Desert Bighorn Council
Desert Bighorn Council

In Memoriam

Lives are precious things, and what we choose to spend them on speaks to our values and the things we most hold dear.  In our lives, we are fortunate to encounter special people that make a difference professionally and personally.  There have been several special people that made a difference in bighorn sheep management that have ended their mortal careers and the Desert Bighorn Council commemorates their memories. 

Pete Sanchez at 1961 DBC Meeting in Mexico

Pete Sanchez passed away last fall (2014) in Glenwood Springs, New Mexico. Pete was a long time Park Naturalist in Death Valley.  Pete was the Secretary/Treasurer of the DBC in the early 1980's (while he was simultaneously the Secretary/Treasurer for the Desert Pupfish Council).  He was responsible for bringing the feral burro population of Death Valley National Monument to ZERO, with help from one of the early BLM burro gather contractors.  Pete did some experimental work with Saltcedar at Death Valley, and determined that a medium sized Saltcedar (not the Athol variety) could pump as much as 250 gallons per day from the ground surface.  This figure is used today to justify guzzler construction in northern Nevada, as Saltcedar invaded many dry washes there in the 1970’s.


Contributed by Ray Lee with help from Don Armentrout

(L) Pete Sanchez & Jack Kilpatrick at 1981 DBC Meeting in Kerrville, TX; (R) Pete Sanchez & Dick Weaver at 1981 DBC Meeting in Kerrville, TX

James Donovan Yoakum (1926-2012)

Most of you reading this probably do not know who Jim Yoakum was, but read on. He was born in Templeton, California on June 14, 1926.  He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944-1947, seeing many tough battles, including Iwo Jima. His time in service was a small part of his life, but the G.I. Bill gave him an education, a career, and a place to call home. After seeing the devastation of war, he sought wilderness and wildlife. His first purchase after WW II was a saddle, while taking a job as a forest lookout near Big Sur, on the California coast. After that summer he attended Humboldt State College in the redwoods of California, graduating in 1953. He went on to Oregon State University, where he earned a Masters, in 1957. Jim was hired by the Bureau of Land Management as its first wildlife biologist and spent most of his 28-year career in the BLM Nevada State Office in Reno. He did take time out to study alpacas and vicunas in South America in the mid 1960’s, and did a stint or two at teaching at both Humboldt State and University of Nevada Reno. Jim was a very strong advocate for wildlife and for professionalism among wildlife biologists. He was a mainstay in the Nevada chapter of The Wildlife Society as well as the Western Section of TWS, where he held several positions and was honored with several awards. Jim continually pushed biologists around him to do better for wildlife and wildlife management.

 

He earned his MS on Pronghorn from OSU studying pronghorns. Those speedsters were the wildlife love of his life. He co-authored “Pronghorn Ecology and Management” with Bart O’Gara, a comprehensive 900+ page book to which he made last-minute changes up until the very time it went to the printer. The book represents a monumental bookend to his love of wildlife and wild places, and a solid foundation for those who follow.

 

While earning his Master’s, Jim used a black Labrador retriever to help him locate antelope fawns. The dog would hold the fawns down with his paws until Jim got to them. He had a succession of Labs, mostly black (the second to the last one last one, Teena, was a yellow Lab), throughout the rest of his life, and they accompanied him anywhere he drove. It should be noted that “Teena” is an American Indian name for pronghorn.

 

Along the way, Jim also found time for desert bighorn sheep. He attended many DBC annual meetings in the 1960’s and into the early 1970’s. Jim served one year as a member of the DBC Technical Staff, and presented several papers, but is most remembered for being DBC Transactions editor from 1965 through 1971.

 

For those of you who attended the 50th year of the Council in Las Vegas in 2007, Jim was there, older and slower but still the hard-core wildlife advocate he always was.

 

He passed over on November 20, 2012.

 

By Rick Brigham, with help from Don Armentrout and Dick Weaver

Michael D. Hobson
1948–2012
     Long-time Desert Bighorn Council member Mike Hobson passed away on August 7, 2012.  Mike was born in the south Texas community of Edinburg on July 12, 1948.  He began his collegiate studies at Pan American College and later graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Wildlife Management in 1971.   Mike married his high school sweetheart, Hamila, in 1970 and was happily married for over 42 years.  Together they raised 2 successful sons, Michael Jr. and Joshua.
     Mike began his professional career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) as a summer intern for the Wildlife Division during the summers of 1968 and 1969.  In 1973, he was hired full-time as a Fish and Wildlife Technician on the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area.  He later served as a Regulatory Biologist for Duval, Jim Hogg, Webb, and Zapata counties.  During this period he helped pioneer a newly emerging helicopter survey technique for the development of white-tailed deer harvest recommendations on private lands. Mike was placed in charge of the Division’s experimental buck permit program in Webb County (1974–1978) that included oversight of 4 high-volume check stations. These stations produced some of the first age-weight data for South Texas buck harvests that was used to fine tune a deer harvest-habitat management system that remains in place today.  Mike participated in numerous South Texas deer- capture operations for restocking depleted ranges in East Texas and neighboring Tamaulipas, Mexico.
     Mike is well remembered by his South Texas comrades for his ability to nimbly scale great heights to the nests of bald eagles to band chicks and then rappel to ground safely.  In the late 1970s, Mike was placed on special assignment with the Canadian Fish and Wildlife Service to work in the Northwest Territories where he was part of team that banded over 96,000 snow geese in a 6-week period.  In 1985 and 1986, antlerless deer hunting on the 44,000 ac Tomas Ranch in Duval County was placed under Mike’s supervision, representing the Department’s first large-scale lease of private lands for the promotion of public hunting opportunity.  In 1986, Mike was promoted to District Leader of the Trans-Pecos District. From 1989–1995, he supervised the management of Black Gap and Sierra Diablo Wildlife Management Areas. Of special significance, Mike helped guide the first Texas desert bighorn sheep hunt in 1988 following an 83 year hunting prohibition. He retired from TPWD in 2005 after 32 years of dedicated service.  In 2009, Mike received the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s "Outstanding Achievement Award" and was recognized by the Desert Bighorn Council in 2011 with an Honor Plaque for his efforts in helping to restore desert bighorn sheep in Texas.
     Mike devoted his entire career to the restoration, conservation, and management of the natural resources of Texas and mentored hundreds of us while in the process.  He was a highly dedicated professional with a proven track record in applying wildlife conservation principals where it mattered most, on the ground.  He consistently demonstrated initiative and commitment throughout his career and practiced a work ethic that is unmatched by most others in the profession.  A friend summed it up best, "Mike was old- cut. He always led by example and expected no less of his staff than of himself. No job was too low, too dirty, or too toilsome for him to pitch in shoulder-to-shoulder with his troops." Mike’s dedication to the resource along with his persistence in doing the job right is what set him apart from most others in the profession. More important was the value he placed on God, family, country, and friends.
     While many spend their career building a resume, Mike spent his building a legacy that is reflected on the landscape and on those of us left behind using the skills and qualities he passed on to us.  The path leading to the easy way out is crowded and the line long. Rest assured, Mike Hobson is on the other trail and is first in line. Well done Mike.
     – Clay E. Brewer

 

In Memory of Gale Monson

August 1, 1912-February 19, 2012

Prepared by Esther Rubin, DBC Secretary

 

When I started studying bighorn sheep, the book “The Desert Bighorn” served as an invaluable resource on these incredible animals.    Today, my copy of this book is well-worn, with notes and dog-eared pages throughout.  Many of you may also have relied on this book, which is still one of the most complete sources of information on desert bighorn sheep.  I never had the opportunity to meet Gale Monson, but the names “Monson and Sumner” will always stick in my mind as editors of this well-used book.  Gale Monson passed away at the age of 99 this past February, after a lifetime committed to the study of the natural world–birds, bighorn sheep, and beyond.  The following obituary was presented in The Arizona Daily Star (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/tucson/obituary.aspx?n=gale-wendell-monson&pid=156261232).  An amazing career and life-long dedication to the natural world.

