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Author Topic: Montana Unlimited Sheep  (Read 2305 times)

Offline elkinrutdrivemenuts

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Montana Unlimited Sheep
« on: August 15, 2017, 05:36:14 PM »
I heard a great podcast the other day on meateater and was shocked I had never heard of it.  I figured with all the interest in sheep hunting on this forum there might be a few guys who have either done it or would if they hadn't heard about it before, since it's not 20k!  The podcast did a great job describing the commitment required and the severity of the hunt.  It's not for the faint of heart.  Not sure I'll ever be able do it, but I figured I'd see if anyone had some stories.

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2017, 05:50:54 PM »
There were three units, not sure if there still is. I know a guy who killed a dandy ram in one of those areas. If I was doing it I would spend at least the entire week before the hunt in the area scouting and try to have a ram patterned.
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Offline elkinrutdrivemenuts

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2017, 07:18:44 PM »
That's what they talked about, it's a huge time commitment to even have a chance.  Most guys can't do a couple weeks off from work.

Offline JoeE

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2017, 07:54:41 PM »
I've researched it quite a bit and talked to a couple guys who have had success in the unlimiteds. I want to do it in the next couple of years for sure.

My problem with getting away to go do the unlimiteds is my wife only gives me about a two week hall pass every year for out of state hunting. I keep using it on Alaska and this year Montana elk. Maybe next year. If I commit to it though I want to commit to a few years in a row in there

Offline elkinrutdrivemenuts

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2017, 09:28:11 PM »
It sounds like to be successful you need to commit a couple weeks for a few years to really learn the area.  Most are chasing elk when it's open so you have to be really committed to sheep hunting for a few year and forgo the rest.  That's a tough pill to swallow for me.

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2017, 09:34:38 PM »
It's in some of the toughest country you can hunt.
You'll need to invest in a satellite phone
You burn all your sheep points if you have any. (Think this is true)

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Offline whacker1

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2017, 03:40:03 AM »
It's in some of the toughest country you can hunt.
You'll need to invest in a satellite phone
You burn all your sheep points if you have any. (Think this is true)

true on burning sheep points.
quota on rams taken per unit
could be over the first day if other hunters tag out before you.

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2017, 07:55:39 AM »
I also listened to the podcast, didn't know about unlimited sheep hunts, and have ZERO desire to try it!

I believe there are 5 units open this year, 300, 303, 500, 501, 502

quota on rams taken per unit
could be over the first day if other hunters tag out before you.
There is a quota, but from what I've read, you have a 48 hour window to legally kill a ram once the quota is met, as if that mattered.


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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2017, 08:15:52 AM »
I also listened to the podcast, didn't know about unlimited sheep hunts, and have ZERO desire to try it!

I believe there are 5 units open this year, 300, 303, 500, 501, 502

quota on rams taken per unit
could be over the first day if other hunters tag out before you.
There is a quota, but from what I've read, you have a 48 hour window to legally kill a ram once the quota is met, as if that mattered.

The unlimited sheep tag quota is in place for different reason.  Unit 300 is an extermination hunt in the Tendoy's herd.  They contracted pneumonia similar to issues in Washington, but rather than using paid gunners, they chose to give hunters the opportunity to hunt them to extermination.  I saw a couple of sheep in the unit while the season was open, but it was too late in the season to buy a tag..  Not sure if 303 is the same scenario.  The other units are the historical units from what I recall: gnarly country with large geographic dispersion of the sheep.  I like the concept and I may at some point burn my sheep points to take on this task, but it would take some significant scouting before I committed to burning my points.   Where else can you hunt sheep every year?  You won't get to kill one every year, but you can hunt every year until successful.

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2017, 09:13:48 AM »
I did the hunt around 1991 when I lived in Montana. I got a ram and posted a pack out picture on here about a year ago I think. I was in a lot better shape back then. I hunted the unit outside of gardner and camped right below ramshorn peak. I went in about 5 days early and got my ram on the first day and thought I was going to die getting to him and then again on the pack out. I would do it again but not that particular hunt I don't think they have taken a ram for the last 5 years? So I wouldn't go back there. It was totally worth it I got to sheep hunt for 50 bucks! I think that was the cost at the time.  I couldn't find the picture I posted if somebody could maybe post the link? I would re-post the picture but have not been able to post pics for about a yea. I can only post pictures from my phone and for some reason it wont post them anymore. The hard part when I did it was knowing if the quota was filled or not as we had no cell phones etc and it was your responsibility to know if they had gotten I think 3 rams.   

