Tag Archives: Sheep

2015 Big Game Digest Now Available Online

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has posted the 2015 Big Game Digest to its website. The 64-page document can be downloaded online for free at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/.

2015 California Big Game Hunting DigestThe popular guide includes season, quota and harvest information for deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep, as well as tag drawing information, bear and wild pig hunting information and big game hunting regulations for the 2015-16 seasons.

Printed copies of the Big Game Digest will automatically be mailed in late April to hunters who purchased a big game tag or applied for the Big Game Drawing in California in 2014.

“As printing costs continue to rise, more funding for big game conservation will be available if the department reduces printing and mailing costs,” said Dan Yparraguirre, CDFW’s Deputy Director of Wildlife and Fisheries. “Making the Big Game Digest available online also means that hunters can access this information sooner.”

Hunting licenses, tags and drawing applications will be available on April 15. Purchases may be made through the Online License Service, at any CDFW License Sales Office or License Agent, or by telephone at (800) 565-1458. The deadline to apply for the Big Game Drawing is midnight on June 2.

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Media Contact:
Stuart Itoga, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3642
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Volunteers Needed for Bighorn Sheep Survey

Three agencies working to survey bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel Mountains are seeking volunteers to assist in the annual sheep count.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep are seeking individuals to assist biologists March 1-2, 2014 (Saturday evening and all day Sunday).

No survey experience is necessary to participate but volunteers must attend a mandatory orientation on Saturday, March 1 at 6 p.m. at the Angeles National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Arcadia.

Volunteers will hike to designated observation sites in the San Gabriel Mountains early Sunday morning to count and record bighorn sheep. Volunteer groups will be led by a representative from either CDFW, USFS or the Society. Participants must be at least 16 years old and capable of hiking one mile in rugged terrain, although some survey routes are longer. In general, hikes will not be along trails and accessing survey points will involve scrambling over boulders, climbing up steep slopes and/or bush-whacking through chaparral.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring binoculars or spotting scopes in addition to hiking gear. Mountain weather can be unpredictable and participants should be prepared to spend several hours hiking and additional time making observations in cold and windy weather. Volunteers will need to start hiking early Sunday morning.

For volunteers who wish to camp, complimentary campsites will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Applewhite Campground in Lytle Creek on the night of March 1, 2014.

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.

Please sign up online at http://www.sangabrielbighorn.org/San_Gabriel_Bighorn_Sheep_Home.html . If you do not have access to the internet, you may call either (909) 627-1613 or (909) 584-9012 to receive a volunteer packet.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
John Miller, USFS Communications, (909) 382-2788
Norm Lopez, Society for Conservation (805) 431-2824

A bighorn sheep ram on a hill overlooking desert
Bighorn sheep

CDFW Creates First Bighorn Sheep Herd in 25 Years

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), along with volunteers from around the state, has established a new herd of federally endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.

“This is the first reintroduction effort of a new herd of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep since 1988,” said Tom Stephenson, CDFW bighorn recovery program leader.

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Historically, Sierra bighorn were abundant throughout the Sierra Nevada; however, by the 1970s, only two herds remained. Disease spread by domestic sheep and unregulated commercial hunting are believed to have caused their demise.

“Many endangered species remain on the brink of extinction with poor prospects for recovery after they receive federal protection,” said Stephenson. “Through our conservation efforts, we have a unique opportunity to reach recovery goals for an alpine specialist that is native only to California.”

During the week of March 25, 2013 10 female and four male bighorn sheep were captured from two of the largest existing herds in the Sierra Nevada and reintroduced to the vacant herd unit of Olancha Peak at the southern end of the range in Inyo County.  Six additional females were moved to two small northern herds, Convict Creek and Mount Gibbs, for augmentation of those herds.

Following this recent effort, there are now 10 herds of Sierra bighorn between Owens Lake and Mono Lake. Three additional herds are needed to meet recovery goals. The population currently numbers around 500 animals and is up considerably from a low of just over 100 animals.

A video news story is available at http://youtu.be/5KOMCxxTL6U

Note: High-resolution photos and video are available for use at ftp://ftp.dfg.ca.gov/oceo

Media Contacts:
Tom Stephenson, CDFW Wildlife Supervisor, (760) 873-4305
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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Volunteers Needed for Bighorn Sheep Survey

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep (SCBS) are seeking volunteers to assist biologists on March 9 and 10 (Saturday evening and all day Sunday).

No survey experience is necessary to participate but volunteers must attend an orientation on Saturday, March 9, at 6:00 p.m. at the Angeles National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Arcadia.

Volunteers will hike to designated observation sites in the San Gabriel Mountains early Sunday morning to count and record bighorn sheep. A representative from CDFW, USFS or the Society will lead volunteer groups. Participants must be at least 16 years old and capable of hiking one mile in rugged terrain, although most survey routes are longer. In general, hikes will not be along trails. Accessing survey points will involve scrambling over boulders, climbing up steep slopes, and bush-whacking through chaparral.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring binoculars or spotting scopes in addition to hiking gear. Mountain weather can be unpredictable and participants should be prepared to spend several hours hiking and additional time making observations in cold and windy weather. Volunteers will need to start hiking early Sunday morning. For volunteers who wish to camp, complimentary campsites will be available to volunteers on a first-come, first-served basis at the Applewhite Campground in Lytle Creek on the night of March 9.

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 by more than 80 percent during the 1980s but appears to be increasing now. Recent estimates have put the population at about 400 animals.

Please sign up online at http://www.sangabrielbighorn.org. If you do not have access to the Internet, you may call either (626) 574-5287 or (909) 584-9012 to receive a volunteer packet.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
John Miller, USFS Communications, (909) 382-2788
Norm Lopez, Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep,(805) 431-2824

California Desert Bighorn Sheep Tag Sells for $45,000

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.

Media Contacts:
Regina Abella, Desert Bighorn Sheep Coordinator, (916) 445-3728
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478