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Big game: Hunter pays $45G for right to bag California Desert Bighorn


A South Dakota man recently paid $102,000 to hunt one of these animals. (California Department of Fish and Wildlife)

An Indiana man paid $45,000 for a permit to kill one of California's Desert Bighorn sheep.

The tag was sold to Jim Craig at auction during the 41st Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nev.

The permit allows Craig to hunt in Kelso Peak and Old Dad Mountains in San Bernardino County. Rob Holliday, Safari Club International's convention operations manager, said 100 percent of the funds will go to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

"Our mission is conservation, and this is a service for the state," Holliday told

Western states that have big game hunting typically earmark a certain number of tags, each of which allows a hunter to kill one of the specified animals. California issued about two dozen tags for the Desert Bighorn Sheep, most of which were awarded in a random drawing. But "governor's tags," those with special privileges that allow a holder to hunt a broader area and for a longer period of time, are often sold at auction to raise money for conservation.

"California Fish and Wildlife biologists have done an excellent job at managing their desert bighorn sheep population," Craig, an avid sheep hunter, said in a statement released by the agency. "We all have to chip in and help with conservation effort." 

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