Wyoming Wild Sheep News
Wyoming's Emergency Big Horn Sheep Hunt
Gov. Mark Gordon has approved an emergency bighorn hunt in Wyoming. This early season emergency hunt will allow hunters to kill up to thirty-four bighorns.
Colorado Allotment Buy Out
Allotment buyout in Colorado creates separation between domestic and wild sheep, further minimizing the risk of future pneumonia related pathogen transmission and potential catastrophic die offs in bighorns.
Dr. Monteith's 2019 Final Report
The Wy-WSF has provided considerable funding for Dr. Monteith’s research on Wyoming’s iconic bighorns. In addition to bighorns, Monteith’s Shop research covers the gamut of large wild ungulates in Wyoming. This summary provides a glimpse at the mountains of science behind the management and conservation of your coveted big game species. Please make the time to read.
"To Kill or not To Kill?"
The Wy Wild Sheep Foundation has invested over half a million dollars in conserving the iconic Teton bighorns with allotment buyouts and research. We love mountain goats, but not in this location given the threat of disease transmission and habitat competition. We applaud the agencies working together to expeditiously remove the mountain goats from the Tetons.
WGBGLC allocates dollars to benefit Wyoming’s wildlife
On May 6, 2020 the Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition (Coalition) convened to allocate more than $475,000 to benefit Wyoming’s wildlife and their habitats
Leo & Cari Goss Sponsor Fund Raising Challenge with $10,000 donation
With these trying times, the current world has put pressure on us in all aspects of our life. In our world it also has put a tremendous amount of pressure on our WY wild sheep and our fundraising. But it's also in times like these where extraordinary gratitude and hearts shine through. We have been blessed by Ramshorn Society Life Members Leo and Cari Goss with at $10,000 donation to help kick start our Grant In Aid Fundraising. They have also Challenged all WY WSF members/supporters to follow their lead by donating. Please send your donations today to WY-WSF at P.O.Box 666, Cody, WY 82414 or call Dean DiJenno at (307) 213-0998 for more information.
Truly, a success story
The WY-WSF and WGFD have worked together for several years trying to increase herd health and numbers within the Devil’s Canyon and Ferris-Seminoe wild sheep herds. Transplants to Devil’s Canyon in the early 2000’s from Oregon and Montana contributed to the herd’s success. Subsequent transplants from Devil’s Canyon to the Ferris-Seminoe Mtns. were equally successful. The Wy Game and Fish Dept. is currently proposing to adopt a new population monitoring technique and allow for an increase in the Ferris-Seminoe bighorn herd. A recent UW study documented unused habitats which could accommodate additional wild sheep Please review the very informative slide show on the proposal by clicking the link below AND for the sake of bighorns PLEASE provide supportive comments to the WGFD.
New WSF video sheds light on pathogen issues.
The Wild Sheep Foundation recently funded this video on pneumonia related wild sheep die offs. While most of the footage was shot in Idaho and Nevada, the story repeats itself throughout the West where we have overlap with domestic sheep, including Wyoming
Colorado Allotment Buy Out
Allotment buyouts continue to be an important economic “tool” for producers who wish to change their business portfolio. They are also an important biological “tool” for creating separation between domestic and wild sheep – preventing catastrophic all-age die offs. Both goals met – that’s what partnerships are about.
2015 Chronic Pathogen Research Project Results Are In.
In December of 2015, WY-WSF assisted in funding ($7,500) a chronic pathogen research project in South Dakota. The recently published, 2/2020, report is attached. Two bighorn populations were studied – chronic carriers removed in one but not removed in the other; i.e. treatment and control. In short, the removal of chronic Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae carrier ewes reduced the mortality for lambs by 72%. There was also a 41% reduction in adult mortality in the herd with carrier removal. The “treatment” (repeat capture, testing and removal) is expensive, but may have management application for smaller herds with chronic carriers of Movi. One more piece of the seemingly never-ending complex disease puzzle.