 

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     Naturalist and Author Gale W. Monson, born August 1, 1912, passed away peacefully at his Albuquerque home on February 19, 2012. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of54 years, Sally.  He is survived by his five children:  Rosemary Remacle (Sunnyvale,CA); Margaret Monson (Seattle,WA); Fred Monson (Lehigh Acres, FL) and his Albuquerque daughters, Anne Monson and Ruth Bear and their respective husbands, J.G. Alaimo and David Bear. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.  Born in Munich, North Dakota, Gale studied the natural world throughout his life, from his early years on his parents' farm and through almost a century of living, this was his passion.  He spent his professional life working for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Soil Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  His work assignments took him and his family o Albuquerque, Gallup  and  Socorro,  New  Mexico;  Parker,  Yuma,  and Tucson, Arizona and Washington D.C.  As part of the "greatest generation," he served in the U.S. Army medical service corps in the Burma-India theater during WWII. Gale loved the Sonoran Desert and spent the bulk of his life's work there, where he contributed greatly to its study.  His greatest passion was ornithology, but he had an abiding love for the study of the natural world in its entirety.  He moved to Arizona in 1934 where he worked until 1940 as a biologist on Papago (now Tohono O'Odham) and Navajo tribal lands, as well as for the Soil Conservation Service in Arizona and New Mexico.  In 1940 until 1969, except for time spent in the Army during WWII, he worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at refuges in New Mexico and Havasu and Imperial National Wildlife Refuges on the Colorado River, and on the Kofa and Cabeza Prieta Game Ranges in Arizona.  From 1971-1977, Gale served the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum as the supervisor in charge of weekends, holidays and as acting director in the absence of the director.  He is best known as one of the authors of The Birds of Arizona, as well as The Desert Bighorn, The Birds of Sonora, and The Annotated Checklist of Arizona Birds.  Gale also authored and edited numerous other publications during his career.  He was a prolific writer and record keeper; Southwestern ornithologists continue to refer to his extensive written records of bird sightings.  Gale influenced numerous people throughout his life and will live on in the hearts and memories of his family and many friends.  A Memorial Service will be held in Tucson on Sunday, March 18, 2012 please contact a family member for details.  Contributions in his memory can be made to the Gale Monson Research Grant fund of the Arizona Field Ornithologists at www.azfo.org/grants.html.

Stephen Holl
1949-2012
Submitted by Vern Bleich, DBC Member 
     Stephen A. Holl (1949-2012), who is best known for his work on bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel Mountains of California, passed away on 13 January 2012 at the age of 62 following a valiant battle with brain cancer. Steve held B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of California Davis, and Fresno State University, respectively. His early work centered on the relationships between body condition and productivity among mule deer occupying the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. 
     In 1978, Mr. Holl was hired as a wildlife biologist on the San Bernardino National Forest (SBNF), where his sole duty was to investigate the ecology of bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel Mountains, a southern California mountain range dominated by chaparral vegetation. Steve spent the next 5 years compiling the most detailed information ever assembled on habitat characteristics, population dynamics, behavior, and food habits of bighorn sheep in that range, and in 1983 published an extensive report title, "San Gabriel Mountain Sheep: Biological and Management Considerations." Steve worked diligently with conservation organizations and sportsman's groups to refine and formalize the San Gabriel Mountains bighorn sheep survey, which has continued largely on an annual basis for >30 years, and will take place again this Winter. 
     While with the SBNF, Steve mentored two graduate students—Kathleen (Hamilton) Longshore and William Perry. He also was responsible for the translocation of bighorn sheep to historical habitat within the San Gabriel Mountains—the first translocation of desert bighorn sheep ever to occur in California—and to formerly occupied habitat in the Coast Range of Ventura County. Steve also collaborated on two papers positing that bighorn sheep are distributed across the landscape as metapopulations, a concept that has evolved into a conservation paradigm. 
     Steve left federal employment in 1987 to pursue opportunities in private enterprise. Nonetheless, he maintained a strong focus on bighorn sheep and, as his interests broadened and he gained expertise in fire ecology, he spent countless hours developing ideas, analyzing data, and preparing manuscripts. Steve also played a prominent role in the recent decision by the California Department of Transportation to not re-open California Highway 39 because of potential impacts bighorn sheep. He recognized the role of fire in the chaparral ecosystems of southern California, was critical of the fire suppression policies of land management agencies, remained a staunch proponent of the value of wildfires, and strongly advocated prescribed fire as a habitat enhancement tool. 
     As chaparral vegetation matured in the San Gabriel Mountains, bighorn sheep declined from approximately 750 animals in 1980 to fewer than 200 in the late 1990s. That decline was of considerable concern and, in 2004 at the request of the Los Angeles County Fish and Game Commission and the USFS, Steve prepared a detailed conservation and restoration strategy. That document was signed by the forest supervisors on the Angeles and San Bernardino national forests and by 2 regional managers from the California Department of Fish and Game, and provides the basis for actions on behalf of bighorn sheep that may be forthcoming. Although management agencies failed to implement most of the recommendations contained in the1983 report, the 2004 document called for extensive stakeholder involvement in an effort to enhance the probability of implementation. While preparing the recent strategy, Steve published three professional papers detailing the long-term population history of bighorn sheep in that range; three other papers were in preparation at the time of his death, and will be completed by his collaborators. 
      Steve was a member of The Wildlife Society, and served as Vice-President, President, and Past President of The Western Section. He was also a member of the Desert Bighorn Council, and most recently attended the meeting at Grand Junction, Colorado, where the results of some of his work was presented. His public service included tenure as Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission of the City of Folsom, where he was instrumental in setting aside land for local parks. Steve’s efforts on behalf of conservation were recognized in May 2010, when he was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep and the Trail Blazer Award from the California Chapter of The Wild Sheep Foundation. 
     Steve's spirit lives on through Mary, his best friend and devoted wife of 37 years, twin daughters Amy and Eryn and their families, his mother and 6 brothers, and 11 nephews and nieces. The family is extremely grateful for the care Steve received at UCSF in a clinical trial involving a vaccine treatment for malignant brain tumors, which provided him the gift of time and allowed him to walk Eryn down the aisle and be here for the births of two of Amy's children. 
     The family suggests that friends wishing to honor Steve can best do so through a gift to any of the following organizations: The Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep, P.O. Box 94182, Pasadena, CA 91109; The Parsa Vaccine Fund or the Neuro-Oncology Fund in the brain tumor program at UCSF. Checks may be made out to the UCSF Foundation (with the fund specified) and sent in c/o Eileen Murphy, 220 Montgomery Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104. 
Dr. Warren B. Ballard, Jr.
April 28, 1947-January 12, 2012
Wildlife and its managers lost a good friend in January 2012 with the passing of Warren Ballard.  Warren touched the lives of many fellow biologists throughout his expansive career, many of whom he never met.  I was fortunate to go to graduate school with Warren and quickly gravitated toward his positive energy, sense of humor, and work ethic.  Through the past couple of decades he and Heather remained good friends and colleagues.  Warren was always accessible and I knew I would get an honest answer every time I had a question, even if it wasn’t the easiest to hear…but he was always right.  With his perpetually direct approach, Warren helped shape my career, and countless other individuals.  When I had doubts about my career path, he offered exasperated advice such as “what the heck are you thinking?!” with uncompromising encouragement to be strong and stand up for the resource.  His friendship was invaluable when standing strong was challenging and Warren lead by example by contributing to wildlife management and the lives of many students, regardless of his own circumstances. We are better for having known him.
--Submitted by Mara E. Weisenberger, DBC Tech Staff
 
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Warren’s obituary was printed on the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Online site (http://lubbockonline.com/obituaries/2012-01-15/dr-warren-b-ballard-jr).
     Dr. Warren B. Ballard, Jr., beloved husband of Heather A. Whitlaw and widely-published author and nationally-recognized professor in Texas Tech University's Department of Natural Resources Management passed away peacefully at his Lubbock home on January 12, 2012 after a brave fight with pancreatic cancer. 
     He is lovingly remembered by his mother, LaVerne Rosemary Ballard (nee Bernat); wife, Heather Whitlaw; children, Cindy Bergamo and husband, Greg, Laurina Wittig and husband, Thomas, Warren Ballard, III and Raymond Ballard; grandsons, Ezra Bergamo, and Blair and Brandon Ballard; mother-in-law, Nan McGhee, father-in-law, David Whitlaw, sister-in-law, Patricia Whitlaw; nieces, Elizabeth Jones and Paige Jones; and graduate students, colleagues, and friends around the world.
     He was preceded in death by his father, Warren Baxter Ballard, Sr.
     "His legacy lives on in the students, faculty and research projects he touched," said Michael Galyean, Interim Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. During Warren's long career he produced more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and raised some $3.2 million in grant, contract and research support.
     "Warren was my friend since graduate school, an internationally-recognized research scientist, a major figure in this wildlife program, and an irreplaceable part of our department," said Mark Wallace, chairman of Tech's Department of Natural Resources Management.
     Warren was born on April 28, 1947 in Boston, MA, to LaVerne Rosemary Ballard (Bernat). LaVerne soon met her husband and Warren's adoptive father (Warren Baxter Ballard, Sr.) and the family moved to Albuquerque, NM in the early 1950s where Warren attended St Pius X High School. He earned a Bachelor's degree in fish and wildlife management from New Mexico State University and his Master's degree in environmental biology from Kansas State University. His earned his doctorate in wildlife science from the University of Arizona. On June 7, 1995, Warren married the love of his life, Heather Whitlaw in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. 
     Dr. Ballard was a Texas Tech Horn Professor and the Bricker Chair in Wildlife Management. A Horn professorship is the highest honor a faculty member can receive from the university. "Horn Professors are a testament to the quality of our academics because they represent the very best of our faculty," said Guy Bailey, Texas Tech president. 
     Warren was the Editor-in-Chief of the Wildlife Society Bulletin, an international scientific journal for wildlife scientists. In 2009, Ballard was awarded the Outstanding Research Award from Texas Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society in 2007. 
     He was named a Wildlife Society Fellow by the National Wildlife Society in 2005, and was presented the Chancellor's Council Distinguished Research Award at Texas Tech in 2002. He was presented a special service recognition award from the Wildlife Society that same year. In 1989, Warren was honored by his peers with the Distinguished Moose Biologist award.
     Prior to joining the Tech faculty in 1998, Dr. Ballard worked as a research supervisor with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. He also served as director and associate professor with the New Brunswick Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of New Brunswick (Canada). Warren spent 18 years as a wildlife biologist and research scientist with Alaska Department of Fish and Game. His ground-breaking research on predator-prey relationships, wolf ecology, and ungulate populations is still widely recognized.
Clancy at work at a bighorn sheep capture (in yellow shirt and white hat)

