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DIY Sheep Hunting | Tips and Tactics

If you’re reading this article, you’re no doubt interested in do it yourself (DIY) hunting trips. Regardless of which species you want to pursue, planning a DIY hunt can be a very rewarding or frustrating experience. If you put the effort into your research and planning and manage to fill your tag, it truly is an exceptional feeling. But if you approach it half-heartedly or are unprepared, it can make you wonder why you even started in the first place. Wild sheep hunting is similar in many ways. If your DIY sheep hunting trip goes well, you will check a major item off your bucket list and probably have a new hunting obsession. But if you’re not prepared physically or don’t have the right hunting gear, you can easily question your sanity. For your first DIY sheep hunt, here are the sheep species you can hunt, the tactics to hunt them, and the gear you’ll need. I’ve also included some sheep hunting videos from my personal hunts to give you an idea of the challenges you’ll face.

Common Sheep Species You Can Hunt

Though there are several species of wild sheep you can hunt in North America, there are also many challenges with DIY sheep hunting. For example, in many states, there may only be a once-in-a-lifetime hunt for a certain species, and so it can take time to get drawn for a tag. Depending on where you live, you may not even be legally able to do a DIY hunt. If you are not a Canadian Citizen, you are required to use a guide and unless you have an immediate family member in Alaska, who will accompany you on a hunt, you are also required to use a guide as a non-resident of Alaska. Be sure to check all regulations if you decide to embark on some of these hunts.

Additionally, almost all sheep species have phenomenal eyesight, allowing them to pick out hunters easily unless you have a lot of cover (and let’s be honest, there’s not usually much cover in most high country settings). Many of these sheep hunts take place above timberline so you will likely just have rocks and the topography to make your approaches. To make it more challenging, weather patterns can change quickly in mountain areas. What started as a beautiful sunny day can quickly turn into a thunderstorm or snowstorm, so you need to be adaptable and willing to change locations frequently. The Wild Sheep Foundation has additional information available, but here are a few of the common sheep species you can hunt.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Probably the most familiar sheep species, the Rocky Mountain Bighorn is a captivating symbol of America’s rugged mountain range. They are North America’s largest sheep species (rams approach 300 pounds) and they occupy the high country of much of the western U.S. and Canada. They often spend their days in timber or resting on rock shelves, which makes Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep hunting challenging. Their coloration helps them blend in effortlessly almost anywhere they go, and their eyesight is incredibly sharp. Bighorn sheep hunting is very addicting because of the terrain these animals inhabit, and also how elusive and cunning the sheep are.

Dall Sheep

As compared to the bighorn sheep, the Dall sheep is smaller and sports a completely white coat. They also only occur in Alaska and northwest Canada down to British Columbia. Because of their white coat, Dall sheep hunting can be easier in the fact that you can spot them better (provided there’s not much snow cover) rather than the other sheep species mentioned here. However, being able to spot them and stalking close enough to hunt them are two very different things. For a DIY Dall sheep hunt, be prepared to navigate steep, open rocky slopes without much cover to hide you while you stalk.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

The desert bighorn is North America’s smallest native sheep species and it occupies primarily the American southwest and Mexico. It is a dusty brown or tan color, which blends in perfectly to the surrounding arid desert landscape. Its horns are also thinner than the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Unfortunately, drawing a tag for a desert bighorn is very unlikely for most people, which makes completing a DYI North American Grand Slam for Sheep very hard to do.


Stone Sheep

Stone sheep occupy much of the same geography as Dall sheep, but look more like a bighorn sheep. However, their coloration can vary from dark gray, to black, to white, to chocolate, and everything in between. This unique coloration makes them a very attractive sheep to hunt.


Aoudad Sheep

The aoudad sheep (aka, Barbary sheep) was introduced here decades ago from North Africa, and today it can be found in several southwest states or on private hunting ranches in Texas. Like the desert bighorn, it excels in arid conditions and is a similar size to the bighorn species. However, its horns spread outward and back as they curl and it sports a usually blond yellow mane below its neck, chest, and runs down the front legs, known as “chaps”.


