While it's none of our business, you can't help but wonder about the amount of disposable income we are talking about here.

True, it's about much more than that. A passion for hunting an iconic animal. Supporting an organization that is dear to one's heart. Possibly it was viewed as an opportunity of a lifetime to check one off the old bucket list.

The Wild Sheep Foundation tells us that this past week, a record $6,432,500 was raised in one night for wild sheep conservation at their 47th annual convention in Reno, Nevada. And the winning bids for hunting licenses in each state, including Montana, were nothing short of astounding.


A record $600,000 was paid at auction for a bighorn sheep permit issued by the state of Colorado, the highest amount for a sheep permit in history. The New Mexico Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep permit sold for another $600,000 shortly thereafter.

Other states also saw record amounts bid for bighorn sheep. Oregon's tag went for $450,00; Arizona's for $430,000; Idaho's $230,000.

This is a sample of the revenue generated this year by just 13 permits that were sold for a total amount raised of $3,710,000. Depending on the permit, 85 to 100 percent of these funds are directed back to the issuing fish and wildlife agency for their wild sheep and other big game species conservation, management, and enhancement programs. The balance that the Wild Sheep Foundation retains goes to wild sheep and habitat conservation through its own mission programs.

Hunting in Montana
Image courtesy of Getty Images,Mary Lane


While it was not a state record, there are probably not a lot of sad, forlorn, long faces in the offices of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. This year's winning bid for Montana was $380,000. The record bid of $480,000 occurred in 2013. The WSF auction has raised  $8,720,000 raised for Montana since 1986.


The WSF says that of the estimated 85,000 bighorn sheep in existence today in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, all hunting permits and tags issued to hunters annually by wildlife agencies represent a harvest of only 1-3 percent of the total wild sheep population, "IF all hunters are 100% successful."

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