MOVI hits Oregon Sheep Herd
There are many strains of Mycoplasma ovipnemonae in wild sheep and even more in domestic sheep. Some of our domestic sheep producers may be willing to test their sheep. And, that's the definition of partnership and cooperation.
The National Bighorn Sheep Center adds learning opportunities
The staff at the National Bighorn Sheep Center wants to help parents, students and teachers during this challenging time. We are working to add additional educational resources to our website for your use. We will continue adding more content to our website and sending weekly emails highlighting the new resources. We would love your feedback and suggestions for additional topics or videos that would be useful for you!
The new learning opportunities added to the National Bighorn Sheep Center website this week are listed below and you can access them with this link.
“Grand Slam display in the NBSC” - Learn about the four types of wild sheep in North America with this 1 minute video.
“Sheepeater Indian/Mountain Shoshone display in the NBSC” - See replicas of items the Mountain Shoshone would have made from wild sheep in this 1 1/2 minute video.
"Wild Sheep vs Mountatin Goats" - Do people have a problem telling the difference between mountain goats and wild sheep? Parks Canada thought it was a big enough issue to produce this witty and whimsical skit on the two creatures.
“Disease Transmission Activity” - How does a disease spread within a herd of wild sheep? Find out with this activity. Also included, as an extension is a mini-lesson “How do germs get inside your body?”
“Poetry of the Bighorn” - Encourage students to express themselves through poetry in this cross-curricular and fun lesson.
"Additional Online Learning Resources" - Numerous learning resources from around the web.
Stay connected- Join our Facebook group and sign up for emails to stay up to date on the latest NBSC happenings!
Note: Camp Bighorn registration has been extended to May 31. Please visit this link for more information.
We hope to see Ewe soon!
Karen Sullivan, Education Manager
National Bighorn Sheep Center * 10 Bighorn Lane * PO Box 1435 * Dubois, WY 82513
BAKER CITY: Oregon DF&W Cancel Two Bighorn Sheep Hunts
“One’s worst nightmare! Pneumonia related pathogens continue to plague and be “THE” bottleneck for wild sheep in the West. Oregon has to cancel two hunts in the Lookout Mtns. Wyoming continues to be vigilant about testing, but there is no cure once it is documented. There are well over 100 strains of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae. Some kill and some don’t. We will continue to strive for answers.”
Laramie Peak Herd Video
Some great videos of sheep in the Laramie Peak area. This herd continues to do well, especially since the translocation of 42 sheep from Parma-Paradise, Montana in 2007. Lamb recruitment is excellent with 40-50 lambs/100 ewes. Ram ratios are high with the 5 yr average being 62 rams/100 ewes. Old age class rams are well represented. Recent wildfires have benefited habitat excepted where cheatgrass invasions have occurred. A special place – where I saw my first bighorn ram (at 30 yards!) after hiring on with the WGFD in 1978-by Steve Kilpatrick. Review current research on this herd at
BLM Withdraws over 1400 Acres from mineral development on Whiskey
The winter range for the Whiskey Basin bighorns is a diverse patchwork of BLM, Forest Service and Wyoming Game and Fish land ownership. In March 2000, the BLM withdrew approximately 1,431 acres of this winter range from surface entry and mineral mining for a period of 20 years. We appreciate the Secretary of Interior (BLM) continuing this mineral withdrawal for another 20 years, especially given the compromised status of the herd.“
Banquet Planning Update
During this time of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 Virus pandemic we feel that it is prudent for the board of directors of the Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation to monitor the nation’s progress in conquering this threat to see how public responses to the virus threat might impact our annual banquet.
While we intend to hold our annual banquet as scheduled on June 5&6, 2020 in Casper, we are temporarily placing a hold on registrations until we are certain that it will be safe to hold our banquet as scheduled.
