Bighorn Sheep Relocated to Nevada's Mt. Grant

About two dozen bighorn sheep have been relocated from Churchill County to neighboring Mineral County in an effort to revitalize the herd at lofty Mt. Grant on Walker Lake's west shore.

The Fallon and Reno chapters of Nevada Bighorns Unlimited assisted the Nevada Department of Wildlife in trapping and releasing the animals on Dec. 16.

Bighorns Unlimited officials said the animals were rounded up in the Desatoya Mountains of Churchill County, about 110 miles east of Reno, and driven by trailer to 11,239-foot Mt. Grant near Hawthorne, about 135 miles south of Reno.

A total of 25 sheep were relocated to Mt. Grant in hopes they will encourage the existing herd to move higher up the mountain, Nevada Bighorns spokesman Tim Betterley said.

The bighorn sheep at Mt. Grant tend to stay along the base of the mountain and often make a dangerous crossing of U.S. Highway 95
in an attempt to reach water at Walker Lake.

Betterley said the sheep from the Desatoya Mountains prefer to stay on top of mountains, and officials hope the transplants will pull the Mt. Grant herd higher up the mountain.

Bighorn sheep numbers in Nevada dwindled in the early 1900s due
to overhunting and their susceptibility to disease from domestic sheep.

But the animal's population has rebounded since relocation and habitat protection efforts began.
Information from: Lahontan Valley News,

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-12-23-07 1700EST