Hunters & Conservationists Unite: It’s not an oxymoron. Considering the current economic situation, all were happy to see that the tag sold for more than $75,000. All of the funds go directly into the big game management fund and get used to further wildlife conservation in California.Surveys for bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel range have been conducted annually since 1979. The mountain range once held an estimated 740 sheep, which made the San Gabriel population the largest population of desert bighorn sheep in California. The bighorn population declined more than 80 percent through the 1980s but appears to be on the increase with recent estimates yielding approximately 400 animals.
A California Desert Bighorn Sheep tag sold for $45,000 at the 41st Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada. The tag was sold through the Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation). Each year the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) authorizes the sale of a limited number of big game permits through various conservation organizations to support wildlife programs in the state. All proceeds from the sale will be used to fund conservation efforts in California.
The tag was sold to Jim Craig of Indiana to hunt Zone 2, the Kelso Peak and Old Dad Mountains in San Bernardino County. The season for this tag will run from Nov. 2, 2013 to Feb. 2, 2014. Craig has purchased a California Desert Bighorn Auction tag for three years running. He is an ardent sheep hunter and donates to bighorn sheep conservation projects along with buying auction tags. He cites California’s wildlife management and personnel as some of the best in the West.
Generally, three bighorn sheep, 10 deer, three elk and two pronghorn antelope tags are available for auction annually.
This year’s second Desert Bighorn Sheep auction tag, the open zone tag, will be auctioned at the California Wild Sheep Foundation Banquet in Carmichael, Calif. on April 27. For more information on this tag go to: http://www.cawsf.org.
What is your opinion on this issue of sacrificing a few to save many? Please leave your comments on the About the Author tab or Tweat me @MarybethHaydon Thank you! & My FB is http://ow.ly/hycIm
ALSO: I will be posting photos of this years bighorn sheep survey on my Facebook. I am one of the volunteers who go out into the field and count the sheep. It is quite the privilege and delight to see these impressive creatures in their natural habitat, out of harms way. I have the survey from 2011 already posted on my Facebook, come visit and check it out. Go to Photos, then to Albums. http://ow.ly/i46ro (My Facebook is under Wilderness Training)
Regina Abella, Desert Bighorn Sheep Coordinator, (916) 445-3728
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478