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.
“California Fish and Wildlife biologists have done an excellent job at managing their desert bighorn sheep population,” said Craig. “We all have to chip in and help with conservation efforts.”
Most of the sheep tags issued each year are allotted through a randomized drawing; two are available for auction and one through a fund raising randomized drawing. In 2012, CDFW issued 27 California Desert Bighorn sheep tags for specific units from Imperial County to the White Mountain Units. To date 23 hunters harvested sheep. The number of rams to be harvested each year is based on biological surveys and herd health.
California Desert Bighorn Sheep tags are one of the most coveted and prized tags. Each year more than $200,000 is raised by the three Desert Bighorn Sheep tags at auction and the fundraising randomized drawing. By law, revenue from sales of fundraising tags is deposited into a Big Game Account and used in the CDFW respective species management program. Generally, three bighorn sheep, 10 deer, three elk and two pronghorn antelope tags are available for auction annually.
“Non-profit conservation organizations, like SCI Foundation, that auction conservation tags provided by CDFW play a vital role in helping obtain funding for conservation projects,” said Eric Loft, Wildlife Branch Chief. “In 2012 CDFW received a record $546,010 for research and management from auction and randomized drawing tags.”
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: www.cawsf.org.
Regina Abella, Desert Bighorn Sheep Coordinator, (916) 445-3728
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478