Hunters who hear I’ve taken sheep with a bow are often open - mouthed with amazement. The general viewpoint seems to be that wild sheep are incredibly wary, and are usually shot from extreme distance.
I love wild sheep, but let me set the record straight.
Sheep seldom see people. They live in places where predators rarely congregate. They do not have the skittish, walking - on - eggshells personalities of white - tailed deer. With rare exceptions, a successful sheep hunter must be in fine physical shape to reach animals over rough, steep country. He must know how to use terrain and camouflage to hide from the eyes of rams. But he should not believe that sheep are larger than life. Compared to hard - hunted species like elk and mule deer, sheep often seem naive and incredibly calm.
The late, great Jack O’Connor was the Shooting Editor of Outdoor Life magazine for 40 years. More than anyone else, O’Connor put wild sheep “on the map” through his articles and books. He loved sheep, had several Grand Slams to his credit, and glamorized these animals as the ultimate in wild, thrilling targets.
Yet Jack O’Connor admitted that rams of any variety are most often shot at 150 yards or less. He also said that sheep require less skill to fool than some other American species.
O’Connor wrote on several occasions about rams that stood within rifle range as he field - dressed the animal he had shot. Find a modern whitetail or mule deer buck silly enough to do that!
This reality check on the true nature of sheep should take nothing away from your anticipation of the hunt. You will never work harder for a good animal, and you will be doing it in some of the most spectacular country in North America.