Game And Parks Finishes Latest Big Horn Sheep Collaring Effort

Photo – Justin Haag/NGPC/NEBRASKAland Magazine
CHADRON – Nebraska Game and Parks has completed its annual capture and collaring of big horn sheep in the Panhandle.

A total of 44 big horn were processed last Thurs-Sat, 28 in the Wildcat Hills near McGrew and 16 at three locations in the Pine Ridge near Chadron and Crawford. All were released on site.

As in the past, Game and Parks staffers and a contract helicopter capture crew were joined by wildlife professionals and volunteers.

The roughly 50 member team came from such groups and agencies as South Dakota State University, Chadron State College, zoos in Lincoln and Omaha, USDA, Nebraska Dept of Agriculture, the Alliance Animal Clinic, and Game and Parks Commission member Doug Zingula.

Wildlife professionals have ramped up monitoring efforts in recent years to combat disease issues – most notably pneumonia. After being captured, the big horns yielded tissue samples and were vaccinated.

They were also given new tracking collars to better determine migration and habitat use patterns, ear tags for identification, and – for ewes – vaginal implant transmitters that signal exactly when they give birth.

The signal allows biologists to respond quickly and place temporary tracking collars on the lambs to help identify the cause of death for any that perish in their first months of life.

Funding and support for the project comes through Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid grants, the Nebraska Big Game Society, and multiple chapters of the Wild Sheep Foundation.

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