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Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air & Rare Plants

Full Curl

The exploitation of the West pushed wild sheep into remnant ranges and decimated their numbers. But values are changing. For a growing number of people, just knowing that healthy herds of wild sheep are still a part of our natural heritage adds to the quality of their lives. Indeed, the sight of wild sheep is heart-pounding excitement, and providing memories for a lifetime and stories to tell grandchildren. Full Curl is your invitation to be a partner in management of wild sheep on your national forests.

Sheep Maps

2017 Sheep Show in Reno

Dates: January 19 - 21, 2017

Facility: Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Reno, NV
Registration - Online

This is the Wild Sheep Foundation convention. There are no agency specific meetings, as is often found at other partner meetings (e.g., RMEF, TWTF, etc.). The Wild Sheep Foundation does one major fundraiser a year and this is it. There will be a WAFWA bighorn sheep working group meeting and a wildlife professionals meeting in conjunction with this event. Forest Service/Full Curl will have a booth again this year. Come by our booth and find about Wild Sheep and Goats on your national forests.

Photograph:  Bighorn young ram by Bruce Thompson, BLM.  Bighorn on snowy mountain side.
Find-A-Photo: Bighorn Sheep by Bruce Thompson, BLM

Wild Sheep In the News

Catalina Bighorn Sheep Reintroduction Project

The goal of the project is to establish a self-sustaining population of bighorn sheep in the Catalina Mountains that coexists with resident predators without administrative intervention. Bighorn sheep are being reintroduced because the Catalina Mountains are a part of their historical range; the project is trying to restore them to a natural ecosystem that they were an important part of for thousands of years. As long as one of its key piecesóbighorn sheep--is missing, the ecosystem is in some ways incomplete.

Arizona Game & Fish

Award Winning Program

Wild Sheep Foundation: Federal Outstanding Statesman Award - Melanie Woolever, R2, (former) Wildlife Program Leader, and Full Curl program lead, won the WSF Award in 1998 and again in 2015. Melanie is the only person to recieve this award twice for cooperative work benefitting wild sheep throughout her career with the Forest Service. This award has also been given to former USFS Chief, Dr. Jack Ward Thomas (1997) and President George Bush (1990). In 2012 Melanie was inducted into the WSF Wild Sheep Biologist Wall of Fame.

Photograph: Herd of bighorn sheep in Devil's Canyon.
Find-A-Photo: Devil's Canyon


Recommendations for Domestic Sheep and Goat Management in Wild Sheep Habitat 2012;
Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) - Wild Sheep Working Group

GTR Publication Removed Due to Court Order

A Review of Disease-related Conflicts Between Domestic Sheep and Goats and Bighorn Sheep
By Timothy J. Schommer and
Melanie M.Woolever, 2008
RMRS Document Link

On July 1, 2009, the United States District Court for the District of Idaho issued a decision and order in [Idaho Wool Growers Assoc. v. Schafer] which found that the Risk Assessment Disease Transmission Committee and the Payette Principles Committee were advisory committees subject to the procedural requirements of FACA. These Committees were established to review information regarding disease transmission between domestic and bighorn sheep for a Forest Planning effort. The order states that "the Committees' finding and/or conclusions are not to be relied upon by the Forest Service with respect to any future agency decisions."

A Review of Disease Related Conflicts Between Domestic Sheep and Goats and Bighorn Sheep (RMRS-GTR-209) was prepared to provide a summary of the published scientific literature concerning the issue of disease transmission between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep an goats. RMRS-GTR-209 references the principles developed by the Payette Principles Committee. Given these circumstances, the agency has retracted RMRS-GTR-209. The court order does not preclude the underlying scientific literature reviewed by the Payette Principles Committee nor the scientific literature referenced in this GTR.

Forest Service Letter - Compliance with July 1, 2009, Adverse Ruling in Idaho Wool Growers Assoc. v. Schafer, by United States District Court for the District of Idaho PDF 26.5 KB
Court Order PDF 79.3 KB

FACA = Federal Advisory Committee Act

Additional Publications

Maps of Domestic Sheep and Bighorn Sheep

2014 “occupied” bighorn sheep habitat with active domestic sheep allotments and not stocked sheep and cattle allotments for 14 western States. Definitions of “occupied” bighorn sheep habitat varies among States and is documented on the individual maps. Nevada and Utah bighorn sheep maps are under revision and therefore not included. This information supersedes previous versions.

