Archery Sheep Outfits on the decline?

NYSKIER

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Currently in the process of booking my dreams of sheep hunting. In my discussions with one very reputable outfitter he told me the number of archery sheep specific outfitters is on the downturn. Anyone know the reason for this or was this statement inaccurate? Just asking from a curious archery hunter!
 

Cactus kid

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I can’t speak for outfitters or guides, but just listening to the rifle clients they deal with I can only imagine why they wouldn’t want the potential headache of a bowhunter.

A lot of guys fancy themselves bowhunters until it’s time to do bowhunter stuff.

But don’t let that deter you! There are still outfitters that will take out archery clients. Any legal ram is a trophy, and a bow killed ram has to that much more special.
 

Blockcaver

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I am aware of one outfitter (Raven's Throat) in the NWT that isn't taking any bowhunters. Who are the others, as the last I knew the rest were taking at least a limited number of bowhunters?
 

Wyoming Hart

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Just one example that I know of and it may not be a formidable reason, but I know of someone who went into their dall hunt set on using a bow and they shot well out to distance. After the 3rd day, they decided to go to a rifle after seeing how difficult it would be to continue with a bow. With the rising costs of sheep hunts and them being once-in-a lifetime for almost everyone, I would imagine that the demand for archery hunts is dropping because of that.
 

Homer

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The number of sheep in Alaska just are not here like they used to be according to people I know who have been at it a while. Not that long ago it was possible to get a realistic chance every day or so to stalk on a legal ram. Now there are people going on hunts and not even laying eyes on a legal ram. With guided hunts running close to 30k now it’s hard to limit yourself with a bow when you might only have one chance at a ram. I would be surprised if bow success rates on guided hunts were over 25% in AK the past two years.
 

wind gypsy

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A successful rifle client on day 1 or 2 is a lot more appealing than an unsuccessful archery client on day 8 looking to extend a hunt. Harder on the guides and I bet successful guides get better tips than unsuccessful ones even with fewer days hunting.

There was an archery hunter in camp when I did my dall hunt that was there for his second year in a row and didn’t kill. At current prices that’s $70k and no sheep to show for it.
 

Doc Holliday

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There was an archery hunter in camp when I did my dall hunt that was there for his second year in a row and didn’t kill. At current prices that’s $70k and no sheep to show for it.
I'm guessing his next sheep hunt was on the calendar already. The only person I know who bowhunts for sheep is that way.....a very wealthy Dr. He knows eventually he will be successful. Does a rocky or stone hunt every year. Already got a dall and is working on his slam.

I know of someone who went into their dall hunt set on using a bow and they shot well out to distance. After the 3rd day, they decided to go to a rifle after seeing how difficult it would be to continue with a bow
And that's a guy who presumably knew a decent amount about what he was getting into, and still didn't have a clue. I can't tell you how many friends or family initiate discussion about my sheep hunt, and then eventually they say "man that would be cool, but if I ever did that, I would do it with my bow." Yeah, sure you would pal.

The reality is that even if you have a guy who can hit 10 rings all day from 100 yards, you get out in sheep country and the terrain just does not allow for a close encounter in the majority of cases. The outfitters that do take bowhunters, aren't just sending them out with a guide willy-nilly to any drainage like they can for rifle hunters. There are specific areas of their concession with certain features in known sheep hangouts that lend themselves to being able to get close enough with a bow. My guide explained this to me, as he had taken a successful bowhunter earlier that year.

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wind gypsy

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I'm guessing his next sheep hunt was on the calendar already. The only person I know who bowhunts for sheep is that way.....a very wealthy Dr. He knows eventually he will be successful. Does a rocky or stone hunt every year. Already got a dall and is working on his slam.

Wasn't the case with this guy. He returned because he was unsuccessful the prior year. I think the outfitter was able to get him back up with a cancellation because they wanted him to succeed. Might have given him a little discount. Financially stable for sure but he was in his late 30s and I don't think the hunt fee was negligible to him.
 

wildwilderness

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Currently in the process of booking my dreams of sheep hunting. In my discussions with one very reputable outfitter he told me the number of archery sheep specific outfitters is on the downturn. Anyone know the reason for this or was this statement inaccurate? Just asking from a curious archery hunter!
I would say that is correct.

I have spoken with a number of outfitters and the trend is to not take bowhunters for the various reasons mentioned.

Be careful of an outfit willing to take a bow hunter too since its often a way to get extra money without using up their sheep quota (as in they are planning for you to be unsuccessful).

I worked a deal with my outfit and it wasn't cheap. On top of that I blew my chance and made a bad shot with my bow and chose to finish the ram with a rifle..... That's the breaks. At least I have a reason to go on anther sheep hunt! 96018451-7815-429E-98E3-50EA3FB075E9.jpeg
 

cbeard64

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I have talked to several outfitters and guides and the vast majority simply prefer not to take on all the “extras” (work, time, frustration, reduced chance of success) that come with bowhunting sheep.

Apparently most “bow hunters” hunters start out with a bow but pretty quickly transition to rifle.

I am a fairly successful bowhunter myself on other types of big game but for all the reasons stated above would never consider it for sheep. That said, one who is committed to the bow for sheep has my admiration because of all the obstacles that must be overcome.
 

30338

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I think bowhunting sheep in CO must be a magnitude easier than hunting any in the north be it Stone or Dall. Plenty of cover in most areas that CO sheep hang out allowing for much easier stalks. Tip of the hat to the few hundred hunters who have archery slams.
 

kscowboy01

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It can be done. However, I got my Dall with a rifle and plan to get the other two with a rifle. For me, it was about drawing the tag that factored into Colorado sheep with a bow. I knew the odds were stacked against me but at least I would be sheep hunting.
 

wildwilderness

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I think bowhunting sheep in CO must be a magnitude easier than hunting any in the north be it Stone or Dall. Plenty of cover in most areas that CO sheep hang out allowing for much easier stalks. Tip of the hat to the few hundred hunters who have archery slams.
I would say agree with that. Furthermore Colorado has Archery Only tags which precludes any option to resort to a rifle!
 

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IdahoElk

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Go to the sheep and SCI shows and talk to the outfitters direct, they will know right away if you're real and may agree to take you.
Nobody wanted to take my friend Grizzly hunting with his Longbow so he went to the shows talked to reluctant outfitters, they saw he was legit, made a connection and shot a Grizzly at 10yrds.
Don't give up.
 

Blockcaver

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I think bowhunting sheep in CO must be a magnitude easier than hunting any in the north be it Stone or Dall. Plenty of cover in most areas that CO sheep hang out allowing for much easier stalks. Tip of the hat to the few hundred hunters who have archery slams.
30338, you are correct that CO bighorns were an easier hunt than thinhorns, mainly due to better cover and access. Heck, I scouted as well as bow hunted bighorns in CO on the way to and from work and arrowed a couple rams there.

As per archery Grand Slams, there were only 82 registered as of their Summer 2022 magazine. I'm sure a few more got added during the '22 sheep seasons though. Total registered Grand Slams including archery, rifle, muzzleloader and handgun number over 2,200 and counting.
 

30338

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Wow, only 82 slams. I got the cheapest one out of the way but don't think the money and effort is in me for the other 3. Glad to have gotten one though. Well did the same thing you did and got two archery but both rockies.

Cool that you lived in CO and got a couple then moved to BC. Hope you increase the archery slam number if you haven't already.
 
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NYSKIER

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Thanks for all the replies here guys a lot of this is consistent with what I've heard from guides after talking to more of them.
 
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