Steven addresses concerns about Texas bighorn sheep in light of exotic and invasive species introductions within the bighorn’s native range.
Bighorn sheep are what biologists call an “indicator species” – one whose presence, absence or abundance is reflective of a larger environmental trend.
After years of declining numbers resulting from unregulated hunting and disease, Texas bighorns have rebounded to their pre-settlement population levels.
Bighorns are threatened by the introduction of the exotic and invasive Aoudad sheep. Aoudad sheep compete with bighorns for habitat and risk transmitting viral and bacterial pathogens foreign to bighorn immune systems.
The greatest limiting factor in bighorn recovery, however, is disease transmission from domestic sheep and goats.
In order for Texas bighorn populations to remain robust, management practices must eliminate contact between bighorns and domestic sheep and goats and strictly manage Aoudad numbers.
Wild sheep populations in Texas may be recovering, but herds across the West continue to dwindle due to factors such as disease transmission and climate change.
Conservation Funding = Economic Growth on TRCP’s CFN
How do hunting and angling benefit the national economy? Watch “TRCP’s Conservation Field Notes” as Steven Rinella explains the many ways sportsmen enable a strong economic future for America.
Outdoor recreation has a substantial positive impact on the U.S. economy, with figures of $120.7 billion in product sales and $524.8 billion in trip and travel related spending.
Congress is considering damaging cuts to critical conservation programs that will not only affect hunting and fishing opportunities, but could have a detrimental effect on the outdoor recreation economy as whole.
Investments in our natural resources comprise a mere 1.26 percent of the federal budget, and current cuts under consideration are disproportionately weighted on conservation and recreation.
To learn more about conservation funding, please visit the below sites:
The wild turkey has been a staple of American tradition since the 1500s, but its survival has not always been certain.
Native only to North and Central America, the wild turkey was discovered by Europeans in Mexico in the early 1500s.
By the 1930s, the wild turkey population was at less than 30,000 birds; a victim of market hunting, subsistence hunting and widespread habitat destruction.
Over the next 50 years, state wildlife agencies funded by hunters’ dollars and working with the National Wild Turkey Federation, captured more than 200,000 wild turkeys and released them in quality wild turkey habitat.
Today there are more than 7 million wild turkeys roaming the woodlands and river-bottoms across the country.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
WHAT WILL FEWER HUNTERS MEAN FOR CONSERVATION?
The precipitous drop in hunter participation should be a call to action for all sportsmen and women, because it will have a significant ripple effect on key conservation funding models.