Motorists urged to use caution near Cleghorn Fish Hatchery
It is an annual right of passage and a rare opportunity to see an impressive big game animal exhibiting aggressive and amazing instincts, but motorists near the Cleghorn Fish Hatchery in the Black Hills are being asked to slow down for bighorn sheep.
â€œThis time of year, many of our resident bighorn sheep come down from the higher elevations to breed,â€ said John Kanta, Game Fish and Parks regional game manager for western South Dakota. â€œUnfortunately many of the animals congregate on or near the road around the Cleghorn Fish Hatchery. We are just reminding motorists to slow down when traveling that area.â€
The sheep tend to congregate on a stretch of highway 44 west from Cleghorn Canyon to the top of the hill. Motorists are encouraged to travel below the posted speed limit. While traveling that area, also be aware of vehicles that are stopped and pedestrians who are looking or photographing the animals.
â€œSeeing bighorn rams sparring in the wild is an amazing sight,.â€ Cleghorn Hatchery Manager Will Sayler said. â€œMany people come to shoot photos or to just watch. We get a lot of traffic through this area and we would hate to have an injury to a person or one of these beautiful animals.â€
The bighorn sheep is native to western South Dakota, but were wiped out in the state by unregulated hunting and disease in the early 1900â€™s. Bighorns were re-introduced in the 1920â€™s and currently approximately 450 animals live in the Black Hills and Badlands National Park.