Dr. Clarence “Clancy” Gansberg

January 24, 1923-December 5, 2011

 

Wildlife professionals, by definition, are paittravel to/from and to participate in fielprojects.  Many of thesprojectare difficult; some even dangerous.  group that often makes thesprojects possible, frequently adding skills antalents nogenerally possessed by wildlife professionalis comprised of volunteers.   Thespeople donate not only their time and talents, but they also pay their owway to participatithese projects. These volunteerartruly dedicated to wildlife conservation.

 

We recentllost one of thmost dedicated of thesvolunteers.   Dr. Clarence “Clancy” Gansberg, DVM, died at home in Yuma, Arizona, December 5, 2011, athe age of 88.

 

Clancy was born January 24, 1923, in WebsterSoutDakota, angrew uin Stanwood, Washington.    He worked as a sheet metal fitteithe shiyards beforjoining the ArmAiCorpsduring WWII.  As a First Lieutenant, he flew thBoeing B29 Supefortress.  He survived 30 missions oveJapan; anwas awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, thAir Medal witfour Oak Leaf Clusters, siAsiatic-Pacifiribbons, and the Presidential UniCitation.

 

Aftethe war,he studied to become a Doctor oVeterinary Medicine at Washington StatUniversity.  Hthen moved tKlamath Falls, Oregon, wherhlived and practiced for 3years.  He, and hifirst wife Marjorie Pettyraised 3 boys- James, Ronald, and Jeffrey.  Clancy was an avid hunter and fisherman; and was activin several service organizations.

 

Afteretiring in 1981, he traveled ithe summer and wintered iYuma, Arizona.  After learning of a WWII B17 bomber that had crashed intthe Gila Mountains during training, he climbed tthe crash sitmany times, and spearheaded an efforto construct a monument tthe crew.  IYuma, he met his second wife Loree Wirt, and continued his associations with service organizations.

 

Annually he volunteered with the Arizona Game and Fish Department as a veterinarian during captures of desert bighorsheep and Sonoran pronghorn.  Clancy firsshowed up at some of oubighorn sheep captursites near Yumithe mid-1980s; eventually showing up at nearly everwildlife capturthe Arizona Game and Fish Department did.

 

The level of care at ouwildlife captures changed significantly after Clancy showed up- they went from rather amateurish efforts tcarefully orchestrated mobile hospitals- witthmortalitrates during captures plunging. During the 20 year period from 1985-2005, he handled 748 bighorn sheep during translocations.  During these events he had the opportunittpioneer some new techniques One of theswas publisheithe Desert BighorCounciTransactions, “Survival of bighorsheep following surgical amputation of fractured limbs”co- authored with hilong time partner and fellow veterinarian Bob Kreycik.  Clancy even sewed up thkneecap (with no anestheticof one of our negunners, who had accidentally shot himselin the knee.

 

DrGansbergfamily has asked thamemoriam donations be sentthe ShrinerChildrenHospital and the DeserBighorn CouncilHansen-Welles Scholarship Fund.

 

Submitted by Ray Lee, DBC Tech Staff Chair

 

George Welsh received the Desert Bighorn Council's Ram Award in 1984.
George Welsh 
1925–2009 
     George Welsh was born in Illinois in 1925, and after interesting and challenging youthful years, he graduated from what is now Colorado State University in 1957 with a B.S. in Wildlife Management. 
He worked for the Arizona Game and Fish Department from 1957 to his retirement in 1983, spending 24 years of that time in Kingman, where as a biologist and manager, he focused on desert bighorn sheep.        He developed management and survey techniques, including pioneering the use of helicopters for bighorn sheep survey work, and identified potential water development (guzzler) sites, and performed feral animal control. 
     He married his wife Margaret, a very special lady, in 1980. They were together until George passed on, and had it not been for Margaret, he would have passed away sooner than he did. 
     After retirement in 1983, George started his Wildlife Perceptions consulting firm, where he wrote management plans for desert bighorn sheep and elk for the nearby Hualapai Indian Tribe. 
     Through his career, George was active in several bighorn sheep groups: he was Chair of the Desert Bighorn Council in 1972, served on the Technical Staff, and remained an active committee member; he was a Charter and Life member of the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society; he was a member of the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn of Las Vegas, Nevada. 
     In 1984, George received the Desert Bighorn Council's Ram Award for outstanding achievement for his “24 years of dedicated service, intensive studies, published papers, and pioneering helicopter census techniques.” He also was granted the John Russo Award in 2004 by the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society for “continuing the legacy of pioneer desert bighorn sheep biologist John Russo.” 
     George was a class act. He was a gentleman who was laid back and not full of himself or his accomplishments, had a great sense of humor (and a joke or ditty for almost every situation), loved jazz – especially tenor saxophone, was a hunter and serious target shooter and reloader, collected fine knives and firearms, and was adept at cooking with everything from Dutch ovens to woks. He was intrigued by astronomy – everything from black holes to expanding nebulae. And he was known and remembered for his knowledge of wildlife and their habitat. 
     He was a great friend to more than a few people. He will be remembered for who he was and what he accomplished. And he left the legacy of several large footprints on the path of wildlife conservation. 
     – Rick Brigham 
Lanny Owen Wilson
1937–2012
     Lanny was born in Colby, Kansas on August 8, 1937. He lived many places including Kansas, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Idaho. He graduated from Cheyenne (Wyoming) High School. He married the love of his life, Colleen, in 1959.
     He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Wyoming and his Masters from Utah State University. This was the first bighorn sheep study in Utah which proved the presence of bighorn sheep in Canyonlands. He went to work for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Burley District in the 1960s as a wildlife biologist. From the district level, he moved on to BLM state office Wildlife Program lead positions in New Mexico and Idaho. He retired from the BLM in 1994, after serving as Area Manager for the Cottonwood Idaho BLM office.
     He was ever a staunch, vocal proponent of wild sheep. He served in various capacities over a 14-year span in the Desert Bighorn Council, from 1971 through 1985. He served as Vice Chair, Secretary-Treasurer, Technical Staff member, and Chair. He was instrumental in starting the Hansen Memorial Fund, which has since morphed into the Hansen-Welles Memorial Fund, from which the Council makes grants to worthy students. He was lead author on several papers dealing with guidelines for capturing and re-establishing desert bighorn sheep, bighorn sheep reintroductions in southwestern Utah, habitat requirements and management recommendations for desert bighorn sheep, and desert bighorn sheep research and management biases.
     He was an expert on bighorn sheep management and was instrumental in establishing and researching bighorn sheep populations in several states, as well as in Canada and Mexico. He was founder and charter president of the University of Wyoming chapter of The Wildlife Society, a charter member of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (now Wild Sheep Foundation), and elected to the scientific honorary Sigma Xi.
     He was recipient of numerous awards, including the North American Wild Sheep Outstanding Achievement Award and the Idaho Wildlife Society’s Professional Wildlifer Award. And he was instrumental in promoting Cap-Chur guns in lieu of drugs, instituting the first Governor’s auction tag (for bighorn sheep) in Wyoming, and preventing introductions of exotic animals on public lands in New Mexico.
     Hunting and the outdoors were his passion. His retirement years were spent hunting and enhancing his 70 acres of habitat for wildlife (mostly elk) at Cottonwood, and coaching Little League, Babe Ruth, and high school baseball.
     He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Colleen, and children Justin, Megan, and Sean.  He died July 24, 2012, in Spokane, Washington, from a series of complications following open heart surgery on July 3 to replace 2 of 4 stents installed during quadruple bypass surgery 17 years ago after his heart attack.
     Lanny will be remembered for his determined, often very vocal support of bighorn sheep and other wildlife, many times in the face of hostile opponents, including the domestic sheep industry. He was opinionated and fought for what he believed in. On the path of wildlife management, Lanny has left more than a few footprints.
     –Rick Brigham and Dick Weaver
While preparing for the 1976 Santa Rosa Mountains Waterhole Count, Bonnar posed near a swimming pool that is occasionally used as a water source by bighorn sheep in Rancho Mirage, Riverside County, California.
Bonnar Blong
1923–2009
     Bonnar Blong, a long time member of the Desert Bighorn Council (DBC), passed away on
18 February 2009 in Idyllwild, California.  Bonnar was the chairman of the 1965 DBC meeting in Indio, California, and is well known  for his work with bighorn sheep inhabiting the Santa Rosa Mountains of that state.
     After serving in the Marine Corps during World War II, Bonnar received his B.S. from Washington State University in 1949; he was then employed by the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) for 34 years.   Since his retirement in 1984, he  continued to contribute to conservation decisions, particularly regarding bighorn sheep in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains.  Bonnar was, perhaps, best known for 1 of the earliest papers describing desert bighorn sheep and  waters.    During  his  career,  he  published several additional papers in  professional journals, including California Birds, Journal of Wildlife  Management,  Desert Bighorn Council Transactions, and Transactions of the Western Section of The Wildlife Society.
     In 1953, Bonnar established the waterhole counts that formed the long-term data set used in 2 important papers on the  population biology of bighorn sheep.  In 1976, while attending the DBC meeting in Bahia Kino, Sonora, Bonnar invited participation in July waterhole counts; many Mexican biologists accepted the invitation.
     Bonnar was an early advocate of habitat conservation.   He realized that development would ultimately affect the welfare of bighorn sheep.  He was a strong advocate of private land acquisition in the Santa Rosa Mountains, and helped acquire nearly 120 km2 of private land there. When CDFG developed the system of wildlife management units, Bonnar was the first wildlife manager-biologist assigned  to  the  San  Jacinto  Wildlife  Management Unit.    In  1974  he  was promoted to Associate Wildlife  Biologist, and assumed supervision of 3 wildlife management units, including the San Jacinto Unit, in southeastern California.
     It did not matter if Bonnar was your employee (he worked for Dick Weaver at 1 point) or your boss (Vern Bleich worked for Bonnar at another), everyone worked with him.  He was a team player, a teacher, and a mentor.  The first thing he taught everyone was that the job, and life, is supposed to be fun.  He was an outdoorsman, a dog man, a fisherman, and a hunter.  The finest compliment that either of us can pay to Bonnar is, "We learned a lot from Bonnar Blong."
     Prior to the availability of helicopters, Bonnar was making strenuous treks into mountain ranges in an effort to learn more  about bighorn sheep distribution and water source use.   On 1 occasion, he and 1 of his peers, accompanied by 2 dogs (and all carrying backpacks) hiked into the San Gorgonio Wilderness and confirmed there were, indeed, bighorn sheep in that area.   At the time, neither the U.S. Forest Service nor CDFG had any record of that population.  Bonnar made additional trips into backcountry areas using a burro named Jose, who could carry more field gear than could his dogs (Bones, Willie, and others).
     Bighorn sheep were not Bonnar's only responsibility, and he did a great deal of work with mule deer.   He initiated, and then  oversaw, the first study of life history on desert mule deer in southeastern California.   Indeed, that was the first time that any of those animals had been captured for research purposes in
California, and virtually nothing was known of their ecology.
     Bonnar's efforts to acquire wildlife habitat resulted in establishment of the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, which restored an historic wetland for waterfowl habitat and waterfowl hunting.   Working with federal agencies, he also helped establish 3 wildlife conservation areas in the Santa Rosa Mountains to conserve habitat for desert bighorn sheep.
     Bonnar's passing is a great loss, and it is unfortunate that more people did not get to know him.  There will never be another
Bonnar Blong.
     – Richard A. Weaver and Vernon C. Bleich
Ted D. McKinney
July 16, 1937 - October 22, 2008
 