Our foundation needs to hold our annual fund raiser to continue the fine work our grantees are doing in “Putting and Keeping Kids and Wild Sheep on the Mountain”. With our Wyoming Wild Sheep population at low points not seen since the 1950s, we need your support to raise funds for them more than ever.
The Board will make an informed decision by April 20,2020 on whether to hold the banquet as scheduled, postpone to an alternate date, or cancel this year’s event all together.
Stay tuned to our webpage, face book, and Instagram pages and we will share information with you as quickly as possible concerning our annual event. Thank you as always for your support of the Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation.
Whiskey Basin Wild Sheep Capture
This is posted on our facebook with video. Watch our Videos
The crew from the UW Monteith Shop redeployed 19 GPS collars on bighorns within the Whiskey Basin Herd this past weekend. Vaginal Implant Transmitters (VITS), expelled at birth, will enable researchers to locate and collar newborn lambs. Eighteen of the 19 were pregnant. The Whiskey herd has had very low lamb survival (recruitment) since the pneumonia die off in 1991. Pneumonia accounted for most of the known lamb mortality cases in 2019. Herd numbers have dropped from 2,000 - 2,500 in 1991, to around 500 today. More details in the Rampage:RamPage and Read Monteith Article.
It was great to have Brady Samuelson’s Riverton Middle School class assist. We also had several other “youngsters” present – yep, we believe in putting and keeping KIDS and WILD SHEEP on the mountain!!.
Photo credits – Bill Sincavage & Steve Kilpatrick
Zane Foust Gets His Wild Sheep!
Those of you who attended the 2019 Convention in Casper will remember Zane Foust and his dream hunt for a wild sheep. Our chapter is proud to have assisted with the fund raising to make this hunt a reality. Thanks to the generosity of Kuiu, we have a wonderful video of the hunt and Zane wrote us a story as well. We also look forward to visiting with Zane at this year's convention. Our chapter sends a special THANK YOU out to our life members Frank Maestri, Zach McDermott and Leo Goss for their work in making this dream come true.
Teton Range Bighorn Sheep Working Group Meeting Dates
The Teton Range Bighorn Sheep Working Group, in partnership with the University of Wyoming’s Ruckelshaus Institute, is engaging in a collaborative learning process to explore ways
to balance the winter habitat needs
of Teton Range bighorn sheep and
backcountry winter recreation.
PLEASE ATTEND AND SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND IDEAS:
All meetings will be held 6-9 p.m. in the Grand Teton Ballroom at the Snow King Resort, 400 E Snow King Ave in Jackson
Public meeting to discuss the history and importance of winter backcountry recreation in the Tetons, the status of bighorn sheep, and to explore the issues.
Public meeting to look deeper at bighorn sheep ecology, the perspective of recreationists, and to craft conceptual solutions.
Public meeting to craft geographic (place-based) solutions.
Public meeting to share draft recommendations, obtain public input, and refine accordingly.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY: Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, Grand Teton Association, Teton Backcountry Alliance, US Forest Service, Winter Wildlands Alliance, and Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation
Putting and keeping KIDS and WILD SHEEP on the Mountain!
By: Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, National Bighorn Sheep Center & Water for Wildlife Foundation
Come join us!! Free informative presentation, open to the public When: February 19, 2020 – 6:00- 8:00 p.m. Where: Water for Wildlife Foundation, 545 Main St, Lander
Meade Dominick featured in Wyoming Wildlife Federation film
Our life member, and former board of directors member, Meade Dominick has teamed up with the Wyoming Wildlife Federation to share his thoughts on conserving our resources and our way of life, wild life migration corridors and the importance of hunting in wildlife conservation. Please click on the link below and view this inspiring film by one of our own. Congratulations to Meade, Andrea and the entire 7D Ranch family for setting an example for all of us to follow in preserving our way of life and our wildlife.
Bighorn Sheep Capture Successful
Last week, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) along with the University of Wyoming (U-WY) captured and collared 12 female bighorn sheep. The effort is part of an on-going multi-year study to better understand the respiratory pathogens that cause pneumonia—a disease that has caused massive die-offs within wild herds across the West.
