Big game hunting is for the elite sportsmen who just aren’t satisfied with your run of the mill deer, turkey, or bear. These people want a hunt that is challenging and rewards them with a unique capture. While there are no exotic lions, leopards, or elephants in the United States, there are some great spots that are home to some extravagant big game herds that all big game hunters should know about.
1- Wasatch Mountains, Utah
In these high mountain ranges of Utah, hunters can trek through the rocky and snowy slopes to bag a mountain goat. The top of the Wasatch Mountains is known to be home to the biggest goats in North America. To reach the heights parts of these mountains you can expect a six-hour trek. Some of this may be done on a horse, however, you’re going to need to be on foot for a good portion of your trek. Being physically in shape is a must for those who want to hunt these Billy goats.
This big game animal has harvest restrictions that can make it difficult to get a tag. You must apply each year in a raffle. The more years you consistently apply, the more preference points you gain. The more preference points you get, the more times your name gets added to the drawing, upping your chances of winning a tag.
2- Rocky Mountains, Montana
A horseback trek through the beautiful Rocky Mountains in the state of Montana is always a favorite for hunters. Apart from the breathtaking views, you’ll get to see some big bull elk. Standing at the about twice the size of a regular whitetail with much larger antlers that can be seen without a scope, these animals can bring an adrenaline rush like no other.
Non-residents can obtain tags for the September hunting season. It’s highly advised that you hunt via horseback. This will allow you to cover more ground and to transport your capture back out. Elk is a big game animal that must be cut up on site and packed out of the mountains. It’s much easier to carry out on horseback than on your own back.
3- Yukon Territory, Alaska
The wild mountainous Yukon Territory of Alaska is known for one of the largest big game animals on the continent, moose. These animals possess the much sought-out antlers that can grow over six feet long. These Bull Moose can actually grow to weigh between 900 and 1,500 pounds on average. That’s a lot of meat that will require additional human packers or horses to carry out of the terrain to safety.
The best time to hunt these big animals is in the month of September. Many big game hunters love the rush of the Yukon Territory because there is always the added threat of grizzly bears showing up along your trek. This is why it’s extremely important to get your meat out the woods as fast as possible.
4- John Day River, Oregon
A very prized big game that many spend decades hoping their name gets called for a tag is bighorn sheep. These sheep can be found in plenty along the John Day River. A guided trek usually consists of rafting down the John Day to spot your prey. Your capture typically requires a sneaky trek onto the beach where you can expect to fire up to 400 yards across the canyon region.
The biggest bighorn sheep can have horns close to 170-inches. Hunters who are lucky enough to get a tag are highly advised to hire a guide. This will ensure they identify the biggest bighorn sheep in the region, as telling a 120-inch from 170-inch can be difficult at first from long distances on a raft.
5- Wyoming Plains
Although not an overly large animal, Wyoming’s pronghorn antelope is considered a favorite of big game hunters. The thrill of the chase is what attracts most hunters who feel as if they’re a late 1850s mountain man living off of the land. These animals live in open plains which lead to a presumed easy hunt. However, antelope is considered the second fastest mammal in the world. This makes for a difficult hunt that requires an accurate shooter who is highly adept at sneaky up on prey.
These pronghorns can be found all across the state of Wyoming as it has the largest population through the country. Unlike other big game, the non-resident can easily obtain a tag at an affordable price. There is a large amount of public land full of sage lands and grass that are free for residents and non-residents to hunt on.
America is home to many big game animals, including elk, moose, antelope, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. Found mainly in the Midwest and Northern Territories these animals are prized game for the elite sportsmen looking for their next thrill. Although not every hunter will be rewarded with an opportunity to bag every one of these big game animals in their lifetime, taking advantage of the ones that have available tags is definitely worth it.