Vail bighorn sheep

Oak

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Some of you are aware of efforts the last 4 years to protect the small patch of remaining functional winter range for the Gore Range bighorn sheep herd, located at East Vail. A portion of the range was slated for a housing development, which would further reduce the carrying capacity. In addition, there are two large USFS domestic sheep allotments covering the west side of the range. The Gore Range herd is one of the few remaining endemic sheep herds in the state, having never been extirpated.

The RMBS and CPW (through the Big Game Auction and Raffle Program) initiated a collaring project last winter to gain a better understanding of the herd’s seasonal distribution, disease profile, and annual recruitment. Town of Vail produced the film below to help educate the public about the issues, and held a screening tonight for the formal release. Enjoy!

 

Dsnow9

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Awesome, thanks @Oak! Growing up in the valley, watching those sheep, even getting ADD in the middle of soccer games while watching them play in the cliffs… That video really hit hard. Couldn’t imagine losing that heard to A housing development project for the resort, that would make me sick. Thanks to all involved and here is to a few more raffle tickets!
 

marksjeep

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Well done! Question @Oak , what is the duration of the collar study?

It's great to see the raffle $$ going directly to science on the ground!
 
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BeartoothFront

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This is better then cleaning the dog crap out of his kennel this morning. A LOT better!

@Oak Thanks for your hard work and turning my morning around. Might just have to throw a few more dollars at the raffles!
 

nrpate05

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Great stuff, that area is ground zero for declining wildlife populations and it would be a travesty if this sheep herd fell apart.
 
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squirrel

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Will the movements during the winter be available for the public? They've been dropping into the Blue drainage sporadically during the winter. Always wondered from which segment they came Northern or southern populations.
 

Oak

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Will the movements during the winter be available for the public? They've been dropping into the Blue drainage sporadically during the winter. Always wondered from which segment they came Northern or southern populations.
The data won't be available to the public (see SB 22-169), but the sheep on the Blue River are from GC. Below is CPW mapped range. I know someone who has seen them in the trees on Ute Pass before, and one of the videos out there about the Hwy 9 overpasses and underpasses has BHS on camera using an underpass.
Edit: Some of the collared sheep on the north end were captured near the GMR dam, and there has been no movement to the Gore Range by any of those captured in S77. One of the collared ewes from the original GC transplant did end up on winter range in East Vail years ago, though.

S77.jpg
 

squirrel

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so the northern sheep(S77) have the good genetics of the S2 herd? Or was it a mixed herd sourced from wherever?

Ive seen goats north of Ute pass as well as south of Ute and always figured they came down off Ptarmigan and G-15 to enjoy those few remaining rock piles.

On the sheep map its Interesting to see the supposed stoppage at the Ute pass when I would think there would be a greater chance of the herd from the SE (continental divide herd) crossing downward instead of the canyon group doing the reverse. Collars, signals, and ear tags will go a long ways to clearing this up. Too bad its reserved information.

Next time you are traveling thru with a horse trailer of sheep kick a few out in Byers canyon, I think they would do well there though I seem to have a minority opinion in the matter.
 
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Oak

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so the northern sheep(S77) have the good genetics of the S2 herd? Or was it a mixed herd sourced from wherever?
My personal opinion is that with what we know about how sheep move across the landscape, there are no such thing as pure endemic herds anymore. To the point you're making, the sheep that were released into S77 were from Basalt. And CPW's definition of a Tier 1 herd includes "...has received few if any supplemental releases..." Few is defined as 50 or less. S2 received 7 sheep from the Tarryalls in January 1948.
 

squirrel

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My personal opinion is that with what we know about how sheep move across the landscape, there are no such thing as pure endemic herds anymore. To the point you're making, the sheep that were released into S77 were from Basalt. And CPW's definition of a Tier 1 herd includes "...has received few if any supplemental releases..." Few is defined as 50 or less. S2 received 7 sheep from the Tarryalls in January 1948.
They do go on "walkabouts" that would embarrass Crocodile dundee. even the stubby legged goats do amazing adventures. I couldn't believe when they printed a made up tag to murder that Parkview billy a few years ago He had more growth rings than most book billies dream about. Sure would be interesting to know his route to get to where he pissed off the wrong crowd and got a contract put out on him by the khaki mafia.

I guess if you are gonna "slum it" slumming with the Tarryall gang aint as low as one could go.

I hope they get some good info from the next 3 years transmissions, in the big picture 3 years is a very brief window to make conclusions from given what weather can do to effect behaviour in any given single year... Given the nature of a natural travel corridor I wold think the s77 group would have a lot of tendency to wander up and downriver to pockets of "sheepy" cliffs. Maybe even up to byers, ifn the skeeters don't drain them dry from the one canyon to the next.
 

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