Ted McKinney, PhD born in Miami, Arizona passed at his home in Mesa, Arizona at the age of 71. Never one to retire, he worked tirelessly with the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Research Branch to the end of his days. Ted’s drive to learn and discover was matched only by his desire to mentor. Young and veteran biologists alike benefited from time spent with such a man.

He enjoyed a wide array of experiences and held multiple professions during his lifetime; a cowboy in his youth, bank loan officer, gold miner in Costa Rica, assistant and associate professor in Oklahoma and Texas, outfitter and guide in Colorado, self employed environmental consultant, and wildlife research biologist in Arizona. His formal education started at the University of Arizona where he earned his B.S. in range management, followed by an M.S. in wildlife management from Colorado State University. At Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Ted obtained his PhD in wildlife ecology and then a post–doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The depth and breadth of Ted’s contribution to wildlife science is remarkable. He is widely published in topics ranging from the ecology of the flannelmouth sucker and rainbow trout in the Colorado River, and dietary overlap in meso-carnivore populations to identifying trans-highway movement corridors for desert bighorn sheep and the ecology of mountain lions. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the conservation of bovids is the monograph he authored entitled “Evaluation of factors potentially influencing a desert bighorn sheep population”. At the time of his passing, Ted was embarking on an ambitious study to determine the effect of mountain lion predation on stable, increasing, and decreasing desert bighorn sheep populations.

Our challenge is to gain the intuition of Ted’s unique perspective, earned through a lifetime of awareness and perseverance, and to continue where he left us.

Be at peace, Ted.
Old Goat (Dick Weaver) & First Ewe (Buddy Welles)

Florence "Buddy" Welles

August 21, 1907 - January 23, 2004

 

Most of us knew her as “Buddy”, the first Ewe of the Desert Bighorn Council. In the drawing I made for the title page of the Desert Bighorn book, Buddy is the only ewe, centered, as she was the only female bighorn researcher in the early years. The rams arranged along the skyline represented the male contributors to the book. The drawing was never used in the final printing and I had it framed as a gift to Gale Monson, who along with Lowell Sumner, edited the final draft of the book.

Buddy and I were wives and partners of sheep biologist and first became friends in 1960. Chuck and I with our two children were stationed at Corn Creek Field Station, part of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Ralph and Buddy were deep into their research of the Desert Bighorn of Death Valley. Ralph's 17 year career with the National Park Service encompassed their studying and photographing the elusive Desert Bighorn. In 1961 the National Park Service published 'The Bighorn of Death Valley', the first life-history study of these sheep.

Buddy and Ralph were original members of the Desert Bighorn Council, actively involved in all its activities. Ralph was awarded the first Desert Bighorn Council Award. I currently have this award and will return it to the council at the 2005 meeting in Texas.

When Chuck was killed in 1973 while on an aerial survey to locate a site to transplant bighorn to ranges in Utah, a memorial fund was set up to aid young biologist who shared an interest in the survival and study of the sheep. Later, when Ralph passed away we renamed the fund the Hansen-Welles Memorial Scholarship.

About ten ears ago Buddy sold one of their valuable original oil paintings and used the money to produce a video of the Bighorn of Death Valley. It might be fun to play it at the next Council meeting in their honor.

I spend long weekends with Buddy just before she passed away and her memory of their field days studying the Death Valley Sheep was remarkable. In Ralph's early days as a teenage cowboy he learned to name the various cattle in the herds and gave them distinctive names. This he did with the sheep and they individually identified many of them with special names.

Buddy's stories of their adventures were vivid. One in particular was special. At one of the springs in the mountains of Death Valley she got into the water and sat with only her head (with hat) above the surface. After several hours her patience was rewarded when sheep came in to drink right in front of her.

Buddy was a special helpmate in their 61 years of marriage. She was with Ralph during all his research, carrying cameras, taking notes, and finally typing the drafts of 'The Bighorn of Death Valley' on a tiny portable typewriter in their small camping trailer. This doesn't count the usual camp chores.

In her 96 years she successfully mastered four separate goals. First, receptionist for the Actors Equity Association, a precursor of today's Screen Actors Guild. Second, 18 years at the Palo Alto Community Theatre, where she acted, danced, designed and directed choreography for the shows and played the accompaniment of their many musical productions. Third, her 17 years with the National Park Service, and fourth, 31 years as a volunteer in a Hospital Auxiliary.

Throughout all her years she continued her musical career. I shall never forget awakening to special music when visiting, for she played her special 105 year old Steinway regularly till the end of her life. Most of what she worked at during her lifetime was done on a volunteer basis. A wonderful woman! I am proud to call her one of my best friends.

