I found out there are several ways to get a permit for this hunt, and, yes, nonresidents can get them, too. I'll tell you how in a minute. First, you should know that the desert bighorn population in Texas is a great conservation success story, considering the herd was extirpated back in the 1960s. Hunting was outlawed as early as 1903, and efforts to protect and augment the state's wild sheep throughout the 40s and 50s failed. In the 1980s, however, the Texas Chapter of FNAWS and the Texas Bighorn Society raised the necessary funds to get things moving. Their fundraising efforts and collaboration with Texas Parks & Wildlife has really paid off. Based on this year's aerial surveys, biologists estimate the herd is now at 1,100 animals. That's a 17 percent increase from 2006.
Based on these findings, Texas Parks & Wildlife increased the number of permits issued from 12 last year to 13 for the 2007/2008 season. That may not sound like a lot, but the number has been increasing for the last several years. With interest growing among Texas landowners to provide improved habitat and water sources for sheep herds, biologists hope to continue increasing permit numbers annually.
There are now herds of sheep in seven areas of Southwestern Texas: the Sierra Diablo Mountains in Hudspeth County; the Baylor Mountains, Beech Mountains and Van Horn Mountains of Culbertson County; the Sierra Vieja of Presidio County; and the Elephant Mountain and Black Gap Wildlife Management Areas of Brewster County.........(continued)