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Record bighorn ram lived in Montana state park

February 9, 2018

This photo provided by the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 1 shows a bighorn sheep skull recovered on Montana's Wild Horse Island State Park is shown at FWP regional headquarters in Kalispell, Mont. on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say the ram was measured at the Boone & Crockett Club's headquarters in Missoula and scored 216 ¾ points, which would shatter the previous record by nearly 7 inches (nearly 18 centimeters). (Dillon Tabish/Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 1, via AP)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — A bighorn ram that spent its life on Wild Horse Island State Park in Montana looks to be a world record bighorn sheep, the Boone & Crockett Club said.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said the ram was measured at the club’s headquarters in Missoula on Wednesday and scored 216 3/8 points, which would shatter the previous record by about 7 inches (nearly 18 centimeters).

Senior Boone & Crockett officials are scheduled to meet in Bozeman later this month to confirm the record, based on measurements of the ram’s horns, said FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish.

A game warden on routine patrol on the island in Flathead Lake found the ram’s carcass late in 2016. The ram, which was believed to be about 9 years old, died of natural causes.

Its head and horns were kept in cold storage for about a year along with the head and horns of two other rams found about the same time, Tabish said.

It is illegal to pick up bighorn sheep horns anywhere in Montana, so wardens remove them to eliminate the temptation, Tabish said.

In looking through the storage area, wardens saw two sets of sizeable horns. Preliminary measurements showed one was close to a world record. A wildlife photographer heard about it and reminded the agency they had one that was bigger, Tabish said.

It was taken out of storage, cleaned by a taxidermist and dried for 60 days before being measured.

The current world record ram was hit by a vehicle in Alberta, Canada, in 2010 and had a final score of 209 4/8.

The other two rams that were recently measured are expected to fall in Boone & Crockett’s Top 10, Tabish said. The records will belong to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Wild Horse Island State Park is about 3.4 square miles (8.7 square kilometers) and his home to about 100 wild sheep along with mule deer, bald eagles, falcons other birds and a few wild horses. The sheep herd is used to supplement other herds throughout the state.

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This story has been corrected to say the ram’s measurement score was 216 3/8 points, not 216 ¾.

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