-- Pat Hansen, May 2004

A Tribute to James Blaisdell
     The Desert Bighorn Council members and, indeed, bighorn sheep lost a good friend in December
2004 with the passing of James Blaisdell.  Jim was a World War II veteran, then loyally
attended the reunions of his U. S. Army Air Corps unit of which he was a bombardier while serving in the
European Theater. Taking advantage of the GI Bill, Jim obtained a degree in wildlife management and began his career with the California Department of Fish and Game.  He later gained employment with the Federal government.
     While assigned to work at Grand Canyon National Park, Jim developed a life-long concern for
bighorn sheep. He became a participant in the Desert Bighorn Council during its earliest formative years. Jim served the Council on numerous committees and as Chairman when the National Park Service hosted the meeting at Grand Canyon in 1962.  It was at the 1962 meeting when the Council
made the decision and began planning for production of the book The Desert Bighorn. Jim was elected to chair the Technical Staff with duties that included "whipping up" the contributing authors to meet their commitments and deadlines, eliminating redundancy, and generally helping the editors. For this and other services, the Council awarded Jim the honor plaque in 1979.  Until his retirement, Jim continued to work for reductions in feral burro populations, reintroduction of bighorn sheep, and the separation of domestic and wild sheep. Although small in stature, Jim Blaisdell stood tall in the world of wildlife conservation. We will all miss him.          --Dick Weaver
A Tribute to Carl Mahon
     In May 1965, the first formal research of the desert bighorn sheep in southeast Utah was undertaken.  But the first real research of the desert bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah began prior to May 1965, by Carl Mahon. He repeatedly sighted wild sheep while working for the Bureau of Land Management and from trips he made on his own time and funds on weekends and holidays. During these times he searched the nooks and crevices of the canyon lands of southern Utah to determine desert bighorn distributions and gather other data.
     After recording numerous sightings and other information on the Utah desert bighorn, Carl was successful in enlisting the support of the local sportsmen club to petition State Legislators and the Director of the Division of Wildlife Resources to study the desert bighorn in the area. Carl knew that once formal studies of the Utah desert bighorn were undertaken, intensive management and protection would follow.  
     When formal research was initiated, interviews of many local residents who worked in the canyonlands country revealed few had not seen any desert bighorn but many recalled seeing "those little red goats" (desert bighorn ewes and lambs). Sightings of mature rams were rare during this period. Carl never commented on the razzing he took when trying to gain support for formal studies of the desert bighorn. I am sure many local residents, including some personnel of the Utah Division of Wildlife resources, made comments something to the effect of:  "Sure is bad when an old cowboy cannot tell the difference between 'little red goats' and wild sheep."
     Carl knew what he was studying and never gave up the cause to have formal wild sheep studies. Beginning in May 1965 and for each formal bighorn study to follow, Carl took the new (graduate student) researchers under his wing and guided them as an advisor to successful studies.
     Carl's persistence and untiring dedication to the desert bighorn sheep never faltered for those years before 1965 and until his death on November 11, 2004. Over the years he became a nationally recognized desert bighorn sheep expert. He published several papers in the Desert Bighorn Council Transactions and received an Achievement Award from the Desert Bighorn Council. He was the recipient of the Conservation Award given by the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS) and received Utah's highest award from the Utah Chapter of FNAWS.  Carl's easy-going manner and wit endeared him to all who knew him. He was also extremely knowledgeable on the archeology of the Indians that historically inhabited the canyon lands country.
     After most of the formal bighorn sheep studies were completed, Carl continued to monitor the sheep herds and support the management of the Utah desert bighorn sheep. He guided many a desert bighorn sheep hunter between 1967 and 2001. On many of these hunting trips, Carl donated his services and no doubt related the desert bighorn sheep life history.
     The desert bighorn sheep and wild sheep communities have lost a true champion in Carl Mahon, but his legacy will live on. In the late 1960s, in the heart of Utah desert bighorn sheep habitat, Mahon Canyon was named after Carl. It will forever appear on all U.S.G.S. maps.
     --Lanny Wilson – 2004
A tribute to Linda Seibert
     The Desert Bighorn Council lost a valuable member, and friend, on May 3 1, 2000 when Linda Seibert, a Wildlife Biologist with the BLM and long-time member of the DBC, passed away.
     Linda received a B.A. Degree in 1969 fiom San Jose State University and then moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico.  After deciding her calling was really the outdoors and natural resources, she returned to school and received a Wildlife Biology Degree fiom New Mexico State University in 1977.
     Linda began her BLM career as a wildlife biologist in Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1977. Early in her career she worked on an inventory crew gathering information for BLM's livestock grazing E. I. S. and land use planning system. While in Las Cruces she also developed strong ties with her BLM co-workers and biologist with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department and became involved with the development and maintenance of several bighorn sheep water catchments.
     She transferred to Moab, Utah in 1987, where she served as a Wildlife Biologist and Wildlife Program Leader until illness forced her retirement in December 1999. While in Moab, Linda continued to maintain a high interest in bighorn sheep management, as well as taking on other interests such as initiating a Bald Eagle nest monitoring program, and conducting riparian monitoring and assessments.
     Linda served on many partnerships, committees and working groups, including:
Team Leader of the Comb Wash Watershed Plan.
Mill Creek Partnership Project
Utah Division of Wildlife's Southeast Region Advisory Committee
Mexican Spotted Owl Working Group
Peregrine Falcon Working Group
Southwestern Willow Flycatcher
Helped Grand County High School develop an outdoor education program
Bird Club
Member Utah Chapter Wildlife Society,
Desert Bighorn Council
     Linda was born on November 21, 1946 and passed away May 31, 2000. She will be truly missed by her family, fiends, co-workers and Desert Bighorn Council associates.
A tribute to Sally Monson
     In fond memory of our friend, Sally Monson, and in gratitude for her service to the Ewes and her
support of the Desert Bighorn Council, we dedicate the 1996 Transactions. She attended her first
Council meeting in 1961 in Hermosillo, Mexico, with her husband Gale. Sally passed away December
11, 1995.
Marvin Wood
1909-1994
     Marvin Wood was born in Arkansas, and immigrated to California during the dust bowl era, becoming a successful her. He is survived by his wife, Pauline, two sons, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. Aside from his family, bighorn sheep were the most important thing in his life. He joined the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep more than forty years ago, and was an energetic and active member. Attending his first meeting of the Desert Bighorn Council at Redlands, California, in 1965, Marv soon became a regular attendee. He used any information he gained at meetings to influence bighorn management practices as best he could. Marv did not seek recognition for his efforts on behalf of wild sheep, preferring to work through others and support sheep organizations. He was a life member of three wild sheep conservation organizations besides the Desert Bighorn Council. Marv gave money, time and sweat to bighorn programs and projects, regularly volunteering for capture efforts and construction of water catchments. For almost twenty years, Marv voluntarily maintained all of the natural and artificial water sources in the Old Woman Mountains, San Bernardino County, California. Additionally, he would recruit help and make water hole counts for the California Department of Fish and Game. One of many water catchments Marv helped to install in the Mojave desert is now dedicated to him. This selfless man will be much missed by the Desert Bighorn Council, but it is the desert bighorn who have truly lost a generous friend. 
--Richard Weaver, Cortez, CO
Daniel E. Delaney
1951-1992
Daniel E. Delaney was born on 22 October 1951 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is survived by his parents, Ed and Jeanellyn Delaney, sister Edean Calhoon, her husband Lany, niece Kristinna, and nephew Patrick.
     He enlisted in the United States Army in 1969, serving a tour of duty in Vietnam, where he was involved with helicopters and helicopter maintenance. After Vietnam, he was assigned to Fort Rucker, Alabama as an instructor in the United States Army Aviation Center. Before ending his military duties in 1972, Dan was assigned to Fort Monroe, Virginia, where he was a member of the Honor Guard of the Military Police.
     Dan started his college career at George Mason University, a branch of the University of Virginia in Fairfax. He completed his formal education at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in 1977 where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biology.  He started his career in wildlife working as a research assistant for various studies being conducted by the University ofNevada Las Vegas and the University of California Los Angeles. Work on these studies included small mammal trapping in the Mojave Desert of southern California, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and on the Nevada Test Site. He also worked on a radio telemetry study of Desert Kit Fox on a Bureau of Land Management funded study in southern California's Mojave Desert. The Nevada Department of Wildlife (then Fish and Game) hired Dan on 27 November 1978 where he was employed working on the Upland Game Water Development Project in southern Nevada.  In August 1979 Dan moved to Elko, Nevada as a research biologist working on the Saval Project collecting data on mule deer and sage grouse. The Saval Project was temporarily funded and upon termination of the project in October 1981, Dan returned to the Upland Game Water Development Project in southern Nevada. In August 1982, he assumed the duties of 3212-a biologist position working out of the Nevada Department of Wildlife's Region I11 office in Las Vegas with primary responsibilities for desert bighorn sheep. Finally, he accepted the position of Supervising Biologist in Region I11 in July 1992.
     To say Dan was enthusiastic and sincere in assuming his responsibilities as the State's premiere desert bighorn biologist is an understatement.  Dan's enthusiasm was infectious and his selfless dedication to the resource was an inspiration to us all. During his years of service to the State of Nevada, Dan amassed an enviable record of accomplishments.  Record counts of bighorn populations during helicopter surveys enabled Dan to assess Nevada's bighorn resource like no other biologist before him. Because of his keen understanding of bighorn population dynamics, Dan was able not only to increase recreational consumptive use of the resource, but to use his knowledge and dynamic personality to establish program objectives and direction that have significantly improved Nevada's desert bighorn resource. His work was instrumental in ensuring that Nevada's state animal will continue to exist at healthy population levels on into the next century. Dan's diligence, in ensuring that bighorn habitats will be protected and enhanced through cooperative planning for the future with land managing agencies and through big game water development programs he was instrumental in expanding, should result in increasing bighorn populations for the future. At times there weren't words to describe the intensity with which Dan worked to make the bighorn Trapping and Transplanting Program in Nevada the huge success it is today. During Dan's 10 years as the sheep biologist in Clark County, 845 desert bighorn sheep were trapped in Nevada and transplanted.  If we count the sheep trapped, marked, and released on site, the number of sheep Dan caught exceeded 1,000 animals.  If we recall Dan's attentiveness around the trapsite, it's probably safe to say he handled, or at least touched, each and every sheep. Needless to say, this took countless hours of dedicated hard work to complete the necessary paperwork, coordination, negotiations, and physical trapping and handling of animals. We often wondered how he managed to get it all done and still find time to assist many of us on our trapping and transplanting projects that included work with mule deer in Nevada, elk in Nevada, antelope in Nevada and Wyoming, and California bighorn in Nevada, Oregon, and British Columbia. On top of his many duties, he developed a Program and Procedure for Net Gunning that ensured the safety of personnel involved, as well as providing guidelines for professional handling of the target species that will result in successful operations with a minimum of stress to the animals.
     Although Dan will be missed, he will always be right there with us as we continue the work to which he dedicated his life: i.e., to preserve, protect, and ENHANCE wildlife and its habitat in the State of Nevada, especially desert bighorn sheep. There isn't a biologist or associate in the state that doesn't have a "Dan Delaney" story that inspires, motivates, or brings a smile, guaranteeing Dan will always have a special place in the hearts of all associated with him-family, friends, associates, sportsmen and others who continue to carry on the legacy of enhancing Nevada's wildlife resources for the future.
--Larry Gilbertson, Nevada Departtnent of Wildlife
Lowell Sumner
1907-1989
     Lowell Sumner, a long-time member of the Desert Bighorn Council and co-editor of The Desert Bighorn, died on 1 October 1989 in Silver City, New Mexico. Lowell was born in New York City on 7 December 1907. He spent his early childhood in North Kingston, Rhode Island, then moved to southern California with his family. He attended Pomona High School and Pomona Junior College. He attended the University of California at Berkeley where he received a Master's degree and also worked toward a doctorate.
     Almost his entire working career was spent with the National Park Service (NPS). He accomplished important exploratory work in Alaska while attached to the San Francisco Regional Office, and was the senior author of Birds and Mammals of the Sierra Nevada. Later he became Chief Research Biologist for the NPS in Washington, D.C. where he retired in 1967. Then he and his wife, Marietta, lived in Friendship, Maine and Glenwood, New Mexico. Since 1971 they had made their home in Glenwood.
     Besides his wife, Lowell is survived by a daughter, Ruth Crandall of San Dimas, California. Memorial services were held in Glenwood on 21 October where Dick Weaver delivered a eulogy as a representative of the Desert Bighorn Council.
     Lowell was deeply interested in desert bighorn and constantly worked for their welfare. He carried out bighorn research, especially in Death Valley and Joshua Tree national monuments. He possessed a deeply held conservation ethic, and was widely known as a man of integrity and idealism. He was well-respected by the Desert Bighorn Council; we will miss him.
-- Gale Monson

