Tuesday, August 30, 2016
During a conference call Aug. 29 the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a proposal from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to continue a bighorn sheep elimination effort in the Tendoy Mountains (bighorn sheep hunting district 315) that was initiated in 2015.
The action is a follow-up to last year’s commission decision to move forward with eliminating the Tendoy Mountains bighorn sheep herd in an effort to address a disease issue within the herd. Disease in the Tendoy sheep herd is endemic resulting in poor reproduction. Following removal of the remaining 12 sheep the plan is to restock the area with healthy bighorns.
FWP will sell unlimited licenses for three days from Sept. 6 to Sept.8 and begin the hunt on Sept. 15 concurrent with the traditional opening of bighorn sheep season, which ends Nov. 27. Licenses will be available at any license agent or online and cost $125 for residents and $1,250 for nonresidents. By statute, hunters harvesting a ram or a lamb would be subject to the seven-year wait to again apply for a limited either-sex or legal ram license. Hunters taking a ewe are not subject to the seven-year wait.
Hunters need to be aware of the conditions and have realistic expectations about the hunt. The remaining sheep have become very wary and will be difficult to find and harvest. People purchasing a license will be sent a letter concerning the hunt, reporting requirements, and the general areas where remaining sheep are most likely to be found.
During the 2015 hunt period 24 sheep were taken. Following the public hunting FWP hoped to take any remaining sheep by helicopter or from the ground, so no public hunt was proposed earlier. However, since the end of the 2015 hunting season five attempts by helicopter and more than 20 days of effort from the ground have resulted in the taking of only four additional sheep.