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2017, 09:25:11 AM »
Elkinrut I shot a nice 6 point bull that same year so you don't have to give up your elk season. The unit I was in bordered the park and when season opens you think maybe the national guard just came out. All of the legal rams went to the park or the nastiest hole you could find. I found the nastiest hole in the unit and got my ram 3 were there together 

Offline elkinrutdrivemenuts

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2017, 09:40:06 AM »
That's a pretty awesome accomplishment!  It's gonna take some time to get the gear together for a hunt like that, but since I don't have any points built up I won't hesitate to spend the money for a tag in there. 

I'm sure I can find time to get an elk since the seasons are generous in Idaho, but I'd burn most of the time off I have focusing on that hunt.  I suppose when I'm old I'll wish I had given it a go.  I know it's probably the only realistic way I can ever hunt sheep.

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2017, 10:14:06 AM »
That is why I did it I knew it was probably the ONLY way I would ever hunt sheep. And so far I have been right that is the only time I got too sheep hunt. I don't know how old you are but I would recommend it for sure before you get too old! I did it as a dirt poor college kid so my gear was pathetic! Old school backpack, cheap tent,sleeping bag and a 30-06 . don't let the gear aspect get in the way. When I was up there it was actually too hot and I got sun burnt. I found a cave to store the quarters in till I got them packed out and had no issues with meat spoilage.  I think I am going to do it  again I will turn 50 this month so I will be too old if I keep waiting. I will do my best to post some pictures for inspiration for you! I also remember that we had either a  24 or 48 hour window to take a sheep after the quota was reached but it would be way easier now to just rent a satellite phone.     

Offline elkinrutdrivemenuts

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2017, 11:18:34 AM »
That is why I did it I knew it was probably the ONLY way I would ever hunt sheep. And so far I have been right that is the only time I got too sheep hunt. I don't know how old you are but I would recommend it for sure before you get too old! I did it as a dirt poor college kid so my gear was pathetic! Old school backpack, cheap tent,sleeping bag and a 30-06 . don't let the gear aspect get in the way. When I was up there it was actually too hot and I got sun burnt. I found a cave to store the quarters in till I got them packed out and had no issues with meat spoilage.  I think I am going to do it  again I will turn 50 this month so I will be too old if I keep waiting. I will do my best to post some pictures for inspiration for you! I also remember that we had either a  24 or 48 hour window to take a sheep after the quota was reached but it would be way easier now to just rent a satellite phone.   

Yeah I don't need much, really just need to bite the bullet on a bigger set of binos for glassing.  I'm 32, so it's really now or never.  I'm not to worried about the hiking and packing, it's the mental challenge of being alone and living out of my pack.  I'm the type who would rather hike 5 miles every day to sleep on my cot and eat a steak with a cold beer every night than sleep on a hill side.  I'm gonna keep researching, never thought I would get into sheep, but this opportunity has me getting excited.   

Offline elkinrutdrivemenuts

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2017, 12:30:25 PM »
http://hunting-washington.com/smf/index.php/topic,170851.msg2259513.html#msg2259513

Found that post, looks like you are rock climbing with a ram on your back?!

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2017, 01:08:20 PM »
Ya I just found it too then realized you had pulled it up. Yes rock climbing with a sheep on my back! The sheep was on a cliff in a real nasty spot and it fell off when I shot it and landed on another cliff about half ways between the top and the bottom! Long day but it was super fun and good memories. Wish I was still in that good of shape. I would give you details on the hunt if you want but sounds like success has been zero for last 5 years so I would look at the other unlimited hunts.   

Offline elkinrutdrivemenuts

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2017, 02:08:31 PM »
I also listened to the podcast, didn't know about unlimited sheep hunts, and have ZERO desire to try it!

I believe there are 5 units open this year, 300, 303, 500, 501, 502

quota on rams taken per unit
could be over the first day if other hunters tag out before you.
There is a quota, but from what I've read, you have a 48 hour window to legally kill a ram once the quota is met, as if that mattered.

The unlimited sheep tag quota is in place for different reason.  Unit 300 is an extermination hunt in the Tendoy's herd.  They contracted pneumonia similar to issues in Washington, but rather than using paid gunners, they chose to give hunters the opportunity to hunt them to extermination.  I saw a couple of sheep in the unit while the season was open, but it was too late in the season to buy a tag..  Not sure if 303 is the same scenario.  The other units are the historical units from what I recall: gnarly country with large geographic dispersion of the sheep.  I like the concept and I may at some point burn my sheep points to take on this task, but it would take some significant scouting before I committed to burning my points.   Where else can you hunt sheep every year?  You won't get to kill one every year, but you can hunt every year until successful.

That is good to know, are they hoping to eliminate the herd forever or just wipe out the sick ones?  I'll have to chat with the bio and see what the remaining population is and if it's worth it in that unit.