Terri Lynn Steel

1963-1988

     Terri Lynn Steel was born in Bisbee, Arizona 18 July 1963.  She died 28 May 1988. She lived in Arizona until her family moved to Virginia in 1965, Starkville, Mississippi in 1975, and Seattle, Washington in 1978.  In her heart she remained a "desert rat" all of her life.

     As a child of 10, she visited us in the Chihuahuan Desert and began inquiring with young enthusiasm about desert animals. Over the years her questions sharpened and the excitement or learning about nature could clearly be seen in her eyes.

     Terri loved to learn.  In 1981, she graduated from Samanish High School in Bellevue, Washington and entered Washington State University (WSU). During the summers of 1981-85, she returned to the desert in Arizona and worked as a wildlife technician and research assistant at the University of Arizona. During these years her professional goals were established. She wanted a career in wildlife research

and began pursuing it in her junior year. Tern went out or her way to meet as many wildlife professionals as she could. As an undergraduate, she attended the North American Wildlife and Natural Resource Conference

several times to meet resource biologists and administrators and learn from them. It gave us joy to watch Tem grow professionally.  She was on a track to success.

     Terri entered graduate school in 1986 at Utah State University. Her MS. thesis involved habitat relationships of desert bighorn sheep at Capital Reef National Park. She presented the results of some of her

work at the 1988 Desert Bighorn Council Transactions in Needles, California. Her excellent presentation resulted in an offer to study for her Ph.D. at the University of Alaska.  She was excited and planned to

complete her M.S. degree and move to Alaska in early 1989.

     During April and May 1988, Terri had started her last field season in Capital Reef National Park. She had completed class work and needed only to complete final data collection. She did not feel well the last week of May, and upon her return to Logan mentioned to friends and to her mother on 26 May that she could not remember when she had felt so poorly. On 27 May 1988, Terri suffered a spontaneous rupture of a cerebral aneurysm at her home; she died the next day.

     Tem was a loving person and, as fit her so well, her last gift was of life. She donated her organs so others could have the opportunity for a better life. Those of us fortunate to share a part of Terri's brief life know she made an impact. Her desire to learn and question "established fact" was contagious. Although she died too early, she made an impact on those who knew her. Terri's assistance is acknowledged in over 10

scientific publications and she will he an author on several works published posthumously.

     Terri was active professionally and it is a pleasure to point to her accomplishments. She became president of the student chapter of The Wildlife Society at WSU 1985-86, and was selected the outstanding

senior student by the wildlife faculty. Additionally, she was chosen by the Washington State Sportsman's Council to receive the Lee Hughes Memorial Scholarship in 1986. Tem organized and hosted a Wildlife

Society radio show at WSU and was the coordinator for Initiative 90, a Funding initiative for the state of Washington. She was a member of The Wildlife Society and The Desert Bighorn Council. Terri's philosophy,

and the way she led her life, is embodied in the aphorism "Treat the earth gently." She dedicated her life to that cause. Her death has created a void in our lives.

     Tem Lynn Steel is survived by her mother Marilyn Turner, stepfather Louie Turner, sisters Robin and Danna, brother Brian, father Phil Steel, other family and many, many friends.

     A "Tem L. Steel" Scholarship has been established in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Utah State University. Those wishing to contribute may send check or money order to:  The Terri L. Steel Scholarship, Department of Fisheries & Wildlife, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-5210.

 

--Paul R. Krausman and John Bissonette

Reprinted with permission from The Wildlife Society.

 

Ralph Emerson Welles

1903-1988

     Ralph Emerson Welles was born on 25 November 1903 in Oklahoma.  He was an actor in Hollywood in the early days of talking pictures and played in films with John Wayne, Edward G. Robinson, Greta Garbo, and others.  In 1932, Ralph left Hollywood to become director or the new Civic Theater in Palo Alto, California. Ralph directed and wrote plays and musical shows at the Civic Theater until 1950.  He also taught in the Speech and Drama Department at Stanford University during this period.

     From Hollywood, Ralph entered the National Park Service as a ranger-naturalist, wildlife researcher, and photographer. With his wire Florence (Buddy), he conducted the first life history study of native desert bighorn sheep in the southwest resulting in the National Park Service Publication "The Bighorn of Death Valley." Ralph and Buddy regularly endured incredible heat in Death Valley to capture details of bighorn sheep activity. Ralph's dedication to truth in reporting scientific observations was absolute. Where no facts were as yet available he always carefully labeled educated speculation as such. Ralph Welles was an alert observer and a founding member of the Desert Bighorn Council.  He was always concerned about the wise use and management of bighorn sheep.   In 1967, Ralph left the National Park Service and moved to the California coast.

     Since his arrival on the California coast, Ralph was a supporter of art and music, the Arroyo Grande Community Hospital Auxiliary, and Five Cities C.A.S.T.  On Friday, 8 January 1988, Ralph E. Welles died. 

     He is survived by his wife of 61 years, sisters Betty Howell and Phyllis Grant, and brother Rolin Eslinger, and numerous nieces and nephews.  At the request of his wife, friends may donate money in his name to the San Luis Obispo Art Association, the Symphony Guild, the Mozart Festival, and the Arroyo Grande Community Hospital Auxiliary Fund for the in-home Emergency Response System, or a charity of their choice.

