North Dakota sees another record year of Bighorn Sheep population growth

Courtesy of: North Dakota Game and Fish Department
Courtesy of: North Dakota Game and Fish Department

(Bismarck, ND) -- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department completed their 2021 bighorn sheep survey, and are seeing a population bump.

The lamb recount finished in March, revealing a record 335 bighorn sheep in Western North Dakota. That number is 4% up from 2020, which saw 322 total bighorn sheep. 

The 2021 count found 99 rams, 175 ewes, and 61 lambs. These numbers don't include 40 bighorn sheep residing in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and those introduced to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in 2020. 

"We were encouraged to see the count of adult rams increase to near record levels, and adult ewes were at record numbers,” Big Game biologist Brett Wiedmann said. “Most encouraging was a record lamb count corresponding with a record recruitment rate."

The bighorn sheep hunting season is tentatively scheduled to open in 2022. The season's status will be determined on September 1st.