Free opportunity to learn about and view the animals
The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Region III office in Kingman is serving as host to the popular Desert Bighorn Sheep Workshops.
There will be two separate, two-day workshops from July 30-31 and Aug. 6-7. The first night of the workshop is mandatory classroom education from 6-8 p.m. The second day provides the opportunity to view the bighorns in their native environment during a four-hour boat ride beginning at 10:30 a.m. on the Colorado River between Willow Beach and the Hoover Dam.
“That is the time of year the bighorns are coming to the river pretty regularly,” said Zen Mocarski, public information officer with the Kingman office. “The hotter it is, the better the opportunity to see the sheep along the river’s banks.”
These workshops are open to any member of the public 14-years-old and up. Nobody under 14 will be registered. Space, however, is limited to 40 people per session. Preference will be given to those who have not attended the workshop in at least two years. Applications should be limited to no more than four people.
Participants will be selected through a random draw process. Applications received on or before noon on June 18 are eligible for the initial draw. Following the draw, all applicants are contacted by mail, or e-mail.
Applications received after the deadline, and individuals not drawn, are placed on the reserve list.
“Our goal is to reach as many people as possible, and that’s difficult with only 80 open spots over two weeks,” Mocarski said of giving preference to those who have not recently attended. “This is a great opportunity for people to learn about bighorn sheep, the department, and the conservation efforts of many different agencies in regards to bighorn sheep.”
The workshops include an optional tour of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery prior to the Colorado River field trip. The 45-minute tour will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature both sport fish and endangered native fish.
“Although the tour is not mandatory,” Mocarski said, “we’ve had many positive comments from those who made the trip. It offers people a chance to see the inner-workings of a hatchery.”
To reserve a spot, a $20 per person refundable deposit is required in the form of a check made out to the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation to help reduce the problem of no-shows. The money is refunded when a person either attends the workshop or calls to cancel at least 48 hours in advance. Wildlife for Tomorrow is a non-profit group that works closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Registration is by mail or in-person drop-off at the Kingman office only. Send the check to: Sheep Workshop, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road, Kingman, AZ 86409. Include the names of participants, address, phone, e-mail (if available) and specify which weekend is preferred (you may submit ‘either’). Also, please include a note if you are interested in the tour of the fish hatchery.
Mocarski said e-mail addresses are kept private, will allow for quicker response time and cuts down on partment costs.
Cash donations, which are not mandatory to participate, will be accepted at the workshop to help offset increasing costs for boat rentals and fuel. Please do not send cash donations prior to the event.
Participants are encouraged to bring a camera, water, snacks, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. No tripods will be allowed on the boats, but small coolers are OK.
“It will be hot on the river,” Mocarski advised, “but that’s when bighorn come down for a drink. There is limited shade on the boats, but the temperatures will be in the triple digits.”