Research and Inventory

Research and inventory must precede management to avoid costly mistakes. Research - studying the nature of sheep - determines their needs and why they are present in some areas and absent from others.

Inventories of occupied and vacant habitats help establish priorities for range restoration or restocking only. Keeping track of sheep with the aid of collars and radio transmitters helps biologists learn of their movements and home range needs.


Sheep are absent from even the best forage and cover when water is not available. Developing springs and installing watering devices such as catch dams, holding tanks and "guzzlers" are the kind of projects that volunteer partners make possible.

Goals of Full Curl

  1. Restore the quality and quantity of wild sheep habitat to generate an increase of 150 percent in population and 300 percent in recent recreational opportunities.
  2. Foster partnership, cooperation and understanding among government bodies, private organizations, landowners and the general public in support of wild sheep conservation.
  3. Provide opportunities to participate in habitat restoration through volunteer efforts and financial contributions.
  4. Implement US. Forest Service plans to achieve wild sheep management objectives.


Other partners in this program are the State wildlife agencies of AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, ND, NM, NV, OR, SD, WA, and WY.

How you can be a Partner too!

  • Join the Wild Sheep Foundation or any of their local chapers and affiliates.
  • Look for a future posting, at this site, on new and on going field work needing volunteers.
  • Start watching sheep in the wild! You can also find locations for viewing wildlife, plants and fish through our NatureWatch Viewing Sites website at 'iNature'.

    Sheep Biology

    References & Publications

    • A Review of Disease-related Conflicts Between Domestic Sheep and Goats and Bighorn Sheep; Schommer, Timothy J.; Woolever, Melanie M. 2008; RMRS-GTR-209
      See comments at top of page. RMRS no longer makes this GTR available even though the court order does not preclude the underlying scientific literature reviewed by the Payette Principles Committee nor the scientific literature referenced in this GTR.

      Research between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep and goats can lead to respiratory disease and fatal pneumonia in bighorn sheep. We reviewed experimental methods and evidence regarding respiratory disease in bighorn sheep relative to domestic sheep and goats based upon the contact hypothesis and categorized by experimental approach. Although efforts to identify organisms causing pneumonia in bighorn sheep following contact with domestic sheep have identified multiple bacteria species, the complete range of mechanisms/causal agents leading to epizootic disease events are not completely understood. However, based upon the effect of disease transmission, spatial and/or temporal separation between domestic sheep and goats and bighorn sheep is prudent when the management objective is to maintain bighorn sheep populations.

    • A Process for Finding Management Solutions to the Incompatibility Between Domestic and Bighorn Sheep; Tom Schommer and Melanie Woolever; (white paper) August 2001;742 KB pdf
      Download pdf file

    • Transmital Letter of the final Bighorn/Domestic Sheep document;19 KB pdf
      Download pdf file

    • Selenium/pH/Precipitation/Sheep Lamp Survival; 21.4 KB pdf
      Download pdf file

    Learn More

    You can find out more about Wild Sheep by contacting one of these organizations:

    Wild Sheep Foundation
    412 Pronghorn Trail
    Bozeman, MT 59718
    Phone: 406.404.8750

    Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
    Mike Cox - Wild Sheep Working Group Chair
    Nevada Department of Wildlife
    6980 Sierra Center Pkwy, Suite 120
    Reno, NV 89511
    Office Phone: 775-688-1556

    Full Curl Coordinator for the Forest Service

    USDA Forest Service

    Updated 11.08.16


Disclaimers | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Privacy Notice

Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air & Rare Plants (WFW)
Washington, D.C. Office
Author: Shelly Witt, National Continuing Education Coordinator, WFW staff
Phone: 435-881-4203
Expires: none

Photo Credits

USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C. 20090-6090
(202) 205-8333