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Wednesday, July 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Outdoors blog

Hells Canyon bighorn sheep captured, released by researchers

A bighorn sheep ewe is carried to a release site after being captured by helicopter net gunners and worked up by researchers with an ongoing study of wild sheep in Hells Canyon. Idaho Fish and Game staffers from left are Roy Kinner, Josh White and Kyle Christopher. 
 (Idaho Department of Fish and Game)
A bighorn sheep ewe is carried to a release site after being captured by helicopter net gunners and worked up by researchers with an ongoing study of wild sheep in Hells Canyon. Idaho Fish and Game staffers from left are Roy Kinner, Josh White and Kyle Christopher. (Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

WILDLIFE -- Helicopters are flying in Hells Canyon starting today for a two-week effort to capture 100 bighorn sheep in five herds in a multi-state research effort.

Idaho, Oregon and Washington wildlife agencies are joining forces through Feb. 14 to boost the ongoing Hells Canyon Initiative to restore bighorn sheep populations that have struggled with disease issues for decades. 

The wild sheep are being captured by net gunning from a helicopter and brought to nearby processing sites.

Biologists will take health samples, radio collar the sheep and release them on site. 

Idaho Fish and Game officials say the operation is a cooperative effort among the state agencies and the Washington Wild Sheep Foundation, Oregon Foundation for North American Wild Sheep with assistance from the U.S. Forest Service and Nez Perce and Umatilla tribes. 

The research will determine health status and test strategies for managing disease in Hells Canyon bighorns.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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