SPOKANE—Raffle tickets are available through Monday (July 31) for a special bighorn sheep hunting permit that will be drawn Aug. 2 in Spokane.
The public drawing for a permit to hunt Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington will be conducted by hand at 1:30 p.m. at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) eastern regional office in Spokane Valley.
The winning hunter, who will be immediately notified by phone, will be drawn from more than 3,500 raffle tickets already sold by the Washington chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (WAFNAWS).
Raffle tickets cost $20 each and mailed orders must be received by mail by July 31. Telephone orders must be placed by calling (509) 758-7839 by 2 p.m., Aug. 1. Raffle ticket order forms can be downloaded at the WAFNAWS website at http://www.wafnaws.com, however tickets cannot be ordered online.
The permit is the second opportunity in a 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 sheep research and management.
Last year $61,434 was raised from the first raffle in which a Maryland hunter was drawn for the permit and harvested a large ram.
This year’s winning permit holder will be allowed to hunt Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 2006 in the Black Butte, Wenaha and Mountain View game management units.
Kevin Robinette, WDFW eastern regional wildlife program manager, noted that at least two dozen bighorn rams with at least three-quarter-curl horns have been seen in those southeast Washington units during WDFW surveys.
WAFNAWS President Glen Landrus of Clarkston and Past President Steve Kline of Otis Orchards will be on hand during the public drawing to present WDFW officials with this year’s raffle proceeds, which are expected to amount to some $70,000.
The WDFW eastern regional office is located at 2315 N. Discovery Place, in the Mirabeau Point development, just north of Interstate 90.