Bighorn Sheep hold a special place in my hunting heart. There is something about watching a band of chocolate colored bighorn rams feed across a mountain side in the summer. There is really something about hearing the crash of two rams battling for breeding rights in late fall. I’ve hunted mule deer, elk and pronghorn but bighorn sheep is the one tag I’ve always wanted. Pretty sure I’d have a better chance of winning the lottery but a girl can always dream.
Here is some relatively good news for North Dakota’s bighorn sheep population. Wild sheep are susceptible to several diseases that can decimate a herd. Thankfully for North Dakota their herd seems to be coming back and looks like a few lucky hunters may have a chance at what I would consider a prize better than winning the lottery!
“The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s spring bighorn sheep survey revealed a minimum of 296 bighorn sheep in western North Dakota, up slightly from last year and 3 percent above the five-year average.”
“Big game biologist Brett Wiedmann said the survey revealed both good and bad news after a sheep die-off that began in 2014.”
“A bighorn sheep hunting season is tentatively scheduled to open in 2017, unless there is a recurrence of significant adult mortality from bacterial pneumonia. The status of the bighorn sheep season will be determined Sept. 1, after the summer population survey is completed.”