Posts tagged: bighorn sheep
PREDATORS — Programs to control wolves and ravens were funded by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Thursday.
The commission approved animal damage control funds with $50,000 going to control wolves in elk management zones at or below objective.
The panel also designted $12,000 to a Fish and Game raven control project for specified areas as part of an overall effort to keep sage grouse off the endangerd species list. Ravens can zero in on the eggs and chicks of the prairie grouse in some cases.
Commissioners set nonresident tag quotas and outfitter nonresident set-aside quotas. They set nonresident quotas of 12,815 elk tags, 14,000 regular deer tags, 1,500 white-tailed deer tags; and nonresident deer and elk tag outfitters set-asides of 1,985 deer tags and 2,400 elk tags.
Wildlife officials presented briefings on possible sage-grouse and waterfowl seasons. Final season recommendations for both will be made to the commission in August.
A possible sage-grouse season would include a restricted season of seven days with a one-bird limit in the southern part of the Big Desert.
Eastern Owyhee and Twin Falls counties, the east Idaho uplands area, Elmore County and the west central part of the state would be closed.
The rest of the sage-grouse range in Idaho would be open under a restrictive season of seven days with a one-bird limit.
As for waterfowl, early indications suggest a liberal 107-day season with a seven-bird limit for ducks and a four-bird limit on geese.
The commissioners also heard an update on Fish and Game’s elk management plan revision progress. They were told to expect a draft of the new plan within about two weeks.
WILDLIFE — Noting that at least 25 wild sheep have already been found dead, state wildlife officials announced today they plan to euthanize a large percentage bighorns remaining in the Naches area to curb the spread of a deadly pneumonia outbreak running through the herd.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists and U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services staff plan to shoot wild sheep over the next few weeks in the Tieton herd, about 10 miles west of Naches.
Because most of the sheep are believed to be infected with a disease that causes pneumonia, almost all of the animals will likely need to be euthanized, said Richard Harris, WDFW manager for special species.
This is just the latest of several outbreaks that have wracked the region's bighorns.
Read on for details.
Top recent outdoors-related stories in The Spokesman-Review include:
HUNTING — I'm getting reaction — mostly positive — on today's outdoors column regarding the record $480,000 auction bid for a Montana bighorn sheep hunting tag.
Some readers are concerned that in the pursuit of funding, more tags will be reserved for the rich and the average hunter will be marginalized.
Others say offering a few special tags that bring in big bucks for wildlife conservation is worth it for everyone.
HUNTING — An anonymous hunter has paid an all-time record $480,000 for a special permit offered by the state of Montana to hunt a wild mountain sheep with liberal rules on dates and areas.
The winning bids for tags offered by Montana and other states, tribes and provinces were made in four auctions at the annual convention of the Wild Sheep Foundation held at Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in Reno, Nev.
Wild sheep tags are auctioned at the convention to raise money for wildlife conservation. And this was a banner year, where some 40 tags raised a record $3.2 million.
The 2013 Wild Sheep Foundation Convention and Sporting Expo set six records for the highest amounts bid on auction for special permits. Other records were set for overall attendance and funds raised for wildlife and other programs.
The Montana bighorn sheep tag bid of $480,000 shattered the state's record of $300,000 set in 2012.
The British Columbia permit sold for $275,000, topping the province's record of $250,000 set last year.
The Oregon Rocky Mountain bighorn permit brought $135,000 bettering the $130,000 record set in 2011.
WASHINGTON'S bighorn tag sold for $64,000, down from the record $100,000 set in 1994 before a pneumonia epidemic nearly wiped out the state's trophy herds near the Snake and Grande Ronde rivers.
IDAHO'S bighorn tag sold for $150,00, down from a record bid of $180,000 in 2005.
Although this year's bids for Idaho and Washington tags didn't set records, the wildlife managers for those states said they were very pleased with the bids.
The Wild Sheep Foundation, which keeps an overall average of 7 percent of the bid prices for its worldwide programs, has pledged millions of dollars to research to help fight diseases affecting wild sheep in the Snake River region of Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Since forming in 1977, the Wild Sheep Foundation and its chapters and affiliates have raised and expended more than $90 million on conservation, education and conservation advocacy programs in North America, Europe and Asia.
The tag auctions began in 1980 with the Wyoming Governor's Tag.
These and other efforts have resulted in a four-fold increase in bighorn sheep populations in North America from their historic 1950-70s lows of about 17,000 to about 70,000 today, foundation officials say.
Click “continue reading” for more details and milestones set at the 2013 convention:
WILDLIFE — Bam Bam, the bighorn sheep whose penchant for butting cars made him an international star, died of natural causes in Wyoming last week. He was believed to be 12.
Bam Bam was the last of the Wheatland-area Sinks Canyon State Park bighorn herd, surviving a plague of pneumonia that wiped out the park’s sheep population in the middle of the last decade. Friends said he loved a scratch on the ear, Doritos and a good head butt.
