Sul Ross State University
Research Assistant/Masters of Science/Natural Resource Management
Movements, Survival, and Habitat Use of Desert Bighorn Sheep in The Black Gap Wildlife
Historically, desert bighorn sheep were once a prevalent
species throughout the Trans-Pecos ecological region of Texas, but unfortunately had become
extirpated by the 1960s due to unregulated hunting and disease transmission from livestock.
Restoration efforts from surrounding states were quickly implemented, in hopes of re-establishing a
bighorn population throughout the Trans-Pecos. Since that time, Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
has developed a small subpopulation that has endured disease, stress, and predation; in order to ensure
sustainability we must continue our restoration efforts. The objective of this study is to restore and
strengthen desert bighorn sheep at Black Gap WMA, by means of translocation. Bighorn were captured,
equipped with a GPS satellite collar, and transported from Elephant Mountain WMA to Black Gap WMA.
Movements, survival, and habitat utilization will be observed and compared between bighorn that are
resident, hard-released, and soft-released. Information from this study will assist Texas Parks and
Wildlife biologists with future management decisions regarding desert bighorn sheep in the Trans-Pecos
ecological region of Texas.