Bighorn Sheep Tag Goes for $55,000 

Each year the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, an organization dedicated to the "responsible management of wild sheep through action and education," holds several live auctions at its annual conference to raise needed finances. This year's convention, held the first week of February in Reno, Nevada, auctioned off a variety of money-getters, including a custom-made gun cabinet, an Australian opal, artwork, ruby and diamond rings, and hunts of every size, species and geographic location imaginable. Pig hunts, Utah elk permits, fishing pack trips in Mexico (and Idaho), black bear hunts in Idaho, and even oryx hunts in New Mexico were among the items up for auction, as was one of Idaho's two bighorn sheep tags.

In what seems like a slightly ironic fundraising move, the FNAWS raises money to conserve and restore bighorn sheep and their habitat by auctioning off a tag to hunt the animals. Each year Idaho Fish and Game releases one tag that allows bighorn sheep hunting in all units except Unit 11 in Hells Canyon, while the second tag allows for hunting in Unit 11. At last year's national convention, the Unit 11 tag fetched a record $180,000. Because the Unit 11 tag is so sought after, it is only available at the national convention auction every other year with the tag going into a lottery at the Idaho chapter of FNAWS in other years.

At this year's national convention in Reno, a hunter from Salem, Oregon, picked up the right to bag a bighorn sheep in any area except Unit 11 for a mere $55,000.

Questions? Comments? E-mail sports@boiseweekly.com.

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