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Proposed changes to SD bighorn sheep hunting causes controversy

Bighorn Sheep

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Hunters and bighorn sheep conservationists aren’t too happy with the possible changes to South Dakota’s bighorn sheep regulations. Governor Kristi Noem’s Second Century Initiative is geared towards helping “rebuild hunting habitats.” While it may add some bighorn sheep hunting opportunity, it would change how the revenue from the annual license auction would be used, funneling money towards other wildlife like pheasants, KOTA TV reports.

“We have put 70-80 sheep back on the mountain with that money,” Jesse Kurtenbach, a South Dakota hunter, told KOTA TV. “Why do we have to be the first state that starts giving that money (money made from the sheep tag auction) to pheasants or pheasant habitat. They're not even a native species to South Dakota.”

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Kurtenbach adds that the reason the bighorn sheep auction was established in the first place was to “help fund sheep research, promote their habitat” and boost populations with relocation efforts.

“The Wild Sheep Foundation have worked for multiple years and finally got an auction tag back in 2013 to auction off a sheep hunt in South Dakota and the agreement was that the proceeds would got directly back to the sheep in South Dakota,” said Kurtenbach.

Last year, a bighorn sheep tag holder took a world record ram in the Badlands and it’s anticipated that, because of that record harvest, the tag will take in anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000. Only one tag is auctioned off each year and only three tags are even available.


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Cody s. - posted 5 months ago on 03-04-2019 06:30:08 am

Carri H. The Wild Sheep Foundation just auctions off the tag for the State of South Dakota. Every penny goes back TO South Dakota to use, how they see fit, for their bighorn sheep. Don't comment unless you know what your talking about.

Christopher G. - posted 5 months ago on 03-04-2019 06:18:40 am

It would be interesting to know how much South Dakota earns on pheasant hunting each year, because I'm pretty sure it's significantly more than the auction sheep tag would ever bring in. As usual ,South Dakota is making bad decisions on big game to support small game.

Tim A. - posted 5 months ago on 03-03-2019 01:43:14 pm
North Las Vegas, NV

It’s about the $$. SoDak depends on Pheasant tourism dollars.

Carrie H. - posted 5 months ago on 03-02-2019 09:17:02 am

If the wild sheep foundation wants to sell sheep hunting tags and use the money as they see fit, then they should raise the sheep on private lands not public lands. Its either a state game animal or its private livestock.