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Landowner battles South Dakota officials over bighorn sheep

from Rapid City Journal

Forces as old as South Dakota itself are clashing at the base of Elk Mountain, where a third-generation rancher is locking horns with government wildlife officials over the bighorn sheep that have colonized the 5,662-foot hilltop and his home and ranch. In 2001, the state Department of Game, Fish & Parks released 20 bighorn sheep on public land among the reddish sandstone outcrops of the Hell Canyon region, in the rural southwestern Black Hills. Wildfires during the next couple of years swept across 30 square miles of nearby Elk Mountain, wiping out many of its pine trees and making it attractive to bighorn sheep, which like high, steep and open terrain. The sheep moved from the canyon to the mountain, and they've been there ever since. Additional releases and breeding have increased their numbers to about 130. more


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