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Bighorn Sheep Highway Casualties Out of Control

highway sheep
Photo Courtesy of jimmywayne/Flickr

Over the weekend, motorcyclist Troy Guilding was killed when he collided with a big horn sheep on highway 200 in sanders county.

Wildlife Biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Bruce Sterling says that the sheep on the highway have been “an ongoing problem” since he first arrived in Thompson Falls back in 1985. Sterling estimates that somewhere around 407 sheep have been involved in collisions that have miraculously lead to only one human fatality.

The sheep are drawn to the highway to lick the salt from de-icing chemicals (namely magnesium chloride) spread during the winter. So far, warning signs have not worked to stop the problem and solutions being considered include fences, reducing the speed limit, using a new type of de-icer  and installing electrified mats to keep the sheep at bay.

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