Update On Sheep In Canada


Published: December - 1997

Alberta: Wild sheep researcher Jon Jorgenson tells me that hunters each year take a high percentage of the legal rams (4/5-curl-or-larger) that are available in this province. As a rule, most big rams that are harvested wander in from adjoining parks that are closed to hunting, or from areas leased for mining and closed to hunting. Over the past few years, hunters have taken two rams that exceed the magic 200-point mark. Jorgenson and other researchers note that sheep found south of the Bow River usually have a faster rate of horn growth than those to the north. Even so, the fact remains that big rams do occur to the north, as witness the Gary Hansen ram that scored in excess of 204. Alberta is experimenting in a few areas with a full-curl regulation, and game officials expect the average age and horn length of harvested rams to increase in these areas.

British Columbia: This province is a sheep hunter's paradise, with its populations of Rocky Mountain bighorns, California bighorns, stone sheep and dall sheep. It is definitely the place to go for California bighorns and stone sheep. Furthermore, this province works to provide opportunities for many people to hunt while still producing some big rams each season. Each outfitter in sheep country has an annual ram kill quota that clients may harvest. Quotas are very low, so demand for these permits is high. In 1996, 28 non-residents killed either a Rocky Mountain or a California bighorn. By contrast, 204 non-residents killed a stone or a dall ram in 1996. As for 1997 news, I have heard from several sources that a 47-inch stone ram was taken, and that a BC resident took a 42 1/2-inch bighorn that green-scored about 185 from the eastern Kootenays. Dall sheep are only found in the very northwestern corner of the province and the total population is probably no more than 500. No dall rams were harvested by non-residents in 1997, but many years ago I saw the longest-horned dall ram of my life in British Columbia, and I am told quality rams still live here. Province-wide in 1996,........(continued)

 
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