DWR seeks input on bighorn sheep unit plans

Bighorn sheep management plans have been proposed for 18 units in Utah. The DWR is seeking public feedback on the proposed changes. (Photo courtesy of Utah DWR)

SALT LAKE CITY— The statewide management plan for bighorn sheep in Utah was approved in November 2018, and now the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is seeking the public’s feedback on the plans for each of the specific regions in Utah that have bighorn sheep populations.

There are 18 unit management plans that will be presented and open for public feedback: 11 for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and seven for desert bighorn sheep. The combined population objective for these 18 units is a total of 8,875 bighorn sheep. Currently, there are about 4,170 bighorn sheep in Utah, and the specific unit management plans include proposals for how to increase the population in each area in a sustainable way.

“There has been some struggle with our bighorn sheep populations recently because of respiratory disease,” Jace Taylor, the bighorn sheep and mountain goat biologist for DWR, said. “Part of our objective is to expand bighorn sheep populations where possible and to maintain the overall population in a sustainable and healthy way across Utah to provide quality opportunities for wildlife viewing and hunting.”

The number of sheep being proposed for each unit will vary, due to the available habitat, water supply and necessary space needed to separate the animals if they get sick. Some habitat projects may also be proposed, which would help provide additional suitable habitat for bighorn populations.

The public is encouraged to read all of the proposed unit management plans and then provide feedback to the DWR. The plans are available online at https://wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/rac/2019-09_rac_packet.pdf

Give feedback

To share thoughts and feedback on the recommendations, contact one of the Regional Advisory Council (RAC) members listed online at https://wildlife.utah.gov/rac-members.html.

The public may also attend one of the RAC meetings. The information for current meetings is listed below:

• Southeastern Utah: Sept. 11, at 6:30 p.m., at the John Wesley Powell Museum, 1765 East Main Street, Green River.

• Northeastern Utah: Sept. 12, at 6:30 p.m., at the DWR Northeastern Region Office, 318 North Vernal Avenue, Vernal.

• Wildlife Board Meeting: Oct. 3, at 9 a.m., at the Utah Department of Natural Resources building, 1594 West North Temple, Salt Lake City.