Fish and Game Kills Ram near Castleford

It is rare that bighorn are actually documented commingling with sheep or cattle because it usually goes undetected. However, this is typical behavior of bighorn rams around the breeding season and it illustrates the concerns of bighorn advocates. This bighorn was 33 miles from the nearest known population of bighorn sheep in the South Hills of Idaho. Another population has been mapped in the Bruneau/Jarbidge area of Idaho and the Badlands of Nevada, these populations are 34 and 40 miles away respectively. It is unfortunate that this ram had to be killed but had the ram returned to its home area and commingled with other bighorn sheep they would have been doomed.

If this had happened with sheep left out on the range in some remote location it would have gone totally unnoticed until a full blown outbreak had started.

The map below only shows the 3 nearest populations of bighorn sheep.

View this area in a larger map

Fish and Game Kills Ram near Castleford
Magic Valley Times News.


  1. Mike Avatar

    It’s like something out of a horror/sci-fi novel.

  2. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I worked on an IDFG bighorn study in 1968 in which bighorns, summering near the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, migrated back to their winter range near Challis in a night and a day when their summer area was hit by a heavy late August snow storm. The distance was 40 airline miles.
    I was observing the bighorns in the back country when the snowstorm struck. Our four horses tried to migrate during the night along with the bighorns, but the hobbles they were wearing made their ankles sore and they only made a couple of miles before stopping to graze. The storm dropped over a foot of snow on our camp.

    Because of their high mobility, bighorns will always be at risk for catching disease from domestic sheep that graze on public lands and from farm flocks that are not fenced to prevent direct contact with bighons.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole