Hunters in North Dakota have reason to be excited, bighorn sheep tag numbers have been increased!

Hunters in North Dakota now have increased odds to hunt bighorn sheep. After a year which saw a 22% increase in the bighorn sheep population, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has agreed to grant more tags for the 2020 hunting season.

Increased Tag Numbers? 

Now, how many more tags are we talking about here? There are now six (6) tags available. In 2019 there were only five (5) tags available for bighorn sheep hunting. However, That is still a slight increase.

You may be asking yourself, why so few tags? Or, why even waste the money putting in for the draw? Assuming all 762,062 North Dakotans put in for a tag to hunt bighorn sheep, there would be a .000079% chance of actually getting a tag. Now that isn’t the actual number of hunters in North Dakota, but the chances remain incredibly slim.

The real reason for there only being six tags is there are only 330 bighorn sheep in North Dakota. In 2014, this herd faced a pneumonia outbreak which decimated 15-20% of the 2014 adult population. If 20% of the current herd were to suddenly die, the total statewide population would shrink to roughly 270.

Why Spend Money on a Bighorn Sheep Tag?

Six tags may not seem like that much, but to give out any more could harm the population more than help it. And putting in your money to get one of these once in a lifetime tags goes to supporting their growth.

This year, 16,935 hunters spent money to try and draw a tag for bighorn sheep. This was a record number of applicants for the tags! That’s still a .00035% chance of actually getting a tag, but the odds are better than if the whole state had applied! So, it may not seem worth it now, but if each tag were only $1, that’s still $16,935.00 going towards helping the species grow so future generations can get more tags!

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Want more eHuntr news on North Dakotan Bighorns? Check out our recent article on the increased population:

So, What are your thoughts on North Dakota’s bighorn sheep tag numbers? Did you draw a bighorn sheep tag in North Dakota for 2020? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

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