"Keep Em Separate"
All, We are learning more about those pesky pathogens which continue to decimate our wild sheep herds. This “hot off the shelf” (Oct 25, 2019) publication is authored by some of the best. The discovery of 184 strains of Micoplasma ovipneumoniae in domestic sheep is certainly concerning. The authors conclude, ”The genetic data identify domestic sheep as an infection reservoir with multiple and ongoing spillovers to bighorn sheep.” Given no other known preventative measures, we need to stress “separation” as a first step in mitigating pathogen transmission.
Migration corridor debate takes center stage as governor, Legislature wrestle over policy
“It is critical for the wildlife resource that we let the scientists, Wy Game and Fish Department and UW, delineate science-based migration corridors. They have been delineating other season ranges, winter range, calving/fawning areas, crucial winter range, etc., for decades without concerns. Moreover, our Governor assembled a team, Governor’s Migration Corridor Advisory Group, to address migration corridors and will be issuing an executive order soon. We the public, would like to help our political representatives address migration corridor policy once the science and executive order are completed.” Steve Kilpatrick, WY-WSF Ex. Dr
Bighorn Sheep Dying From Pneumonia, State Hopes To Double Populations
Utah working hard to increase their Wild Sheep Population
Park Plan Aids in Conservation of Native Bighorn Sheep
WYO G&F Announces $1 Million Dollar Super Tag Celebration
For the first time ever, the Wyoming Super Tag is on track in 2019 to break $1 million in annual revenue. Your organization has been an important part of the Super Tag’s success. To celebrate this achievement, the Wyoming Game and Fish, Gunwerks, and Worldwide Trophy Adventures have established “ $1 Million Super Tag Celebration Raffle ”. Every time a hunter purchases a Super Tag or Super Tag Trifecta ticket in May, their name will be entered into a raffle to win a custom-built ClymR rifle from Gunwerks. This raffle is running concurrently with the normal Super Tag and Super Tag Trifecta hunting licenses raffles as well as the Super Tag Ultimate Hunting Gear Raffle. Theoretically, one individual could win every Super Tag raffle offered, since winning one raffle does not exclude individuals from other raffles for which they have purchased tickets. The winner for the “$1 Million Super Tag Celebration Raffle” will be announced on or before June 15th. I think your membership would be very interested in both the conservation impact they are having through the Super Tag as well as the raffle opportunities in May. Super Tag ticket purchasers have raised over $3.7 for wildlife conservation and big game management since its establishment in 2014.
A first-of-its-kind bighorn sheep study hopes to offer answers to an iconic Wyoming herd’s slow demise
Almost 2 million bighorn sheep once roamed the West’s mountains. They moved in waves so thick early explorers could hardly count their numbers. They provided endless food for Native Americans and settlers.
Encampment High School Video
Check out the video created by the Encampment High School Kids during their bighorn sheep capture field study. Read more about these kids and their teacher, Jordan Seitz in our January 26, 2019 news release further down this page..
Montana's Missouri Breaks Herd may be in jeopardy
Montana’s Missouri Breaks, one of the most coveted bighorn hunting areas in the US, may be in jeopardy. Disease issues continue to plague bighorn recovery across most of their historic range. Wild sheep advocates and managers have spent millions of dollars trying to understand and mitigate this issue. The need to work “together” to resolve the disease issue has never been more imminent.”
Humans Are Destroying Animals’ Ancestral Knowledge
“Translocated wild sheep have to learn how to seasonally migrate for better groceries. That may take 50-60 years! Wild sheep conservation takes patience.
2019 Outstanding Teacher Awards Announced
The Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation and the National Bighorn Sheep Center have chosen to honor two outstanding Wyoming educators in the field of Wild Sheep Conservation. This year’s recipients are Brady Samuelson from Riverton Middle School and Jordan Seitz from Encampment K-12. They will be recognized at the annual convention of the Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation in Casper on June 1, 2019 at the Ramkota Inn.
