By Dan Simmons
Our Nevada hunting tag applications are now in and most of us hope for that hunter’s Holy Grail — a Desert Bighorn Sheep tag.
Well, that couldn’t happen without the efforts of dedicated hunters and conservationists like Eddie Pribble. He is the grand master when it comes to sheep hunters.
Eddie has hunted Dall Sheep in Alaska, Stone Sheep in British Columbia and Bighorns in Nevada, but his passion is for Desert Bighorn Sheep, and Nevada is the place to be for this species.
He loves the pursuit of desert sheep so much that he helps and guides other hunters and has become the go-to-guy for those wanting to insure their success. With 114 successful hunts over the past 50 years, he has earned that reputation.
He has also worked tirelessly to help “put sheep on the mountain,” which is the motto of the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn. His name has become synonymous with that fine organization and their conservation efforts.
Their main focus has been to build water projects, “guzzlers,” on current and former Desert Bighorn mountain ranges. There are now over a hundred of these throughout Southern Nevada, from Tonopah to Searchlight, and Eddie has helped with them all.
These “guzzlers” are not simple devices and Eddie’s mechanical skills have been instrumental in their development and construction. They consist of a natural rock, or artificial sheet, to collect rainwater and focus its run-off to a container, which when coupled with a float-activated drinker serves to supply sheep and other wildlife their necessary drinking water. So far these “guzzlers” have a combined storage capacity of 780,000 gallons of water.
Two hunters who have recently benefitted from these efforts are Roy and Shelby Keefer. Both recently drew tags, and were successful, on the same hunt and in the same area. Imagine the odds of that happening. To my knowledge that has happened only once before and that was to me and my wife more than 20 years ago. Try explaining that to one of the hunters who has been applying for 15 or 20 years, or more, and still hasn’t drawn. As they say, “Being lucky is sometimes better than being skilled.”
So what’s next? Well, as many of us with a little grey hair know, the torch has to be passed. This is being done by recruiting fresh, young blood, some with only a few grey hairs.
The “Fraternity” is doing this with Dave Harris at the helm and joining with other organizations like Safari Club International (SCI), Wildlife Habitat in Nevada (WHIN), Nevada Bighorn Unlimited (NBU) and others to accomplish even greater achievements, but most importantly passing knowledge on to the next generations.
This “passing on” was seen at a recent project to repair and maintain “guzzlers” in the Last Chance Range, near Pahrump. Young James Reddick, sat spellbound during a work break as Eddie told him of past hunts and projects. They visited again later while waiting for the helicopter to take them off the mountain and back to base camp. I’ve no doubt James will be one of our future hunter/conservation leaders.
While on this outing, 44 men, women and youngsters gathered to work on seven separate water “guzzlers.” Helicopters repeatedly lifted equipment, materials and crew to the project sites. Cement was poured, rocks were gathered and repairs were made. All did a good day’s work helping wildlife and again “the torch was passed” during the evening while gathered around the campfire eating delicious steaks prepared by “Cookie Tiberti” and his crew.
It’s not over; these projects have been so successful the Nevada Department of Wildlife has been able to translocate sheep to some of their other historic ranges. There is still lots to be done, however, and projects continue to expand, or are in need of maintenance. There’s a chance for you to help too, volunteer on a project, join the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn, or other hunting/conservation organizations.
Join Eddie Pribble and others at this year’s “Fraternity” banquet; it’s at the South Point Casino and Resort on May 19. This will be a unique opportunity to meet Eddie and members of the Fraternity as well as representatives from SCI, WHIN, and other organizations. You can bet representatives from the Nevada Department of Wildlife will be joining their outdoor partners as they celebrate together.
It’s also a good chance to talk about Bighorn sheep and the coming season with other fellow hunters and sportsmen.
My hat is off to Eddie Pribble, “The Legend,” and all those who help “put sheep on the mountain.”
To learn more about the Fraternity of Desert Bighorn” visit www.desertbighorn.com ; the Desert Chapter of SCI at www.scidesertlv.com ; WHIN at www.whinlv.org and NBU at www.nevadabighornsunlimited.org
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The place to be on the long Memorial Day Weekend May 27 is in Ely Nevada’s Comins Lake for their annual Northern Pike fishing derby. The host hotel will be the Historic Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall and they will pay $3.00/lb for each Northern Pike caught, in addition a $250 cash prize will be awarded to the person catching the largest pike. They will also have a $250 cash prize for the largest Bigmouth Bass caught.
Pike in the range of 30 to 45 inch monsters have been caught and three over 40 inches were caught this last season. You’ll need heavier tackle and line than normally used for bass and because of the pike’s extremely sharp teeth. Make sure you have 10 to 18 inch wire leaders on the end and a good set of long needle-nosed pliers or you may come back with fewer fingers than when you started the adventure. For more information call the Historic Hotel Nevada at 775-289-6665 or 888-406-3055.
Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn’s Annual Banquet will be Saturday, May 19 at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas; doors open at 5 p.m. Good friends, good food and great raffle prizes. For more information call James Bradshaw at (702) 219-9109 or go to: www.desertbighorn.com.
The Nye County Friends of the NRA will be holding their second annual banquet and auction May 26 at Mountain Falls Golf Resort. For more information contact Mike Davis (714) 368-0451 or Walt Rubio at (775) 537-0448.