WY-010 Wyoming Winds

Marker text: Wyoming's Wildlife - Wyoming Winds - On the wind-blown mountain slopes south and west of Dubois winters the world's largest herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. The bighorn once was found throughout all mountain habitats of the Rockies: today its range is but a remnant. The Sheep-eater Indians once hunted the mountains and basins of the Winds. The Wind River mountains high to the west of this site are inhabited by elk, mule deer and mountain sheep in the summer. These herds migrate to lower elevation wind-swept slopes and shrub-covered basins to winter. The Whiskey Basin sheep population has become an important source of sheep for western American efforts to expand the bighorn's range and improve the longterm welfare of the species. Through the use of transplanting and hunting the herd in this area is maintained at about 1000 wintering bighorns. Each year excess animals are transplanted to reoccupy former ranges, or supplement bighorn herds throughout the western U. S. and Canada. The winds constantly blow and keep the foothill vegetation exposed for wintering wildlife. In the rainshadow of the Wind River Mountains the basin does not generally retain deep snow cover. As a result, the shrubs and grasses in this area provide an available winter food source to wildlife. The winds play on the landscape to help make "Wyoming's Wildlife-Worth the Watching".

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