By Michael Bodenchuk, Correspondent
Recent news from Mexico regarding Seri bighorn sheep hunts is particularly troubling for hunters dreaming of a desert bighorn. There have always been shenanigans involving sheep permits there. However, when a bright spot like the Seri Indian hunts, especially on Isla Tiburon, starts to fade, hunters often end up paying the price. We asked correspondent Michael Bodenchuk to find out what's happening and what hunters interested in this opportunity need to know.
Desert bighorn sheep are arguably the most coveted of North American big game, with hunters competing for something in the range of 150 to 200 public and private tags in the US annually. Public draw tags are considered once-in-a-lifetime, but the majority of the tags are reserved for residents of the seven western states that hunt desert sheep. New Mexico, Texas and California do not currently discriminate between residents and nonresidents, but unless you are a resident of Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Texas or Colorado the odds of drawing a tag are far worse than once-in-a-lifetime. For those hunters with a strong desire to hunt desert bighorns, and the financial wherewithal to do so, Mexico has long been the place to go.
Within Mexico, desert sheep have traditionally been hunted in the states of Baja Norte, Baja Sur and Sonora. Recently, sheep populations have been restored in Chihuahua and Coahuila and a very limited number of hunts have opened there. But for the past decade the stronghold of sheep hunting has been Sonora and more specifically the Seri Indian holdings of Isla Tiburon, in the Sea of Cortez, and the mainland coastal mountains controlled by the Seris north of Punta Chueca......