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19 MT Bighorns to ND (Jan. '06)
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From: http://www.grandforks.com/mld/grandforks/sports/outdoors/13738975.htm

This means that North Dakota now has a mix of California Bighorns and Rocky Mountain Bighorns. All wild sheep there before this transplant, in recent history, were California Bighorns.
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Posted on Sun, Jan. 29, 2006

OUTDOORS: N.D. releases 19 bighorn sheep
Animals from Montana relocated to area near north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park
By Brad Dokken
Herald Staff Writer

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently released 19 bighorn sheep from Montana into an area of the Badlands near the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and all appear to be doing well in their new home.

With the release, North Dakota now has a population of about 250 bighorn sheep spread out along the Little Missouri River within the Badlands, Game and Fish officials say.

According to Brett Wiedmann, bighorn sheep biologist for Game and Fish in Dickinson, the five rams and 14 ewes released Jan. 17 were captured at the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge along the Missouri River in north-central Montana. Helicopter crews used net guns to capture the sheep, Wiedmann said. The animals then were fitted with radio-transmitter collars and tested for brucellosis.

All of the sheep tested negative, he said, and Game and Fish personnel hauled the bighorns in two large trailers to their new home in the Badlands. The whole operation took less than two days, he said.

"Typically, when you put bighorn sheep in the trailer, they calm down real well," he said. "They were in good health."

According to Wiedmann, four surveillance flights in the last week have shown the sheep are alive and staying in the transplant area. Typically, he said, the first week is crucial for bighorn sheep to survive the stress of capture.

About a year in the planning, the recent transplant was a partnership between Game and Fish and the Minnesota-Wisconsin Chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep. Wiedmann says the chapter pays all of capture and testing costs, which run about $800 per sheep, while Game and Fish provides personnel and equipment for hauling the animals.

According to Wiedmann, the chapter has funded three out-of-state transplants and four in-state sheep transplants since 2003. The support, he says, has been crucial to the success of North Dakota's bighorn sheep program. Each March, the chapter auctions a North Dakota sheep license, raising thousands of dollars annually for bighorn research in the state.

"There's very little cost to the department," Wiedmann said. "They have put thousands of dollars into our sheep program, and 99 percent of them will never hunt bighorn sheep in North Dakota. They do it just because they love wild sheep."

The Minnesota-Wisconsin chapter also has members from North Dakota, Wiedmann said.

With the recent release, Wiedmann said, Game and Fish is one step closer to its ultimate objective, a sustainable population of 300 sheep. Bighorns do best in small groups, he said, and North Dakota's population is dispersed among 15 herds. According to Wiedmann, bighorn sheep require rugged habitat that provides a convenient escape route from predators, along with open country and areas without a lot of human disturbance.

Habitat isn't a problem in the Badlands, Wiedmann said, and states such as Montana have had surplus sheep in recent years. Coupled with support from the Minnesota-Wisconsin chapter of the sheep foundation, these are good times for bighorn sheep in North Dakota, Wiedmann said.

"We're in a good situation in that we have a lot of habitat that doesn't have sheep right now in the Badlands," Wiedmann said. "The limiting factor in the past has been availability of sheep and funding."
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Dokken reports on the outdoors. Reach him at (701) 780-1148; (800) 477-6572, ext. 148; or bdokken@gfherald.com.
 
Posts: 1168 | Location: Colorado | Registered: November 20, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hey RamDreamer, That's fantastic! I was checking out their website, I guess I'll have to buy some of the raffle tickets now! Any idea when and how a fellow should go about that? Thanks Joe
 
Posts: 44 | Location: Leetonia, Ohio | Registered: January 16, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Lookingfor#1,

No bighorn tag raffle in North Dakota that I know of. One license is to be auctioned at Minnesota/Wisconsin FNAWS in March.

You may apply there. Cost is a non-refundable $100 for a non-resident to apply. Last year the application deadline was March 23rd.
 
Posts: 1168 | Location: Colorado | Registered: November 20, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Roger that RamDreamer, I believe the raffle was for elk and moose. Well, I guess I could hunt elk or moose while I'm waiting to draw a sheep tag! Thanks again. Joe
 
Posts: 44 | Location: Leetonia, Ohio | Registered: January 16, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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