Sheep Numbers Down Along Montana's Rocky Mountain Front

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Looks like more bad news for the bighorn herds in Montana. reports that initial bighorn sheep population counts along the Rocky Mountain front have shown a significant decline this year.

“Sheep numbers appear to be down about 35 percent compared to the last three years,” wildlife biologist Brent Lonner of MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks noted. “The most striking decline is lambs. Out of 386 sheep that I was able to classify I only counted 11 lambs.” “Unfortunately, given my observations thus far and pending more looks throughout the winter and again during the spring sheep surveys,” he commented, “I’m more likely to strongly consider reducing most sheep licenses – ewe and either-sex – at least to some degree. We’ll see.”


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Man, the sheep numbers keep

Man, the sheep numbers keep taking a beating all across the west.  Here in CA, there are a very, very limited number of tags available.

Hopefully something can be done, and they can figure out what we need to do to help out the herds.  I would love to do a hunt, but with the herds in such bad times, and the tag numbers being so limited, I am not holding my breath. 

Maybe in 20 years, but who knows.

jim boyd's picture

I am never been hunting out

I am never been hunting out west and am new to the scene as it relates to reading and learning about the western hunting scene...

However, it seems every time I turn around there is a new article about the decline of this animal or that animal in another western state.

I am left to wonder if big game hunting in general is in decline in the west or would question if these are just normal cycles in wildlife patterns?

Lack of food, disease and predation seem to be the largest reasons for these declines - hunting does not usually seem to be one of the main reasons for these bad reports.

I would say that in spite of generally excellent managment of hunting, states see these patterns... and are likely left trying to formulate a long term plan to resolve the issue.

I am sure they hate to make reports - or see reports - that list a decline in animals as this greatly affects tourism, hunting dollars, etc.

What do you long term western hunters and outdoorsmen think about this topic?

I am off base here or is this something new and disturbing?

For someone who is genuinely exciting about being able to go on a hunt out west - hopefully in the next few years - I am very interested in the stability and viability of all herds...

I want to be able to go on a big game hunt, enjoy the time spent out west - AND feel good about hunting...

Hope that makes sense....


Hunting out west

"Out west" is a big area, and you should definitely plan a trip!  There are more antelope in Montana, Wyoming, etc than you can imagine.  There are more elk in CO than you can imagine, Oregon isn't too bad that way.   More sharptails, roosters, huns, chukars, etc. although I think bird hunting is more evenly spread around the country.  Are there problems?  Of course - wolves in Idaho and Montana, cougars in Oregon, etc.  No reason not to do the trip though, just do your homework on what you want to hunt.

I think the hardest thing to get used to is the amount of public land in the west, and that you can just go there and hunt it.