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North Dakota Outdoors - Bighorns Part2



How do you catch a wild Bighorn -- an animal weighing 200 pounds, quick and strong, with large horns? Very carefylly, might be the answer.

The first step is scattering apple pulp -- a Bighorn treat. After the sheep have fed in a spot they become less wary.

Then one morning, you drive up, drop the plunger and the net falls. And then it gets wild.

The more quickly the sheep are caught, blindfolded, and moved to the trailor, the less chance of injury. This band of eleven Bighorns is being moved from an enclosure near Medora to a new range close the Killdear Mountains. Establishing them closer to other bands promotoes the long-term survivability of the species.

The ramrods, Jack Samuelson and Jimmy McKenzie, have been moving sheep in the Badlands since -- well, since sheep came back to the Badlands. They even agree -- most of the time -- on what they're doing.

Sam (Jack Samuelson) "Hopefully they'll take off, increase, and do well, and we'll have another band of sheep up there.

Jimmy (Jim McKenzie) "Hopefully this will develop into a new, huntable population of bighorns in ND."

All eleven sheep were loaded in the trailer without injury. Now they/re heading north to the release site.

We hold our breath -- will they stay together? Will they come out of the trailer at all ?

They'll come out allright! We watch as they head for the next ridge. They join up. They're going to do well in this new country. There are risks, of course. At Medora, the sheep were in a fenced enclosure. Here, they're out on thr range. Truly wild.

(Bill) "These are wild animals and they are exposed to all the curses and blessings of running free, so some will make it and some won't" But those who don't survive pave the way for those that do. And always, the life goes on. Just so long, that is, as Man is wise enough to let it go on.

This is Lex Hames for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department ... out among some ancient friends, who have returned, and who make our lives richer, for their return. Out in the wild.


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Last modified Oct. 6, 1995