Wild Sheep Foundation
"Wild Sheep are enchanting creatures that inspire all of us at MYSTERY RANCH. We feel a close bond through the simple fact that the rugged mountain wildernesses where sheep find a home are the same places and landscapes that we design our packs to excel in. The Wild Sheep Foundation is unparalleled among wildlife conversation organizations in terms of it's proven ability to conserve, restore, and advocate for wildlife and wild places. We're proud to be able to help WSF in any way that we can in their mission to help put and keep wild sheep on the mountain."
- Luke Boswell, Director of Product, MYSTERY RANCH
The Wild Sheep Foundation's (WSF) story begins with tragedy and hope. In the 100 years leading up to the 1960s, bighorn sheep populations and their ranges had plummeted drastically to historic lows. In 1974, a group of wild sheep enthusiasts joined together to do something about it. They formed the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS), with a mission to manage and restore wild sheep populations across the continent. FNAWS was incorporated as a non-profit in 1977 and began gathering members and raising funds to advance the comeback of wild sheep and promote the vitality of their traditional habitats. In 2008, FNAWS formally changed its name to the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) to reflect its expanded vision of ensuring that wild mountain ungulates and their habitats worldwide are effectively managed, utilized, made accessible and supported by interested stakeholders.
WSF believes that wild sheep are valuable beyond replacing, and deserve to continue their legacy as one of the most iconic species in the world. WSF seeks to enhance wild sheep populations, promote scientific wildlife management, and educate the public on sustainable use and the conservation benefits of hunting. Money is raised through sponsors, fundraising efforts, donations, and hunting tag sales to gather the necessary funds to fulfill our purpose, “To Put and Keep Wild Sheep on the Mountain.” Conserving a species that ranges from the highest mountain peaks down to deserts below sea-level, WSF serves habitats, wildlife, and the people that enjoy that wildlife across the world.
In over 40 years since its formation, WSF has raised and put on the mountain more than $115 million, resulting in an incredible wildlife recovery success story. Through wild sheep transplants, research, water development, predator management, educational outreach and many other WSF initiatives, the numbers of Rocky Mountain, California and desert bighorn sheep have soared threefold in North America, from around 25,000 in the 1950s to 85,000 today. Some states have seen 200 percent increases in wild sheep populations, while the state of Oregon alone has watched its wild sheep climb an astounding 2,000 percent. Today over 12,000 WSF, Chapter and Affiliate members are working to combat respiratory disease afflicting wild sheep, encourage new studies and management plans for Dall’s and Stone’s sheep, and advocate for the long-term health and sustainability of wild sheep herds and the wild places they roam across the globe.
Since 2010, MYSTERY RANCH has supported WSF with in-kind product. 7000 members strong, WSF is a relatively small group that casts a big shadow with its conservation efforts. To hunt wild sheep, you have to be in “sheep shape.” This isn’t a pursuit of armchair hunters; it’s a brother/sisterhood of hunters who love to get into high, remote country where big rams hideout. As a dedicated group of hunter conservationists, Wild Sheep Foundation members rely on our purpose-built, bombproof backpacks to "go in light and come out heavy."
WSF members are part of a remarkable conservation comeback that has saved wild sheep and other wildlife populations from the brink of endangerment and given hope for the future of these majestic animals. Anyone with a commitment to conserving our outdoor heritage for ourselves and future generations, anyone dedicated to advancing the health, range and numbers of wild sheep, and anyone who reveres and enjoys the wild lands where wild sheep and other wildlife roam will find a community of like-minded friends making a real difference as members of WSF. To become a member, go to https://www.wildsheepfoundation.org/memberships