Tracking Desert Bighorn Sheep

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

Like a scene from National Geographic Kellen Keisling checks the airwaves for radio signals. "We're tracking desert bighorn sheep," says, Keisling. "It's tricky, you know it looks pretty straight forward. Looks like you can walk right in on them but they are a lot trickier than you might imagine."

In the '70's the Desert Bighorn on the Western Slope disappeared prompting the Division of Wildlife to borrow some from Arizona and transplant them here. "They are one of our top watchable wildlife critters. People like to see them," says, Randy Hampton, D.O.W spokesman.

It's more common to see Desert Bighorn Sheep through binoculars. But every once in a while you get lucky. "We can go all day without seeing anything or I can see several, quite a few sheep, depends on the day." says, Keisling.

Several weeks ago the D.O.W trapped and collared several sheep. Keisling has been tracking the sheep now for several months, hoping to find out their migration and birthing patterns. Of the three we found today two were females and one was a yearling. Keisling says about their demeanor, "Calm as they are around us we still need to understand that they are wild and they need their space."

The D.O.W pays for the tracking with help from several bighorn foundations as well as the sale of gaming licenses. Hampton says, "People who hunt and fish are taking care of wildlife in Colorado."

There are currently four collared sheep in the Monument, with red, yellow and brown collars. They also have ear tags with different colors as well. If you see a collared sheep in the Monument you can call the Division of Wildlife at 970-255-6100.


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