Headless bighorn ram prompts investigation
One of Colorado’s iconic bighorn sheep was found dead recently on the Trough Road near Inspiration Point southwest of Kremmling.
The ram’s head was removed and was taken from the scene according a press release issued by Colorado Parks & Wildlife on Wednesday Jan. 27. Wildlife authorities have started an investigation into the incident and are seeking help from the public.
The sheep carcass was found on Jan. 18 and officers believe the animal died the previous weekend.
“We are working to fill in the gaps in the information we have and will continue to investigate the incident,” stated District Wildlife Manager Rachel Sralla. “We just want to know what happened and ask anyone that has details to contact us right away.”
Authorities have recovered evidence from the scene and are looking for additional clues in addition to tips from the public. Bighorn sheep hunting seasons vary somewhat throughout the state but all legal hunting of bighorn sheep is conducted in the fall.
According to Sralla, the state has not previously offered any hunting permits for the bighorn sheep herd southwest of Kremmling in the Inspiration Point area. Similarly the state does not offer landowner or game-damage permits for bighorn sheep. Sralla said there would be one ram tag available this fall for the herd that lives in that area.
Parks and Wildlife allows the harvesting of most road-killed wildlife within 48 hours if reported to the agency but in most cases citizens cannot keep bighorn sheep or mountain goat horns, trophy-quality antlers from deer elk or moose, or the hides or skulls from mountain lions or bears.
“In certain circumstances people can keep the so call ‘trophy parts’ of dead wildlife, including antlers, horns, skulls and in some instances hides as well,” said Area Wildlife Manager Lyle Sidener. “But it is always best that a person check in with CPW to make sure everything remains legal, or that the animal is not evidence in a larger investigation.”
If wildlife officers determine the ram’s head was taken illegally a program operated by Parks & Wildlife called Operation Game Thief has allotted a $1,000 reward to anyone that provides information leading to a citation or an arrest.
“The public’s help is very important in cases like this,” Sralla stated. “We remind everyone that wildlife belongs to the public. It’s important that people do what they can to help us protect and conserve wildlife in Colorado.”
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