Thursday, April 14, 2016

Band of 2,450 sheep graze their way through Boise foothills

BOISE — A curious group of onlookers watched as 2,450 domestic sheep were unloaded from trucks into the rolling Boise foothills April 12. Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission officials alerted Boise residents about the arrival of the sheep, which will graze in the area for about 10 days as they make their way north. IRRC Executive Director Gretchen Hyde said the sheep’s owner and the rangeland commission want to ensure people who encounter the band of ewes and lambs don’t have their outdoor experience ruined. Using posted signs and local media, the IRCC offers tips for recreationists, including keeping their dogs on a leash to prevent a clash with sheep dogs. “The sheep do intersect with quite a few of the recreational trails so we want to make sure that people are aware of that and have a positive experience with them,” Hyde said. Wilder, Idaho, rancher Frank Shirts, who owns the sheep band, has grazing permits on federal and state land in the area. Several private landowners in the foothills also pay him to have his sheep graze their land. Shirts said most people are happy to see the sheep and a lot of people in the homes that line the foothills ask him to bring his sheep close to their property to control weeds and reduce the fire danger. “Ninety-five percent of people love to see these sheep but there are always that one or two that don’t want ’em out here because they don’t want (anything) on the land,” he said. He said that the media attention, onlookers and the welcome from most homeowners in the area is satisfying...more

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