Saturday, May 25, 2013
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For 30 years he has dreamed about a bighorn sheep hunt. Earlier this year he bought six tickets in the Wild Sheep Foundation's annually lottery of an Idaho bighorn tag.
One of the six was a winner in the July 25 drawing, and Rob Durrett, 56, of Clarksville, Tenn., is coming to Idaho this fall to hunt Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
"I'm really excited," he said on a recent visit to Idaho. "It's a life-changing adventure."
Every year Idaho Fish and Game provides one tag for a bighorn sheep in Idaho, marketed by the Idaho Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation. The winner will be able to hunt in any unit open to hunting for Rocky Mountain or California bighorn in 2012, pursuant to Fish and Game rules.
This year's lottery tag includes the coveted Unit 11, in Hells Canyon of the Snake River. Unit 11 is available to the lottery winner only in alternating years.
Durrett has been putting in for an Idaho bighorn sheep tag for the past seven years.
"I always heard Idaho was good place to hunt sheep, and a beautiful, beautiful place," he said, beaming with excitement. His father was a fan of Jack O'Conner, and the young Durrett grew up on O'Connor's hunting stories.
Since his early 20s he has dreamt of hunting sheep. He has hunted in Montana and Alaska. This will be his first time hunting in Idaho.
He plans to hunt at least 20 days between August 30 and October 13. He brought his nine-year-old grandson, Cameron, along for short visit here to gather information and scout the area he plans to hunt in Hells Canyon.
Proceeds from the bighorn sheep raffle are used by Fish and Game for the benefit and enhancement of bighorn sheep in Idaho. This year the Wild Sheep Foundation sold $84,118.50 worth of tickets. That will bring an estimated $69,000 to Fish and Game for bighorn sheep research and habitat improvement.
The Wild Sheep Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization working to protect and restore bighorn sheep to historic habitats throughout Idaho.