IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – The Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation held the 31st Annual Bighorn sheep lottery tag drawing on July 29, and Paul Donaldson out of Montana is the lucky recipient of a bighorn lottery tag valid in any open controlled bighorn hunt unit in Idaho.
Two alternates were also drawn in case Donaldson is unable to take the hunt. The main drawing was held in Boise with simultaneous livestream events in Idaho Falls and Lewiston.
The tag was drawn by Frances Cassirer PhD, Sr Wildlife Research Biologist for Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Cassirer’s experience, knowledge, and leadership of bighorn sheep issues has made her a leader in bighorn sheep field research and management not only in the States of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington but across the west. In collaboration with University of Washington Vet school and Dr. Tom Besser, Cassirer has led the research development and utilization of the highly promising Capture-test-remove method of controlling Movi, a bacteria causing pneumonia. This management tool is responsible for the Hells Canyon bighorn herd currently being Movi free. The technique is being implemented across the west and in Canada.
The lottery for this bighorn sheep tag has raised over 2.1 million dollars for wild sheep in Idaho over the past 31 years. This year the 6th consecutive year the lottery has raised a record amount, with $335,008 raised this year and more than $312,000 going back to Fish and Game for bighorn sheep conservation. This amount was over $120,000 more than the previous record of $212,000 raised in 2020. Donaldson was one of over 2,800 entries from across all 50 states, Canada and Mexico who bought anywhere from one to several hundred chances, supporting the efforts of the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation and IDFG to “keep bighorn sheep on the mountain.”
This year the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation presented a second check to IDFG for $15,000 to sponsor a helicopter survey this fall for the Bruneau/Jarbidge area. IDFG Director Ed Schriever and Wildlife Bureau Chief Jon Rachael were at the Boise event with Director Schriever delivering a complimentary speech and significantly referring to the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation as “colleagues.” Director Schriever briefly discussed the new IDFG bighorn sheep Action Plan as clear direction for field work for IDFG and the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation. Director Schriever ended with an emphasis to the fact that together we are getting a lot accomplished and the strong partnership with the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation and, its commitment to conservation.
Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation is a non-profit organization formed to enhance wild sheep populations in Idaho, and with partners in adjacent states, for public enjoyment, education, and fair chase hunting; to promote professional wildlife management; and protect sportsmen’s rights. The Idaho Wild Sheep was founded in 1982 by two dozen concerned sportsmen who wanted to put more bighorns on Idaho’s mountains. From that core group, many of which are still very active, the organization has grown to a thriving group with over 750 committed members.