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2017, 03:30:09 PM »
Elkinrut I shot a nice 6 point bull that same year so you don't have to give up your elk season. The unit I was in bordered the park and when season opens you think maybe the national guard just came out. All of the legal rams went to the park or the nastiest hole you could find. I found the nastiest hole in the unit and got my ram 3 were there together 
I already respect you, and knowing you had a successful unlimited area hunt - wow.  BTW, the Sheep Hunting group on Facebook has a lot of good info on the unlimited sheep areas.
As long as we have the habitat, we can argue forever about who gets to kill what and when.  No habitat = no game.

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2017, 04:49:04 PM »
I also listened to the podcast, didn't know about unlimited sheep hunts, and have ZERO desire to try it!

I believe there are 5 units open this year, 300, 303, 500, 501, 502

quota on rams taken per unit
could be over the first day if other hunters tag out before you.
There is a quota, but from what I've read, you have a 48 hour window to legally kill a ram once the quota is met, as if that mattered.

The unlimited sheep tag quota is in place for different reason.  Unit 300 is an extermination hunt in the Tendoy's herd.  They contracted pneumonia similar to issues in Washington, but rather than using paid gunners, they chose to give hunters the opportunity to hunt them to extermination.  I saw a couple of sheep in the unit while the season was open, but it was too late in the season to buy a tag..  Not sure if 303 is the same scenario.  The other units are the historical units from what I recall: gnarly country with large geographic dispersion of the sheep.  I like the concept and I may at some point burn my sheep points to take on this task, but it would take some significant scouting before I committed to burning my points.   Where else can you hunt sheep every year?  You won't get to kill one every year, but you can hunt every year until successful.

That is good to know, are they hoping to eliminate the herd forever or just wipe out the sick ones?  I'll have to chat with the bio and see what the remaining population is and if it's worth it in that unit.

the goal is to completely eliminate the herd. The tendoy unit I think is 315? 300 Is one of the long time unlimited- I was looking on Montana fish & game and they said there were 12 sheep left in 2016   

Offline whacker1

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2017, 08:37:57 PM »
I also listened to the podcast, didn't know about unlimited sheep hunts, and have ZERO desire to try it!

I believe there are 5 units open this year, 300, 303, 500, 501, 502

quota on rams taken per unit
could be over the first day if other hunters tag out before you.
There is a quota, but from what I've read, you have a 48 hour window to legally kill a ram once the quota is met, as if that mattered.

The unlimited sheep tag quota is in place for different reason.  Unit 300 is an extermination hunt in the Tendoy's herd.  They contracted pneumonia similar to issues in Washington, but rather than using paid gunners, they chose to give hunters the opportunity to hunt them to extermination.  I saw a couple of sheep in the unit while the season was open, but it was too late in the season to buy a tag..  Not sure if 303 is the same scenario.  The other units are the historical units from what I recall: gnarly country with large geographic dispersion of the sheep.  I like the concept and I may at some point burn my sheep points to take on this task, but it would take some significant scouting before I committed to burning my points.   Where else can you hunt sheep every year?  You won't get to kill one every year, but you can hunt every year until successful.

That is good to know, are they hoping to eliminate the herd forever or just wipe out the sick ones?  I'll have to chat with the bio and see what the remaining population is and if it's worth it in that unit.

Once the herd is wiped out, they intend to transplant new herd to the area.  They are trying to eradicate pneumonia and have to take all infected specimen

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2017, 08:47:45 PM »
Here is the picture of the tendoy mountains. 

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2017, 08:51:30 PM »
I have heard stories about solo hunters being harassed/hasseled by locals and guides in the unlimiteds. is there any truth to those stories?

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2017, 09:49:33 AM »
Elkinrut I shot a nice 6 point bull that same year so you don't have to give up your elk season. The unit I was in bordered the park and when season opens you think maybe the national guard just came out. All of the legal rams went to the park or the nastiest hole you could find. I found the nastiest hole in the unit and got my ram 3 were there together 
I already respect you, and knowing you had a successful unlimited area hunt - wow.  BTW, the Sheep Hunting group on Facebook has a lot of good info on the unlimited sheep areas.


 :tup:

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2017, 09:52:11 AM »
I have heard stories about solo hunters being harassed/hasseled by locals and guides in the unlimiteds. is there any truth to those stories?


I never had anyone mess with me but it was a long time ago maybe things have changed.But I also have not heard of anyone else being hassled either.

Offline elkinrutdrivemenuts

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Re: Montana Unlimited Sheep
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2017, 10:02:29 AM »
Here is the picture of the tendoy mountains.

So that's where the herd has pnuemonia?  On the map it seems to be a good distance to the nearest 300, but I am new to sheep and maybe they have a bug range.

 

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