A bighorn sheep ram that was allegedly shot in the wrong hunting area in Fremont County could end up hanging in the county courthouse – that is, if county officials are willing to pony up $1,500 or so for a taxidermist’s fee.
County Attorney Patrick LeBrun on Tuesday explained to the Fremont County Commission that the ram’s carcass was seized by the local office of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as evidence in a hunting rules violation case.
A licensed hunter allegedly mistakenly shot the ram in the wrong hunting area in Fremont County, he said. It’s been “preserved” by Game and Fish, but since it’s no longer needed as evidence in the case, it’s scheduled to be destroyed.
“It’s not a full curl, but it’s a pretty nice one,” LeBrun told the commissioners.
The trophy value of a bighorn ram is determined by how far around the animal’s horns have curled as it ages. “Full curl” rams, or those with horns that have curled all the way back around, are rare and especially prized.
Bighorn rams are particularly prized in Wyoming because tags to hunt them are extremely hard to draw.
It’s considered to be a once-in-a-lifetime hunt, and even hunters who put in for decades have no guarantee of drawing a tag.
The tags cost $152 for Wyoming residents and $3,002 for nonresident hunters.
Bighorns are one of Wyoming’s “Big 5” trophy game species. Those also include bison, moose, Rocky Mountain goats and – if they’re delisted and made legal to hunt – grizzly bears.
Taxidermy Isn’t Cheap
“I wouldn’t have come to the commission is it (the ram) wasn’t such an iconic animal in Fremont County” and it would be a shame for it to be destroyed, LeBrun said.
It would probably cost roughly $1,500 to have a shoulder mount of the ram done by a professional taxidermist, he said. If that’s done, the ram could be displayed in the county courthouse.
The commission took no formal action on the matter. Instead, it was suggested that the county’s elected officials be asked if they would be willing to donate the money for the taxidermy.
The commission will revisit the matter after the holidays.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the ram wasn't poached, it was allegedly shot in the wrong hunting area.
Mark Heinz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.