Montana College Student Lands Spot in Record Books, Ties World Record Bighorn Ram


Imagine the excitement of drawing a tag to hunt bighorn sheep knowing you likely only had a 1-percent chance of winning the draw. Now add a potential world record bighorn ram to the equation, and you might get a small sample size of what 22-year-old Justin Sheedy has been feeling lately.

Justin is a Montana State University civil engineering student, who also serves in the Army National Guard. So squeezing in any hunting time is a rather tall task. But, when he found out he would have an opportunity to partake in this once-in-a-lifetime hunt, Justin cleared his schedule the best he could. It took three weeks and five separate trips across rugged mountain terrain before Sheedy earned a shot on a big ram.

“We worked really hard backpacking in,” Justin’s father, Ted, reportedly said. “The sheep live on public land, but you have to hike in five miles before hunting.”

The fact that the animal could be a potential hunter-shot world record, however, didn’t totally sink in until it was officially scored by a Boone and Crockett Club judge last December. Those measurements confirmed Sheedy’s ram tied the current hunter-shot world record with a score of 208 3/8. That ram was taken in 2000 by Guinn Crousen in Alberta, Canada.

One score isn’t enough, though.

New Boone and Crockett record book entries for the top 10 undergo further testing; a scoring by two panels of judges. Alas, that’s what has been keeping Sheedy waiting – presumably on the very edge of his seat. The scoring, as Great Falls Tribune reports, will be done in August 2019 in Springfield, Missouri.

Typically they do (hold),” said Keith Balfourd, director of marketing at Boone and Crockett’s headquarters in Missoula. “Sheep aren’t as complex to score as a moose or a caribou or other animals that grow abnormally.”

Whether the bighorn ram turns out to topple the current hunter-shot world record, Balfourd points to the fact that Montana is unquestionably “producing the largest bighorns in history, and that history dates back to the 1830s.

“We’re doing something right,” he stated. “When it comes to sheep, it’s all about habitat quality, moreso than genetics.”

Balfourd also noted how the large ram in the area is a statement about good conservation management, since big sheep need time to grow such large horns.

“It’s a great conservation story,” Ted said.

Montana, meanwhile, has also received attention recently for producing the No. 1 typical AND non-typical archery-killed elk. Both were taken in southeastern Montana on public land.

In short, the time to hunt Montana appears to be RIGHT NOW!

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