Managing Identified Wildlife:
Procedures and Measures

Volume 1
February 1999

Table of contents

Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis californiana, Ovis canadensis canadensis)

WHA planning objectives

Maintain sensitive ranges other than winter range.

Wildlife habitat area

WHAs should be established on some critical ranges such as lambing areas, transitional ranges and certain alpine forage and escape habitat. WHAs will generally be 50 ha or smaller.

GWM management objectives

Maintain WHA in a natural state.

Minimize access to prevent human disturbance and to avoid invasions of non-indigenous plants into grassland communities.
Avoid disturbance to lambing area.

General wildlife measures

These measures must be applied within a WHA approved for the species.

Lambing season is generally between April and July 15. However, times may vary by location. MELP should be consulted for site-specific times.


  • Do not construct roads unless the district manager and regional fish and wildlife manager are satisifed there is no other practicable option and the variance is approved by the district manager and regional fish and wildlife manager. Deactivate new non-permanent roads after use.
  • Limit road use within lambing WHAs during the lambing season unless variance is approved by the district manager and regional fish and wildlife manager.


  • Maintain grassland seral stage distribution as specified by regional wildlife and range staff.
  • Exclude domestic sheep.


  • Do not use helicopters in the WHA to remove timber during critical times. Consult MELP for appropriate times.
  • Avoid use of domestic sheep for vegetation management purposes to minimize epizootics, predators and competition for forage.

Management considerations (not mandatory)

Winter range is an important aspect of bighorn sheep habitat; however, it is not considered in the Identified Wildlife Management Strategy because it is covered by a specific regulation (Section 69) in the Operational Planning Regulations.

Landscape unit planning considerations (not mandatory)

Migratory bighorn sheep must be managed on an ecosystem basis, incorporating low-elevation winter ranges, transitional ranges and high-elevation summer ranges. Connectivity between seasonal ranges should be maintained. Additional recognition and protection of certain lower grasslands and alpine habitat within higher level plans will ensure the retention of year-round bighorn ranges.

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