I don't post this to support anyone's notion that feeding wildlife is a good idea. It's lucky no one was hurt by this ram. But I like the rest of the story as described nicely here by Benjamin Storrow in the Star-Tribune.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Bighorn rams defy the concussion issue plaguing the sport of football.
With unbelievable power they reserved for the mating seasons, males prove their superiority with a challenging ram by squaring off and rising to their hind feet to “ram” their horns together. The impact sounds like the boom of a high-powered rifle. They usually back off to collect themselves, their eyes bugged out and rolling a bit — then they often do it again! And AGAIN.
Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson scored big time with bighorns this month as he found a group of rams vying for the distinction to breed.
He not only scored great profiles and head-ramming photos, but also one of the best photos I've seen of an unusually aggressive ram launching a foe airborne with a blow to the ribs. Ouch!
He also got a shots of the broken, or “broomed” ends of the tough horns on some rams after their breeding-right battles.
Finally, he visited the bighorns recently as the rut apparently had wound down, showing rams that looked a bit exhausted from the wear and tear.
HUNTING — After 30 years of dreaming for a chance to hunt bighorn sheep, Rob Durrett, 56, of Clarksville, Tenn., has won the 2012 raffle for a prized Idaho Rocky Mountain bighorn tag.
“It’s a life-changing adventure,” he told IFG officials
Every year Idaho Fish and Game provides one tag for a bighorn sheep in Idaho, marketed by the Idaho Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation. The winner will be able to hunt in any unit open to hunting for Rocky Mountain or California bighorn in 2012, pursuant to Fish and Game rules.
This year’s lottery tag includes the coveted Unit 11, in Hells Canyon of the Snake River. Unit 11 is available to the lottery winner only in alternating years.
Durrett has been putting in for an Idaho bighorn sheep tag for the past seven years.
“I always heard Idaho was good place to hunt sheep, and a beautiful, beautiful place,” he said, beaming with excitement. His father was a fan of Jack O’Connor, and the young Durrett grew up on O’Connor’s hunting stories.
Read on for more details.
WILDLIFE — A Missoula-area bighorn herd that's been ravaged by disease suffered another blow recently as a single truck wiped out a third of this season's bighorn lamb reproduction in the lower Rock Creek drainage.
The unidentified Idaho driver collided with seven lambs while driving near the Rock Creek Trout Bums fly shop along the popular fishing stream south of Interstate 90.
“A tragedy in itself, the deaths also hammered a herd already halved by a pneumonia outbreak two years ago,” says the story in the Missoulian.
“They were just super frisky, and they played in a group,” said Trout Bums co-owner Deb Peltier. “They came off the mountain racing, like they always do. They were like toddlers – oblivious to everything. When I got there, there were baby sheep laying everywhere like bowling pins. It was a horrible, awful sight.”
Excessive speed on the county road is a regular problem, local authorities say.
WILDLIFE — Idaho's bighorn sheep are coveted by hunters, only a handful of which are allowed to hunt them each fall.
They are a prize for wildlife viewers and a symbol of the wildness that set's Idaho apart from much of the world.
Yet Idaho lawmakers have turned their backs on efforts to keep bighorns separated in their native range from domestic sheep, which can transmit diseases that have decimated bighorn herds in areas such as Hells Canyon.
Outdoor columnist Rocky Barker has this sensible insight on the issue, pointing out that it really wouldn't be too hard for Idaho's governorn or other lawmakers to give bighorns a better shake.
Meanwhile, as a recent SR story points out, sportsmen's groups are largely alone in trying to fund Washington State University research looking into preventing the domestic livestock transmission of diseases that are devastating wild sheep herds.
Read on for the details.
WILDLIFE — A coalition of sportsmen-conservationists today applauded the elimination of a controversial amendment from a U.S. House of Representatives appropriations bill that would have prohibited implementation of a science-based management plan for bighorn sheep populations in a national forest in Idaho.
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agenciesand Wild Sheep Foundation roundly praised Rep. Mike Simpson’s decision to withdraw his rider to the House appropriations bill for interior, environment and related agencies.
The amendment would have prevented advancement of a management plan in the Payette National Forest that separates bighorn sheep from domestic sheep grazing on public lands. Simpson, of Idaho, is chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — A herd of Lincoln County bighorn sheep offered a convenient wildlife watching opportunity Sunday to people who live below Lincoln near Lake Roosevelt.
The state offers only one hunting permit a year for a ram from this herd, said Fish and Wildlife officer Curt Wood.
The landowners who shared the photo said this group of rams included 24 animals, about half young ones.
The ewes, of course, are out on their own delivering this year's new crop of wild sheep.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — The rare occassion of a Ross's gull showing up in Washington has become one of the most notable winter attractions to the Loomis area in a long time.
Birders from east and west of the Cascades are flocking to Okanogan county to get a peek at the bird, which has been regularly feeding on a submerged deer carcass along the shore.
But the gull isn't the only wildlife worth seeing near Loomis, as you can see from these photos by birder Kenneth Trease.
To see one of the best and most creative photos I've seen of the gull, check out the “local rarities” photo posted today by Spokane birding photography ace Tom Munson on his wildlife website.
