GREAT FALLS – A state wildlife biologist says bighorn sheep numbers are down about 35 percent compared to the previous three years along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana.
Brent Lonner of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says the recent count also found a low lamb-to-ewe ratio of five to 100. Recent averages have been 31 lambs to 100 ewes.
Lonner says he saw a 37 percent drop in the numbers of older rams whose horns curl at least three-quarters the way around.
Lonner tells the Great Falls Tribune that the decline in bighorn sheep is likely due to a combination of disease, weather and predators.
He says additional research is planned throughout the winter and spring.
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