Non-Resident Takes Rare Colorado Desert Bighorn

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Colorado isn't known for its desert bighorn population. However while the population is small it is also growing and this year marks the first year that a non-resident was able to take a Colorado desert bighorn. Do not get too excited though if you're thinking of applying from out-of-state, only one non-resident license was awarded this year.

The Denver Post has a good write up on this year's hunt by Dick Sapa of Montana.

"We've been carefully monitoring that herd and determined that with the sex ratio and the number of sheep that we had, we could offer the licenses," said Ron Velarde, Colorado Division of Wildlife's northwest regional manager. That brought the total of available desert sheep licenses to 10, with a provision that one had to be a nonresident license. Sapa's application was the one drawn. A hunting license for unit S-56 was his. "I could hardly believe it when it came in the mail," he said


What a Ram

Man oh man what a remarkable ram. As with most people I was surprised to read that Colorado had sheep like this. I lived there for 5 years and traveled all up and down the front range. Also spent a lot of time in southern Colorado in the vast Army training center down there. Seen all sorts of elk and mulies but never anything like this. A once in lifetime draw for one then to cap it off with this trophy. A definite memory of a life time.

cscott711's picture

That is awesome.  I had no

That is awesome.  I had no idea a desert sheep population existed in Colorado.  Hopefully, it continues to expand and more opportunities are created for NR's.  While I have yet to sheep hunt, someday going on one is something I look forward to more than any other hunt.

hawkeye270's picture

There was not any controversy

There was not any controversy over one of the tags going to a non resident. Desert Big Horn Sheep go by the same guidline that a small percent of the tags offered for the hardest to get tags are guaranteed to non residents. I think it is a fine way to go about tag allocation. We do have a preference point system for sheep but it is differenct than our preference point system for deer, elk, pronghorn and bear. The preference point system for goats, sheep and moose uses weighted points. You build three preference points and then you start building weighted points after that. You can't draw a tag without the three preference points unless it is underscribed for first choices. You can think of weighted points as extra raffle tickets. For every weighted point you have, it's your name in the hat an extra time. Our preference point system for deer, elk, bear and pronghorn is a hard set system. To simplify it, either you have enough points or not.

CVC's picture

Just based on another

Just based on another website, there is a definite bias against non-residents here in KS so I wondered if it existed in CO too.  Your preference point system seems a bit confusing or maybe I am just not bright enough?

Do they allocate tags for people who don't have preference points?  I think WY has a certain number awarded that go to those with no points.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Wow that is an awesome list

Wow that is truly an awesome animal.  Congrats to the lucky hunter for a great harvest.  I love the photo...makes for a great "hero" shot!!

hawkeye270's picture

Wow... congratulations to Mr.

Wow... congratulations to Mr. Sapa for lucking out so hardcore in drawing that tag and then actually getting the opportunity to take an animal like that. That is a once in a lifetime hunt in every way. That is quite the accomplishment to be the first non resident to get a desert big horn in the state. He is one lucky guy. I am still waiting to just draw my rocky mountain bighorn tag and I am starting to realize that it might be a very long time before I can get it. I can not imagine the mindset that you would have to have if you were applying for one of the desert big horn tags. You would just have to be pretty much happy with the fact that you might never draw it if you were a non resident. But like he said at the end of the article, you just have to keep putting in to even have a chance at ever drawing it. If you do not put in for it than you are not going to give yourself a chance. You just have to keep plugging along I guess. But I'm calling it... I am going to draw either my sheep or goat tag this year. You guys heard it first ha. yeah right.

CVC's picture

Was there any controversy or

Was there any controversy or push back when they announced one tag would go to a non-resident?  Is there a preference point system for them in CO?  If so, how many points do you have and how many do you need ot have a decent shot at drawing?

I think the sheep are wonderful animals to view and to hunt.

CVC's picture

I am glad to see a story with

I am glad to see a story with a nice picture of the hunter and the animal.  Cool picture with the beautiful scenery in the background.  I wonder what the odds of drawing were?  I am glad that he made the most of being lucky enough to draw the tag.  It is a beautiful animal

I would like to hunt sheep, but I don't think that will happen so it is nice to see and read stories like this one.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

That is a truly magnificent

That is a truly magnificent animal!  I would love to be able to hunt them, and we have them in California.  However, like the other states, it is probably the hardest tag to get in the lower 48.  Great story of the hunt, and I only hope to have a chance to get one of these in my lifetime!