Bighorn sheep lottery winners bag trophy-caliber rams in Nebraska
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Bighorn sheep lottery winners bag trophy-caliber rams in Nebraska

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Bighorn sheep

Frank Tritz harvested a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the Pine Ridge on Dec. 3.

Nebraska’s bighorn sheep hunting season wrapped up Wednesday afternoon, as the second of the state’s two permit holders found success at Montz Point Wildlife Management Area in Scotts Bluff County.

Trevor Premer of McCook, who won his permit by a lottery open to Nebraska residents, harvested a 7½-year-old ram to conclude a hunt that began Monday in the Pine Ridge, according to a news release from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The other hunter, Frank Tritz of Le Mars, Iowa, won his permit by an auction sponsored by the Wild Sheep Foundation and harvested an 8½-year-old ram Dec. 3 on a remote escarpment of the Pine Ridge National Recreation Area near Whitney.

Todd Nordeen, the Game and Parks Commission big-game and disease research manager who supervises the hunting program, said both rams harvested this year were trophy-caliber Rocky Mountain bighorns, the subspecies that resides among the sandstone buttes and escarpments of the Nebraska Panhandle.

Bighorn sheep

Trevor Premer harvested his Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the Wildcat Hills on Dec. 11.

The ram harvested Wednesday marks the 27th in Nebraska since the Game and Parks Commission’s hunting program began in 1998. Nebraska’s population of bighorns stands at about 230.

The permit winners are assisted by Game and Parks staff and treated to meals and lodging at Fort Robinson State Park.

Money from the hunts has been vital to bighorn sheep conservation in Nebraska. About $1.5 million has been raised through the lottery applications and auctions.

Photos: Hunters show off their harvest in Nebraska

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