How do you justify sheep hunting?

Northpark

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Mar 8, 2015
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So I will start by saying I have always dreamed of sheep hunting. I’ve spent time watching sheep. Sneaking up on them for pictures etc. my odds of drawing a tag in my lifetime are nearly 0. Doesn’t stop me from applying every year in several states. The only “sheep” hunt I’ve ever paid for was a $2750 Aoudad hunt in west Texas. It was awesome and very much what I thought it would be. I also did it before it got any pricier. Same hunt with same outfitter is now $5k. Still a relative bargain in the sheep world.

I have often thought of going on a guided sheep hunt. The price of admission keeps me out of it. Could I save for several years and then go? Sure. No way would I consider it responsible. I don’t even own my home technically since I have a mortgage so the 30k would be responsibly put towards that or paying for a new vehicle when mine inevitably dies. My point being I’m really happy for folks that get to do this but how do you justify spending 30k on the cheap end?
 

Cynoscion

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Mar 11, 2021
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South Texas
There are plenty of mountain hunts that will scratch the sheep hunting itch that are still in the $8,000-$12,000 range. Don’t be afraid to hunt overseas. There are still relatively reasonably priced hunts to be had and awesome adventures to go on.
 

keller

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Oct 30, 2017
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wi
I've been fortunate enough to hunt sheep in 2018 before the price skyrocketed. Their are animals like mt.goats .ibex....etc that are much cheaper and still a mountain hunt
 

FLATHEAD

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Jun 27, 2021
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I'm not hurting financially speaking, and I cant justify the cost.
I've done 2 guided Aoudad hunts in TX that were 3500$
and the last was around 5 or 6K.
If I ever get to hunt NA sheep I'll have to miraculously draw a
tag somewhere in the lower 48.
But I wont be paying 30-50K+ for a Dall or Desert.
 

schmalzy

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Joined
Oct 1, 2014
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933
So I will start by saying I have always dreamed of sheep hunting. I’ve spent time watching sheep. Sneaking up on them for pictures etc. my odds of drawing a tag in my lifetime are nearly 0. Doesn’t stop me from applying every year in several states. The only “sheep” hunt I’ve ever paid for was a $2750 Aoudad hunt in west Texas. It was awesome and very much what I thought it would be. I also did it before it got any pricier. Same hunt with same outfitter is now $5k. Still a relative bargain in the sheep world.

I have often thought of going on a guided sheep hunt. The price of admission keeps me out of it. Could I save for several years and then go? Sure. No way would I consider it responsible. I don’t even own my home technically since I have a mortgage so the 30k would be responsibly put towards that or paying for a new vehicle when mine inevitably dies. My point being I’m really happy for folks that get to do this but how do you justify spending 30k on the cheap end?

Can’t speak for anyone else, but I couldn’t and didn’t “justify” it per se. Countless other more “responsible” and better financial options we could have done. That being said, it was worth every penny to me and ignited a fire and happiness I only dreamed of that I can see will transfer into other areas of life. I truly feel for guys that didn’t have great sheep hunts and wish I could bottle mine up and give it to them. It was that awesome; a large amount of type 2 fun but damn it was unforgettable.

The lead up to the trip was equally impactful. Discipline in fitness, gear selection, making sure my obligations were covered while gone, etc. I haven’t always been great at those things and this trip brought it to the forefront for me of how I need to relentlessly pursue those things.

My wife is without a doubt an amazing woman and the fact that she supported and encouraged me to do it is something I’ll never fully comprehend. A gift that I am forever thankful for.

If I look at it as a 30k hunting trip I don’t think I could ever justify it. When I look at it as a 30k investment and gift for my mental and spiritual health, I can’t justify not doing it. At 35, I am pushing as hard as I can to make it happen a few times more, both in terms of family/relationship wise and business wise.

Big thanks to all the guys on here. Real friendships made and genuine camaraderie about the hunt.


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MattB

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Sep 29, 2012
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There is a famous quote, "If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it" which is an analogue of sorts to my perspective on your question. Spending 10% of your net worth on a hunt could be deemed irresponsible. Spending .01% likely wouldn't.
 

MnWildFan

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Aug 31, 2021
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26
Can’t speak for anyone else, but I couldn’t and didn’t “justify” it per se. Countless other more “responsible” and better financial options we could have done. That being said, it was worth every penny to me and ignited a fire and happiness I only dreamed of that I can see will transfer into other areas of life. I truly feel for guys that didn’t have great sheep hunts and wish I could bottle mine up and give it to them. It was that awesome; a large amount of type 2 fun but damn it was unforgettable.

The lead up to the trip was equally impactful. Discipline in fitness, gear selection, making sure my obligations were covered while gone, etc. I haven’t always been great at those things and this trip brought it to the forefront for me of how I need to relentlessly pursue those things.

My wife is without a doubt an amazing woman and the fact that she supported and encouraged me to do it is something I’ll never fully comprehend. A gift that I am forever thankful for.

