Bighorn sheep survival studied by ODFW
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is about to embark on a five-year study delving into what influences survival of bighorn sheep in the lower Deschutes River canyon.
The study is a continuation of several past research projects investigating sheep survival on Steens Mountain, the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge and in the Leslie Gulch area of southeastern Oregon.
Beginning next month, ODFW crews will capture 35 bighorn sheep in the lower Deschutes Canyon and fit them with radio collars so their movements can be tracked. The collars can emit a special transmission when the sheep die. The dead sheep can then be located and their causes of death determined.
The information will help researchers track mortality trends, including whether cougars are factors in sheep survival rates.
An estimated 400 bighorn sheep live in the canyon.
The study will be done, in part, thanks to $18,475 in donations from the Medford-based Oregon Hunters Association, as well as from various OHA chapters.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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