….and quite a few sheep-hunting ladies packed the room at the Salt Palace last Saturday. We all had one thing on our minds - hunting wild sheep. When measuring by emotion, wild sheep are likely the most sought after of game in North America. There are many emotions associated with hunting wild sheep. Why? the grandeur of their habitat, their beauty, scarcity and elusiveness are a few reasons – rugged mountains and the price of a hunt are two others.
As I sat in the room with the other 1,000 plus sheep hunters I was feeling another emotion. I knew that I had about a one in twenty or so chance in drawing a Dall sheep hunt in Alaska or the Yukon and the winner’s names were about to be called. I’ve never been so optimistic about my chances of winning a significant drawing.
It didn’t end up that way, but I know I’ll be hunting sheep again one of these days and I hope it’s sooner rather than later.
How did this opportunity happen? Don Peay of Utah’s Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW) and Carl Malone of NBA fame, teamed up to create a new program to promote sheep hunting opportunities in North America, especially for those who have limited ability to purchase or draw a tag. By joining their new organization, The Full Curl Society, at a price of $40, members were presented with one entry in their “Sheep Fever” drawing and the one entry gave me three chances to draw a Dall sheep tag. What a bargain.
With several categories from which to be drawn, each member had a variety of opportunity – too complicated to explain here.
Along with the drawing, Don Peay honored about a dozen sheep hunters for their contribution to sheep hunting and conservation – among them was his good friend and SFW supporter Carl Malone and also Bay Area Conservationist (Mule Deer Foundation and California Deer supporter) Dan Smith.
Malone, beloved as a basketball player and respected for his contributions to conservation, greeted each of the inductees to the Full Curl Society Hall of Fame at the podium. It was quite an event.
Ten sheep hunters received a chance to hunt Dall or Stone sheep and about half of them had never had the opportunity before. One lucky hunter received an opportunity to hunt for desert big horn in hopes of completing the cycle of North American sheep species, Rocky Mountian Big Horn, Desert Big Horn, Stone sheep and Dall – often referred to as the Grand Slam.
If you’re interested in more info about Carl Malone, hunter-conservationist, here’s a link to a recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune . http://www.sltrib.com/outdoors/ci_14366713