The provincial Wild Sheep & Mountain Goat Specialist for the Wildlife & Habitat Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and the B.C. Wildlife Federation Wildlife and Allocations Committee Chair strongly recommend that hunters use horn curl as their guide when hunting British Columbia’s Thinhorn Mountain Sheep.
Since the beginning of the 2021 Thinhorn Mountain Sheep hunting season on August 1st, Conservation Officers have seized about a dozen rams from hunters. The 7 in this photo are just from Region 7B – Peace Region, but it is still early in the season – there will likely be more by season’s end.
These rams were taken by Conservation Officers as a result of violations under the Wildlife Act related to non-compliance with the full curl or over eight true horn annuli requirement, and/or failing to remove all edible portions. The vast majority of the rams seized to date this year are not full curl and thus harvested using an assumption based on the hunter-estimated age.
All Hunters are reminded to take extra precautions when attempting to age Dall’s and Stone’s Sheep in the field before making the decision to harvest the animal. Hunters need to recognize that distance is not your friend even with good optics, and judging curl and age gets tougher the further you are away from a ram. The best case scenario is if the ram is full curl and over eight years old.
The same principles apply to antlered game, including regulations such as six-point bull elk, four-point mule deer bucks, and spike, fork or tri-palm bull moose.