1.11.21 MT Bighorn Restoration: We’re Going Back for More
This past December, the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF), Montana WSF domestic sheep producers, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MTFWP) coordinated a several-year effort to reintroduce bighorn sheep into suitable habitats to establish new herds. Fifty bighorn sheep we helicopter captured in HD482, south of the Missouri Breaks, and safely released into the Little Belts Mountains.
Phase Two of this restoration effort will be capturing bighorns from Wild Horse Island in Montana's Flathead Lake and transported them by truck and trailer to Dillon, Montana. Here they will be released to reestablish a new herd in the Tendoy Mountain Range.
A combination of helicopter and weather issues and other big game aerial wildlife projects and surveys has postponed this trap & transfer twice now. The current update from MTFWP is that we could be wheels up as early as mid-week next week (2/17).
Funding for Montana's wild sheep enhancement and conservation programs has come primarily from the sale at auction of the highly coveted Montana Bighorn Tag. To date, this program has raised an amazing $7,660,000, with a record selling price of $480,000 in 2013. During this past Sheep Week®, WSF sold this year’s tag for a near-record $440,000.
To also help finance some of the costs of these two latest transfers, WSF conducted a crowd-funding campaign, which welcomed anyone to participate in this historic initiative. The Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's Outdoor Fund also stepped in and matched donations dollar for dollar, raising over $130,000 in just four weeks to support these two new populations.