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Location: Oregon
Joined: 07/02/2005
Posts: 19
Field Judging Sheep

Any good tips out there for Judging (at long distances) Bighorns? Hunt is in 10 days.!!!!!

Joel Raper

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Field Judging Sheep

Mature Rocky Mountain Bighorns are BIG animals (300 lb, significantly larger than mule deer). Mature rams will be in bands of up to 5 rams. Marginal and immature rams will be with `mommy and sisters'.

Check out this pic I found out on the web:

http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=2196647

First ram - clearly immature
Second ram - not legal in Idaho
Third ram - yum ... 6 or so years old.

Note how much BIGGER the far ram is.

The rams I've seen in Idaho seem to be more gray colored.

So, this gets you into `legal' ... but don't know what to say as far as number or record book scoring.

Have fun - and let us know how you do. Where is your hunt?

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Location: Oregon
Joined: 07/02/2005
Posts: 19
Field Judging Sheep

The hunt is in oregon. SE part of state. Steen Mountains.
We don't have a requirment for size to shoot but I am looking for a good ram. I have been scoutting a few times, found a fair amount of rams total. I believe I have found some good ones, but never closer than 800-1k yards. Hunt starts Aug 20th. I will share the videos once I get my ram, I have scouting videos now, but don't want to give up my locations until after the hunt.
The hunt is for Cal. BigHorns so something is the 160 and above range is what I am after. I know they are there, just wanted some tips on best way to judge.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Field Judging Sheep

Do the rams you're seeing have horns broomed? The rocky I got last year had un-broomed ends and scores probably just a tiny bit under 160. Three-quarter curl. Here's a pic:

http://www.woodengineering.com/adventures/Photos/Ram_tailgate_small.jpg

I don't know much about the Calif - my hunch is that they are smaller in body and horn ... 160 might indeed be a nice ram for a Calif Bighorn.

Broomed horns will be shorter but more massive.

Anyone?

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Location: Oregon
Joined: 07/02/2005
Posts: 19
Field Judging Sheep

Looks to be a few of them with broomed tips. From what I understand the Calf Hybrid is a bit smaller and has less mass, but more width (curls out further).

So far that is the advise I have. Pick the biggest bodied ram with broomed tips. I am truely looking forward to it.

Here is a link to one of the video I got. (I am still learning the video camera thing and they are a long long ways out so not a great video.)

http://www.theraperfamily.com/video/

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Field Judging Sheep

Bighorn Sheep are fabulous creatures. That looks like intriguing country down there.

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Location: Utah
Joined: 03/03/2005
Posts: 383
Field Judging Sheep

Never hunted sheep; I'm a little envious here, but I do know that they require a tougher designed bullet that's heavier than what it takes to anchor smaller deer.

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Location: Washington
Joined: 02/09/2003
Posts: 18
Field Judging Sheep

Joel,
Judging sheep at long distance is difficult, as there is many factors to consider regarding what a ram will score(B&C). You're looking for mass and length. Emphasis on mass because length can be deceiving with lamb tips still present. Heavy mass is usually a sign of an older age class mature ram, which will probably have broomed off. So, ideally look for heavy mass all the way out, broomed, but age and continued growth has given length back to him. That is a beautiful ram Serious Hunter killed, but the difference in score compared to a ram with the same length but broomed off, would be substantial. Try not to be fooled by how wide a ram might be, you do not get credit for width, but they look very impressive. How deep of a curl is more important, as this translates into more length, which you do get credit for. One other thing I will mention is bighorn sheep are all magnificent animals. That you are happy with whatever size ram it is, is most important. Regardless of what it scores B&C. If you decide a ram is the one you want and are able to kill him, great. You'll have no regrets and appreciate having just had the opportunity to hunt them. I hope you have a great experience. Good luck.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Field Judging Sheep

Agreed with Provider. This may seem odd, but I actually wanted a ram without broomed tips. A ram with equal length broomed would indeed be a brute. Take the ram you want hanging on your wall.

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Location: Oregon
Joined: 07/02/2005
Posts: 19
Field Judging Sheep

Well said. I am looking for a sheep that looks great on the wall. I imagine the sheep I harvest will be a true treasure to me no matter the B&C score. I will update you all with my pictures.

BTW, That IS a very nice RAM you bagged!! Thanks for sharing.

What where the habits you picked up on for the sheep. I have found that they tend to bed 8ish in the morning then get up and bed back down in the shade a little later. Not so sure about what they do during the evening. I mostly have seen them early in the morning.

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Location: Idaho Falls
Joined: 05/25/2005
Posts: 35
Field Judging Sheep

I got the video tape done by Duncan Gilchrist "Field Judging Bighorn Rams". The quality of the video is like a home movie but the information is very good. Jack Atcheson Jr. covers basic judging and then they have 24 scenarios where you view a ram in the wild and estimate it and then they re-show it and an expert panel estimates the same ram. Lots of good info and practice. The web site is http://www.wildramhunters.net/

What I got from it, look for horns that carry their mass all the way out, bottom of the curl below the jaw line. Horn tips above the bridge of the nose. Atcheson said if you have to spend a lot of time judging the score it probably is not a B&C ram. When you see a 180 plus ram it will stand out so much that you will know it's a big one.

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