Bozeman, Montana. January 25, 2022. -
The Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) recently concluded its 45th convention, Sheep Week®, with record amounts raised again for wild sheep conservation.
At this premier event for raising dedicated funding for state, provincial, territorial, and tribal wildlife agencies through the auctioning of their special conservation permits, twelve permits were sold for record amounts, with one tying and existing record. From these thirteen permits alone, $2,324,500 million was raised.
WSF is entrusted by these wildlife agencies to auction their special conservation permits, primarily for wild sheep but also for other coveted big game species.
“This was another big year for state, provincial, territorial, and tribal wildlife conservation efforts,” said Gray N. Thornton, president and CEO of the Wild Sheep Foundation. “The fact that a handful of individuals stepped at these levels to benefit entire populations in exchange for the opportunity to hunt one special animal is the definition of paying it forward. That’s the definition of conservation.”
The new records include:
– $285,000 - Taos Pueblo Rocky Mountain bighorn, Gorge Hunt ($200,000 in 2021)
– $305,000 – Wyoming Rocky Mountain bighorn ($135,000 in 2021)
– $310,000 – New Mexico Rocky Mountain bighorn ($240,000 in 2021)
– $210,000 – New Mexico Desert bighorn ($193,000 in 2021)
– $50,000 – Colorado Rocky Mountain goat ($34,000 in 2019)
– $80,000 – Navajo Nation Desert bighorn (61,000 in 2021)
– $200,000 – Taos Pueblo Rocky Mountain bighorn (tie $200,000 in 2021)
– $187,500 – Colorado Rocky Mountain bighorn ($180,000 in 2021)
– $175,000 – Nevada Desert bighorn ($165,000 in 2021
– $32,500 – Nevada Pronghorn ($27,500 in 2021)
– $345,000 – Oregon Rocky Mountain bighorn ($60,000 in 2017)
– $67,500 – Wyoming Moose ($210,000 in 2021)
– $77,000 – Nebraska Elk ($33,000 in 2020)
In all, an astounding $4,806,500 was raised from conservation permits alone in three evening auctions. Depending on the permit, eighty-five to one hundred percent of these funds are directed to these fish and wildlife agencies for big game species conservation, management, and enhancement programs. The balance that WSF retains is also directed to wild sheep and habitat conservation through its mission programs. Agencies depend on these funds and the Wild Sheep Foundation to raise them. According to the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, 74% of all wildlife agency wild sheep conservation funding comes from either an auction or raffle conservation permit.
Other Sheep Week® auction highlights include:
– $360,000 – Montana Rocky Mountain bighorn
– $230,000 – Yukon/Kluane Dall’s sheep
– $240,000 – New Mexico Big Game Enhancement Package
– $235,000 – Alberta Minister's Rocky Mountain bighorn
– $120,000 – California Rocky Mountain bighorn, Cady Mountains
– $300,000 – Arizona Rocky Mountain bighorn
– $165,000 – Idaho Rocky Mountain bighorn, non-Hells Canyon
– $165,000 – British Columbia Rocky Mountain bighorn
“WSF is privileged to be able to market and sell these special permits,” Thornton explained. “Wild sheep would simply not exist in the numbers they are today without this specialized economy built for their benefit. This isn’t about maintaining populations; we’re looking to grow them, and the generosity of sheep hunters is absolutely making this possible.”