Restocking the herd Bighorn sheep brought to East Humboldt

Nevada Department of Wildlife releases a bighorn sheep Thursday in the East Humboldt Range near Wells.

Cindy Joyce/Free Press Correspondent

WELLS — Early Thursday morning, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, in collaboration with their International partners of Canada (Alberta Fish & Wildlife), released a herd of 20 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the “big rocks” area on the Angel Lake Road. A total of 17 ewes and three rams comprised the herd, which were captured at the Cadomin Mine in Alberta.

The purpose of this release was to reintroduce these sheep into the East Humboldt Range, as several bighorns in this area, died in the winter of 2009-2010, due to pneumonia.

There was an initial release of bighorn in this area in 1992, that also came from the same location in Alberta. Both local and international wildlife departments have been working on the project for the past two years, to accomplish this goal. “This is a clean slate of disease free sheep,” said Caleb McAdoo, game biologist for NDOW.

Last year, approximately 15 bighorns were removed from this area, and were relocated to the Ruby Mountains.

“This is part of a bigger, ongoing study of disease transmission and an experiment that’s being looked at “west-wide,” maybe internationally to monitor disease and learn more.

“This is pretty exciting for us. A great day to get sheep back on the mountain. This is to ultimately provide a resource for the public and sportsmen to enjoy, both consumptive and non consumptive,” said McAdoo.

Nevada Bighorns Unlimited: Elko and Reno, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Alberta Fish & Wildlife, USDA, Canadian Department of Agriculture, and Adm. of the Environment: Canada, were all responsible and played their part toward the release.

“This is a great project for a number of reasons. It really exemplifies the collaborative efforts from a local level, all the way to international. It really came together, all working toward one mission,” McAdoo said.

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Looking around at the large crowd gathered for the viewing of the sheep, McAdoo said, “It’s always nice to get local support and it sure helps direct the sheep where you want them to go.”

“This has been a long time coming and I think it’s really positive that we get these sheep back on the mountain”, said Joe Doucette. NDOW public information officer.

Doucette expressed his gratitude and thanks for the great crews and organizations he has worked with. “Hopefully the sheep will take off and provide opportunity, not just for hunters, but for wildlife enthusiasts.”

Doucette stated that this was one of the few herds you can get really close to. “I’m sure they’ll get a lot of attention over the next couple of years as the herd builds,” said Doucette, with a chuckle.

“Most of the ewes, if not all, are pregnant. What that means is, come this spring this herd will double. Hopefully it will take off over the next few years and we can enjoy sheep on this mountain for a long time”, said Doucette.

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