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Lonnie Utah
Citadel Fan
Utah!
Member since Jul 2012
5109 posts

Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
The entire herd on Antelope island euthanized. I know there's not much specific interest, but maybe a general interest.

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The Last Coco
LSU Fan
On the water
Member since Mar 2009
5517 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
That really sucks. Bighorn are to me the pinnacle of north american big game, well that and a moose but totally different habitat.

And they're expensive as hell to reintroduce and reestablish. Amazing how much of their range we have screwed up.


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mylsuhat
Chicago Cubs Fan
NOLA
Member since Mar 2008
44974 posts
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re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
Rinella has a podcast on sheep and diseases. I wonder if this was transferred from a domestic herd?


guesswho
LSU Fan
BATON ROUGE
Member since Apr 2011
1421 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
I've been wanting to go hunt these animals for years. It's a shame the hunts cost so much.


Bocephus229
Georgia Fan
Valdosta
Member since Nov 2018
104 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
I remember him saying on jre that domestic sheep were the biggest threat to the big horn


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257WBY
Baylor Fan
Member since Feb 2014
1600 posts
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re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
I hope they allow hunters to kill off the herd. They’ve done this with a similar situation in Montana.
Really a shame wild sheep are so susceptible to desease. Sheep hunting is a grand game occurring in some of the most beautiful places on earth.


Lonnie Utah
Citadel Fan
Utah!
Member since Jul 2012
5109 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
quote:

I hope they allow hunters to kill off the herd.


Doubtful. Antelope island is a State Park and spread out over a large area. I think they will be doing it by helicopter.

The last time they had a "hunt" there, some wealthy hunter paid $410K (that's not a typo) to harvest a single Mule deer out there.

LINK /


Huntinguy
Member since Mar 2011
1047 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
Bet a ram wandered in with it. Those jokers can roam for dozens to hundred of miles.

It would have only taken one infected or carrier ram to wander in and infect the herd.


kywildcatfanone
Kentucky Fan
Wildcat Country!
Member since Oct 2012
56821 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
That does stink.


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Tigerhead
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2004
854 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
You have to wonder if they should just let nature take it's course in a situation like this. What if one disease resistant sheep were to survive and carry on an antibody or gene or whatever that could be passed on? I'm obviously not a veterinarian or a biologist, but I think sometimes in our haste to do what we think is right, we screw up what mother nature has managed correctly for eons. Since the sheep are on an island, and they have already allowed the population to die off from 150 to just 26? Seems kind of late in the game to step in and try to do the humanitarian thing. I get that the sheep are suffering. But if I'm suffering as I die of cancer, I still don't want somebody else to decide when I've had enough. I may want to see the sunrise one more time before cashing it in.

I've been a hunter all my life, so obviously I have no room to talk about having any mercy on wild animals. This just seems a lot like a cop shooting a guy that's holding a gun to his head, to prevent him from committing suicide. The cop didn't alter the outcome, so why not just let things play out without interference. I guess I'm just getting soft in my old age.

ETA: Nevermind. Should have looked at Antelope Island on Google Earth before I posted. I was expecting to see something along the lines of Catalina Island where there is zero chance of any migration to the mainland. Antelope Island doesn't look as secure as that.
This post was edited on 1/11 at 8:42 am


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Huntinguy
Member since Mar 2011
1047 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
Legit question. I think it has to do with timing and money.

The sheep population is actually growing/steady. If they go ahead now, speed up the inevitable, they can get more sheep to bring in. If they wait, something may happen to other populations and that may be more difficult.

The Pneumonia probably won't take them all, there are animals that become immune, but their lambs are not, so they wind up with herds of lingering aging out females that sometimes do not raise a lamb for years. (and sometimes the immune animals DO raise lambs and the population rebounds)

Which brings me to money. The sheep help bring tourism money....which helps provide for the sheep.

If there are no sheep or only sick sheep.....its a much sadder story.


Lonnie Utah
Citadel Fan
Utah!
Member since Jul 2012
5109 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
quote:

Bet a ram wandered in with it. Those jokers can roam for dozens to hundred of miles.


I hear you, but the heard is on an island in the great salt lake.

quote:

ETA: Nevermind. Should have looked at Antelope Island on Google Earth before I posted. I was expecting to see something along the lines of Catalina Island where there is zero chance of any migration to the mainland. Antelope Island doesn't look as secure as that.


