There are a fortunate few who, every year in December, head for the arid mountain ranges of Arizona in pursuit of the desert bighorn sheep. The elusive sheep tag is so difficult to draw that hunters may wait an entire lifetime for this opportunity. When and if a ram is harvested by a hunter, that is the only sheep he will tag in a lifetime.
Consequently, these sheep enthusiasts want additional experience hunting these mountain dwellers.
When the drawing takes place, the lucky few who receive a tag soon have numerous friends and acquaintances who volunteer to be a part of the sheep hunt with high-tech optics and the enjoyment of a desert campout in mild December temperatures.
In many of the units, there may be only one or two tags awarded, which gives a hunter plenty of elbow room to find that trophy animal. Sheep habitat in most of these units have numerous mountain ranges to examine, which requires extensive glassing and this is where other sheep enthusiasts gladly volunteer. Countless hours are spent in preseason scouting trying to locate that special ram in the vast Arizona wilderness. They begin taking that mountain apart with their 10x50 binoculars or spotting scopes in hopes of locating desert bighorns. This is no easy task, because the animal coloration blends extremely well with the rock formations.
Bob Wingle was one of the lucky few to draw a tag and he was the only hunter in his unit. When the word got out, he soon had a group of guys assembled that included his brother-in-law, Don Heizer, Dean Pedersen, John Huffman and Bill Atchison, all whom no doubt have sheep fever. After many days of pre-season scouting and three days into the hunt, Bob Wingle scored on a 180+ desert bighorn ram.
This will be one of the biggest rams taken in the Arizona in the 2006 hunt. If you get the opportunity to go on a sheep hunt, be careful. You, too, may be susceptible to sheep fever.