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Which Way Did They Go?
Mar 17, 2015
What happened to all the sheep in South Dakota? As we travel about the state, it’s plain to see that we don’t have anywhere near the numbers of just a few years ago.
Coyotes and mountain lions are probably partly to blame. Farmers and ranchers are, on average, getting grayer. And lamb prices aren’t often high enough to scratch the competitive itch.
Our 2014 sheep count was just 255,000 head. That’s about one-sixth as many as we had in the 1960s.
Sheep and wool were big industries, especially in certain West River counties. But most ranchers prefer to raise cattle these days. For better or worse, a colorful piece of our rural culture is slipping away.
Maybe it’s topic we should explore in greater length in the main magazine. Let us know if you have any good sheep stories.