The deadline to apply for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s (NGPC) resident bighorn sheep lottery is Friday, Aug. 5.
Only one Nebraskan, 12 years of age or older, will get the chance for the hunt in the western part of the state.
Kit Hams, NGPC Big Game Program manager, says the winner can have a wildlife guide lead them and a guest on the hunt.
“They don’t have to, but they certainly all elect to and it’s the best opportunity to take a quality ram,” Hams tells Nebraska Radio Network. “If you’ve never hunted sheep, they occupy a big area of the state and they’re hard to find.”
The Pine Ridge area of the northern Panhandle has been the primary hunting area over the last 15 to 20 years.
“Now, down in the Wildcat Hills, south of Scottsbluff, has been another area where we’ve got bighorn sheep,” Hams says.
NGPC board members voted not to hold a permit auction this year, which Hams says has driven up the price of a permit as high as $100,000.
“If you get your name drawn out of the hat for 25 bucks, yeah, you have an exceptional bargain.”
Roughly 2,300 applications were submitted last year for the permit lottery. Proceeds go back into the program.
“We spend a lot of time and effort tracking sheep, sheep survival, and lamb production,” Hams says. “We have biologists who have the full-time job of tracking sheep. You know, we like to think that generally the cost of sheep permits finance most of the cost of the program.”
The winner of the lottery is drawn on Aug. 18 and is notified immediately.
The hunting season is November 29 through December 22.
The online lottery application is HERE.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:43]