For the Arizona hunter whose ticket was pulled for the 28th Annual Bighorn Sheep Tag Lottery, it represents the hunt of a lifetime. For the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, it means more than $109,000 in funding will benefit wild sheep conservation in Idaho.
The lucky winner of the 2019 Bighorn Sheep Tag Lottery was Andrew Tomlinson, a resident of Prescott, Ariz. The Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation held the drawing outside Fish and Game Headquarters in Boise on July 31. Tomlinson was one of around 1,000 people from across the nation who bought anywhere from one to several hundred chances. The winning ticket was drawn by Idaho Fish and Game Director Ed Schriever.
In 2019, the lottery raised over $109,000, the second-highest total ever, and the highest for a year in which the lottery tag cannot be used in Hunt Area 11 in Hell’s Canyon.
The lottery tag is offered under a partnership between Idaho Fish and Game and the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation, which has been hosting the bighorn lottery since 1992, with the proceeds going back to Fish and Game for bighorn sheep conservation.
In the 28 years that the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation has hosted the lottery, it has raised nearly $2 million. In recent years, the proceeds have helped Fish and Game with monitoring disease in bighorn sheep populations, preventing interaction between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep, and improving relationships between sportsmen and private landowners.
This year, the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation donated all of the lottery proceeds to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
“Part of our agreement with Fish and Game is that, out of the gross sales, our costs up to 25 percent are covered by the proceeds of this tag,” said Zach