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Badlands sheep could be part of 2018 season

The South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks. (Republic file photo)

PIERRE—South Dakota hunters might see one or more additional licenses for bighorn sheep this fall beyond the handful being offered for part of the Black Hills.

The state Game, Fish & Parks Commission agreed Thursday on three bighorn licenses in the Elk Mountain area.

One of the licenses is designated for auction by the regional chapter for the Wild Sheep Foundation. Proceeds go back to the state Wildlife Division for sheep management.

The commissioners also heard Thursday from senior wildlife biologist Chad Lehman there are sufficient rams in the Badlands unit for a hunt to happen there this year.

There are now six herds of wild sheep in western South Dakota, according to Lehman.

He said the Rapid City and Deadwood herds have weak lamb-ewe ratios because of pneumonia die-offs.

The Badlands herd is sufficiently large that hunters could take as many as six rams, Lehman said.

Staff will develop regulations for the commission to consider for a hunt on the Badlands unit, big-game chief Tom Kirschenmann said.

Kirschenmann said the commission has allowed as many as five rams total to be taken in recent times.