Idaho Fish and Game Kills Bighorn Ram

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Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists Wednesday, November 9, killed a 4 1/2 year old bighorn ram that had wandered too close to domestic sheep on private property.

Healthy domestic sheep can carry bacteria that cause pneumonia and death in bighorn sheep.

The ram was first reported west of Castleford on November 8. When it was reported again on November 9, the ram was mingling with cattle in the pens of a dairy located within a few miles of several domestic sheep bands.

The ram's proximity to domestic sheep made contact highly likely, particularly during the fall breeding season. At this time of year, bighorn rams may travel to find ewes and later return to the main population.

To protect the population, Idaho Fish and Game policy is to remove bighorn sheep that have or are likely to contact domestic sheep. Samples were taken immediately after the sheep was killed, and the samples and carcass have been transported to the Idaho Fish and Game Wildlife Health Lab in Caldwell for analysis.

For more information, please contact the Idaho Fish and Game's Magic Valley Region at 208-324-4359.


hunter25's picture

I was thinking the same thing

I was thinking the same thing but I'm sure there are valid reasons. The fact that a ram like this was actually in the pens with cattle if I'm reading this right seems a little strange in itself. There may have been something a bit off with him already but then I don't know very much about sheep behavior at all. But I'm willing to bet that's way out of normal for a healthy one living a nirmal life.

Retired2hunt's picture

  Hmmmmm.  I know the focus


Hmmmmm.  I know the focus here is to ensure the health of all bighorn sheep herds but I guess I don't understand why they just didn't tranquilize the animal and keep it quarantined for a given period of time to see if the bighorn did in deed provide signs of the illness or not.  I admit that I don't know anything at all about the bacteria that can be passed here.  It could be similar to how it is detected compared to CWD - as in you can only be certain by euthanizing the animal and performing the tests.  Too bad to lose such a great animal but obviously it is best to be safest in having a steadfast procedure than to spend the time, money, and energy on a quarantine program that would only be wasteful in the end.