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WYOMING RANGE SHEEP WARS! – What’s Your Take?

 

The U.S. Forest Service is considering changing its domestic sheep grazing management plan to once again allow domestic and wild sheep to mingle in the Bridger-Teton National Forest of the Wyoming Range. Obviously this consideration is stirring up a lot of controversy as wild sheep do not do well around their domestic cousins due to susceptibility to pathogens such as pneumonia, which is prevalent in domestic herds. But can a balance be struck between the interests of wild sheep in the Wyoming Range and the needs of domestic producers? 

The bighorns of the Wyoming Range have come and gone since the 1960s but recently have been faring quite well. Could that change with the “restocking” of domestic sheep? Most likely but the Wyoming Range wild sheep herd is considered to be “non-empahsis” status by the state of Wyoming and therefore they fall into a less protected category than their brethren to the north. 

If you’re interested in expressing your concern or sharing your thoughts, the Bridger-Teton National Forest is seeking public comment on this issue before June 7th. 

Contact information

Phone #307-739-5500 (Office Hours: M-F, 8:00am-4:30pm)

Contact Form Link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/contactus/btnf/about-forest/contactus

For a more detailed description of this issue visit: 

https://www.wyofile.com/forest-service-moves-to-weaken-bighorn-protections-in-wyo-range/

About Todd Helms

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2 comments

  1. Domestic sheep create more problems than just the keystone threat of pneumonia to wild sheep, they damage habitat of and displace other wild game species as well- most specifically what the Wyoming range is best known for: the last of the giant mountain mule deer. Is the Wyoming required for production of wool? I think not, directly across the border in Idaho, domestic sheep run rampant. My suggestion is to ask the outfitters how they think sheep grazing will economically affect their businesses. My vote is to retain undisturbed habitat to help the Wyoming range deer and sheep recover to the capacity that they once were. Migration corridor blockades, oil and gas development and domestic sheep grazing- looks like the odds are already stacked against wild game!

  2. Considering the lack of available range for wild sheep, their inability to fight off disease common to domestic sheep and the increase of predators in wild sheep habitat, this is a bad idea across the board. There are plenty of areas that domestic sheep can flourish that allow plenty of separation to the wild sheep. I’m sorry if this is an inconvenience to sheep herders but, at some point, our limited, as well as near endangered natural resources need to take precedence. I really don’t think this should even be a discussion….

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