Colorado Division of Wildlife officials want to learn more about why the population of desert big horn sheep in the game management unit south of the Colorado National Monument has gone stagnant. It has been this way for about ten years and the estimated sheep population is 70. Officials have been studying the herd and still don’t have any definitive answers. The thought is to issue one hunting license to take a ram. The license holder has to agree to allow biologists to take samples. With this they hope to gain better knowledge as to what is going on.
But there is opposition to the proposal as some feel that it isn’t necessary to kill one animal to conduct studies. Randy Hampton, a spokesman for DOW says the samples are needed.
He says allowing a hunter to harvest one ram would give the division information about the size and location of the herd. The hunter would be required to allow the division take biological samples from the animal to test for various diseases.
The idea is facing opposition from some wildlife conservationists who say there are better ways to study the herd than gathering information from hunters.
Hampton says hunting-license fees paid to relocate sheep to the area in 1979. The state issued two ram licenses for the area each year from 1988 to 1996, but stopped the practice in the late 1990s as the herd’s population began to decline.
I would agree that if it was hunting license fees that paid to relocate the sheep, then hunters should be given the chance to assist in the study, Even if it is only one license.