If I look at it as a 30k hunting trip I don’t think I could ever justify it. When I look at it as a 30k investment and gift for my mental and spiritual health, I can’t justify not doing it. At 35, I am pushing as hard as I can to make it happen a few times more, both in terms of family/relationship wise and business wise.

Big thanks to all the guys on here. Real friendships made and genuine camaraderie about the hunt.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Man this was well said.
 

Spoony

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Jul 22, 2022
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21
My idea is to make it more justifiable. Start a savings account from scratch and trickle off a little of each pay check. Sell something that is less important than a sheep hunt and drop that into the account. Take the money you get back from when you dont draw a sheep tag, in the states you need to pay for the full 2-3K tag upfront. Eventually, the 30K may look like 15K, and more easily justifiable
 

ljalberta

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Dec 7, 2015
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You could look into the Montana Unlimiteds as well if you can’t make a guided hunt work.
 

duckcarver

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Jan 7, 2021
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Maryland
While I haven't been on a sheep hunt yet, and have a few years to dream, plan and work on my fitness to enjoy the NWT, @schmalzy nailed my "justification" and motivation for the hunt. It's always been a dream, but each year as prices increased I kicked the can. An approaching notable birthday and other events caused me to focus on two constants: (i) I'm not getting any younger, and (ii) sheep hunts in the arctic aren't getting any cheaper.

Committing for a hunt in 2026 gave me liberty to daydream with a purpose and motivation to tackle Mountain Tough workouts in the basement 5x/week. My fitness level has a long way to go, but I have plenty of time to get there (and to pay for the hunt).
 

Jimss

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Mar 6, 2015
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I’ve been super fortunate to do several Alaska and Colo sheep hunts on a tight budget. It helped in Alaska having a relative. It also helps living in a state that offers resident sheep tags. It’s possible to apply in multiple states but it is becoming super expensive to apply for lottery type draw odds. Draw odds continue to drop each year so those opportunities are becoming tougher.

If you really want to sheep hunt try a Montana unlimited hunt, ewe hunt, or poor man’s sheep hunt such as auodad. There also are options in New Zealand and elsewhere for tahr and chamie. If I was young and single I would likely move to Alaska for a few years. Sheep options in Alaska also seem to be melting away.
 

justinspicher

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Dec 27, 2012
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Colorado
I refuse to pay for a sheep hunt, but have “hunted” them twice, as a tag along with a buddy who lives in Alaska. One hunt was on a TMA tag and the other was a normal harvest tag. The cost was a flight to alaska, did everything I would normally do on a hunt, but with out the added stress of actually hunting and definitely without the additional costs associated with sheep hunting. Due to this, I have recently started to do the same with hunting locally in Colorado, where I live. Sure, I can get an OTC elk tag, but I have friends that put in for draws and such, so I just go with them. I am still technically “hunting”, but there is zero stress for me, I am out enjoying the mountains, seeing critters and doing it in good company. It’s a win for me, but may not be for everyone else. No justification needed.
 

TN2shot07

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Dec 19, 2020
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While sheep don’t hold that special allure for me, moose, grizzly, and caribou are all on my dream list. I don’t look at that expense any different than anything else ridiculously expensive we buy. The average car payment in the US is approaching $700, only takes 3 1/2 years to get to your sheep hunt at that rate and you’ll have something to carry with you the rest of your life. Most people that I’ve worked with have room in their budget to do more, it just requires making a decision to be disciplined toward goals and being on the same page if you’re married. There are also plenty of people that will pick up a side job for a specific purpose. (There have never been more opportunities for a side huddle than right now)
 

5MilesBack

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Feb 27, 2012
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Colorado Springs
Some things are more about principle than anything. I won't pay more than about $3/lb for bacon, but that doesn't mean I can't afford it at higher prices. For my mind, I would need an itemized cost sheet to even begin to justify spending $30k on any hunt. I'd have to break down each and every item to see where that money is going and for what.....then justify it individually. Am I paying someone $1k+ a day to hike me around the mountains? No. I can do that on my own. Am I paying someone $1k+ a night to sleep in a tent? No. So for me......I can't justify it.
 

Ariettabob

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Nov 26, 2018
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Upstate NY
I didn’t have to justify it, as I’d spent 59 years justifying NOT going. The fire was lit at 5yrs old, according to my Dad…it never died. He’d give me Outdoor Life magazines each month. Living in NY, he hoped I’d be drawn to the whitetail articles. He would tell me later in life that it was the O’Connor sheep stories that drew my interest. My biggest regret is that he passed before I did my sheep hunt at 64yrs old.
Reading shmalzy’s response above tells me that not only did he and I experience the exact same feelings leading up to, during and after our hunts, but most likely many others went through the same transformation. My sheep hunt last season was the single greatest thing I’ve ever done in life. Was the $30K a lot to me, absolutely. Only you can decide if a sheep hunt might be equally important to you and what an appropriate price tag is for achieving your greatest dream.
 
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