Idaho Big Horn Lottery Raises Money for Wildlife Lab

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The Idaho chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep this year has raised $86,246 for the Wildlife Health Laboratory in Caldwell.

The money is part of the $104,852 the foundation raised in a lottery for one bighorn sheep tag. More than 75 percent of the proceeds from the lottery goes to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's wildlife lab. It's another way hunters help to pay for wildlife management in Idaho.

The foundation sold tickets for the tag, released by Fish and Game. Up to 25 percent of the money raised pays for expenses, such as marketing the lottery and paying for the tag and a hunting license for the winner; the rest goes to the wildlife lab.

The winning ticket, this year bought by Mike Carpinito of Kent, Wash., was drawn in July.

"The Idaho bighorn sheep lottery tag is an excellent example of bighorn sheep hunters using their money to support wildlife conservation for everyone," Ray Lee, president and CEO of the national foundation. "The money raised from this tag goes to Idaho's Wildlife Health Lab to support their efforts to maintain healthy wildlife populations."

The lab investigates and tests for wildlife diseases, such as brucellosis, chronic wasting disease, West Nile virus and other pathogens of concern to hunters and the livestock industry.

Last year the lottery raised more than $68,000.

Another tag will be auctioned at the foundation's annual convention next February. Money raised at the auction will go to improving sheep numbers and habitat in Idaho, particularly in Hells Canyon, which contains the largest area of ideal bighorn range in the continental United States.