Bighorn sheep population on the rise in parts of N. Dakota, setting records


According to North Dakota wildlife officials, the 2020 bighorn sheep population has increased 11 percent since 2019.

The total number in the western part of the state is 322, which is 13 percent higher than the five-year average. Their previous record was 313 and that was back in 2008.

The survey done by North Dakota Game and Fish Department did not take into account bighorns in one part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and those on Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

“The increase in the 2020 count reflects lessening effects of bacterial pneumonia that was detected in 2014,” biologist Brett Wiedmann stated, according to News Dakota.

He went on to state, “We were encouraged to see the count of adult rams increase after declining the last four years, and adult ewes were at a record number. Most encouraging was a record lamb count corresponding with a record recruitment rate.”

The population of bighorns in the northern badlands was also up 13 percent from 2019. The southern lands, however, saw a decrease. It was the lowest level they have seen in over 20 years.

Story via Warren Abrahamson with News Dakota