Indeed, trophy quality in Sonora and Baja Sur has slipped recently from the lofty heights it enjoyed back when desert sheep hunting opened in 1995 and 1997 respectively. Remarkably, more than 65 percent of the bighorns taken since then have made the Boone and Crockett minimum score of 168. Most still do, but rams in the high 150s and low 160s have begun to show up in the harvest, causing Mexican wildlife administrators to be more cautious in issuing permits.
Exactly how many permits will be issued for the coming season won't be known until later this month, but the final number is assuredly going to be within the range indicated above. Long-term, the news is good, because it indicates Mexican authorities are managing their sheep resources wisely. Short-term (that is, this season), it may prove to be a hardship for those hunters who want to hunt a sheep in Mexico but didn't get in line early.
Here is a rundown on those permits that had been definitely earmarked at press time:
Landowners belonging to the livestock association known as ANGADI will be allotted between 14 and 21 tags. If the procedure remains the same as last year, the tags will be sold directly by the landowners or their designated agents or outfitters. Hunters interested in finding out more about the permits can call ANGADI direct; or better yet, fax them and ask for information. They will provide a complete list of the landowners (including telephone/fax/e-mail numbers) who have permits. The cost of the hunts are $40,000 to $60,000 variable by area and landowner. The price is all-inclusive from Hermosillo and includes tag........(continued)