Idaho Wild SheepConservation Projects
Preserve Bighorn sheep habitat
- Ten Mile Creek Ranch: $10,000 Matching grant for a Conservation Easement. Vital lambing area for the Hells Canyon bighorn sheep population.
- Hettinger Ranch: Converted part to public ownership. Partnered with Sisters River Ranches Company, the landowner, Western Rivers Conservancy, and the IDFG.
- Redbird Land Purchase: Hells Canyon bighorn habitat transferred to IDFG. 2008-2013: $39,500
Reduce Risk of Contact between domestic and wild sheep
Domestic Sheep Grazing Allotments converted to cattle or closed:
Of the identified Tier 1 domestic sheep grazing allotments, approximately 57 have been converted to cattle or closed.
- Hells Canyon: 1990’s, the 2010 Payette Forest decision, based on risk of contact, closed 15 allotments and three allotments were partially closed.
- Lost River Range: 2002: ID WSF financially assist Sulphur Creek Ranch convert six allotments Mays Land and Livestock converted three allotments.
- Results: Bighorn sheep populations have increased and expanded in distribution, allowing an increase in hunting opportunity. In 2000 there was one hunt unit and three permits; in 2019, there are five hunt units and 13 permits.
- Lemhi Range: ID WSF financially assist Whittier Ranch and Leon Ziegler convert allotments. Cronks Canyon allotment retired. Whittaker Ranch, two allotments converted to cattle.
- Beaverhead Range: ID WSF financially assisted Hanson Livestock Company convert six allotments and John and Teresa Allen convert seven allotments.
- Ball Brothers Ranch: Committed $75,000 to convert their ranch and the allotments from sheep to cattle.
- Magden Allotment: ID WSF contributed $104,167 for this buyout.
Advocate for bighorn sheep with Federal Agencies.
- USDA Sheep Experiment Station: Ongoing
- Hiatus in domestic sheep grazing of their high pastures.
- Reviewed and commented on the management plan for the sheep station.
- Congressman Mike Simpson’s Task Force to repurpose management to include bighorn.
- Mountain Home AFB Airspace Optimization Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS): Idaho WSF, Oregon FNAWS and several Nevada affiliates submitted co-signed input.
- Washington DC Fly-In: Idaho WSF Board members Zach Higgins and Bruce Mincher met with congressional delegates on bighorn issues.
- Wildlife Roadway Project: Idaho WSF and the Idaho Wildlife Federation submitted a co-signed letter of support for the Wildlife Roadway project.
- Boulder/White Clouds: Three allotments closed in the late 1990’s after ID WSF voiced concerns about wild sheep.
- Species of Conservation Concern: status with USFS for bighorn sheep.
- Webinar presentation and a meeting with the Salmon-Challis Forest Supervisor regarding classifying bighorn sheep as a Species of Conservation Concern and submitted several letters justifying and supporting that classification.
Improving bighorn habitat
- Idaho Guzzler Project: 2007 and 2014: $24,802.09
- Donation to Fraternity of Desert bighorn (FDB) Emergency Fund $20,000 to transport water to Nevada wildlife guzzlers during the 2021 drought.
Bighorn survey assistance
- Big Creek Bighorn Sheep Survey: Volunteers from Idaho WSF assisted IDFG with a bighorn sheep ground survey in the Big Creek drainage.
- Lamb survival study in the Owyhee’s, 2007, 2009 and 2015: $4,360.35 with IDFG.
- Radio collars and helicopter time for sheep capture-test-cull research on Movi disease.
- $22,703 in 2019
- $17,568 in 2020
- M Ovi Disease research: Ongoing contribute monies to Washington State University, South Dakota State University. Dr. Sri: 2008-2014: $18,000; Dr. Besser: $5,000; WSU Diagnostic Lab: $5,000
- Small domestic sheep flock education: Contribute $30,000 for a two-year public outreach program through the Asotin County Conservation District. To educate small flock owners about the disease issue between domestic sheep and goats and bighorn sheep
- Publish Idaho Wild Sheep Journal, bi-annual magazine with info on bighorn conservation/hunting.
- Hells Canyon Bighorn informational signage at key visitor locations, developed and installed.
- Challis Highway Bighorn Viewing Station: $35,143.34
- Women Hunt: Sponsored woman member to attend 5-day hunting workshop/hunt for women in Texas. This will be the seed to develop an Idaho Women Hunt program.
- Idaho Bighorn Sheep Lottery Tag: Manage and Market the lottery statewide bighorn tag for the IDFG. Since 1992 $1,788,965 have been raised for IDFG bighorn management.
- Idaho Wild Sheep Banquet/fundraisers: Annual events that have grown from 200 to 700 attendees, now netting over $200,000 each year.
- Wild Sheep Foundation Convention – Reno Sheep Show: Very successful booth to promote Idaho wild sheep conservation, lottery tag sales, and hunter camaraderie.