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News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) based in Bozeman, Montana, applauds the action taken Thursday by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a bipartisan sportsmen’s bill that addresses many priorities for American hunters, anglers and recreational shooters. On a voice vote, the Senate E&NR advanced S.733, which would reauthorize key conservation programs, help boost the outdoor recreation economy, permanently establish the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee and allow for expanded wildlife management measures on National Park Service lands. “The Wild Sheep Foundation supports the strong focus on access to public lands as the driving issue for this bill, along with several other bipartisan measures to enhance access and habitat management for the benefit of hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts,” said WSF President & CEO Gray N. Thornton. “This bill continues to build upon previous Sportsmen’s Acts that have all enjoyed broad bipartisan support in each of the past three Congressional sessions.” As the international leader in the conservation and restoration of wild sheep, WSF continues to work on public land access for sportsmen throughout the country. “This bipartisan bill will open more areas to hunting and fishing, allow people a greater ability to enjoy the outdoors and grow America's thriving outdoor recreation economy,” said Thornton. “Hunting and fishing are a way of life for millions of Americans, and this sportsmen’s package will ensure that our federal lands remain open for access unless otherwise closed through federal land planning process. It will also help federal agency land managers work to expand and enhance access in accordance with their missions.” The Wild Sheep Foundation, formerly the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, was founded in 1977 by wild sheep conservationists and enthusiasts. WSF’s Mission is to enhance wild sheep populations, promote professional wildlife management, and educate the public and youth on sustainable use and the conservation benefits of hunting while promoting the interests of the hunter and all stakeholders. With a membership of more than 7,000 worldwide and a Chapter and Affiliate network in North America and Europe, WSF is the premier advocate for wild sheep, other mountain wildlife, their habitats and their conservation. Since forming in 1977, the Wild Sheep Foundation and its chapters and affiliates have raised and expended more than $110 million on conservation, education and conservation advocacy programs in North America, Europe and Asia towards its purpose to “Put and Keep Wild Sheep On the Mountain”™. These and other efforts have resulted in a three-fold increase in bighorn sheep populations in North America from their historic 1950-60s lows of 25,000 to 85,000 today. WSF, its Chapters, Affiliates and agency partners are also working together to ensure thinhorn sheep thrive in their northern mountain realms for generations to enjoy.


News Article | March 20, 2016
Site: phys.org

The ruling earlier this month by the three-judge panel against domestic sheep producers upheld a lower court ruling in Idaho supporting a U.S. Forest Service decision to close sheep grazing allotments to protect bighorns. "A lot of people were looking at this waiting to see what they did," said Laurie Rule of Advocates for the West, noting it's the first time a U.S. circuit court has ruled on disease transmission between the species. The ruling gives the Forest Service legal backing to look at other areas in the West where domestic sheep grazing should be limited to protect bighorns, she said, or for environmental groups "to try to force the Forest Service to do it if they're not going to do it on their own." The Idaho Wool Growers Association and others sued in 2012, contending that the U.S. Forest Service illegally shut down 70 percent of sheep grazing in the Payette National Forest in west-central Idaho based on unproven disease transmission between domestic and bighorn sheep. But a U.S. district court—and now a federal appeals court— disagreed. "There's that possibility that it could be used on other forests," said Stan Boyd, executive director of the Idaho Wool Growers Association. He said the association was considering its next move involving possible legal action. Kristine Lee, director of Natural Resources for the U.S. Forest Service's Intermountain Region, said the agency already had a strategy before the circuit court ruling. "For us, what it does, it supports our strategy to look at and analyze the risk of contact between bighorn and domestic sheep through our regulations," she said. "Bottom line, the court ruling does not alter what we're doing." North America had about 2 million bighorn sheep before numbers declined starting in the late 1800s to about 10 percent of that, the circuit court decision said, with over-hunting, habitat loss, food competition and disease transmission from domestic sheep generally cited as reasons. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game estimated the state's bighorn population at 3,065 in March 2015, up from about 2,900 the year before. About 1,500 of those are in the Salmon River Mountains and Hells Canyon in the western part of the state, which includes the areas where the sheep grazing allotments were closed. The Payette National Forest came out with a management plan in the early 2000s that environmental groups contended didn't protect bighorn sheep habitat from domestic sheep diseases. Forest managers tried again with the goal of maintaining a viable population of bighorns. In 2010, following legal action by environmentalists to speed the process, the Payette National Forest issued a decision closing 70 percent of sheep grazing allotments, concluding that bighorns faced a significant risk of contracting fatal diseases from domestic sheep and needed large buffers. That closure led to the lawsuit by domestic sheep growers in 2012. In 2014, a federal judge for the District of Idaho ruled against the domestic sheep growers. The appeals court upheld that decision. Many Western states eager to bolster the populations of bighorn sheep, a coveted big game animal among hunters, have been active in transplanting bighorns. But recurring die-offs from disease have stymied efforts in many areas. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game transplanted bighorns but hasn't since state lawmakers in 2009—in the midst of sheep grazing being shut down in much of the Payette National Forest—approved a law backed by domestic sheep producers aimed at protecting allotments. Jim Jeffres of the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation said the law views bighorns as invaders in areas with domestic sheep. He said that put an end to efforts to transplant bighorns because the wild sheep would just die without measures to prevent them from mingling with domestic sheep. "With the politics involved it's extremely difficult for any state agency to address this, and it's politically unsafe for a lot of federal agencies to push this," he said. The circuit court decision is significant, Rule said, because federal law takes precedent over state law when it comes to maintaining viable habitat on Forest Service land in areas with federal sheep grazing permits. Boyd said the number of domestic sheep in Idaho has dropped from 2.7 million in the 1930s to about 185,000. He cited land restrictions, predators and problems getting reliable labor. But he said markets for sheep products are strong. "We just keep plugging on," he said, noting one possible solution for sheep producers is some type of vaccine that could prevent disease transmission to bighorns. "Hopefully one of these days we'll figure something out that will help ease the pressure," he said. Explore further: Climate change increases stress, need for restoration on grazed public lands


