PIERRE – State Game, Fish and Parks officials say 20 bighorn sheep were recently relocated with the hopes of establishing a new herd in the Black Hills.
State Wildlife Biologist Ted Benzon of Rapid City said that in early January, 20 bighorn sheep, 7 rams and 13 ewes were trapped from the Spring Creek herd south of Rapid City and placed in Hell Canyon, approximately 10 miles south of Jewel Cave.
"The whole operation, from trap to release, took approximately 3 1/2 hours," Benzon said. "All sheep were ear tagged, and 12 radio collars were placed on the adult sheep."
He added that biologists will monitor the animals four days a week for the next month to determine how well the sheep like the canyons in the area.
"If at least half the sheep stay in the area, an additional 20 bighorns from Colorado will be placed in the canyon next winter to supplement the first transplant," Benzon noted. "This scenario of two transplants on top of each other for two years worked to establish the herd in Spring Creek Canyon in 1991 and 1992. We hope it will work as well in Hell Canyon."