The Kamloops herd is the source of many California bighorns transplanted to the United States and the BC interior, and it has proven its genetics. Animals from this heard continue to supplement other areas today, with 28 sheep transplanted just last year. Before the Indian band began offering a permit three years ago, the sheep in their area had gone virtually unhunted, as they do not even allow subsistence hunting of these sheep by band members. Since the first permit, they have offered one permit for auction each year, along with a permit offered to BC residents through a drawing. The rams taken by nonresidents on these hunts include a 171 ram taken in 2006, a 179 ram taken in 2007, and a 175 field-scored ram taken in 2008. Sheep in the lower 180s have reportedly been spotted as well. California bighorn sheep tend to be smaller than Rocky Mountain bighorns, weighing as much as 50 pounds less and carrying shorter and less massive horns. Although they are not recognized as a subspecies of bighorn in the Boone & Crockett record book, California bighorns are listed in the SCI record book with a minimum score of 142. All of the rams taken with the Kamloops Indians would rank among the top 15 trophies of the SCI book.
The Kamloops Indian band's sheep and habitat management program is considered among the very best and has even won awards. The hunts they are offering are part of a five-year pilot program initiated to raise funds for their conservation activities. These include noxious weed control, burns, flight population surveys, etc. Their long-term goal here is to establish their own guide territory within........(continued)