Bighorn Sheep Released on Idaho's Independence Peak

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Thirty-five California bighorn sheep, 15 from Oregon and 20 from Nevada, are now calling Independence Peak home.

This is the second release of bighorn sheep to the area. Thirteen sheep were released in 2003; those sheep were captured in the Jarbidge and Bruneau canyons.

"This has been a lot of work to get to this point," said Randy Smith, Idaho Fish and Game Magic Valley Region Big Game Manager. "Without the dedicated employees from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, volunteers with the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, and willing landowners this project would have never taken place."

"We are pretty excited to see this come to fruition," he said. "These bighorn sheep combined with the sheep we transplanted on Jim Sage in 2000 and 2001, are giving us a good start on reestablishing a huntable population in the area."

Currently, there are nearly 80 California bighorn sheep ranging across the Jim Sage Mountains. Idaho Fish and Game biologists will keep a close eye on the population over the next few years and are hoping to have enough legal rams in the unit to offer a hunting season for the animals in 2006.