Over 60 years ago, Montana began a program to recover big horn sheep by trapping and transplanting. By 1950 there were an estimated 1,200 sheep roaming the hillsides. That continued effort, which also has included limited hunting opportunities, has produced a state-wide sheep population approaching 6,000. Such success and Montana has never had a formal management plan. The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wants to change that.
Until December 20, 2007 officials are seeking comments and suggestions about what should be included in a management plan. Some ideas the department has put out include the following:
# systematic long-term health monitoring
# genetic integrity of native populations
# health affects related to contact with domestic sheep or goats
# establishing bighorn sheep populations to new areas
# loss of habitat and development impacts to some bighorn populations
# hunting and other recreational opportunities
Here is some information on how you can participate in submitting your ideas and comments:
FWP has arranged to take comment through Dec. 20 via FWPâ€™s website at www.fwp.mt.gov. Click on “Bighorn Sheep Strategy” or you can send written comments to: Bighorn Sheep Strategy, Montana FWP, P.O. Box 200701; Helena, MT 59620-0701.