DIY Sheep Hunting Tactics

As you can imagine from the sheep species mentioned above, DIY sheep hunting can be pretty tricky. Sheep are usually very hard to spot, yet they can spot you very easily. Plus, sheep country itself is very punishing, rugged, and remote, which challenges you physically and mentally with every step you take. That’s why getting in “sheep shape” and practicing mental toughness in advance of your hunt will pay off in a big way. Make sure you can navigate rocky slopes and dense regrowth while carrying all your hunting gear at the same time. I have prepared a great article with several videos on hunting workouts to help you get started. Mountain sheep hunting is also great practice if you want to do a DIY mountain goat hunt one day!



The common theme you’ll notice with almost any kind of DIY sheep hunting is to glass, glass, and glass some more. The second you think you’ve covered an entire hillside thoroughly, give it another hour and study everything again. You’d think a ram sporting some serious headgear would stand out so easily, and yet they somehow manage to hide in plain sight. To start your morning hunt, set up at a good observation point where you can see a good chunk of the country and stay concealed. Use high-quality Vortex® optics to study everything, systematically working your way across and down a slope until you have covered it all. Obviously, that will take some time – it’s not unusual to glass for sheep for whole days at a time. But patience will usually allow you to find an elusive sheep instead of moving on to a new basin and missing a stalking opportunity or blowing sheep you didn’t see, out of the area while moving to a new location. While scouting for sheep, particularly Rockies, you’re also likely to find some elk or mule deer in the right areas. If you’re into DIY elk hunting, keep those areas in mind!

Spot and stalk hunting is the name of the game for DIY sheep hunts. After you successfully spot a lone ram or a group of sheep, take time to figure out how (or even if) you can approach them. Sheep will almost always have an easy escape route planned, so study the landscape to plot your course carefully. If possible, you should always approach from downwind and upslope of the sheep so you can remain undetected as long as possible. Obviously, try not to disturb the rocks as you approach and keep a low profile. If you can sneak within range to put the Hoyt® bow to work, you’ve accomplished a great feat in itself!


Sheep Hunting Gear List

For DIY sheep hunting, you obviously need to be self-reliant. There won’t be any guides or outfitters to help move your camp around, so you should be able to carry everything you need. As far as sheep camp goes, try to be flexible so you can move camp easily as the weather conditions and sheep scouting efforts warrant. A basic tent, tarp, sleeping bag, and cooking gear are required. If it’s possible to use a vehicle or ATV to haul this gear in, you can hunt a little further into remote areas. But if motorized vehicles are not allowed, you may have to hike in with as much gear as you can handle, filling your backpack to full capacity and then some.

As far as hunting gear goes, you will definitely want a reliable pair of binoculars and a spotting scope with a tripod, as all your hunting boils down to using them day after day. You will also need layered and camouflaged hunting clothing for changing weather conditions and to stay hidden. Make sure to pack a reliable headlamp and/or flashlight with you because being on a rocky slope in the dark is very dangerous. And as always, a good knife is an essential hunting item to always have with you. A pair of walking sticks can be essential. The third point of contact gives a level of confidence and stability. If you’re fortunate enough to kill a ram, your pack will be much heavier and you will be glad you had the sticks. One tip I received when I drew my sheep tag was to get an eye patch. This helps eliminate the squinting when looking through a spotting scope for hours.

If you plan on going on your first DIY sheep hunting trip, just be sure to manage your expectations. Drawing a tag can be a challenge in some places and simply navigating sheep country is difficult at best. On top of that, spotting a sheep can take days and actually making a successful stalk is downright hard to do. Putting as much time in scouting can help you on your hunt: from judging the terrain, your physical abilities and knowing where the sheep may be and studying their habits. But because of all those challenges, the reward of actually taking a mature ram is so much sweeter in the end. That’s what Pure Hunting is about – overcoming the seemingly insurmountable obstacles to outsmart a wild game animal. It’s a rush you won’t ever forget.

A more comprehensive guide to DIY hunting, including a comprehensive DIY gear list, can be found below including helpful information and videos for several other species!


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Capturing the Hunt: Using Trail Cameras for Turkey Hunts


In the excitement of a successful hunt, it’s easy to forget to capture the moment with a photo. This can be a missed opportunity, especially for someone who always carries camera gear on hunts. But there’s a simple and effective way to ensure you get those memorable shots: using trail cameras.

