Bighorn Ram
by Glenn Dee Summers

With the help of good game management and financial backing from the hunting fraternity, bighorn sheep are once again thriving in the Deschutes canyon.

Lying on a shelf and peering through 8-power binoculars, I had a close-up view of two small rams as they lay in the shade of an overhang chewing their cud mere inches from a 2,500-foot drop to the Deschutes River.

On the next ridge closer to the river, a dozen ewes and eight lambs grazed or lay bedded next to the nearly vertical slope. Day after day I watched rams, eventually employing a 30-power spotting scope. I was scouting the Deschutes River canyon for a friend and client who had drawn a coveted sheep tag for the area. That the sheep were even there is a testament to modern game management.
Article: Return of the Ram!
When the Europeans arrived in Oregon, California bighorn sheep lived in most of eastern Oregon, and Rocky Mountain bighorns populated the state's northeast corner. Wild sheep disappeared from the Deschutes canyon shortly after the pioneers appeared and were gone from the state by 1945, victims of diseases from domestic livestock and uncontrolled hunting.

Today's Deschutes canyon sheep story -- the fact bighorns even live there now -- provides us a snapshot of how modern wildlife conservation works. In 1993, 35 California bighorns were transplanted from the upper Owyhee River in Idaho to the east side of the canyon 17 miles from the mouth of the Deschutes River. A second release of 18 sheep from Oregon's Steens Mountain was made in 1995 on the west side of the river across from the first release point. And in 1999, 12 more animals were released at the west-side site.

Read the entire article Return Of The Ram! here.
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Glenn Summers
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