Catching Up On Mexico Bighorn Developments


Published: January - 2006

Things are looking up for desert bighorn sheep hunting in Mexico. Permit numbers have remained stable, despite several years of rumors about drastic cutbacks, and sheep populations are getting a big boost from both private and public enterprises. Some of these efforts could result in large new areas of the country being re-populated with sheep. Specifically, efforts are underway to re-populate areas in the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.

One of the big players in this attempt to restore sheep populations is CEMEX, a large cement company. CEMEX has begun to acquire lands and develop sheep habitat in the state of Coahuila, and in neighboring Texas, with an eye toward creating a trans-border park area. Ray Lee, CEO of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS), tells us CEMEX has already released a number of sheep here and has hired up to five biologists to create and manage a wildlife program. The population, of course, does not currently lend itself to hunting, but Lee says there is little doubt they will have a hunting program in only a few years.

Besides CEMEX, Lee says a number of private landowners in Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Chihuahua have begun to acquire bighorns, which they are keeping in fenced enclosures. The plan is to protect them from predators and let them reproduce, increasing their numbers at a faster rate than they would occur if they were simply released in the wild. The hope is to create self-sustaining populations in areas where wild sheep previously existed.

Another place where re-population efforts are in the works is southern Baja, where over the past two years 60 sheep have been relocated from Carmen Island to areas that historically had wild sheep. Carmen Island itself is a real success story in re-population efforts. Dedicated sheep hunters will remember that Carmen Island received transplanted sheep from the Baja Peninsula as recently as 1993. Now, the population there is so large it is producing animals for transplant elsewhere.

As for the prospects for this........(continued)

 
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