Check out this report by Spokane birder Gina Sheridan:
On Wednesday (12/21/11), Kim Thorburn, Garrett MacDonald, and I made the long haul up to Palmer Lake. The beautiful ROSS'S GULL entertained the entire bevy of birders present with a great show.While enjoying the Ross's Gull, a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE flushed out of the riparian tree border by the lake.
In the quaint community of Loomis, a herd of Bighorn Sheep were nonchalantly roaming around. A couple of the rams had impressive racks, and it was real treat to view them at such close range. In addition, there were a least 20 EURASIAN COLLARED DOVEs and several CLARK'S NUTCRACKERs adorning the town's trees.
After an afternoon drive over the entire Cameron Lake Road route in search of an Okanogan Snowy Owl, we were disappointed to find the entire Timentwa Plateau totally raptor-less.
Fortunately, we did find a handsome pair of PACIFIC LOONs at the foot of Chief Joseph Dam (Okanogan/Douglas County).
WILDLIFE WATCHING — The party's over for elk. Bull moose have given up on the girls. Deer are losing their urges and getting serious about consuming enough calories to endure the winter.
Meanwhile, bighorn sheep are getting it on.
December is the peak of the rut for the masters of rock ledges, as the males earn their names by ramming heads together to determine who's the fittest to breed.
The bighorn ram pictured above is lip-curling at the beginning of December much as the whitetail buck was as it entered its peak of breeding in November.
Wildlife photographer Jaime Johnson of Lincoln, Mont., captured the similar behavior of both animals with his camera.
When bucks or rams come to where a doe or ewe has urinated, they often curl their lips to trap the female's odor in their nose and mouth and analyze the scent for clues to the female's estrus stage.
BIG GAME — A Washington bighorn ram that had endured countless hardships, evaded predators and the occasional hunter lucky enough to draw the rare bighorn sheep hunting permit for the Vulcan Mountain area met its end in a collision with a motor vehicle last week along the Kettle River in Ferry County.
Wildlife biologists viewing the photo above estimated the ram was 8 1/2-9 1/2 years old.
POACHING — A 64-year-old Idaho North Idaho man has agreed to pay more than $13,000 in restitution and fines and will lose his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for life for illegally obtaining a Montana hunting license and killing a trophy bighorn sheep in north-central Montana, the Associated Press reports.
Roger J. Woodworth of Hayden, Idaho, was sentenced Nov. 6 by District Judge Nels Swandal as part of a plea agreement with Fergus County prosecutors, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials.
FWP officials say Woodworth illegally bought a Montana resident hunting license in 2009, then applied and was drawn in the lottery for a bighorn license in the Missouri River Breaks north of Lewistown, where he shot the ram.
A tip led to the charges against Woodworth, who was required to give up the bighorn sheep trophy mount.
WILDLIFE – Montana wildlife officials say another pneumonia outbreak has killed several bighorn sheep in the Skalkaho area in western Montana.
Officials tell the Missoulian that two dead sheep recently died from severe cases of pneumonia, and that a third sheep had been dead too long to identify the cause.
Veterinarian Brent Rice of Hamilton says smoky conditions in the area from forest fires might have stressed the bighorns and made them more susceptible.
Officials say that if the outbreak spreads it would be the seventh major die-off of bighorns in western Montana since 2009.
BIG-GAME HUNTING — The 2010 scouting effort and hunt to bag Washington's No. 1 California bighorn sheep will be featured on the Sportsman Channel's SOLO Hunters program on Aug. 7.
The episode follows Arron Roth and his wife, Angie, as they log 23 scouting trips in Eastern Washington and finally harvest a Chelan County ram that scored 190 6/8 Boone and Crockett points.
SOLO Hunters hunt for the challenge of a hard fought DIY (do it yourself) hunt despite the elements or terrain. The show features no-frills hunts in which the sportsmen rely on their feet and hunt off their backs or on land that they have researched, scouted and mastered for their rare opportunity to take a trophy.
WILDLIFE RESEARCH — Reseachers may finally be on track of a tool to deal with the diseases wreaking havoc with bighorn sheep herds in the West.
A Washington State University wildlife disease researcher has produced an experimental vaccine that appears to have protected four bighorn sheep against deadly pneumonia.
Subramaniam Srikumaran, the WSU professor in Pullman, says his findings are a promising but concedes years of work remain to help safeguard wild bighorn herds from periodic die-offs that have plagued the species in Idaho.
Read on for more details from an Associated Press report:
WILDLIFE — A Montana photographer has been convicted of illegally feeding bighorn sheep near Big Sky Road in order to photograph them with the area's signature mountain — Lone Peak — in the background.
The state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department says 35-year-old Ryan Molde pleaded guilty on Feb. 14, was fined $1,035 and sentenced to 180 days in jail with all but 10 suspended. Molde also was ordered to surrender all photographs related to the feeding and is prohibited from selling any in the future.
FWP Warden Jen Williams says Molde was given a written warning in 2010 for feeding game animals. She says the feeding may have led to three bighorn sheep being struck and killed by vehicles in the area where he was feeding them.