WILD SHEEP FOUNDATION EXPECTS TO RAISE & DIRECT $3 MILLION+ FOR WILD SHEEP CONSERVATION THROUGH SPECIAL PERMIT AND TAG AUCTIONS
Special conservation permits and tags for an array of big-game species in Canada, Mexico, USA, and Asia will be auctioned off at WSF’s 2017 Convention and Expo, The Sheep Show™, on Jan. 19-21 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino. This year marks the WSF’s 40th annual convention.
“We typically direct more than $3 million annually to state, provincial and tribal agencies through the sale of conservation permits and tags at our convention. The funds raised are used to advance research into diseases that threaten wild sheep populations, support trap and transplant measures and provide habitat expansion and water resources, among many other efforts. All of this work by on-the-ground agencies is carefully planned to protect and augment wild sheep populations throughout North America,” says WSF President & CEO Gray N. Thornton.
Thornton adds “according to data provided by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 75 percent of all wild sheep conservation and management revenue comes from special auction and raffle permits and tags.” In the past seven years, WSF’s auction of special permits and tags has raised a total of $17,472,500 for conservation efforts throughout the US, Canada and Mexico, from the tags alone. Additionally, WSF typically directs another $1+ Million annually to wild sheep and mission programs from operational dollars. “During the past three years WSF has directed more than $13.4 Million to wild sheep, wildlife and habitat conservation” Thornton stated.
During evening banquets at The Sheep Show™, special permits and tags from 13 US states, 2 Canadian provinces, three tribal reservations, Mexico, and Mongolia will be offered during often fiercely-competitive auctions. Auction items will include an array of special permits and tags for mule deer, antelope, moose, elk, Alaskan brown bear, mountain goat and four species of North American wild sheep—Dall’s, Stone’s, desert bighorn, and Rocky Mountain bighorn as well as Asian argali. At last year’s convention, auctions of these special permits and tags raised $2,937,500. Three years ago, WSF’s special permit and tag auction proceeds raised a record $3,073,000. With the greatest attendance in four decades expected at this year’s convention, Thornton notes, the foundation expects to exceed the $3-million mark once again. For a complete listing of special permits, tags and other auction offerings, and on-line bidding opportunities, visit www.wildsheepfoundation.org/convention/auction.
“These are hunts-of-a-lifetime, for some of the most treasured and sought-after species any hunter could dream of,” Thornton says. One of the convention’s most exciting events will be the Friday night auction of a special permit to pursue one of Montana’s prized Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. At the 2013 Sheep Show, the Montana Rocky Mountain bighorn special permit went for a record $480,000. Since 2013, the Montana bighorn permit has consistently raised over $300,000 annually, and remains the auction item that brings in far and away the highest price. These dollars are directed back to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to fund bighorn sheep restoration and conservation in the state.
“All of the auction excitement and competitiveness translates to conservation dollars that go back to the states, tribes and provinces to put and keep wild sheep on the mountain for everyone to enjoy,” Thornton says. “We constantly face challenges to the future of wild sheep, particularly disease and habitat issues. These conservation dollars go directly back to address these challenges at the grassroots level, and our success is measurable in the three-fold increase in bighorn sheep populations over the past 60 years.”
For a full schedule of events, information on hotel discounts at the Reno Peppermill Resort Spa Casino and the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, or to join as a member with the WSF and the conservation and education programs, please visit www.wildsheepfoundation.org, contact 800-OK-FNAWS (800-653-6297), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Facebook.com/wildsheepfoundation. Contact WSF at (406) 404-8750 to register or visit the Expo Registration Deck at the convention site https://www.visitrenotahoe.com/about-us.
Photo by Beau Brooks