Facts and Information for Texas Desert Bighorn Sheep
Interested in Texas desert bighorn sheep, here are some facts and information on the species, as well as property that may interest you. Here are some quick facts on Texas Desert Bighorn Sheep.
- Historically native desert bighorn sheep occupied most of the mountain ranges in the Trans-Pecos region of west Texas.
- Populations were estimated to be as high as 2,500 animals prior to 1880 but by the 1960s native Texas desert bighorns were nonexistent.
- Restoration efforts began in 1959 as 16 desert bighorn sheep from Arizona were brought to the Black Gap wildlife management area in west Texas.
- Successful restoration efforts have led to an estimated 1,300 bighorn sheep, as of 2012, residing in roughly half of their historic west Texas range.
- In 1988, desert sheep hunting in Texas was allowed in a few areas.
- In addition to dispersing a few permits each year. Texas Parks and Wildlife donates one desert sheep tag a year to be auctioned to raise funds for restoration efforts.
- 2008 tag auctioned for $70,000
- 2011 tag auctioned for $152,000
- 2014 tag auctioned for $85,000
A large percentage of desert sheep reside on or make use of private lands. Therefore, private landowner cooperation has been instrumental in the recovery of these desert sheep. Continuous research and restoration efforts are led by the staff at the Borderlands Research Institute – Sul Ross University, Texas Bighorn Sheep Society, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The future growth of desert bighorn sheep populations has been designated into 3 restoration zones in far west Texas. Interestingly, researchers from the Borderlands Research Institute are documenting, via GPS collars, that these sheep are using 1.25 million acres of the Trans-Pecos region in addition to frequently traveling back and forth across the border with Mexico.
For a full video presentation of the ecology and history of desert bighorn sheep in Texas there is an excellent presentation by Thomas Janke. At roughly minute 43 of the video, a very interesting look is presented regarding how the use of GPS collars are documenting the movement of these desert sheep into Mexico and across 1.25 million acres of land. It is worth watching.
Looking for a ranch for sale? If you have a personal interest in owning a property that has a rich history and continued enjoyment of hunting desert sheep in Mexico as well as trophy desert mule deer, see our listing for Rancho Doljoca located just east of Kino Bay and the Gulf of California.