This bighorn sheep license plate is the latest conservation design released in Texas, with money going towards wildlife management and research programs.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently announced the addition of the Bighorn Sheep Conservation License Plate, the ninth in a series of unique, outdoor-themed license plates. The purchase of each plate sees a majority portion of the funds go straight towards TPWD projects surrounding conservation, habitat protection, wildlife surveys, and other vital state programs.
The new license plates depict a male desert bighorn sheep with an impressive set of horns, almost reaching a full curl on one side but massive nonetheless.
"Our longtime plate artist, Clemente Guzman, retired, so we decided to use a photograph of a majestic Bighorn Sheep proudly looking into the desert--and perhaps its future," said Janis Johnson with the TPWD Conservation License Plate program. "We conducted an online survey with thousands of hunters and conservationists and had them rank several designs for a Bighorn Sheep plate and a Pronghorn plate. The Bighorn Sheep was the overwhelming favorite."
The specialty plates are the second big game-based style, with a whitetail deer being one of the inaugural releases.
Other different styles include largemouth bass (assisting fishing and river conservation), a campsite (Texas State Parks), and a rattlesnake ("Wild for Texas" efforts, including a diverse mix of wildlife studies and assessment).
The specialty license plates cost $30, with $22 going towards the programs they represent.
From the TPWD news release:
Over the last 18 years, $1.2 million in funds garnered from the sale of TPWD's white-tailed deer conservation license plates has supported projects like chronic wasting disease research and containment, big game population and harvest surveys, Trans-Pecos pronghorn restoration efforts, and more. Additionally, a 1-to-3 match ratio with USFWS Pittman-Robertson funds (which are monies derived from the sale of guns and ammo) helps address these significant conservation needs.
There is also a series of non-profit oriented license plates, which go towards helping other organizations, outside of TPWD, fund and support their efforts. Groups like Ducks Unlimited, the Coastal Conservation Association, and Texas Lions Camp have themed license plates for sale.
Not everyone is aware Texas even has bighorn sheep, and while the animal's range is limited to a few portions of the state, it's still a favorite among the diverse big game species available to hunters.
Desert bighorn sheep were extirpated from Texas in the early 1960s, and restoration efforts have included aerial helicopter surveys. The sheep population information obtained from such surveys from the years 1990 to 2013 has been used to recognize population trends, distribution, sex/age composition, and to make annual harvest recommendations when hunting season comes around.
Wildlife and habitat all over the United States could use our help, and this is yet another way to support it.
The bighorn sheep plate, along with the rest of the wildlife conservation plates, can be seen and purchased on the TPWD website.
It makes a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles a little more worthwhile, doesn't it?
Enjoy the outdoors?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.