Regional Offices > Lander Region > Lander Region News > Bighorn sheep in the Ferris-Seminoe Herd to get collars soon

Bighorn sheep in the Ferris-Seminoe Herd to get collars soon

January 28, 2020
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Collars will help track movements and give managers insight into habitat use

Lander - In the next couple of weeks, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will collar bighorn sheep from the Ferris-Seminoe Herd Unit along the Miracle Mile between Rawlins and Casper. Through donations from the Wyoming Outdoor Weekend, the Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition, and the Wyoming Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation, Game and Fish has secured satellite GPS collars that will track bighorn sheep movements. 

The collaring project is in response to the recent Pedro Mountain fire that engulfed over 20,000 acres near the Seminoe and Bennett Mountains. As the landscape recovers from fire it may result in ideal bighorn sheep forage areas with grassy, rocky slopes free of timber. These areas are outside of the Herd Unit and in locations where Game and Fish does not manage for or desire bighorn sheep due to disease concerns. 

The fire and likely subsequent improved forage may increase the likelihood these bighorn sheep will wander and co-mingle with domestic sheep. This potential interaction could result in bighorn sheep acquiring harmful pathogens that cause diseases such as pneumonia. These diseases can lead to significant mortality in bighorn sheep. The new GPS collars will give managers prompt warning if any collared sheep move north toward the Pedro Mountains so that preventative measures can be employed to prevent disease transmission. 

“Bighorn sheep are sensitive to many pathogens, so we take reasonable precautions to prevent exposure of these pathogens to the herd,” says Hank Edwards, Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s wildlife health laboratory supervisor.  

Game and Fish stresses that domestic sheep producers would not shoulder any responsibility if co-mingling occurred as domestic sheep grazing is a recognized and valued land use in this area. Through a working partnership between Game and Fish and the agricultural community, the Wyoming Statewide Domestic Sheep / Bighorn Sheep Interaction Working Group has developed bighorn sheep management and non-management areas. The Pedro Mountains are in a designated non-management area.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking the public to report any sightings of these bighorn sheep in or near the Pedro Mountains to either the Lander (307-332-2688), Laramie (307-745-4046) or Casper (307-473-3400) Regional Office.  This will help Game and Fish wildlife managers respond appropriately to ensure bighorn sheep in the Ferris-Seminoe herd unit remain healthy and vigorous.


- WGFD -

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