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Black Hills Pioneer

Bighorns become part of prey study

By Mark Watson
Black Hills Pioneer

Bill Eastman, left, a conservation officer with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, holds a bighorn sheep ewe, while other biologists gather data. The ewe along with seven other sheep were captured, collared and released as part of a mountain lion prey study. Pioneer photo by Mark Watson

RAPID CITY — Wildlife biologists know mountain lions are killing bighorn sheep in the Black Hills, but they want to know just how many.

This week, officials with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, and other agencies captured and collared bighorn sheep in a variety of locations. On Wednesday, they captured eight sheep near Rapid City.

“We’re looking at prey selection by lions,” said John Kanta, regional wildlife manager with the GF&P. “We have collared lions and we will go in on kill sites to see what they are killing for prey, how often and how much they are eating. The flip side of that is to collar the prey species, in this case the bighorn sheep.”

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