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The Bozeman, Mont. based Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) announced it expects to raise more than $3 million for state, provincial and tribal wild sheep conservation during the auctions of special conservation permits and tags at the foundation’s convention in Reno, Nev. Jan. 19-21. Special conservation permits and tags for an array of big-game species in Canada, Mexico, the U.S. and Asia will be auctioned off at WSF’s 2017 Convention and Expo, The Sheep Show™, this week at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino. This year marks the WSF’s 40th annual convention. “We typically direct more than $3 million annually to state, provincial and tribal agencies through the sale of conservation permits and tags at our convention,” said WSF President and CEO Gray N. Thornton. “The funds raised are used to advance research into diseases that threaten wild sheep populations, support trap and transplant measures and provide habitat expansion and water resources, among many other efforts. All of this work by on-the-ground agencies is carefully planned to protect and augment wild sheep populations throughout North America.” Thornton also said according to data from the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 75 percent of all wild sheep conservation and management revenue comes from special auction and raffle permits and tags. “In the past seven years, WSF’s auction of special permits and tags has raised a total of $17,472,500 for conservation efforts throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico from the tags alone,” said Thornton. “WSF also typically directs more than $1 million annually to wild sheep and mission programs from operational dollars. During the past three years, WSF has directed more than $13.4 Million to wild sheep, wildlife and habitat conservation.” During evening banquets at The Sheep Show™, special permits and tags from 13 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, Mexico, Mongolia and 3 tribal reservations will be offered during often fiercely-competitive auctions. Auction items will include an array of special permits and tags for mule deer, antelope, moose, elk, Alaskan brown bear, mountain goat and four species of North American wild sheep: Dall’s, Stone’s, desert bighorn, and Rocky Mountain bighorn as well as Asian argali. At last year’s convention, auctions of these special permits and tags raised $2,937,500. Three years ago, WSF’s special permit and tag auction proceeds raised a record $3,073,000. With the largest attendance in four decades expected at this year’s convention, Thornton said the foundation expects to exceed the $3 million mark again. For a complete listing of special permits, tags, other auction offerings and on-line bidding opportunities, visit http://www.wildsheepfoundation.org. “These are hunts-of-a-lifetime for some of the most treasured and sought-after species any hunter could dream of,” said Thornton. “One of the convention’s most exciting events will be the Jan. 20 Friday night auction of a special permit to pursue one of Montana’s prized Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.” At the 2013 Sheep Show, the Montana Rocky Mountain bighorn special permit went for a record $480,000. Since then, the Montana bighorn permit has consistently raised over $300,000 annually and remains the auction item that brings in the highest price. These dollars are directed back to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to fund bighorn sheep restoration and conservation in the state. “All of the auction excitement and competitiveness translates to conservation dollars that go back to the states, tribes and provinces to put and keep wild sheep on the mountain for everyone to enjoy,” said Thornton. “We constantly face challenges for the future of wild sheep, particularly disease and habitat issues. These conservation dollars go directly back to address these challenges at the grassroots level, and our success is measurable in the three-fold increase in bighorn sheep populations over the past 60 years.” For a full schedule of events, information on hotel discounts at the Reno Peppermill Resort Spa Casino and the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, or to join as a member with the WSF and the conservation and education programs, please visit http://www.wildsheepfoundation.org, contact 800-OK-FNAWS (800-653-6297), email info@wildsheepfoundation.org or visit Facebook.com/wildsheepfoundation. Contact WSF at (406) 404-8750 to register or visit the Expo Registration Deck at the convention site https://www.visitrenotahoe.com/about-us. The Bozeman, Montana based Wild Sheep Foundation, formerly the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS,) was founded in 1977 by wild sheep conservationists and enthusiasts. WSF’s Mission is to enhance wild sheep populations, promote professional wildlife management, and educate the public and youth on sustainable use and the conservation benefits of hunting while promoting the interests of the hunter and all stakeholders. With a membership of more than 6,700 worldwide and a Chapter and Affiliate network in North America and Europe, WSF is the premier advocate for wild sheep, other mountain wildlife, their habitat, and their conservation. Since forming in 1977, the Wild Sheep Foundation and its chapters and affiliates have raised and expended more than $110 million on conservation, education and conservation advocacy programs in North America, Europe and Asia towards its Purpose to “Put and Keep Wild Sheep On the Mountain”™. These and other efforts have resulted in a three-fold increase in bighorn sheep populations in North America from their historic 1950-60s lows of ~25,000 to ~85,000 today. WSF, our Chapters and Affiliates and agencies partners are also working together to ensure thinhorn sheep thrive in their northern mountain realms for generations to enjoy.


Hurley K.,Wild Sheep Foundation | Brewer C.,Texas Parks and Wildlife Department | Thornton G.N.,Wild Sheep Foundation
International Journal of Environmental Studies | Year: 2015

Wild sheep in North America were abundant and widely distributed prior to European exploration and settlement. By the early twentieth century unregulated hunting, forage competition with domestic livestock, introduced diseases, and human encroachment had dramatically reduced bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) numbers and distribution in the western US, southern Canada, and mainland and Baja Peninsula Mexico. The restoration of bighorn sheep has been a remarkable conservation success, as a result of efforts by wildlife and land management agencies, conservation organizations, private landowners and other stakeholders. These efforts have been largely underwritten by pro-hunting conservation organizations. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.


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Wild Sheep Foundation | Date: 2016-01-27

Sheep and lamb wool; clothing, meat and other products made from sheep or lamb.

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