Tuesday, 31 December 1991 17:00

THE GREAT SHEEP MASSACRE!

Written by Keith Rogers
Rate this item
(0 votes)
The following text is an excerpt from a Review-Journal article writ­ten by Keith Rogers, printed in the November 24,1991 issue.

BIGHORN SHEEP MASSACRE A MYSTERY

On a chilly November day last year, hunter Jack Anderson climbed the rocky terrain of a peak near Carp, a Union Pacific railroad stop in Meadow Valley Wash at the foot of the Mormon Mountains, 65 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

There, to his disbelief, he found 13 dead desert bighorn sheep, most of them piled atop the charred land­scape.

"For whatever reason it was done, it wasn't right," Anderson said.

Wildlife officials estimate the car­casses had been there at least six or eight months, maybe longer, per­haps a year or more, given the dry and shady location, they were most­ly ewes and lambs but two of them were rams. None had evidence of bullet wounds. All had died about the same time.

The carcasses apparently had been dropped out of the air because the hill was too steep and treacher­ous for a human to haul them there by foot or even on horseback and there is no way of reaching the area by vehicle.

"It would take six hours if you could walk fast. It's steep, 5,000 to 6,000 feet in elevation," Anderson said, recounting how he took game warden Barry Adkins to the spot.

Adkins quietly investigated the dead sheep.

A year since Anderson found the bighorns, Adkins is still looking for answers.

"Nothing has come up substan­tial," Adkins said this month. "They were probably killed someplace else and dumped there. Somebody tried to cover up the act."

Theories on who or what killed the sheep range from outer space aliens to sadistic cults to mishaps involving live capture operations. Other possibilities are an accidental poisoning or a botched U.S. Air Force operation.

Whatever happened, Adkins and other state wildlife investigators are convinced a helicopter was involved because of the positioning of the carcasses, most of them in a pile, 12 feet from the top of the hill, with a few scattered as if they had slid downhill.

Adkins and state wildlife biolo­gist Bob Turner said they doubt sce­narios that involve aliens or sadistic cults, because 12 of the sheep were found whole.

Adkins said he investigated the possibility that the sheep fell victim to a state-sanctioned relocation operation that used a net shot from a helicopter as the aircraft chased them into a clearing. But the num­bers didn't add up.

Meanwhile, wildlife officials still are trying to solve the dead sheep mystery.

THE ACCUSATION

"There is something tainted here and the smell is not coming from the dead sheep."

Reprinted from LV. Review-Journal, Dec. 3, 1991

To the editor:

It is quite apparent to me that the Nevada Department of Wildlife hates our state animal, the desert bighorn sheep. This was proven by the Review-Journal arti­cle, "Bighorn sheep massacre a mys­tery."

It was only a few years ago the department let 16 sheep burn to death in one of its trucks, then it gave 50 sheep to Texas to be placed on private ranches, and it still

wants to give 75 more to Texas (R-jf Oct. 27). And now, wildlife officials are at a loss to explain how or why 13 sheep carcasses were flown to a charred landscape.

Why didn't the Department of Wildlife have autopsies per­formed? Were they afraid the truth might reveal that perhaps they were run to death during capture opera­tions? There is something tainted here and the smell is not coming from the dead sheep.

Let's find something we don't like, then make it the state bird, animal or plant. Then put the Department of Wildlife in charge of it. By doing so, we can completely eliminate it with no questions asked.

CECIL FREDI Hunter's Alert Las Vegas

THE REBUTTAL (

The following is an excerpt from IN RESPONSE, a special article by William A Molini, printed in the Las Vegas Review Journal, December 20, 1991.

...Mr. Fredi's comments basically centered on his contention that the Department of Wildlife didn't care about the State's bighorn sheep resource. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As Mr. Fredi knows, the loss of 16 sheep in a truck fire nearly a decade ago (June, 1982) was a tragic accident which the Department deeply regrets. To say "The depart­ment let 16 sheep burn to death in one of its trucks" wrongfully implies complacency about this matter.

...The state of Nevada, in cooper­ation with several other western states, has for several years been a participant and cooperator in a program to reestablish "desert"

bighorn sheep populations in historically occupied areas throughout the west.

It should also be mentioned that in furtherance of Nevada's goal of re-establishment of the other two subspecies of bighorn which histori­cally inhabited Nevada, the Rocky Mountain and California bighorn, our state has received a combined total of more than 180 Rocky Mountain and 240 California bighorn from Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon as well as from the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.

