Keeping Bighorn Sheep Safe | VideoJason Dumas | 3/14/2013
A dozen sheep have been moved from an area just east of Highway 85 to a spot 25 miles southwest. At least six bighorns have been killed by vehicles since 2010. The population has been declining and a primary reason has been car collisions. Game and Fish wants to save these animals before another one is hit.
"So when you have that kind of valuable resource in a location where they`re being killed on a regular basis because of vehicle collisions, we felt it was the responsible thing to do to move them out of there the time being," said Randy Kreil with the ND Game and Fish Department.
In order to move the 12 bighorns, a helicopter crew had to be assembled. A crew member shoots a net at the animal to capture it, then another member of the crew known as the "mugger" blindfolds the bighorn to keep it calm while in the air. They are then transferred by horse trailer and released in the proper location. This can be an extremely risky process.
"Anytime you capture animals like this, there`s a possibility for animals to die. It`s not a 100 percent process and things can go wrong and animals can die inadvertently. But in this case, we successfully moved all 12 animals and had it all done before noon in one day so it went well," Kreil said.
Each bighorn was given a radio collar so its location can be monitored. This operation cost about $9,000.
The population of big horn sheep in the state is around 300. Hopefully this move will stop it from declining.