June 2021 - 17

This bighorn ram was part of the Elk Mountain herd sigtability study. (WGFD photo)
Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner Richard Ladwig poses with
a bighorn ram earlier this year as part of the Elk Mountain bighorn
sheep sightability study in northeast Wyoming. (WGFD photo)
The current effort requires wildlife managers
in northeast Wyoming to capture and
radio-collar 40 sheep, with as close to a 50-50
gender split as possible. That work started in
December 2019. Bighorn sheep were lured
to an area underneath a large net with hay,
apples and sweetened grain. When a biologist
released the net, the animals were ensnared
which allowed agency personnel and volunteers
to quickly secure the animals without
using immobilizing drugs.
Only three ewes were collared in the
2019-20 winter. This year three drop-net
captures resulted in the collaring of 21 ewes
and five rams. In addition, a professional
helicopter wildlife capture crew collared 12
rams, bringing the total to 38. The final two
sheep will be captured via immobilization
efforts as opportunities arise.
Each animal also was tested for parasites
and several pneumonia strains, which can
be deadly to bighorn sheep. Test results did
not reveal any concerns.
Funding to purchase the 40 collars and
conduct the helicopter capture was provided
by the Wyoming Governor's Big
Game License Coalition. Bowhunters of
Wyoming provided money to purchase
capture bait. Next year's helicopter flight
time will be paid through a Bureau of Land
Management grant.
" Next winter we will begin model development
and hopefully, moving forward, have
a new tool in our box to estimate sheep numbers
in this part of the country, " Sandrini
said. " That can't come too soon as we have
struggled recently to get a good handle on
the numbers of sheep in this population. But,
we still expect to continue with 100 percent
hunter success in the coming years - success
that has yielded some truly quality rams. "
Five to six bighorn hunting licenses are
issued annually for this herd - two or three
any-ram tags valid in South Dakota and three
in Hunt Area 20 in Wyoming.
Ewes and rams have been captured and collared as part of a survey to account for animals that aren't seen during traditional annual counts. (WGFD photo)
Wyoming Wildlife | 17

June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2021

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https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/july-2021
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https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/January2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/December2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/September2020
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