ND Bighorn Licenses

ND Bighorn Licenses Click to Enlarge

North Dakota wildlife officials are reducing the number of bighorn sheep hunting licenses available this year as they continue to see the impacts of disease on the western herd.

The Game and Fish Department is making five of the once-in-a-lifetime licenses available, three fewer than last year. The decision came after the agency's annual summer survey found 83 rams in the western Badlands, 21 fewer than in 2016.

Big Game Management Biologist Brett Wiedmann says the 20 percent decline in rams is tied to an outbreak of bacterial pneumonia that surfaced in 2014 and killed dozens of sheep.

Bighorn hunting is big in North Dakota. More than 13,200 hunters have applied for a license this year.

The bighorn season opens Nov. 3 and closes Dec. 31.

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