Photo © Luke Meduna

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep were likely common in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota before European settlement. In 1922, Peter Norbeck worked with Alberta Canada to obtain eight Rocky Mountain bighorns for release into Custer State Park. This herd grew and maintained a population until their demise for unknown reasons in the late 1950s. Without bighorn sheep once again, South Dakota began a series of translocations in the 1960s to reintroduce bighorns in sheep habitat. Translocation efforts have continued as populations have fluctuated over time and the most recent effort included bighorns from Alberta being released in the Deadwood area of the Black Hills. South Dakota’s bighorn sheep herds provide limited hunting opportunity for South Dakota residents and many people are attracted to viewing these creatures in both the Black Hills and Badlands.