Bowhunting Video: South Dakota Bighorn

As a South Dakota resident, bowhunter Joe McDougal was lucky enough to draw a once-in-a-lifetime bighorn sheep tag. The video here showcases his short — but spectacular — 2020 bowhunt.

Bowhunting Video: South Dakota Bighorn

When it comes to bucket list bowhunts, many archers think “sheep.” And while outfitted sheep hunts typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes a hunter wins the outdoor lottery and draws a once-in-a-lifetime sheep tag and can hunt unguided.

The 15-minute video below showcases the short but spectacular 2020 DIY bowhunt of South Dakota resident Joe McDougal. The text accompanying the YouTube video does an outstanding job of summarizing McDougal’s adventure, so we’ll post it here.

In McDougal’s own words:

“What to say? The actual hunt was over so quickly it feels like a dream. This video is only a quick overview of what actually took place. I didn’t just show up and shoot a sheep. I lived in my truck for a while earlier in the summer watching, learning, and scouting. Although I found several good rams, the ram I got was the only one that really got me excited. I only saw him briefly in my scouting trips.

“When I got there the day before the season opened, I set up my Leica spotter and found him immediately. Weird . . . later that evening some bad weather blew through and just after sunset the landscape was surreal. And to top it off, a rainbow ended right in the group of rams containing THE ONE. I knew I was going to get him in the morning. Honestly I didn’t want to end the hunt on the first day. 

“Daybreak on the opener was dead calm. We spotted the rams as soon as it was light enough to see, but I wasn’t going to make a move until there was some wind to cover my stalk. The rams bedded, the wind picked up and was perfect for a stalk, but I kept making excuses to not rush after him. I’m not the ‘killer’ I was in my younger days. Filling a tag is anticlimactic for me anymore. 

“The fact that the rams stayed bedded so long in a perfect spot is nothing short of Devine intervention. I had to go off by myself for a while to get my mind right before cameraman Jordan and I finally took off to stalk them. Everything went perfectly and I 12 ringed him at exactly 40 yards. 

“I’m not and never will be anything special. My hope from the time I found out I drew this tag was to document it to share with anyone who cares to watch. My hope is that I can make at least one person smile, possibly inspire them, or at the very least, briefly take their mind off their burdens. If a nobody like me can accomplish what I have, YOU can do greater things. Don’t give up. Work hard towards your goals and be a giver, not a taker. And most importantly, never take our natural resources for granted. It’s not an unlimited free for all. Any tiny thing you do might only be a drop in the bucket, but all those drops add up. It’s up to you to do your part in making a difference.”

Congrats to McDougal on a tremendous sheep, and thanks for sharing your story with the world in this well-done video.


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