Idaho Wild Sheep

Conservation 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.

Disease Research

  • 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

Public Education

  • 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.

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