchering, taking your sheep for mandatory inspection by the AZ Game Department, transporting your animal home, taxidermy, hotel stay before/after the hunt (if flying) are some other things to consider and are the hunter's responsibility. Gratuity for your guide is gladly accepted and is customary (15% is typical).
Hunters should note that desert bighorn sheep live in the rugged mountains with rocks, cliffs and bluffs. Since desert sheep hunting can be strenuous, hunters are encouraged to condition themselves to the best of their ability in order to increase their odds for success. We do not use or own horses and pack animals. If you are looking for a horseback hunt, this is NOT the hunt for you.
We have a 100% SUCCESS RATE on desert bighorn sheep hunts!
Desert Bighorn Sheep Photos
Congratulations to Jeff who took this beautiful desert bighorn ram at 300 yards with his fathers 1950's Remington 721 in .270!
John B. shot this old warrior desert bighorn sheep at 301 yards with his .30-06 Kimber Ascent Video of Hunt
Martin C. with his well-deserved, once-in-a-lifetime 12-year-old Arizona desert bighorn sheep! This Boone & Crockett class ram is a very old warrior and shows many years of battle scars. Video of Martin's sheep hunt
Outfitter Pat Feldt and Martin with the impressively massive desert bighorn ram!
Bill B. with a big 10+ year-old ram! Bill took the ram at 442 yards with his .270 Winch. This ram's horns are very heavy and hold their mass well. Video of Bill's sheep hunt
Andy C. with a big 8-year old desert bighorn sheep. This beautiful ram holds his mass well, has a great curl, and a neat laminated look to its horns. Andy and Pat made an extensive four-hour stalk to the top of the mountain in 50mph winds and sideways stinging rain for a 329 yard shot. Read the article or View the video.
Claude S. was the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle winner. The special sheep tag allows the hunter a whole year to harvest a Nelson desert bighorn ram in AZ game units 9 through 16. Claude made an impressive one shot to take the old ram at 405 yards using a custom built 300 RCM sheep rifle. Claude's big ram is 9 years old, has heavy 35" horns and great 27" flare! The beat up horns and face, due to years of fighting, only add to this ram's character. This is a big Nelson desert sheep! Video of the hunt or Read the Article
Dan R. took this big 9 year-old Arizona Mexicana desert bighorn ram at 375 yards using his .25-06 Ruger thumbhole topped with a 6.5-20X Leupold scope. We first found the old ram on a scouting trip a couple weeks prior and knew he would be the "one" for Dan. This great ram finished-off Dan's Arizona Big 10! View the Video or Read the Article.
Brian V. with his once-in-a-lifetime Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep. Sheep Guide Pat Feldt spotted this ram at over one mile from our glassing spot. Brian and Pat made a very lengthy 2.5 hour stalk to the top of the mountain range for this nice ram. A Weatherby in .30-06 topped with a 4-16X Schmidt and Bender riflescope was used to take this sheep at 308 yards. The area Brian had drawn is very tough with few sheep, but we were able to take this nice, mature bighorn. View the Video
Brian L. and sheep guide Pat Feldt with a Nelson variety desert bighorn sheep. This ram's body has a unique blonde color and it's 36" horns flare-out to 30 inches tip to tip. It was the largest ram ever taken in that particular hunt unit! Brian made an impressive shot on the animal as it was bedded at 396 yards. Read the Article of Brian's Hunt.
Roger with his once-in-a-lifetime Arizona desert bighorn sheep. This incredibly tight-curled Boone and Crockett ram was taken with Roger's 270 WSM.
If you need a desert bighorn sheep for the Slam and don't want to pay $60,000 for a hunt in Mexico, contact us!
Book Early so we can begin scouting for your Ram!
Members of Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society