Texas Bighorn Society
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 lobbying effort to obtain support for the re-introduction effort in the Texas Legislature and with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. These two groups later merged under the auspices of the Texas Bighorn Society. Their efforts garnered the support of House Speaker Gib Lewis, TP&W Commissioner Perry Bass, Director Charles Travis, and others for refunding the bighorn sheep program.
In 1982-83 TBS raised over $200,000.00 to construct four 10-acre brood pastures in the Sierra Diablo Wildlife Management Area to serve as the center of the revitalized bighorn re-introduction efforts. In 1983 this facility was formally donated to the State of Texas to be managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. The donation of desert bighorns from Arizona, Nevada and Utah, and transported to Texas by TBS members, began Texas’s 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 Mr. C.G. Johnson, who donated his 23,000-acre Elephant Mountain Ranch to TP&W, to create a wildlife management area devoted to desert bighorns. 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 has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars for sheep management in Texas. As our 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 Texas sportsmen/women.
Today, nearly 1500 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 3000 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. Your membership and participation in TBS activities such as our Roundup and annual “hands on” work projects can help make this dream a reality!
Board of Directors
Jim Payne (Jill)
The Texas Bighorn Society raises money in a variety of different ways. Please take a moment to look through them all, perhaps there is a way we can help each other!
Annual membership dues help in the operational costs of the Texas Bighorn Society. All of our Officers and Directors donate their time, and we do not have a staff; however, there are costs associated with the various things we need to stay running — for example, this website, publications, mailing & postal fees, etc. Please make sure your membership is current! If you are not sure if your membership is current, please call 806-745-7783. We do our best to take care of our members and are happy to talk with you any time.
Like most non-profit and conservation organizations, we receive charitable donations from members and non-members alike. Every little bit counts, so please consider giving a donation today.
Our annual Roundup is our largest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds from the auction at the Roundup provide a majority of our annual funding, by far making it the most important event we host. Many auction items are donated from outside organizations, members, companies, and friends of TBS. If you have ideas for auction items, or can donate auction items please visit the Roundup page, and get in touch with one of our Directors. Information and registration for the Roundup will be available approximately 2 months before the Roundup date.
TBS offers advertising opportunities in our tri-annual magazine, Bighorn, and on our website. Advertising for both mediums is reasonably priced and is designed to not only offset the production costs of each, but to give companies and organizations the opportunity to reach out to the diverse membership that make up the Texas Bighorn Society. We reserve the right to refuse advertising content, however, we will work with you to come up with appropriate content. For advertising rates and information, please contact Crisy, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas Bighorn Society Research Fellowship with the Borderlands Research
Texas Bighorn Society & the Borderlands Research Institute Bighorn Research Fellowship
In January of 2011 the Texas Bighorn Society Board of Directors voted to fund a research fellowship position through the Borderlands Research Institute of Sul Ross State University to conduct research on the newly released herd of bighorns at Big Bend Ranch State Park. A commitment of $20,000.00 per year for two years was made to this project. A search for the best qualified recipient of this commitment was led by Louis Harveson of the Borderlands Research Institute and ultimately Mr. Thomas Janke, a recent graduate of Texas A&M University at Kingsville, and who is currently working on his Masters at Sul Ross was chosen.
An oversight committee panel for the project including the director of the Borderlands Research Institute, the TPWD Bighorn Sheep Program Leader, the TPWD District 1 Leader, the TPWD Black Gap, Elephant Mountain, Sierra Diablo WMA Manager, and two panelists from the Texas Bighorn Society, one of which will serve as Chairman of the Panel was appointed to provide direction for the research. Initial focus of this research will include telemetry work, habitat usage and movement research, the evaluation of travel corridors and habitats, development of GIS models/maps of habitat suitability, etc. Research updates and conclusions will be published in the TBS BIGHORN magazine and elsewhere, providing valuable insights into this latest expansion of our Texas bighorn herd!
The overriding goal of the project is to develop extensive data on this bighorn herd that will help plan future transplant efforts and to insure the success, both of this transplant and ones conducted on down the road. Moving wildlife to new habitats is always a risky and expensive proposition, and we hope to help mitigate that risk with this fellowship. Updates will posted here periodically, so check back often and see what is happing with our Texas bighorns in the Big Bend!
Texas Tech University
Bachelor of Science – BSZoology
Currently, I am finishing two years of research on post-mating isolation mechanisms and hybridization of deer species in Texas. In August, I will begin a PhD on disease, population genetics, and management of bighorn sheep. The past two years I have gained experienced teaching anatomy and physiology labs, working in the mammal collection at the NSRL of the Museum of TTU, and conducting field work in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
My research focuses on microbiomes of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) and invasive aoudad (Ammotragus lervia). I am developing my study using specimens from previously sampled individuals from locations in the United States, British Columbia and Alberta in addition to on-going collecting efforts in Texas. My goal is to use community ecology approaches to characterize spatiotemporal microbiome variation in healthy bighorn sheep and aoudad microbiomes, and to understand how disease susceptibility may relate to diversity, composition and dispersal of microbial communities living in association with hosts. My research benefits greatly from collaboration with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Wild Sheep Foundation, Texas Bighorn Society and the Genetic Resources Collection biobank of bighorn sheep samples.
Dr. Warren Conway
Bricker Endowed Chair in Wildlife Management and Chairperson
Ph.D., Texas Tech University, 2001
My graduate students and I pursue a wide variety of wildlife-related research topics that are typically focused upon ecologically relevant and applied wildlife population, conservation, and management issues. My research interests are not individually-species specific, and include both game and nongame species inhabiting Texas coastal marshes and prairies, inland playas and saline lakes of the Southern Great Plains, and more recent work in eastern New Mexico. Most of our work has common themes of wildlife-habitat relationships, population and community dynamics, population management, restoration, and conservation, and more recent efforts have focused upon shorebird and waterfowl toxicology. Previous and current work has focused upon snowy plover ecology and connectivity, diving duck and mottled duck population ecology and ecotoxicology, wintering waterfowl ecology in Texas stock ponds, inland American alligator ecology in east Texas, wild turkey restoration, and exotic invasive plant control and management. Current research has expanded into pronghorn, elk, bighorn sheep and mule deer ecology, conservation, and management in Texas and New Mexico.