Species: Bighorn Sheep
The hunt: True wilderness has become an increasingly rare commodity in Alberta. Thankfully, the Willmore Wilderness Park, a 4,600-square-kilometre swathe of mountainous terrain near Grand Cache, was established in 1959 and continues to thrive today. The Willmore provides one of the most remote bighorn opportunities in North America, hunting the way these grand monarchs of the mountains are meant to be hunted—ATVs are not permitted, so you’re limited to using horses or your own two feet.
And you’ll need to put in some days with a heavy pack on your back, or a pack string behind you, to reach the lush grass basins that bighorns call home. Unlike the more rugged peaks to the south, the Rockies of the Willmore are more forgiving, and once on top, you can go for miles on rounded ridge tops.
This region boasts the highest success rates for hunters in the province, but be forewarned—sheep in the Willmore don’t come easy. But with success comes the added gratification of taking a true trophy in one of Alberta’s last bastions of wilderness.—T.J. Shwanky
When to go: Late August until the end of October is best.
Gun and load: You’ll be packing it in, so go for a lightweight .270 WSM with 130- to 140-grain premium bullets.
More info: Fish & Wildlife, 1-877-944-0313 • Alberta Professional Outfitters Association, (780) 414-0249; www.apos.ab.ca • Willmore Wilderness Park, 1-866-945-6673