 

--Lowell Sumner, Glenwood, New Mexico

A Tribute to John P. Russo
     The Desert Bighorn Council lost one of its early members on 6 August 1987. John P. Russo was a guiding force and an avid supporter of the Council in its formative years.  John was the Council's Secretary-Treasurer from 1965 through 1968. In 1965 he was the recipient of the Council's Outstanding
Contributions Award for his early work on desert bighorn sheep in Arizona.
     John joined the Arizona Game and Fish Department in 1950 to begin desert bighorn sheep life history studies and to develop a management plan. In 1956, his work culminated in Arizona's Wildlife Bulletin No. 1, "The Desert Bighorn Sheep in Arizona" - a publication considered by many as a classic. Even now (some 30 years later) publications about bighorn are not considered complete without quoting John's fine bulletin. Precepts and recommendations contained therein are still followed in bighorn management.  John's work also provided the information that led to Arizona's first bighorn sheep hunt in 1953. Bighorn were not legally hunted up to that time.
     In 1956 John dropped his bighorn sheep studies but not his interest and transferred to northern Arizona as the Kaibab North deer biologist.  John distinguished himself again with another management publication in 1964: Wildlife Bulletin No. 7, "The Kaibab North Deer Herd - Its History, Problems and Management. "
     John's career became more and more responsible throughout his years with Arizona although he maintained an unflagging interest in bighorn sheep. In turn, John became big game supervisor, then Chief of the Game Management Division, finally retiring in 1983 as an associate administrative services officer. He last addressed the Council in 1984 at the Bullhead City, Arizona meeting - some 4 months after retirement.
     John was well known as a personable, supportive, individual interested in all phases of wildlife management. His leadership resulted in the development of several innovative hunt designs in Arizona.
Eventually, we will all follow John but there are few who will equal the contribution he left to wildlife, particularly to desert bighorn sheep.
     John is survived by his wife Jeanne and sons Michael, Terry, and Kip. They fully supported him thoughout his career.
-- R.A. Weaver, P.O. Box 1383, Loomis, CA 95650.
IN MEMORY OF James C. Bicket and Don Landells who died surveying bighorn sheep in California 6 October 1986.
Lewis E. Carpenter
September 12, 1903-November 1, 1983
     The 1984 Desert Bighorn Council Transactions are dedicated to Lew Carpenter for his services to bighorn, bighorn habitat, legislative matters, and Council. Lew gave unstintingly of his time for the welfare of desert bighorn, and will long be remembered, and missed, by his friends in the Desert Bighorn Council.
Rick F. Seegmiller
1951-1983
     Rick Seegmiller was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on 27 February 1951. He moved to Arizona in his childhood and developed a deep appreciation for wildlife through his family's interest in outdoor activities. Rick received an A.A. degree from Mesa Community College in 1971, a B.S. degree with distinction in wildlife biology from Arizona State University in 1974, and an MS. degree in zoology from
A.S.U. in 19i7. His research activities up to that point involved mountain sheep and burros along the Bill Williams River. His results were published in the Desert Bighorn Council Transactions, North American Wild Sheep Conference Transactions and in the Wildlife Monograph series.
     Rick continued his wildlife studies as a research assistant at Texas Tech University and the University of Washington from 1978-1980. Rick understood the importance of wildlife related experience to his overall education and maximized his opportunities by working for the Arizona Game and Fish Department as a hatchery assistant and wildlife specialist; Dames and Moore Environmental
Consultants, as a botanist; the US. Forest Service as a wildlife contractor and range conservationist; and as a wildlife biologist for the US. Bureau of Land Management's California Desert Planning Staff, and the Yakima Indian Nation, Washington.
     Rick returned to Arizona in 1981 to begin work on his Ph.D. degree in wildlife ecology at the University of Arizona.  His studies encompassed mountain sheep, burros and deer. He had completed all required course work and successfully completed the written and oral examination for this degree in a superior manner. Rick was a true scholar and demonstrated knowledge of wildlife ecology to such
a degree that he was welcomed as a professional and academic colleague. His reputation goes far beyond the University of Arizona; he is well known throughout the West as an accomplished wildlife ecologist. He was a member of The Wildlife Society, Society for Range Management, Ecological Society of America, American Society of Mammalogists and the American Society of Naturalists.
     Rick was on the last leg of his field studies when he was killed. He died in a plane crash' 6 February 1983 while locating radio-collared bighorn in the rugged Harquahala Mountains of western Arizona. He died doing the thing he enjoyed so well: studying animals he dedicated his life to understand. Rick left this desert "where rainbows wait for water" way too soon but he left all who knew him with good memories, a model of high ideals and a richness we will miss. He is survived by his parents and loving family.
     The Rick F. Seegmiller Scholarship has been established in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona to recognize the excellence in graduate studies that Rick exemplified.
--Paul R. Krausman and John R. Morgart, Wildlife, Fisheries and Recreation Resources Division, School of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.
Photo courtesy of Desert National Wildlife Refuge
"Spots"
     Spots was born in captivity sixteen years ago at the Desert Game Range. Upon reaching adulthood, he sired many lambs to perpetuate the species, and by seven years of age, he had become a legend. This reputation resulted from his magnificent set of horns. Unlike most bighorns, his horns were not "broomed" and therefore retained their massive symmetry.
     Within a decade, illustrations of this one bighorn dominated all publications depicting our native bighorn sheep. He was photographed and sketched by countless numbers of people, from many countries. His existence at the Desert Game Range provided important research data on aging techniques and behavior. But most importantly, he provided an unforgettable impression on thousands of individuals, many of whom never had seen desert bighorn sheep prior to visiting the Desert Game Range.
     Spots died from old age on July 12, 1977, but his legend will liveon for many years. He made a lasting contribution to public awareness of desert bighorn.sheep and the urgent need for conservation and enlightened management.
A tribute to Dr. William "Bill" Graf
     North American Bighorns for more than five generations have benefited from the work and dedication of Dr. William "Bill" Graf. Bill worked with bighorns from the southern deserts of Nevada to the northern tundras of Alaska.
     Two of his most outstanding contributions to bighorn welfarewere: (1) teaching basic biology of all wildlife species to thousands of students in such a manner that they were inspired to be true conservationists, and (2) constant consultation with researchers and field workers to encourage the highest of professional decision making with "non-compromised" decisions for the benefit of wildlife.
     Bill was a past president of the Desert Bighorn Council; he lived to teach the basic principles of wildlife management; he was a true sportsman of the strongest calibration; and he did his utmost to manage and perpetuate habitat for wildlife.
     During the summer of 1975 while on an excursion in the wildernessof Alaska, Bill slept his last night out on the open tundra with all the wildlife.
     The Desert Bighorn Council hereby dedicates the 1976 Transactions to Dr. William "Bill" Graf in recognition of his work and inspiration to professional wildlife management.

A tribute to William Cooper, Charles Hansen, John Ebersole, and Dick Smith

 

     Let us not remember William Cooper, Charles Hansen, John Ebersole, and Dick Smith in terms of what they died for; but rather the reasons for which they lived. These were men dedicated to life--to LIVING THINGS.

     They took life head-on--on its cutting edge--where one can stand closer to its naked beauty, raw meaning, and, at times in harm’s way.

     Certainly they knew the risks their pursuits could involve, but they were willing t o face them, because they lived for some intangible something that many have ceased to fed, let alone try to understand.

     In our destructive, maddening and over-quantified existences, some might even raise their eyebrows and ask, "Was it worth the price?" To them, the answer may never be apparent; but to others, it always has been.

     A party of river runners slips quietly along the Colorado River near Sheep Bottom, below the crash site where they perished. One member glimpses movement in the ledges above.

     "Bighorns!" The whisper sweeps the raft and the passengers gaze in awe at a living creature which--like so many others--has nearly slipped from existence.

     Ask that passenger what he felt when he stared at wildness and was moved by that intangible something.

     It is for instruments of life then--like Bill, Chuck, John and Dick--who would stem destruction and prevent our impoverishment, that we now remember and re-examine our own reasons for living.

 

Thomas L. Haxtman

Assistant Superintendent

Canyonlands National Park

Moab, Utah 84532

Award and Remembrance for our Friend Chuck

 

Dr. Charles ("Chuck") Hansen was killed in an airplane crash along with John Ebersole, William Cooper and Dick Smith, on May 19, 1973, while conducting a desert bighorn survey in Canyonlands National Park. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s "CITATION FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE", and a "REMEMBRANCE FOR CHUCK" are presented.

 

CITATION

FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE

CHARLES G. HANSEN

posthumously, in recognition of outstanding contributions to research and management programs on the desert bighorn sheep of the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife and the National Park Service.

