Bighorn Sheep Relocated as Part of New Mexico Conservation Program

Video captures practice of officials netting animals from trailing helicopters

March 14, 2017

Officials with New Mexico Game & Fish successfully relocated 34 bighorn sheep last week, part of its ongoing conservation program to help re-establish Rocky Mountain and desert bighorns in the state.

Wildlife officers captured the sheep at the Chevron Mine in Questa and released them in Cochiti Canyon, part of a plan to supplement the existing Jemez Mountain herd. The sheep taken from the mine are believed to be part of a Wheeler Peak herd.

In addition to boosting the Jemez population, state officials made the transfer to reduce the number of bighorns along state Highway 38 between Quesa and Red River. 

Numerous sheep have been killed in traffic collisions along the rural road in recent years, and one motorcycle rider was killed in such an accident. The herd into which the relocated sheep were introduced numbers roughly 45. 

New Mexico Game & Fish uses helicopters to net the bighorns. Below is footage of state officials partnering with Aerowest in 2013 to capture bighorns in the Palencio Mountains of southern New Mexico.

That capture was part of a program to catch pregnant ewes and insert radio transmitters that would activate at birth. The lambs were then fitted with radio collars, enabling state officials to monitor herds and their travel patterns.

Here's the video: 

 

NH Officers Execute Night Rescue of Hiker Standed in Whiteout

Officials with New Hampshire Fish and Game executed a night rescue of a stranded Canadian hiker recently.

The 25-year-old Quebec man, Vincent Hevey, became lost in whiteout conditions on Mount Lafayette on the evening of February 15. He texted family back home that he was having trouble getting back down the mountain, and was eventually able to communicate with New Hampshire officials via text.

His GPS coordinates were obtained and a rescue team made up of Game and Fish officers and volunteers from Mountain Rescue Service began their ascent. At 12:55 a.m., they made contact with the hiker roughly 800 feet below the summit, where he was huddled with his two dogs. 

Rescuers trudged through waist-deep snow and poor visibility to reach Franconia Ridge, where Hevey was stranded, and spent hours re-warming extremities before eventually descending and arriving safely on the trailhead just before 5 a.m. 

The hiker had embarked from the trailhead with his dogs at 9 a.m. with plans to summit, which he did a little after 3 in the afternoon. But once on the summit, he lost his gloves and his way in the whiteout. Eventually, he located the Franconia Ridge Trail and hunkered down until rescuers arrived.

State officials believe he would not have survived the night had rescuers been unable to reach him when they did.

Nevada Game Wardens Ground Raptor Poacher

A Canadian man ran afoul of Nevada authorities when he was caught with dead raptors and raptor body parts.

Dana Morely McIvor, 31, pled guilty to two counts of unlawful possession of a golden eagle and was ordered to pay $1,745 in fines and civil penalties, according to the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

He also pled guilty to two separate counts of unlawful possession of a bird of prey and was ordered to pay an additional $1,210, and was given a 30-day jail sentence, suspended for two years.

"This crime is an outrage to the citizens of Nevada. These birds are an important part of Nevada’s ecosystem, and there’s no excuse for this kind of thoughtless killing," said Chief Game Warden Tyler Turnipseed in a statement.

The total value of the seized raptor parts in this case could exceed $10,000, according to game wardens. McIvor says he kept them for ceremonial purposes. NDOW says eagle feathers are often used in Native American celebrations and sometimes are illegally sold in international markets.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit is required to be in possession of raptors and raptor parts in many states including Nevada.

The charges stemmed from a case of reckless driving that led to McIvor's arrest in the Walmart Tire Center in Elko on January 31. The raptor body parts were discovered after a search of his vehicle.