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N.D. bighorn sheep count steady

The North Dakota population of bighorn sheep is nearly steady, according to information released by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

The department’s annual census indicated 293 animals. This compares to 297 a year ago and breaks down to 85 rams, 159 ewes and 49 lambs. The census does not include about 30 bighorn recently introduced to the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Brett Wiedmann, big game biologist for NDGF, said the northern badlands herd was at record numbers while the southern herd saw a decline of 15 percent.

“Rams and lambs showed a slight decline, but adult ewes increased,” Wiedmann said. “About 75 percent of lambs counted during last summer’s survey survived the winter, which is about average, but the recruitment rate of 37 percent was above average.”

NDGF is allocating five bighorn hunting licenses for 2014, an increase of one over the 2013 license count.