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Throwback to 1986: When Texan Bighorn Sheep Roamed Wild

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is looking back over its 30 years of broadcasting its television show.

This video is a look back at efforts to restore desert bighorn sheep in 1986 in the state.

Several factors contributed to the loss of desert bighorn sheep in the west Texas mountains. These included ranching, the railroad, and hunting.

In 1903, the hunting of bighorn outlawed, but the prohibition had minimal effect. What finally decimated the native herds of desert bighorn sheep was domestic sheep ranching, which increased competition for forage and brought new parasites and diseases that the bighorn could not fend off.

By 1941, the estimated native population of bighorn in Texas was less than 150. The last sighting of native bighorn, two ewes, took place in 1960.

Restocking efforts began in 1954 and continue today. The goal, says TPW, is to have a viable herd. In 2008, the observed population was 1,193 sheep, according to TPW. The state has seven herds of free-ranging bighorns.

NEXT: Hey Hunters, It’s Okay to Feel Sad After Making the Kill

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Throwback to 1986: When Texan Bighorn Sheep Roamed Wild