Archer Takes Trophy Bighorn Ram

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Brian Newton of Springfield harvested a trophy bighorn ram on Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford on November 28. It was the first Nebraska bighorn sheep taken with archery equipment since the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission opened modern bighorn hunting in 1998, according to Gary Schlichtemeier, district wildlife manager at the Commissions office in Alliance.

“Brian was the lucky applicant drawn for the 2004 Nebraska bighorn sheep lottery permit,” Schlichtemeier district wildlife manager said. “He enjoyed a great hunt at Fort Robinson. The snowfall made spotting bighorns in the buttes somewhat difficult, but tracking and stalking conditions were ideal.”

While Game and Parks Commission guides Lon Lemmon and Dean Studnicka of Crawford watched from below, Newton stalked within 30 yards of the full-curl bighorn sheep in the buttes north of the old Smiley Canyon road.

Nebraskas bighorn sheep permits allow the use of all legal big game hunting equipment, including archery, rifle and muzzle loading rifles. From 1998 through 2004, ten full- curl bighorn rams have been harvested from the Fort Robinson herd with a 100 percent success rate.

“I'd brought a rifle out to the fort, but I hoped to take a ram using bow and arrow,” Newton told his guides, “and personally felt that any legal ram would be a trophy for an archer. I had a shot at a nice ram on Saturday, but he jumped just as I released the arrow for a clean miss. During the snow on Sunday we found one of the forts largest rams in the buttes. I was able to stalk within 30 yards. The accommodations and people at the fort and the guides were great – Ill remember the hunt for the rest of my life.”

For 2005, the Game and Parks Commission authorized two bighorn permits, a lottery permit available to Nebraska residents, and an auction permit to be sold at the Grand Slam Club/Ovis convention in Biloxi, Mississippi in February, 2005. Funds raised by the sale of auction and lottery permits are used for Nebraskas bighorn sheep management programs.