Mountain Goats Now Outnumber Native Wild Sheep in the Tetons
“Wild sheep experts from across the West provide recommendations for Teton bighorns. Thanks to Grand Teton National Park, B-T National Forest, Shoshone National Forest, WGFD and the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretative Center for partnering with WY-WSF to make this happen.”
Livestock disease linked to California desert bighorn sheep die-off
A new survey has found a sharp decline in desert bighorn sheep in Southern California and biologists suspect the cause is a disease contracted from domestic animals.
“The WY-WSF teamed up with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, National Bighorn Sheep Center, national Wild Sheep Foundation, US Forest Service and Grand Teton National Park to bring eight wild sheep experts from across the West to Wyoming. These experts, specializing in disease, genetics, nutrition, predation and general bighorn ecology brainstormed with Wyoming’s bighorn sheep managers for two days. They focused on management and conservation measures directed at the future conservation of the Teton and Whiskey Mtn. herds. Over 160 concerned citizens attended evening meetings in Jackson and Dubois to hear the experts thoughts and provide their own. Yes, Wyoming cares about its wild sheep!
More on the Whiskey Mtn. Initiative at:
Bighorn sheep managers from across the nation, along with local managers, will be discussing current and future management of the Teton and Whiskey Basin herds. They will be providing management thoughts, recommendations and ideas. They also want to hear from you.
Please attend if you can. Questions, call Steve @ 307-413-7249.
Whiskey Basin Iniative Meeting Held in Dubois
The passion for the Whiskey Basin bighorns was evident the evening of February 11, in Dubois. Over 50 folks attended the first meeting of the Whiskey Mountain Bighorn Sheep Herd public collaborative process. The focus of the first meeting was to pin down what the public felt were the prevailing issues associated with the declining herd. The broader issue categories were habitat, disease, nutrition, predators and genetics. The next meeting will be March 14, 2019, 6-9:00 p.m. at the Headwaters Center. This meeting will focus on the science behind the herd’s management issues. It will include the thoughts from a panel of bighorn sheep specialists from around the nation. The WY-WSF is providing the majority of the funding for this public collaborative process.
For updates, notes, etc. go to :
Photo by Chris Martin G&F
The 2019 SE WY Bighorn Sheep Capture Project is Underway
From January 20-22, 2019 the WGFD, with the help of Native Range Capture Services Inc., captured 34 female bighorn sheep and collared 30 of those ewes with GPS Satellite Radio Collars. A total of 8 ewes came from the Encampment River Herd Unit, 10 from the Douglas Creek Herd Unit and 16 from the Laramie Peak Herd Unit. This was part of the state-wide disease surveillance project looking at pneumonia pathogens in all of Wyoming’s Bighorn sheep herd units. Six locations per day will be collected from the collar's GPS for approximately 3 years to help identify lambing areas, seasonal movement patterns, and crucial winter range. This project could not have been possible without the help of WY Wild Sheep Foundation and the Governor’s Big Game License Coalition. Their funding and support was instrumental in pulling this project off.
Photo by Chris Martin G&F.
Encampment kids assist with Bighorn sheep capture and sampling
Jordan Seitz is an amazing Encampment teacher. His classes assist the Wyoming Game and Fish Department with the capture and sampling of bighorns. Bighorns are slung by helicopter to processing sites where students help take blood, nasal, tonsil and fecal samples for disease surveillance. In addition, GPS radio collars are deployed, all to better understand the health, disease dynamics and general ecology of the Encampment River herd. Funding is from the Bighorn Sheep Committee of the Wyoming Governors Big Game License Coalition, which has funded over $2.5M worth of bighorn projects since 2003. Be sure to thank our new Governor Gordon for continuing this project and enabling WY-WSF to “put and keep KIDS and SHEEP on the mountain”. Listen to the radio cast……wish I was a kid again!