The Role of Trail Cameras

Trail cameras have become essential tools for many hunters, not just for scouting but also for capturing the action during the hunt. Setting up a trail camera can provide you with extra memories and a unique perspective on your hunt. If you already own a camera, it’s a cost-effective way to enhance your hunting experience.

Choosing and Setting Up Your Camera

Whether you’re using traditional cameras or cell cameras, most can be set up to function like a traditional trail camera. This means you don’t need to activate your data plan if you’re using cell cameras. The key is in selecting the right settings.

Camera Settings

  • Video Duration: Opt for the longest video clip your camera offers. This ensures that even if a hen arrives before the longbeard, you’ll still capture the entire sequence.
  • Recovery Time: Set this to the shortest possible duration. You want the camera ready to record a new clip immediately.
  • Resolution: Choose the highest video quality available. This will provide the best footage, assuming you use a large-capacity SD card.
  • Trigger Sensitivity: Adjust based on your environment. In a windy field, use the lowest sensitivity to avoid endless clips of moving vegetation. On calm days or in confined spaces, increase the sensitivity to ensure the camera captures all movement.

Positioning Your Camera

One common mistake is placing cameras too close to the decoys. Turkeys tend to focus on the jake decoy, so your camera placement should account for this. Positioning the camera 10 to 20 feet away from the decoys is often ideal. This distance allows you to capture the entire bird as it approaches, rather than just its feet.

Consider the Approach Path

  • Anticipate Entry Points: Aim your camera in the direction you expect the turkeys to approach from. This ensures a better overall shot.
  • Mind the Sun: Position the camera to avoid sun flares on the lens, which can disrupt your footage.
  • Camouflage: While turkeys don’t seem to mind trail cameras, it’s wise to reduce the chances of reflection or glare. Pile up some debris around the camera to help it blend in with the environment.

Benefits of Trail Camera Footage

Using a trail camera is a straightforward way to capture high-resolution video of your hunt without investing in additional gear. This method allows you to focus on the hunt itself while the camera takes care of recording the action.

Practical Tips for Use

  • Quick Setup: Setting up a trail camera is quick and easy. Even when running and gunning and changing spots frequently, it takes only seconds to set up the camera from your pack.
  • Capture Every Moment: The effort pays off when you get high-quality footage of a strutter attacking your decoys. These videos provide lasting memories and a unique view of the hunt.

Incorporating trail cameras into your turkey hunts can enhance your experience and provide invaluable memories. By choosing the right settings, positioning the camera thoughtfully, and blending it into the environment, you can capture the excitement of the hunt without missing a beat. This approach not only adds an extra layer of enjoyment to your hunting trips but also ensures you have a visual record of those special moments.

Do you have any tips for trail cameras? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 


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Can You Hunt Enough To Feed Your Family For YEARS?

Survival Cave Food is here.

As masters of the hunt, you understand the thrill and satisfaction of providing for your family through your skills in the wilderness. However, relying solely on hunting and trapping may not be enough to ensure your family’s well-being in times of crisis. The stark reality is that whatever you’re able to hunt may not be sufficient to feed yourselves and your loved ones. At Survival Cave Food, we recognize the importance of having a reliable backup supply to augment your hunting efforts and provide peace of mind during emergencies.

Why Survival Cave Food?

Our commitment to providing the best survival foods is driven by a deep understanding of the challenges hunters face. While your hunting skills are impressive, unpredictable circumstances such as extreme weather, dwindling game populations, or even natural disasters can significantly impact your ability to procure food. Survival Cave Food offers a range of premium emergency food solutions meticulously crafted to augment your hunting efforts and provide long-term sustenance for you and your famil

A Reliable Backup for Your Hunting Success

Survival Cave Food stands as your dependable backup supply for the best survival foods. Our freeze-dried meals and high-quality canned meats are carefully crafted to provide essential nutrients and support your family’s well-being, complementing your hunting skills. Don’t let uncertainties in the wilderness leave you and your loved ones hungry – our products offer a reliable solution to ensure your family’s needs are met, no matter the circumstances.

