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Featured Story: Big Horn Sheep Relocated Via Helicopter: Population Now Exceeds 400 in SE Colorado 

The State Land Board partnered with Colorado Parks & Wildlife in January to relocate 15 big horn sheep from Chancellor Ranch in Las Animas County to Bader Ranch, also in Las Animas.

Our goal was to help increase the population of big horn sheep by expanding the breadth of herd locations in southeastern Colorado.

Watch a 30-second video of CPW staff capturing a big horn sheep by helicopter.

This was the second relocation exercise on trust land in the past several years. An additional eight ewes were captured, collared, and released on site with tracking collars as part of a state-wide movement study.

Big horn sheep were historically found in Purgatoire Canyon in southern Colorado but were eradicated during early European settlement. In 1982 Colorado successfully reintroduced 17 sheep from Rocky Mountain National Park to the area. The population in southeastern Colorado now exceeds 400.

In 2015 Colorado Parks and Wildlife created the Bighorn Sheep Access Plan (BSAP). It allows private and public recreation licenses on large ranches that have well established big horn sheep populations. Chancellor Ranch, which is owned by the State Land Board, is participating in the BSAP as an interagency, 3-year pilot program. As part the BSAP we committed to improving 500 acres of big horn sheep habitat and agreed to the multi-year relocation effort.

In the fall of 2017, the first public ram license was issued by auction and the hunter was successful in their hunt on the Chancellor Ranch. The Colorado Chapter of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Society recently auctioned another ram license in April 2018; 75% of the proceeds were collected by the State Land Board.

Contact Ron Rivale, Southwest district resource specialist for the State Land Board, at 719.589.2360 for more information.