The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) netted a record $101,250 for bighorn sheep research and management from a recent raffle
for a special permit to hunt Rocky Mountain bighorns in the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington.
A Spokane hunter was drawn Aug. 2 from 5,625 raffle tickets sold for $20 apiece by the Washington chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (WAFNAWS). The organization provided 90 percent of the money generated from the raffle to WDFW. The proceeds are the most ever raised for a single big-game permit of any kind in Washington.
Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission Vice-Chair Fred Shiosaki accepted the $101,250 check on behalf of WDFW.
“This amount exceeded all our expectations,” Shiosaki said. “We thank all the hunters across the country who contributed with their raffle ticket purchases. Our wildlife managers will use this money carefully to continue to improve bighorn management.”
Shiosaki also thanked WAFNAWS President Glen Landrus of Clarkston and past President Steve Kline of Otis Orchards, who coordinated the raffle and presented the check.
The permit is the second of its kind issued in the past decade for hunting Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in a part of the state where disease once reduced herd numbers too low to allow harvest. Donny Martorello, WDFW special species manager, explained that recovery has been slow, but the bighorn population is stable and healthy enough for a limited harvest. The special raffle was established to help fund bighorn research and management.
In the first raffle last year, $61,434 was raised. A Maryland hunter was drawn for the permit and harvested a large ram.
This year’s permit holder will be able to hunt Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 in the Black Butte, Wenaha and Mountain View game management units. He will be allowed to take one Rocky Mountain bighorn ram.
Kevin Robinette, WDFW eastern regional wildlife program manager, noted that at least two dozen mature bighorn rams are seen in those southeast Washington units during WDFW surveys.