Idaho Bighorn Sheep Permit Auction Brings in $120,000

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An Oregon hunter who is remaining anonymous has paid $120,000 for Idaho's auction bighorn sheep permit.

The permit was sold at the recent Wild Sheep Foundation's annual convention in Salt Lake City. The Wild Sheep Foundation was formerly known as the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS).

Idaho bighorn sheep program manager Dale Toweill said he was pleased to see the price for Idaho's tag, which can be used this year in Hells Canyon, hold up so well in a contracting economy. The Hells Canyon Sheep tag is alternated between the auction and a lottery each year. The record amount for an Idaho sheep permit at auction was $180,000 in 2005.

Idaho's permit brought the third highest amount of those offered by any western state or province for Rocky Mountain sheep in this year's auction.

Bidders paid more for permits for Montana and Alberta Rocky Mountain sheep.

The auction tag is sold at the Foundation convention to raise funds for sheep research. Idaho keeps 95 percent of the bid amount while the Foundation uses the rest for costs of promotion of the auction. The tag sold by the Idaho chapter of the Foundation through a lottery system brings in money for bighorn health research at the Caldwell wildlife lab.