Woman dressed warmly in camouflage and standing in marsh reeds aims a shotgun into the air

While Imperial National Wildlife Refuge offers excellent hunting for a number of species, the most popular game animal serious hunters pursue here is the desert bighorn sheep. Among big game hunters, a desert bighorn hunt is one of the most highly coveted experiences in the world. Tags auctioned for conservation purposes have brought as much as $200,000. For hunters lucky enough to draw a state permit to hunt the refuge, the hunting success rates approach 100 percent. That doesn't mean the hunting is easy. For any desert bighorn hunt, scouting is an important factor. Since this is a once-in-a-lifetime hunt, many hunters choose to spend weeks scouting the bighorn sheep -- learning the animals' habits, finding feeding and bedding areas, and evaluating trophies. This not only increases hunting success, but it also gives the hunter an opportunity to know this beautiful game animal and spend more time in rugged, isolated sheep country.