Respiratory Pathogen transmission between Domestic and Wild Sheep
“This is well done documentary on the quandary of respiratory pathogen transmission between domestic and wild sheep. Lethal respiratory pathogens, acquired from domestic sheep and goats, are considered by expert wild sheep managers, veterinarians and pathologist to be the paramount reason behind the low levels in wild sheep numbers across the West. We now have less than 100,000 bighorns in the West, when we once had 1.5-2.0 million. We need more of the cooperation and concern illustrated across wildlife and agriculture lines to solve the this one. Let’s work together.”
A recent article from the SD GFP's SD Conservation Digest Magazine 2018 Winter issue that discusses the bighorn sheep shedder study in Custer State Park that showed good success.
Back in November of 2015, WY-WSF was asked to help fund this study. Without your Chapter's funding, SCI's Greater Dacotah Chapter, and South Dakota's bighorn sheep auction tag funds, this project would not have happened. I know how tough it was to get Montana and Wyoming WSF Chapters to send your local funds raised to a South Dakota project, since it is the Midwest Chapter's area. Thank you to all of the organizations, their members, and SD GFP for their hard work! Also here is a recent news clip video from 1/16/19, showing SD GFP moving to the Rapid City herd to complete the shedder study a second time.
Bighorn sheep on Utah's Antelope Island dying from respiratory disease
SALT LAKE CITY — When pioneer settlers first arrived in Utah, a herd of bighorn sheep lived on Antelope Island but disappeared over time.
Then in 1997, the Division of Wildlife Resources, along with Utah State Parks, reintroduced 29 bighorn sheep to the island to create what the division calls a nursery herd, to help start new populations throughout the state and bolster existing ones, said DWR spokesman Mark Hadley.
2019 Governor's License Auction Details Announced
Call Steve Kilpatrick for further details 307-413-7249.
Since the creation of the Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition (WGBGLC) under Governor Freudenthal in 2003, over $2M has be raised for bighorns in Wyoming.
Governor Gordon has committed to continuing this program. THANK YOU, Governor Gordon. The sellers keep 10% of the sale and the remainder is returned to Wyoming for BHS projects.
Bighorn management is costly. Annual Wyoming BHS management costs are about $2.2M, and license sales bring in only about $180K. So, generating about a half million dollars through the sale of these 5 licenses is a huge help. The Bighorn Sheep Committee of the WGBGLC will allocate generated funds at their annual meeting in Casper, Wy on May 22, 2019.
Wild Sheep Foundation
Gray Thornton, 406-404-8751 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Nieters, 406-404-8764 email@example.com
Kevin Hurley, 406-404-8753 firstname.lastname@example.org
Live Auction 02/09/2019, Reno NV. Advertised through Online Hunting Auctions and streamed live. Phone bids taken.
Eastern Chapter-Wild Sheep
Tina Everhart, (717) 588-4190
Live Auction, 2/ 16/2019, Lancaster PA. Advertised through Online Hunting Auctions and streamed live. Phone bids taken.
Iowa Chapter Foundation of North American Wild Sheep
Craig Nakamoto, (402) 650-1383 email@example.com
Live Auction 2/23/2019, Sheraton West , Des Moines, Iowa. Phone bids may be arranged.
Wild Sheep Foundation Midwest Chapter
Nick Negrini, (763-238-6333)
Patti Murry (507) 645-8811 firstname.lastname@example.org
Live Auction 3/16/2019, Minneapolis Marriot Southwest, Minneapolis MN. Advertised through Online Hunting Auctions and streamed live. Phone bids taken.
Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation
Daryl Lutz (307-262-9381, email@example.com
Doug McWhirter, (307) 272-7186 firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Kilpatrick (307-413-7249) email@example.com
Live Auction 6/1/2019, Casper WY. Advertised through Online Hunting Auctions and streamed live. Phone bids taken.