Dates Announced For Popular Bighorn Workshops

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Bighorn Sheep on the side of a mountainThe Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering the public an opportunity to view the majestic bighorn sheep in their natural habitat during its annual Bighorn Sheep Workshops.

 The workshop offers wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to learn about these sure-footed animals and view them in their native habitat during two separate two-day workshops on July 25-26 and Aug. 1-2.

The first day of each workshop involves mandatory classroom education from 6-8 p.m. at the Kingman Game and Fish office, followed the next day by a field trip on the Colorado River from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The sheep-viewing boat trip will depart from Willow Beach.

These popular workshops are open to any member of the public age 14 and older. Nobody under 14 will be registered for the event. Space, however, is limited to 40 people per session. Although preference will be given to those who have not attended the workshop in the last two years, those who have participated within that time are still encouraged to apply.

bighorn sheep on the side of a mountainThe 2008 workshops will feature a draw process. Applications received prior to June 27 will be drawn at random. Officials hope this will help level the playing field for all those interested in attending. All requests to participate are responded to by mail.

“It’s an attempt to give people in outlying areas of Arizona a chance to make it on one of the two workshops,” said Zen Mocarski, public information officer in Kingman. “Our goal is to reach as many people as possible, and that’s difficult with only 80 open spaces over two weeks.”

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 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, and specify which weekend is preferred. Also, please include a note if you are interested in the tour of the fish hatchery.

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.

“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.”