Desert Bighorn Sheep in Sonora


Look hard to your left, I can see one of the rams now and he’s staring right at us. Oh man, he’s really, really, CLOSE. It was day 4 of the desert bighorn sheep hunt and after 3 tough days of hiking and glassing the rugged country in the hot Sonoran sun it was finally showtime. With the ram being ridiculously close, and his eyes locked on us like a laser beam, the sweat began to pour.

Day 1 began with my client, myself, and the rest of our crew hunting desert bighorn sheep in sonora and glassing the steep mountainsides that my crew and I had scouted prior to the hunt. Numerous desert bighorn sheep were spotted throughout the course of the day but no shooters. We resolved to split our crew up the next day to glass more country and hopefully turn up a big trophy desert ram.

The action was slow for most of day 2 until the sun was starting to set and we received word that two members of our team had spotted a couple of really big rams. A mad dash ensued along with the very hasty dispatching of an extremely large rattlesnake intent on blocking the trail to the rest of the sheep hunting team. The speedy descent was still not quick enough to close the gap to our team. Our team ended up watching the rams until dark and locking down the location where the rams had bedded down for the night. Daylight found us glassing the dome shaped hill where the trophy desert rams had bedded the previous evening. As soon as it was light enough to see we watched both rams get up and immediately determined that both of the rams were definitely shooters. A couple of brutal miles hiked and several hours later finally found us in position to get a clear shot at the sheep. However, they chose not to expose themselves until darkness was right upon us and both of the rams were just out of shooting range. Sheep 3, us 0.

A couple miles hiked in the dark the next morning found us overlooking the large basin where we had almost got it done the night before. No more than 20 minutes had gone by after we set up to glass for the rams when I heard the words that I was dying to hear, ” I GOT SHEEP!” My client made a great spot on the 2 trophy desert rams as they fed their way uphill from us about ¾ of a mile away. Climbing the steep hogback ridge directly south of us seemed to be the only option my hunter and I had to get in front of these desert sheep for a shot. We wanted to get close but we had no idea just how close we were going to get.

With sweat rolling into our eyes from the tough hike and with the adrenaline pumping of seeing the bruiser desert bighorn ram in bow range, we froze. We were caught in an awkward position with me being directly in front of my clients’ line of fire. With the rams being fixated on trying to figure just what in the heck we were it was now or never. If the rams got nervous and bolted they would be lost in a very brushy and very deep canyon directly behind them. I whispered “get ready” and began a very slow and very uncomfortable crooked squat to the ground. As soon as my head cleared the rifle muzzle I whispered “take him” and the bullet was on its way. The perfectly hit ram took one big leap and expired right in front of us within seconds. A lot of whooping and hollering commenced followed by long moments of respectful silence and even a tear or two being shed. Sometimes silence is the only way to describe what words cannot………



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