Glen Fuller of Farmington became the first New Mexico resident to draw for and successfully hunt a desert bighorn sheep since the species was removed from the state’s threatened and endangered species list in 2011.
Fuller shot the trophy ram, estimated to score 173 inches, in the rugged Hatchet Mountains located in the bootheel of the state.
Fuller said the Big Hatchets were some of the most rugged country he’s ever seen, adding that they had to watch their footing every step of the way.
Prior to his self-guided hunt, Fuller scouted the Hatchets for 10 days over several trips spanning from June to September. He said he wanted to get familiar with the country and the habits of bighorn sheep.
New Mexico made history when the species was restored by conservation efforts spearheaded by the state Game and Fish Department and funded by hunters.
The population rebounded from fewer than 70 in 1980 to approximately 750 in 2012.
Restoration was made possible by multiple bighorn sheep transplant operations and by managing mountain lion populations. Mountain lions aggressively prey on bighorn sheep.