Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Field Judging Desert Bighorn Sheep-Ernie Meeske Unit 22 186 1/8 Net Ram

This is a breakdown of the official measurements of Ernie Meeske's Arizona Unit 22 Desert Bighorn Sheep from our unbelievable hunt in December of 2012.  I was fortunate to be a part of this hunt and look forward to the 2013 sheep season.  When evaluating Ernie's ram none of us had his bases figured as big as they were at 16 4/8.  It is always good to be conservative when field judging any animal but it can also corrupt your judgement if you are scared to over score.  We all knew as soon as we approached the ram that he was bigger than what we imagined and estimated.  I feel that the lucky 2013 Unit 22 tag holders truly have an opportunity of a lifetime as there are a few other very large rams roaming the hills and several that should break the magical 180 mark!

You will notice a very pronounced chip in the left horn of Ernie's ram.  Fortunately it fell just outside the D2 or 1st quarter measurement.  It is important to try an estimate the exact length of the longest horn then divide by four to try and establish where the quarter measurements will fall.  A chip can dramatically effect the overall score. 


On the hoof our rough estimation of the horn length was around 38 inches so the mass measurements would be taken every 9.5 inches on the horn.  The exact measurement of each horn was 38 2/8 and 38 3/8 so the longest horn was 38 3/8 inches making each of the eight mass measurements (D) would be taken every 9 19/32.  Therefore all four mass measurements are taken along each horn as follows: at the base (D1), at 9 19/32 (D2), 19 3/16 (D3) and 28 25/32 (D4).  Print out this cheat sheet below and keep in your pack to help with your quarter measurement estimations.


LEFT HORN 93 0/8 + RIGHT HORN 93 7/8=186 7/8 GROSS
subtract the symmetry deductions on the D measurements (mass) 6/8

Ernie's ram had over 110 inches of mass.  One thing that I learned this last season was that the Unit 22 and 24B sheep have much bigger bases than most rams in the rest of the state.  A good rule of thumb when looking at real nice mature 22 and 24B rams is to use 105 inches as the mass benchmark then add your horn lengths to get your rough score.  We use photos and video of other rams harvested in the unit to compare base and all mass measurements with side by side comparison photos.  Anyone that knows Darr and I can attest to the amount of data (photos and video) we have with us to try to make the best field judgements.  In this age of technology, we can have most of what we need right on our smartphones.

Click Here For more Info and Blog Posts on Field Judging and Scoring Desert Sheep

Click the Links Below For More Pics and Video of this Awesome Unit 22 Hunt

Ernie Meeske Sheep Hunt Pics

Ernie Meeske Sheep Hunt Video

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