On Mr. Fredi's final comment concerning the recent discovery (October 1990) of 13 dead bighorn in the Mormon Mountains, the Department has pursued this mat­ter since their discovery. Regrettably by the time the animals were found they had been dead for more than six months and therefore several tests which might have been conducted to provide insight as to (the cause of death could not be per­formed. The Department will con­tinue its investigation of the matter until answers are found, or all leads are exhausted. Mr. Fredi's insinua­tion that the Department had some involvement in the death of these animals is ludicrous and I will not dignify it further with comment.

THE TRUTH!

Well, there you go again, Mr. Molini! Making excuses rather than making more game. HUNTER'S ALERT will enlighten readers on some items you failed to mention. You stated HUNTER'S ALERT wrongfully implied complacency about the sheep that burned up in one of the Department of Wildlife trucks. How much more complacent could it have been when your employees left the sheep unattended so that they could go home for lunch?

Regarding your great sheep give­away to Texas, here you go again,

Mr. Molini. You forgot to mention that after the sheep were given to Texas, you and two former wildlife commissioners just happened to go to Texas on a hunting trip. Oh, by the way, Mr. Molini, when ques­tioned about this, neither you nor the commissioners ever publicly produced receipts that you paid for your own trips.

Mr. Molini, you went into great detail about sheep introduction in this state and HUNTER'S ALERT agrees that it is a very beneficial program. But, Mr. Molini, here you go again. You forgot to tell the read­ers that you drew the last Rocky Mountain sheep tag before it became Great Basin National Park. Of course, you were in charge of the tag drawing.

Regarding the recent sheep mas­sacre, here you go again, Mr. Molini. A poor excuse is better than no excuse. What do you mean, they could not have conducted tests because the sheep had been dead for six months? President Folk's body was recently exhumed to find out that he did not die of poisoning. By the way, President Polk died in 1849. Your "investigation" was incomplete. No hair samples were taken. This would have revealed if they had been poisoned and there were hair samples available. No forensic investigation of any type was conducted. In addition to this, the employee responsible for the investigation sat on it for six months and then retired. A proper investigation would reveal whether they died of toxins or not. If they did die of poison, where are all the other animals that also died? The poison surely would not have killed sheep exclusively. What if there were no trace of poison, would you then admit that perhaps they died of stress during capture operations? If you believe the Department of Wildlife had no involvement in the sheep massacre, you may be rather naive. Who are the suspects here? Under your own admission, it is someone with a helicopter. That narrows the suspects to three: the BLM, Air Force, and NDOW. Nevada Department of Wildlife is indeed a suspect and just maybe

that is why nothing has happened to solve the mystery. HUNTER'S ALERT remembers very well when some former wildlife commissioners were illegally hunting on the Stillwater Refuge and you refused to do a proper investigation until the NEVADA HUNTERS ASSOCI­ATION forced you into it. For this reason, we are a. little suspicious when it comes to you doing a proper investigation of your department or of the wildlife commissioners.

HUNTER'S ALERT stands by its comment that you do not care for the sheep. Three years ago you were told of the decimation of the sheep by mountain lions, particularly in the Sheep Mountain Range. One guide has stated that five sheep kills were the result of mountain lions in that area alone this season. To date, you have done nothing about it and refuse to listen to the guides or hunters who are in the field observ­ing the predation on a daily basis.

HUNTER'S ALERT has but one goal, to make hunting and fishing better in the state of Nevada. It is too bad that, as the Director of the Department of Wildlife, you don't see it this way. If you did, our game situation would not be in the dismal condition it is.

How about a New Year's resolu­tion, Mr. Molini. Call for an outside independent investigation of the sheep massacre. HUNTER'S ALERT challenges you and the Wildlife Commission to this obvious solution to the mystery of the deaths of thirteen sheep.

Editor's Note: Nevada Department of Wildlife has reopened this investigation even though there is no new evidence. (With the pas­sage of time, there is actually less.) Also, there has been no disciplinary action taken by Nevada Department of Wildlife against any employee for not doing a proper investigation in this matter.

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 14:56
Login to post comments

Search Articles

Login Form



Donate to the Website

donate_without_paypal_account
Look for this section on the paypal donation page to donate even without a paypal account.  Just click on continue where it says "Don't have a PayPal account?"

Donations help to pay for web hosting and management of Hunters Alert! keeping this content online and up to date.

*All donations are annonymous unless you would like to be announced as a donor.

Copyright © Hunters Alert! - Keeping the sportsman informed.. All Rights Reserved.