Rob Durrett of Clarksville, Tn., has had a bighorn sheep on his mind for quite some time - 30 years, to be exact. After finally drawing a winning lottery ticket for a 2012 bighorn hunt, one of his dream harvests is one step closer to becoming reality.
Mr. Durrett, 56, was elated to have won the 2012 raffle, which includes the coveted Unit 11 along Hells Canyon of the Snake River in Idaho. Only one tag is issued to a lucky hunter each year by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (DFG), and Unit 11 is only open to the winner every other year. The tag permits the taking of a Rocky Mountain or California bighorn.
“It’s a life-changing adventure,” Mr. Durrett told DFG officials, according to The Spokesman-Review.
Mr. Durrett has dreamed of hunting sheep since his early 20s and has been entering the lottery for the tag for the past seven years. This will be his first time hunting in Idaho, although he’s already hunted game in Montana and Alaska.
“I always heard Idaho was good place to hunt sheep, and a beautiful, beautiful place,” he said. Mr. Durrett grew up in a hunting household and matured alongside Jack O’Connor hunting stories, of whom Mr. Durrett’s father was a big fan.
The Idaho Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation handles the lottery for the tag issued by the DFG. The earnings from tickets sold for the lottery are given to the DFG to study and maintain bighorn populations. This year’s lottery enticed approximately 950 people to apply, which raised almost $85,000, of which $69,000 will go directly toward bighorn research and habitat improvement, according to a Wild Sheep Foundation spokeswoman.
Mr. Durrett purchased six tickets in the lottery, for which there is no limit to amount of tickets bought. There is a variable price scale for number of tickets bought: one ticket costs $10, six tickets are $50, 14 for $100 and 25 for $166.75.
Mr. Durrett plans to hunt for at least 20 days between August 30 and October 13 this year. His nine-year-old grandson came with him to scout the area and gather information, especially in the area in Hells Canyon where Mr. Durrett plans to hunt.