Repeatedly stifled in efforts to transplant bighorn sheep in new locations in Montana over the past few years, the state’s wildlife commission chairman said it may be time to rethink the state’s conservation strategy for the popular big game species.
It has been difficult for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to find places in the state to re-establish bighorn sheep herds. Transplanting wild sheep, like these three that were captured on Wild Horse Island earlier this year, is one way to limit the growth of herds.
Montana has a long history of transplanting bighorn sheep in state and out of state that dates back to 1922 and 1939, respectively. In this 1975 photo a bighorn sheep is placed in a crate on Wildhorse Island.
Finding new places to put bighorn sheep to meet Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ conservation strategy has been stymied several times prompting consideration of reworking the plan.
Bighorn sheep lamb numbers often fall after outbreaks of disease as the bacteria is passed on from ewes to new lambs.
Montana’s bighorn sheep plan has come under fire after a few attempts to establish new herds. Fish, Wildlife and Parks has hit roadblocks caused by sickness in transplant herds, concerns by neighboring landowners and the nearby presence of domestic sheep that carry bacteria harmful to bighorn sheep.
HELENA — Montana wildlife commissioners on Thursday rejected a proposal to move some bighorn sheep out of state, saying they would prefer the agency either find new locations here or transfer animals between existing herds.
Montana wildlife officials want to be able to move bighorn sheep out of the state after running into trouble finding suitable places for the animals in the Treasure State.
Jeff the Nature Guy shows off the two new Bighorn lambs born recently at ZooMontana.
MISSOULA — Three wild bighorn sheep that mingled with domestic sheep on Mount Jumbo had to be killed Tuesday to prevent them from spreading disease to other wild bighorns.
BOZEMAN — Montana State University and the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks are beginning a six-year study to try to determine why the bighorn sheep population is so low in Montana.
BOZEMAN – Carson Butler and Jesse DeVoe once sat still as stones while bighorn sheep grazed within 20 feet of them for an hour. Another time, DeVoe watched a golden eagle screaming from the sky as though it planned to scare a bighorn lamb off a cliff.
Bighorn sheep, such as these near the north edge of Yellowstone National Park, are the subject of a collaborative study involving MSU and the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks.
Jesse DeVoe, left, and Carson Butler look for bighorn sheep or mountain goats on one of their 2012 survey trips at the north edge of Yellowstone National Park.
Montana wildlife officials say they want to end a policy preventing out-of-state transplantation of bighorn sheep as it gets more difficult to find suitable places for them.
BOZEMAN — Montana wildlife officials plan another attempt to reintroduce wild sheep to parts of the Madison Range and are considering a second reintroduction in the Paradise Valley.
ZooMontana's bighorn sheep Holly became a first time mother when she gave birth to her new lamb.
Spring is in the air at ZooMontana.
^pTo prevent the possibility of bighorn sheep mingling with domestic sheep and contracting pneumonia in northeastern Montana, Fish Wildlife and Parks is proposing to create a lethal no-bighorn zone.