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2017 Priority the Budget for Bighorn Sheep

August 7, 2017
posted in: News

The WSF Legislative Affairs Committee ensures policies favorable for putting and keeping wild sheep on the mountain.

We are focused on creating disease-free safe zones because disease is the biggest obstacle to restoring and sustaining wild sheep herds.

In the lower 48 states of the U.S. and Mexico, where domestic sheep are widespread, this means working neighbor-to-neighbor with woolgrowers on local agreements and with federal and state legislatures and agencies.  In Canada and Alaska, where pneumonia has not taken hold, we are preventing that from happening in the first place.

Where we are able to control disease, several other issues come into play as we help restore and manage wild sheep herds and sustain ethical, scientifically-regulated hunting.

Our mission is one of many in the American Wildlife Conservation Partnership that carries on Hunting Heritage in North America.

Issues and Positions

Restoration: Wild sheep, like many other big game animals in North America, were depleted severely in the 20th> century before sportsmen began widespread restoration efforts (see Hunting Heritage). 

Disease:  Pneumonia is limiting restoration of wild sheep because the deadly bacteria are carried by domestic sheep, transmitted to wild sheep, and also passed among wild sheep.

Hunting Regulations and Access:  ethical, scientifically-regulated hunting is a necessary part of conservation for sheep as well as other wildlife.

Hunting Heritage:  hunting and sportsmen-led conservation are important American traditions that must be ensured in policy.

Federal Public Lands: America’s public lands are national treasures and are a unique part of our heritage deserving of our best efforts to share their many values widely.


December 2016:The bighorn sheep conservation community urges Congressional appropriations leaders to continue directing the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to work closely with affected stakeholders and state wildlife authorities on the risk of disease transmission between domestic and bighorn sheep.

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2017 Priority: the Budget for Bighorn Sheep
Support Congressional direction to the Forest Service and BLM to prevent disease from spreading on grazing allotments. (Interior Appropriations report language.)

  • Recent spending bills have directed the agencies to work with sportsmen and grazing permittees to control the risk of disease carried by domestic sheep. This joint effort keeps pro-multiple-use groups together in resolving a difficult problem by consensus.
  • Annual budgets have supported this approach since 2015 and must continue.
  • There should be no question whether to continue on this path, we should be improving the policy.

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2017 Update: Interior and Related Appropriation

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WSF Comments on Alaska Federal Subsistence Board Proposal WP18-56

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