Bighorn sheep rider has been withdrawn by Mike Simpson.

The Idaho Statesman reports that Mike Simpson has withdrawn the rider which would have prevented the BLM and US Forest Service from addressing the ongoing issue of disease transmission from domestic sheep to bighorn sheep and would have bypassed years of analysis and a long public process which generated 15,000 public comments.

The rider would have also stopped the Payette National Forest from implementing the last phase of the domestic sheep grazing closures designed to protect Idaho’s native bighorn sheep in the Salmon River Canyon and Hells Canyon which are still suffering low lamb recruitment from previous disease exposure and could be extirpated in the event of another exposure to disease carrying domestic sheep.

Politically, the rider would have driven a wedge between sportsmen and the livestock industry who routinely get whatever they want. This is a big victory for bighorn sheep advocates, Native American Tribes, and sportsmen. It also allows other conflicts across the west, where there are numerous conflicts between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep, to be addressed in a rational fashion using the best available science.


  1. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    Good news. It sounds like Simpson didn’t like the amplfied rhetoric.

  2. Dan Avatar

    Awesome! Great news!

  3. ramses09 Avatar

    Simpson is the same idiot or asshat as I like to call him … that put the rider in last year (along with Jon Tester)
    delisting the wolf.
    SO good news for Big Horn Sheep 🙂

  4. Susan Avatar

    Great news and great work bighorn sheep activists!

  5. Ken Cole Avatar

    I’ve spent the last three days here on Capitol Hill and all indications were that it would likely remain in the bill but we persisted in telling people how bad it was. I guess they listened and Simpson started feeling the pressure. It has gotten to the point that Simpson was starting to look like he just hated bighorn sheep.


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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