Idaho Closes Grazing Allotments to Benefit Bighorn Sheep


Published: September - 2010

Idaho bighorn sheep will benefit tremendously from a recent decision to close grazing allotments for domestic sheep and goats. This is a huge victory, thanks to the work of the US Forest Service, Nez Perce Tribe and the Wild Sheep Foundation.

Anyone who follows wild sheep knows of the potential problems that exist when wild sheep and domestic sheep and goats are allowed to come into contact on grazing allotments. There are many recorded examples where entire herds of wild sheep have been decimated because of this contact, and many of the historical ranges in the West have limited wild sheep opportunities today because of these allotments. However, the US Forest Service recently announced that all or portions of 20 domestic sheep and goat grazing allotments on the Payette National Forest in Idaho will be closed over the next three years  protecting a whopping 94 percent of the area used by local bighorn herds.

This huge area roughly extends from the Snake River (Hells Canyon) to the east side of the South Fork of the Salmon River east of Riggins, Idaho. This is a huge area containing some truly magnificent hunting country. For those of us who have worked for decades to introduce wild sheep back into their historical ranges, this was a tremendous announcement! . . . Life is too short  go hunting!

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