Sheep count 'healthy'

The count is looking good for Okanagan sheep after volunteers took on the task of spotting them in the wild for the 70th year in a row.

The 2019 sheep count at Vaseux Lake is hosted by the Okanagan Sportsmen’s Association.

Volunteers gathered Sunday morning and split up into three groups to conquer three trails and take note of any sheep they saw in the area. 

Lee Clarke has been doing the sheep count for a few years now, and recently became a director on the board of Sportsmen’s Association.

“I just enjoy being out in the woods and checking on the health of the herd,” Clarke said.

The count took place on the east side of the Okanagan Valley along Vaseux Lake.

The numbers are used by biologists to keep an eye on the herd and ensure the healthiness of populations.

“Sheep herds typically can be vulnerable to disease so it’s good to keep track of the numbers. This herd had a die-out 20 years ago from pneumonia and it was on this count they were able to determine the numbers were low and go from there,” Clarke said.

From Clarke’s experience the numbers are good and the herd is “fairly healthy.” A total of 25 volunteers helped with the count this year. 

The count tallied 97 California Big Horn Sheep, 23 Rams, 57 Ewes, 17 Lambs, 66 Mule Deer, 64 does, one buck and one fawn, and three coyotes were also spotted.

“It’s just a bunch of like minded people who enjoy spending some time in the bush, making sure things are happy and healthy out there,” Clarke said.

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