Big Changes Underway In Desert Sheep Hunts


Published: September - 2003

Several recent and noteworthy developments are about to change the face of desert sheep hunting in Mexico. The first and perhaps most important issue for many hunters is the proliferation of high-fence areas in Mexico. High fencing was originally authorized by the Mexican government for desert sheep breeding programs designed to eventually release animals back into the wild. Later, some landowners fenced their areas to protect sheep from poaching or to prevent them from leaving their lands. Last year, at least 18 of the 61 tags authorized for Sonora were for high-fence areas. Not all of the high-fence tags sold either, and when they did, it was for less than the price of a tag in a free-ranging area. The lower price appears to reflect the fact that one cannot enter a ram taken behind a high fence in the Boone & Crockett record book, even though they can still be entered in the SCI record book.

While hunting behind high fences is accepted and widely practiced in the US for white-tailed deer and exotics, it has not yet been widely accepted for a species such as desert sheep. A complicating factor is the size of some of the desert-sheep enclosures being used. Some are said to be as small as 400 acres.

There are also some allegations swirling about foul play behind some high fences. That is probably not surprising given the fact that desert sheep hunting, at roughly $60,000 a clip, is one of the most expensive single-species hunts in the world. It seems that some landowners have trapped 10-, 11- and 12-year-old rams from the wild and put them behind high fences for the ostensible purpose of breeding. The allegations are that the high fence is not supporting a breeding program but rather a put-and-take sheep hunting operation.

Some believe that high-fence operations may be the saviors of desert sheep in some areas because they protect the animals from poaching. Others say high-fence hunting is degrading the very essence of desert sheep hunting. It is an issue worthy........(continued)

 
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Facilitators: Solimar Hunting Safaris; Carlos Hermosillo Outfitters; Alcampo Hunting Adventures; Camou Brothers; Baja-Son Outfitters; Foundation For North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS); Foundation For North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS) -;

  


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