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Tendoy Bighorn Sheep to be Depopulated, Restocked

Fish & Wildlife - Region 3

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wants to go ahead with a plan to depopulate the chronically diseased Tendoy Mountains bighorn sheep herd using public hunting as the primary tool. The area would then be restocked with healthy bighorns.

The proposed hunt format is similar to that used in unlimited bighorn license areas, although a quota would not be established as the goal is to eliminate the entire herd of approximately 40 bighorns. Any remaining bighorns not taken by hunters would be removed by FWP.

On June 11, the Fish and Wildlife Commission put out for public comment the proposal to sell licenses to accomplish the depopulation and is taking public comment until 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, 2015.  The Commission will make a final decision in July and, if adopted, licenses would be offered in early August.

Approximately 50 bighorn sheep will repopulate the Tendoys once all members of the diseased herd are removed. The healthy sheep used to restock the area will be from a yet to be determined herd in need of management reductions at the time.

The decision notice on the proposed depopulation and restocking action can be read here: http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/environmentalAssessments/speciesRemovalAndRelocation/pn_0071.html

Bighorn sheep in the Tendoys have experienced two significant pneumonia die-offs in the last 25 years (1993 and 1999). The population has been augmented three times since 1997, but the population has not rebounded because disease is likely being carried by some of the surviving sheep.