A California Desert Bighorn Sheep Hunt with Dry Creek Outfitters


Published: April - 2012

In December, subscriber Rich Papapietro hunted desert bighorn sheep in his home state of California with Tim Mercier and Cliff St. Martin of Dry Creek Outfitters (http://www.bighornoutfitter.com/). Papapietro took a mature desert bighorn ram on the third day of his hunt in the Marble/Clipper and South Bristol units. He says the hunt area offered "easy hunting, easy access and lots of sheep." He goes on to give Dry Creek and its staff excellent ratings and says, "Tim and Cliff know the areas and the sheep. They are great guys to share a camp with."

The notion of an "easy" sheep hunt with "lots of sheep" piqued our curiosity, and we weren't able to reach Papapietro for clarification, so we talked to Cliff St. Martin of Dry Creek Outfitters to get a better picture of this hunt. Dry Creek is, by St. Martin's own admission, largely a sheep-specific outfitter. While they also occasionally guide deer and elk hunters, they mostly focus on desert bighorns and occasionally Rocky Mountain bighorns in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. We have one previous report on file on this outfit, number 3763 from 2003, on a desert sheep hunt in Utah.

"The toughest part of any sheep hunt is getting the permit," says St. Martin, noting that the odds in the lottery permit draws are usually 1,000 to one at best. At auction, a sheep tag is going to cost anywhere from $45,000 to $100,000-plus. You've gotta really want to hunt sheep."

Of Papapietro's hunt, St. Martin says, "While there aren't really any easy' sheep hunts, Rich is a former football player, was in great condition for this hunt and the Marble/Clipper and South Bristol units aren't the most difficult place to hunt. We were on-site in base camp with two guides and two helpers a week before he arrived in camp, and we'd already seen 35-40 rams. I'd guess we saw another 50 to 60 rams while hunting, so he had a number of trophies to choose from. He was somewhat time-limited on his ability to hunt and took........(continued)

 
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