Supporting Your Hunting Lifestyle

As skilled hunters, you’ve honed your craft and pride yourselves on providing for your family. Survival Cave Food aligns with these values, empowering you to maintain your independence and self-sufficiency while also being prepared for the unexpected. Our products not only offer sustenance but also peace of mind, knowing you’re prepared to support your family’s needs through any challenge.

Made with Care, Trusted by Hunters

At Survival Cave Food, we take pride in our products, which are made with care and integrity. Our canned meats and freeze-dried meals are not just provisions; they’re essential components of your hunting lifestyle. Whether you’re stocking up for emergencies, planning hunting trips, or simply seeking convenient, nutritious options for your family, our products deliver on quality and reliability.

Join Us in Securing Your Family's Future

Join countless skilled hunters like yourself who prioritize preparedness and self-sufficiency. With Survival Cave Food, you’re not just purchasing survival foods – you’re investing in the security and well-being of your loved ones. Take the first step towards a more secure future by exploring our selection today.

Order Now and Augment Your Hunting Success

Don’t let uncertainties in the wilderness leave you vulnerable. Take proactive measures to ensure your family’s well-being with Survival Cave Food. Explore our range of premium survival foods and experience the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re prepared to provide for your family, no matter what lies ahead.

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Rangefinders: Advanced Techniques for Enhanced Hunting Success


The utility of rangefinders in hunting extends far beyond their fundamental purpose of determining accurate distances for shooting. While commonly associated with aiding marksmanship, rangefinders can be leveraged in innovative ways to optimize hunting strategies and increase efficiency in the field. For both novice and seasoned hunters alike, mastering advanced techniques with rangefinders can significantly enhance the overall hunting experience. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into two distinct but invaluable techniques for utilizing rangefinders to their fullest potential.

Strategic Stalking: Planning with Precision

Hunter Education Course. Hunting in Russia. Nature places for hunting

One of the most profound realizations among hunters is the strategic value of rangefinders in planning stalks. Beyond mere navigation toward the prey, identifying optimal shooting positions can be a game-changer in hunting success.

Consider a scenario where a hunter spots a deer bedded downhill, with a prominent boulder positioned behind it. Traditional wisdom dictates estimating the distance to the deer and planning a route accordingly. However, the innovative use of a rangefinder elevates this approach to a new level of precision.

By ranging both the deer and the boulder, the hunter gains critical insight into the landscape’s geometry. Suppose the deer is determined to be 500 yards away, while the boulder registers at 547 yards. This data reveals that reaching the boulder would position the hunter approximately 47 yards from the deer. Armed with this knowledge, the hunter can strategize the approach, confident in the understanding of potential shooting distances.

Dynamic Distance Assessment: On-the-Move Tactics

Hunter with hunting gun and hunting form to hunt

In dynamic hunting scenarios where targets are mobile or their exact locations are uncertain, rangefinders emerge as indispensable tools for real-time distance assessment. Rather than relying on fixed objects for reference, hunters can adopt a proactive approach by utilizing rangefinders while on the move.

Imagine stalking a buck actively rutting in dense woodland. In such scenarios, maintaining situational awareness and adaptability are paramount. Here, the continuous use of a rangefinder proves invaluable.

Equipped with a rangefinder, the hunter can seamlessly integrate distance assessment into their movements. With each step, the hunter periodically scans the terrain ahead, utilizing the rangefinder to gauge distances to potential targets. This streamlined approach minimizes unnecessary movement and ensures readiness for decisive action.

In the dynamic and unpredictable world of hunting, mastery of advanced techniques with rangefinders can be a game-changer. By embracing strategic stalking and dynamic distance assessment, hunters can optimize their hunting strategies and increase their chances of success in the field. 

Whether planning meticulous stalks or maintaining situational awareness on the move, the versatility of rangefinders empowers hunters to navigate diverse hunting scenarios with confidence and precision. As hunters continue to explore the boundless possibilities of rangefinder application, the pursuit of the game becomes not just a challenge, but a deeply rewarding adventure fueled by innovation and expertise.

Do you have any tips for using rangefinders? Leave them in the comments below.

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