BigHorn Sheep Tag Auctioned For $130,000

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A California contractor won a New Mexico bighorn sheep license Jan. 24, with his $130,000 bid - the third highest bid offered at the annual auction of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep. Daniel Smith III of San Jose, Calif., won the license at the organization's conference in Reno, Nev. The two highest bids were $200,000 for a bighorn license in Alberta, Canada, and $132,500 for a Montana license.

"He may choose between a desert bighorn sheep hunt in the Peloncillos or a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the Pecos or Wheeler Peak Wilderness areas," said Eric Rominger, Department bighorn sheep biologist.

Smith may take his hunt between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, 2003 in the Pecos or Peloncillos, or from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2003 in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness. There is one desert bighorn and 11 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep licenses available through the public draw - all once-in-a-lifetime licenses. Applications for those are due April 26, 2003.

The proceeds from the auction money will help fund three anticipated bighorn sheep trapping and transplant projects planned this year in the Pecos, Wheeler and Red Rock areas, said Rominger. The Pecos trap will send Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep to Arizona in exchange for 20 desert bighorn sheep sent to the San Andres Mountains from Arizona in November 2002.