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Bighorn sheep seen around Silver City

These bighorn sheep were seen wandering the parking lot of the Grant County Court House earlier this week. (Courtesy of Silver City Sun-News)

These bighorn sheep were seen wandering the parking lot of the Grant County Court House earlier this week. (Courtesy of Silver City Sun-News)

SILVER CITY – Bighorn sheep have been spotted in Silver City and that’s a rare event. Normally, javelina, bobcat, herds of deer and the occasional bear run around town, but residents are asking questions about why sheep are in the community.

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Bighorn Biologist Eric Rominger seems to think that a predation event has caused this group to leave its territory.

“These sheep are probably Rocky’s, and I think they are from the Turkey Creek area in an area called Hell’s Half Acre,” Rominger said. “The last time I talked to a hunter from that area, he stated that there were a lot of lion tracks. If those sheep are getting the run around really hard, it would cause them to move.”

Rominger seems to think they are Rocky Mountain sheep versus Desert Sheep because of the temperament of the animals.

“Desert sheep are real spooky,” Rominger said. “With a few exceptions, the ones that live near Red Rock, you can’t even get close to them. Rocky’s have a whole different temperament. They will lick your horse and eat granola out of your hand. The behavior aspect of these sheep in Silver City is not right and that leads me to believe that they are probably Rocky’s.”

These bighorn sheep were seen wandering the parking lot of the Grant County Court House earlier this week. (Courtesy of Silver City Sun-News)

These bighorn sheep were seen wandering the parking lot of the Grant County Court House earlier this week. (Courtesy of Silver City Sun-News)

Because a few of them might be pregnant and lambs could show up soon, the Department of Game and Fish is letting them roam around right now. It isn’t the department’s preference to capture them and try to release them back because of this situation.

“If they like it here in Silver City, then they will be back before I get my horse trailer unhitched,” Rominger said. “That’s the problem. We can think about taking them to another herd, but it’s not unprecedented for sheep to be in towns. It’s a regular thing in some areas around the U.S. but stranger things have happened in Silver City.”

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