Bighorn Sheep Auction Tag Sells for $78,000

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A Pennsylvania man bid $78,000 at the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep auction held last week in Reno for the opportunity to hunt an Oregon bighorn sheep in any of the state’s sheep hunt units during an expanded season.

Based on his bid, Don Snyder, Canton, Penn., may hunt for either a Rocky Mountain or California bighorn this year. The national FNAWS organization hosts the auction each year at its annual banquet. In 2002, the successful bidder paid $74,000 for the Oregon tag. Since 1987, the bighorn auction tag has generated $986,600 for Oregon’s bighorn sheep.

Money raised through the auction of this tag helps fund Oregon’s bighorn sheep management and research programs. Proceeds from last year’s auction tag were used to help fund this year’s bighorn trapping and transplant operations.

Oregon was one of many states and provinces in North America offering auction tags for wild sheep at the annual banquet. Bid prices ranged from $31,000 for a Navaho Nation desert bighorn sheep to $200,000 for a Rocky Mountain bighorn in Alberta. Idaho’s tag went for $90,000, and Washington’s garnered $50,000. The auction took in more than $1.7 million for 21 sheep tags, which is the most revenue taken in since 1998’s $1.86 million for 16 tags.

Oregon also raffles a bighorn sheep tag each year. The drawing for the 2003 hunt will occur May 17 at the Oregon Hunters Association banquet in Redmond. The 2002 raffle generated more than $77,000 for management programs, and organizers expect this year’s will bring similar proceeds. The deadline to buy raffle tickets through Point-of-Sale license agents is May 7. Tickets can also be purchased by mail order or at the OHA banquet. Since 1992, the raffle tag has generated nearly $445,300.

Both the auction tag holder and the raffle winner are exempt from Oregon’s limitation of one bighorn sheep hunt tag per lifetime. This exemption went into effect in 2000 as a result of Legislative action proposed by Oregon Hunters Association and FNAWS. More information on Oregon’s bighorn sheep raffle tag may be found in the 2002 Big Game Regulations on pages 28-31.