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WGFD proposes change to bighorn sheep management

WGFD proposes change to bighorn sheep management

Photo credit: Dreamstime

The Ferris/Seminoe bighorn sheep herd in the Lander Region of Wyoming is doing well thanks to recent bighorn sheep transplants and habitat improvement. The region, which includes Hunt Areas 17 and 26, is currently managed by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department (WGFD) for a “post-hunting season population size of 300” – an objective that the herd is close to meeting. 

According to WGFD, the current estimate is easy to tally because many of the bighorn sheep within this herd are wearing GPS collars, which means that any bighorn sheep missed during winter helicopter surveys can be counted using satellite coordinates. However, the collars are nearing the end of their life and will make future population estimates “difficult to maintain.”

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This is why the agency is proposing a change in management strategy for this particular bighorn sheep herd. WGFD would like to change “the management objective to an actual mid-winter trend count while maintaining a population objective of 300 bighorn sheep.” Trend counts aren’t as impacted by fewer GPS-collared animals or “changes in field personnel,” according to WGFD. Further, it allows management decision to be “based only upon defensible field observation data.” The change would also allow the herd to increase in a sustainable way. 

If you’d like to read further on the proposal and comment, click HERE.

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