Forty-nine sheep captured on Wild Horse Island in northwest Montana last week have been safely released in the Tendoy Mountains south of Dillon. The sheep from Wild Horse will bolster an existing herd of 40-50 sheep in the Tendoys.
The sheep capture began last Thursday, when 21 sheep were captured on Wild Horse Island, processed, and then hauled to the Tendoys. On Friday, 8 more sheep were captured and transported. The final 20 sheep were captured on the island on Saturday, and released in the Tendoys about 10 p.m. that night to complete the project. The 49 sheep transported included 40 ewes, 4 lambs (2 females, 2 males), and 5 rams (3 yearlings, a 2-year old, and a 3-year old).
According to FWP Biologist Bruce Sterling, workers caught a total of 50 sheep in the three days. Unfortunately, on Saturday, one 2-year old ram died on the island from a fractured neck while being netted.
Funding for this project, and other sheep augmentation and conservation projects comes from the annual auction of a single Montana bighorn ram hunting permit. This year the permit went for $300,000 at the Wild Sheep Foundation auction in Reno, Nevada.