SD: Motorists Encouraged To Watch For Bighorn Sheep In The Black Hills

RAPID CITY, S.D. – It’s rare to see impressive big-game animals
exhibiting annual rights-of-passage and aggressive instincts, but
motorists near Cleghorn Springs Fish Hatchery and in the Hill City
area are being asked to slow down for sparring bighorn sheep.

“Many of our bighorn sheep come down from higher elevations this
time of year to breed, and sheep in the Hill City area can be along
roads year-round” said John Kanta, Game Fish and Parks Department
regional wildlife manager for western South Dakota. “Unfortunately,
many of the animals congregate on or near roads. We have already
lost one ram to a vehicle, and we’re reminding motorists to slow
down when traveling near the hatchery and in the Hill City
area.”

Bighorn sheep tend to gather on a stretch of Highway 44, west
from Cleghorn Canyon to the top of the hill, and on Highway 385
from Sheridan Lake to Hill City. Motorists are encouraged to travel
slower than posted speed limits. Drivers in those areas also should
be aware of stopped vehicles and pedestrians viewing the
animals.

“Seeing bighorn rams sparring in the wild is an amazing sight,”
Kanta said. “Many people come to take photos or just watch. We get
a lot of traffic through the area, and we would hate to have an
injury to someone or one of these beautiful animals.”

Bighorn sheep are native to western South Dakota, but they were
wiped out in the state by unregulated hunting and disease in the
early 1900s. Bighorns were re-introduced in the 1920s, there
currently are about 450 of the animals in the Black Hills and
Badlands National Park.

 

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