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New Herd Of Bighorn Sheep Released In Little Belt Mountains

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After storming out of the cattle truck and scattering like a wildfire, 49 released bighorn sheep have formed a new herd in their new home in the Little Belt Mountains.

U.S. News reports that the sheep were released on December 17, the day after capture operations began on the south side of the Missouri River near Winifred in Hunting District 482.

“The sheep population there is 20% above FWP’s objective. Quicksilver Air Inc. was contracted to net and capture the animals from a helicopter. The helicopter crew then flew the captured sheep to FWP’s staff and volunteers waiting nearby. At the transition site, the animals were given a physical, collared and prepared for a stock trailer ride to the Little Belts.”

Tracking the animal’s GPS collars, the biologists could see that some rams have traveled up to 10 miles before returning to the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.

The herding instinct of these animals is truly incredible. 

Jay Kolbe, biologists for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks said that the Little Belts were chosen because the region contains large patches of high-quality habitats, and bighorns have grazed in this area in the past.

Evidence of bighorn sheep in this area is also found in Native American art left on cliff faces along the Smith and Judith river drainages.

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