How connected it depends on the level of the great salt lake. Right now, we've been in a prolonged drought (the same one that's effecting California that caused all the wild fires). Right now, there is somewhat of a connection, but it's over miles and miles of soggy mudflat that would be very difficult (but not technically impossible) for a hooved creature like this to traverse.
This post was edited on 1/11 at 9:40 am


Tigerhead
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2004
854 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
I hear you on the money thing. Again, didn't understand the terrain or the tourism issue. Certainly puts a different light on the issue.

I would love to be able to say something like, "I'm sure they know what they are doing", but there are a few too many instances of total screw ups that looked like the right thing to do in the beginning. That and the process of natural selection is why I usually lean toward letting nature do it's thing. But to be fair, fish and game biologists have had their share of success stories also.


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Four Leaf Tayback
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2017
886 posts
 Online 

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
quote:

been wanting to go hunt these animals for years. It's a shame the hunts cost so much.



This is the most dangerous, physically taxing hunt in North America due to th terrain these animals are located. Cameron Haynes lost his best friend on a sheep hunt when he made a small slip and fell off a cliff


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Tigerhead
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2004
854 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
quote:

How connected it depends on the level of the great salt lake. Right now, we've been in a prolonged drought (the same one that's effecting California that caused all the wild fires).


Thanks for the explanation. I've never visited GSL but looking at it on Google Earth it obviously has some very interesting terrain.

quote:

Right now, there is somewhat of a connection, but it's over miles and miles of soggy mudflat that would be very difficult (but not technically impossible) for a hooved creature like this to traverse


Yeah, I don't know. The biologists seem to think it's technically impossible for the disease to be introduced without a migrating host. So although extremely unlikely, maybe some adventurous sheep proved out your statement that it's "not technically impossible" to traverse.

I don't know how long the drought and the disease have been going on. However it does seem that droughts not only change the terrain, but often influences an animal's will to migrate to greener pastures. If the timing of the drought and the disease coincide, you may be on to something.

It looks like there's an old Antelope Island Rd coming in from the southeast. I can see a missing span but maybe the old road bed, or whatever that is, could make the trek a lot less impossible. Anyway, feel bad for the sheep.


Aubie Spr96
Auburn Fan
lolwut?
Member since Dec 2009
24174 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
Lonnie,

Have you been to the bison roundup they have out there every Fall? My wife and I considered a long weekend trip to catch a Utes football game and the roundup. Wondered if it was worth it?


Thanks,


Lonnie Utah
Citadel Fan
Utah!
Member since Jul 2012
5109 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
quote:

Have you been to the bison roundup they have out there every Fall? My wife and I considered a long weekend trip to catch a Utes football game and the roundup. Wondered if it was worth it?



I never have. They run news stories on it every year. I will say this, Antelope island is a cool place to visit even if they aren't running the Bison.

I know some folks that likely have info on it. Let me ask around and get back with you.



Here's one of the Big Boys that I snapped many years ago.



Lonnie Utah
Citadel Fan
Utah!
Member since Jul 2012
5109 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
quote:

It looks like there's an old Antelope Island Rd coming in from the southeast. I can see a missing span but maybe the old road bed, or whatever that is, could make the trek a lot less impossible. Anyway, feel bad for the sheep.



Without talking to the Wildlife folks I know, I think the closest population is about 40-50 miles away, but they'd have to traverse a pretty populated urban/suburban area to get there. More likely is the populations in eastern Nevada, but They are close to 100 miles away (and on the the deep side of the lake that doesn't dry up.)

While I have ZERO evidence to support this, I'd say the most likely scenario is one of the sheep on the island interacted with an infected domestic sheep either on of off the island. There is still a fair amount of ranching on the North and east side of the lake and it wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility for this to happen.

But really this is just a S.W.A.G. (Scientific Wild @$$ Guess....)



Lonnie Utah
Citadel Fan
Utah!
Member since Jul 2012
5109 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
So I talked to some guys I know that are fairly well connected to the Wildlife Department here. There's a small herd of Bighorns about 10 miles from there ( Stansbury Island). They had to put several of them down 3-4 years ago for this exact same thing. Again, no hard data, but I'm guessing this is where the infection came from.


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Aubie Spr96
Auburn Fan
lolwut?
Member since Dec 2009
24174 posts

re: Sad News for Utah's big horn sheep.
I'd love to buy some of the meat and ship it back, but it was pretty expensive.


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