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Bighorn Sheep Release at Big Bend Ranch

Texas Bighorn Society History and Mission

December 2010

In 1981 a small group of bighorn supporters formed the Texas Chapter of FNAWS (Foundation for North American Wild Sheep) and the Texas Bighorn Society, and began an intense effort to support the re-introduction effort. These two groups later merged under the auspices of the Texas Bighorn Society.

In 1982-83 TBS raised over $200,000 to construct four 10-acre brood pastures at Sierra Diablo Wildlife Management Area to serve as the center of bighorn re-introduction.  In 1983 this facility was formally donated to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  The donation of desert bighorns from Arizona, Nevada and Utah, transported to Texas by TBS members, began Texas’ wild sheep herd.  To date, more than 175 lambs have been raised and released into the mountains of Texas from this facility.

In 1985, the success of this restoration effort caught the attention of C.G. Johnson, who donated his 23,000-acre Elephant Mountain Ranch to TPWD, to create a wildlife management area.  In February of 1987, 20 bighorns were transplanted from Sierra Diablo pens to Elephant Mountain WMA.  Today this herd numbers more than 150 animals and has provided transplant stock to other areas of Texas.

Beginning in 1996, Elephant Mountain WMA has been the site of the Texas Grand Slam Hunt, which gives any hunter a shot at the hunt of a lifetime and has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars for wildlife management in Texas.  As Texas sheep numbers increase, so will the number of hunting opportunities both on private land and thru public drawings.  These permits will create many once in a lifetime experiences for Texans.

Today, nearly 1,500 bighorns roam seven locations in the mountains of West Texas, but the story is not over. TBS is dedicated to returning bighorns to all their native ranges in the state, which would take those numbers closer to 3,000 of these desert monarchs.  All money raised from membership dues and our annual Roundup Weekend and Auction is used exclusively to help return desert bighorns to the mountains and people of Texas.

The mission of the Texas Bighorn Society is to restore Desert Bighorn Sheep to all their native ranges in Texas, and to insure the viability of their habitat.


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