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Published September 24, 2013, 08:42 AM

North Dakota bighorn sheep survey has mixed results

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A summer survey indicates the number of bighorn sheep in western North Dakota remains steady, but state Game and Fish Department biologists are worried about what they say is a significant decline in the number of adult rams.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A summer survey indicates the number of bighorn sheep in western North Dakota remains steady, but state Game and Fish Department biologists are worried about what they say is a significant decline in the number of adult rams.

The survey showed a minimum of 299 bighorns, unchanged from last year and only 17 percent below the record in 2008. However, the number of rams was down 11 percent from last year and down 21 percent from the 2009 ram record, according to Brett Wiedmann, a Game and Fish big game biologist in Dickinson.

"Annual survival of adult rams is typically very high, so we need to figure out why our ram population is continuing to decline despite reductions in hunting licenses," he said.

Game and Fish issued four hunting licenses this year, the same as last year and down from five or six in previous years. The season is Oct. 25-Nov. 7.

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