IDAHO — For one Meridian man, Aaron Neilson, he drew the hunt of a lifetime when his name was called for the 29th Annual Bighorn Sheep tag.
1,500 hunters bought a record 19,000 entries for the tag, but Neilson is not the only one that benefits.
"We grossed just over $212,000," said the President of the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation, Jim Warner.
That means nearly $185,000 in funding goes toward wild sheep conservation in Idaho.
“It’s been exciting, just to see those numbers and the continued increase, each day on the reports back and to be able to look at the Fish and Game Director and say, 'We’re going to be able to make a difference,'" said Warner.
The money helps save and monitor diseases within the wild sheep populations to keep them booming now and for years to come.
“Conservation isn’t just about for us, it’s about who follows us, who comes after us," he said."We want it all good here when we are here, but also when we’re gone.”
It's especially important with not a lot of sheep left.
“They’re pretty prone to disease issues, and anytime they get impacted it wipes them out," said Warner. "The fact that there are only 98 tags in the entire state tells you that there is not a huge population.”
The Wild Sheep Foundation conservation efforts are already turning out to be successful, and this money will only help.
“The unit 11 sheep are doing outstanding, our other group of sheep was diseased off and then they were pretty much stagnant, and now it’s a booming population for us right now," said Warner.
To learn more about Wild Sheep conservation in Idaho, click here.