Interested in knowing how Montana Big Horn Sheep habitat coincides with domestic sheep grazing allotments? Check out this map (2011)
Big Horn Sheep distribution has changed over the last two centuries. See map showing western US circa 1850, 1955 and 2012.
News and Notes...
Lobbying against a hobby: Disease keeps bighorn sheep at the edge January 18, 2014, TOWNSEND, MT - It pains biologist Tom Carlsen to remember the time he found people squatting on a secluded property in the Elkhorn Mountains in 2008.
The squatters didn't bother Carlsen so much; it was their menagerie. Somehow, they managed to cart around 80 goats, a dozen sheep, a few cattle and llamas.
“They would raise their goats in the trailer where they lived. They didn't have any fencing, and these animals ended up roaming across the landscape up to 10 miles away,” Carlsen said. “We contacted the Department of Livestock and the Bureau of Land Management, but there was very little done.” Read more...
Montana Hopes New Additive Stops Hwy 200 Sheep Accidents December 28, 2012, THOMPSON FALLS, MT - Highway and wildlife managers are hoping a new de-icer and possibly a speed limit change will be enough to stop the number of accidents involving bighorn sheep in the Lower Clark Fork Valley.
The Montana Department of Transportation and Fish, Wildlife and Parks are trying a product that won't attract the sheep to the highway.
Over the years, including the summer of 2012, people have collided with the sheep while driving down the highway from the cliffs above the river. MDT has erected warning signs, and the adjacent railroad tracks are fenced off. But the sheep are drawn to the pavement like moths to a flame, especially in the winter, when highway crews apply magnesium chloride to the pavement as a deicer.
This winter, MDT is trying something different, using a product called "Game Away" as an additive to a more traditional salt/sand solution in hopes that it won't attract the sheep to the salty taste of mag chloride. It's effectiveness will be studied all winter in three test periods.
In addition, Sanders County leaders have agreed to look at a speed study to see if that might also help reduce the number of serious collisions between sheep and cars.
In the meantime, FWP biologist Bruce Sterling says the best thing for people to do is slow down and drive defensively, especially on the blind corners and curves. He says even if the additive works, there's still potential for the sheep to be down along the highway, especially where the cliff face is close to the road. Seevideo...
Montana Tag Breaks Auction Record February 1, 2013 - The Montana bighorn tag sold at the National WSF auction for a record $480,000. Montana WSF member, Jack Chambers recalled that the old record was $405,000 for an Alberta tag. The Montana tag sold last year for $300,000. A very big night for our great state of Montana. 90% of that comes back to Montana and goes in our state 'sheep fund.'
Yellowstone Sheep Capture (as reported in our January 2013 Newsletter)
Mountain Lion Predation on Wild Sheep Wolves in Montana capture most of the publicity when wildlife populations decline in numbers. For bighorn sheep the mountain lion can be the major predator that causes changes in herd populations. The report at left was published in 2006 on the long term effects of mountain lions on three bighorn sheep populations including two herds in Alberta, Canada and the National Bison Range herd in Western Montana. You can download the entire report by clicking here.
Region 1 Bighorn Sheep Annual Report Each year Bruce Sterling, Thompson Falls area biologist and Montana Bighorn Sheep Coordinator completes a report on population surveys and harvest data for all hunting districts in Region 1. The Region One Bighorn Sheep Annual Report July 2012-June 2013 can be downloaded by clicking here.