     Dr. Hansen, an international authority on the desert bighorn sheep, began his career with the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife in 1957. At the Desert National Wildlife Range, in 1959, he started his life-long studies of the rare desert bighorn. He was promoted to a National Park Service research position in 1968 and continued his investigations in Death Valley National Monument, and initiated significant research on the competition between the exotic burro and the native bighorn. A keen observer, an untiring field man, and a highly competent scientist, he made lasting contributions to the meager sum of existing knowledge about the species. He was the major author of the book, Desert Bighorn. Soon to be published, this volume w i l l be the first definitive book on the bighorn. H i s detailed reports, scientific papers, and professional publications provide the basis for modern bighorn sheep management. Other Federal and state agencies, conservation and sportsmen's groups, as well as agencies in Canada and Mexico, benefited from his services and advice on bighorn programs. To coordinate a united effort of research and management to restore and perpetuate this species, he helped establish the Desert Bighorn Council and became an active key member. In recognition of his professional achievements, the Council awarded him its International Award of Honor for 1966. On May 19, 1973, he was killed in the crash of a small plane while he was conducting an aerial survey of bighorn in Canyonlands National Park. As a tribute to his distinctive achievements, the Department of the Interior grants, posthumously, to Dr. Hansen its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.

 

     (signed) Rogers C. B. Morton

     Secretary of the Interior

 

A REMEMBRANCE FOR OUR FRIEND CHUCK

     Dr. Charles G. Hansen, "Chuck" to all of us who knew him, was not a big man in size, but he was most certainly a giant of a man in stature. Chuck was best known through his work and love for the desert bighorn sheep. He was considered by his peers to be the world's foremost expert on desert bighorn. This statement is attributed to the work he has been requested to do by numerous State and Federal agencies in the United States, Mexico and Canada. His research and publications are known throughout the world. If someone were to say desert bighorn, the name Chuck Hansen comes to mind, as the two are synonymous. Dr. Charles Hansen is a household word in the profession of wildlife biology and ecology for the name carries with it mitigating respect.

     You did not have to meet Chuck for only a few minutes before you were aware of his burning desire to do all in his power for the desert bighorn, as well as the other wildlife flora and fauna in the desert mountains of the Southwest. Chuck knew--to save the desert bighorn, would also result in the desert mountain ranges maintaining their natural state for all generations to see and enjoy, and to remain as something for which this country could always be proud. He strived to achieve this goal through sweat, tears, and even blood. He wrote, spoke, and fought for t h i s goal in his sincere and honest manner. In this effort lies the dignity and respect of all who knew him.

     Chuck was one of the original members of the Desert Bighorn Council which began in the early 1950's.  Since that time, the Desert Bighorn Council has grown to be one of the most respected, nationally known organizations in the United States. Chuck Hansen can take unlimited pride in this achievement, as he always has been one of the greatest motivating forces in the organization.

     In the Desert Bighorn Council, a title of respect is to be called a sheep herder. Therefore, we fellow sheepherders want Chuck's immediate family to know t h a t the sweat, the tears, the triumphs and the heartbreaks have not been in vain. The endless tracks that Chuck has left across this land can never be filled. We, and all future sheepherders, can only strive to follow the trail he has left us. We do not say goodbye to Chuck, rather, we look forward to seeing him again in the Greatest of All Bighorn Councils.

 

With love,

The Desert Bighorn Council

(Reprinted from the 1974 DBC Transactions)

Robert D. “Jake” Metherell

January 23, 1928-February 7, 1973

 

     Robert D. "Jake" Metherell died on February 7, 1973, when the private plane he was piloting crashed in the Ruby Valley south of Wells, Nevada.

     Jake was born January 23, 1928, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He attended Lycoming College in Williamsport and received a B.S. degree in biology i n 1955.  He married Connie Heim in 1951 and they had three children - Kenneth, Michael, and Kathy.

     Jake began his career with the National Park Service i n 1956 as a seasonal ranger a t Acadia National Park, Maine. He held increasingly responsible positions at Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina, 1957-58; Acadia National Park, 1958-61; Yosemite National Park, California, 1961-66; Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 1966-67; National Park Service, Washington Office, 1967-68; Zion National Park, Utah, 1968-69; Southern Utah Group, Cedar City, Utah, 1969-73.

     Jake was extremely likeable and very much a gentleman. He was a man of high principles and had a deep commitment to the perpetuation of resource values for use of future generations. Perhaps his outstanding attribute was the ability to understand and t o motivate people t o work together for a common goal. Cooperative relations between personnel of various agencies and interest groups were invariably at a high level wherever Jake was stationed.

     Jake long had a love for and an interest in bighorn sheep. Upon arrival in southern Utah in 1968, he became intrigued with the possibility of reintroducing desert bighorn sheep into Zion National Park. Restoration of this magnificent animal had been considered for many years, but nothing had ever been accomplished. Jake began discussing the proposal with various authorities within the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Nevada Fish and Game Department, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and with local interest individuals and groups.  Habitat appeared to be suitable for sheep and interest was positive. A 120-acre enclosure was completed i n Zion Canyon in 1970 near the North Fork of the Virgin River. Availability of desert bighorn now became the critical factor.  Finally in 1973, 12 animals (5 ewes, 4 lambs, and 3 rams) were captured at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada and transported to the release site in Zion Park.  Survival has, been good and 2 lambs were born in December of 1973, indicating that the population has adjusted to the new conditions.

     While the reintroduction of desert bighorn sheep i n t o Zion National Park i s an accomplishment for all concerned, it’s particularly a tribute to Jake's interest in the species , his persistence for accomplishment, and most importantly in his unique ability to get people of diverse backgrounds and management philosophies to cooperate in a common goal.

     Jake will be missed by all who knew him.

 

Paul W. Shields

Division of Wildlife Management

U.S. Forest Service

Ogden, Utah 84401

Cecil Kennedy with bighorn lamb
Cecil A. Kennedy
February 28, 1911 - March 16, 1971
Cecil Kennedy, a charter member of the Desert Bighorn Council and a legendary "government sheepherder", has left us. He was chairman of the 1966 Desert Bighorn Council meeting and Refuge Manager at the San Andres National Wildlife Refuge 1945-1968. In appreciation of Cecil's many years of professional services and friendship, the 1971 Desert Bighorn Council Transaction is sincerely dedicated.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Photo

 

 

"NANNY"

Born March 10, 1954, Died December 5, 1970

 

A remarkable and gallant ewe that gave birth to 15 lambs during her long life at Corn Creek Station in the Desert National Wildlife range of Southern Nevada.

A Tribute to Newell B. "Bun" Morgan

 

In appreciation of many years of professional services and friendship, the 1970 Desert Bighorn Council Transaction is dedicated to our fellow wildlifer.

John Reed

September 2, 1923 - February 20, 1967

 

John Reed, a pioneer member of the Desert Bighorn Council, and a dedicated wildlife manager of the Arizona Game and Fish Department has left us.  A veteran of World War 2, John returned to civilian life and then enrolled in school.  He was graduated from the University of Arizona, Class of 1957, with a B.S. degree in Wildlife Management.  He received an early introduction to bighorn sheep when he was a summer student working in southwestern Arizona.  His keen interest for sheep never left him, and upon graduation he went to work for Arizona, working with desert bighorn.  Although, years later, he moved to southern Arizona and away from bighorn, his interest and love for the animal never left him.  John was married to Bebe and they had two children.

OLD JOE had many names during his long life at the Corn Creek Field Station of the Desert Game Range, Las Vegas, Nevada. It is not known who named him Joe but this name stuck with him through the years although f o r various reasons he was known as the Old Man, Old Nasty and Old Joe.

     Young Joe was brought to Corn Creek at about six months o f age in the fall of 1948. He was the fifth Desert Bighorn Sheep captured on the Desert Game Range and placed in captivity. Two rams and a ewe were taken in 1947 and another ewe and Joe were brought i n during 1948. The two were placed on loan to the San Diego Zoo while the two ewes and Joe were kept on the Desert Game Range. One o f these ewes died a t two years but the remaining ewe and Joe survived and the Corn Creek bighorn sheep herd was on its way. Joe sired 11 of the sheep born at Corn Creek and has at least 3 "grand-lambs" still living there. He has several more "grand-lambs" that survive him in the San Diego 230 branch o f the “family".

     Old Joe had many friends from all walks of life. Many local residents came once or twice a year to Corn Creek just to see him, to feed him grass and leaves through the fence. This latter in spite of the warning t o stay back from t h e fence since Old Joe was inclined to butt the fence behind almost any unsuspecting human. Old Joe had friends across the nation from the east coast t o the Pacific, He gained national recognition as the "Old Man" when his antics were written about and his photographs were published i n the book, "The Bighorn o f Death Valley" by Ralph and Florence Welles. Many of his friends remember him as Old Nasty because o f his seemingly unpredictable behavior of expecting people to act as sheep and play the vigorous and rough butting games with him. Further national publicity was received when he was operated on i n 1963 in order t o save his life. He did succeed in living for another two years and dies at the age of 16 years and 10 months. He passed away easily in this sleep in the early morning o f January 16, 1965. With his passing his grandson, “Little Joe" became "Joe" so that in the years to come there will again be an OLD JOE in the Corn Creek bighorn herd.

Banner Photo Credit:

Michael T. Pittman

 

 

 

All drawings by 

Pat Hansen© 

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