Group plans first-ever auction for S.D. bighorn sheep tag

The Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation annually auctions off a North Dakota bighorn sheep tag, but this year, for the first time ever, the Northfield, Minn.-based group is auctioning off a South Dakota bighorn tag.

The auction is scheduled for March 23 at the chapter’s annual banquet in Minnetonka, Minn.

In a news release, Curt Babler, president of the Midwest Sheep Foundation chapter, said the auction will help raise funds to aid in rebuilding a South Dakota bighorn population that has fallen by more than 30 percent in recent years.

He said the chapter hopes to raise $50,000 to $80,000 from the auction. Last year, South Dakota offered two bighorn sheep tags in the Black Hills.

“The auction has been a very large success in other states around the country in helping to benefit the health of the wild sheep population and, ultimately, affect the population numbers in a positive way, Babler said in the news release. “We’re pleased we can help play a role in raising funds for the sheep population in South Dakota.”

The chapter last year raised $42,000 by auctioning a North Dakota sheep tag and also donated an additional $10,000 for sheep management in North Dakota. Proceeds from the auction funded the recent transfer of 12 bighorn sheep from a heavily traveled stretch of U.S. Highway 85 near the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park to a safer part of the Badlands where the animals are less susceptible to roadkill.

The relocation cost about $8,000 plus another $1,000 for radio-collars fitted on eight adult sheep.

For more information on the upcoming South Dakota auction or to register online, click here www.fnawsmnwi.org/banquet.html or call (507) 645-8811. No membership is required to attend.

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