Father's Day Gift a Lucky Draw

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A Father’s Day gift from his wife brought the luck of the draw to Greg Koons of Phoenix, Ariz., whose name was drawn in the Department of Game and Fish bighorn sheep raffle in Albuquerque June 23.

“Koons already had a three-quarter slam - Dall’s, Stone and desert,” said Eric Rominger, Department bighorn biologist, referring to wild sheep hunters’ grand slam goal of four North American wild sheep species. “His wife told him, ‘I wish I could buy you a Rocky Mountain bighorn hunt but I can’t,’ so she bought him 10 New Mexico raffle tickets instead.”

One of those 10 tickets was the lucky one. Koons may choose between the Pecos or Wheeler Peak wildernesses for his hunt. Rominger believes Koons will select Wheeler Peak, where he can hunt from Sept. 1-31 this year.

“The third and fourth biggest record rams came off that mountain last fall,” Rominger said.

Rominger said Koons, who is a bighorn sheep guide in Arizona and a general contractor by trade, is one lucky guy.

“He found the number-two world record desert bighorn,” he said. “It scored 202 and the world record desert bighorn is 205. In Arizona, people can keep the skulls they find.” Skulls remain the property of the state in New Mexico.

Bighorn sheep raffle tickets sold for $20 apiece and the raffle brought in more than $50,000. The Department contracts the New Mexico Chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep to manage the raffle and the proceeds are used for sheep management.

“There is a lot of activity scheduled in 2004,” said Darrel Weybright, Department big game manager. “The money will be used for bighorn habitat manipulation - thinning pinon-juniper forests in the desert to allow sheep to see predators. There also are three bighorn captures this fall, which cost about $100,000 each, so the money will help with those operations as well.”