Jim Sage Bighorn Sheep Surveys
On 8 August 2004, Tim Ferguson and Ken Jafek conducted a survey of the Jim Sage sheep population via horseback. They observed 45 sheep (31 ewes, 11 lambs, 3 sublegal rams) in 2 groups. Thirteen of the 17 radio-collared sheep were observed.
On 12 August 2004, Tim Ferguson and Mike McDonald conducted a helicopter survey to document numbers and distribution of the bighorn population on Jim Sage. Forty-seven sheep were observed (24 ewes, 10 lambs, 10 sublegal rams, 2 legal rams) in 3 groups (See the map - link). Eleven of the 17 radio-collared sheep were observed. The 3 groups observed were all less than 1 mi. from perennial water sources, which are very limited on Jim Sage.
1. 14 ewes and 3 rams are marked with radio collars
2. Estimated ratio of 0.35 lambs/ewe
3. Estimated ratio of 0.50 rams/ewe
4. On the ground survey, 13 of 14 radioed ewes and no radioed rams were observed.
5. On the helicopter survey, 10 of 14 radioed ewes and 1 of 3 radioed rams were observed.
6. Minimum population size: 33 ewes
An estimated minimum population size of 62 bighorns suggests little growth in the population during the past two years. Gretchen Folwes estimated the minimum population to be 48-59 sheep in June 2002. Given that survival of radio-collared sheep has been excellent during the past 2 years (94% in 2002-03 & 94% in 2003-04) and that observed lamb production has been fair, it is likely the population is actually between 70 and 80 sheep. It is possible that a few sheep have dispersed from Jim Sage. Three observations of sheep away from Jim Sage were reported in July 2004 but not verified by Department personnel. Three sheep were reported along I-84 near the Cotterel Port-of- Entry, 2 sheep were reported along I-84 south of Juniper near the Snowville deer fence, and 2 sheep were reported near Almo in Jim Sheridan’s yard.
August 13, 2004
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