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2018 BHS Count Results Messages in this topic - RSS

dsefcik
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20 days ago
dsefcik
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Final Count attached to this post.

Will post pictures and commentary in a few days.

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Britain
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20 days ago
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dsefcik wrote:
Final Count attached to this post.

Will post pictures and commentary in a few days.

Which one did you participate in?

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dsefcik
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20 days ago
dsefcik
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Britain wrote:
Which one did you participate in?

Rattlesnake Spring

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Buford
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20 days ago
Buford
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I’ll put up some pics and report later. I counted at 3rd Grove. I led a team of three newbies. Everyone got out safe, but we ended up counting as a team of 2. My post from last year is still relevant:

The upper Palm Canyon count sites do not have a trail to them and require bouldering, talus hopping, loose steep slopes and bushwhacking to hike to. Add in a full pack and the high temperatures and it is even more difficult. I cannot stress this enough for someone that wants to count these sites. All three years I have done this there has been someone assigned to count in upper Palm Canyon who is not prepared for the hike in and out and really suffers. This year was no exception.
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Britain
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19 days ago
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dsefcik wrote:
Britain wrote:
Which one did you participate in?

Rattlesnake Spring

Last year if I'm correct you mentioned the spring was dry and nothing. Good to see the count going good.

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ziphius
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19 days ago
ziphius
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I was at Big Spring this year with Gary, Randy, and John. Temperatures were cool, a high of 86 on the first day when the wind was ferocious. We quickly abandoned the idea of putting up a tarp upon arriving on site. Fortunately, we had the option of crawling into and under boulder overhangs in a couple of different spots. The larger boulder we referred to as ‘the fridge’ because that’s where we stored a bunch of stuff in deep shade. Days 2 and 3 reached the low 90s. Here is a link to the Big Spring count photos.

We logged 11 sheep (9 ewes and 2 lambs) and were lucky that Gary had ventured up to the top of the ridgeline to take a pee, which resulted in the sighting between us and Middle Spring. The sheep were closer to our site and we saw ‘em first, so we got to log them. There were 4 marked animals total, 2 with collars and the rest with ear tags. On Day 2 at 0820 hrs, Randy had a brief sighting of a mountain lion (!) a few hundred yards away. It was gone by the time he turned to John to tell him about it. Very exciting. Lots of bird and lizard life to keep me busy out there and great company as well! I’m looking forward to next year.

In response to Buford’s comments, I think that some form of vetting for potential counters would be beneficial. I’ll probably talk with Mike about it and would encourage others to do the same if they agree. As it works now, if you fill out a form and attend orientation, you’re in, and you find out where you are counting when you attend orientation. This happens without anyone physically seeing you prior to assess if you look like someone who is going to handle off-trail, difficult terrain in hot temperatures. It might be controversial to judge folks by body type, but I think some common-sense assessments can be implemented so that counters end up at places where they stand a chance of enjoying themselves safely. It’s difficult though, with so many volunteers and a limited number of sites to choose from. But we can help improve the process I think.
edited by ziphius on 7/3/2018
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Buford
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19 days ago
Buford
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Nice meeting you ziphius.

I agree about vetting the backpacking teams better. They did a more thorough job this year vetting backpacking people, but there is room for improvement. People over estimate their ability or underestimate the heat or what a hike really is.

New this year was all backcountry teams were to have an experienced counter, no teams of all first timers. This was my 4th count. I was assigned to lead a team of three first timers to BPC 3rd grove. The 4th grove team was all people who had counted before.

We left a little after 3:15 for the hike up. One member was already really suffering about half way to first grove. We got to 1st grove and he made the smart decision to turn around, otherwise I would have had to tell him he shouldn’t continue. A different team member offered to walk out with him. I asked if he was really sure he wanted to walk him out, and he said yes. I was prepared to walk the one guy out then hike up solo to meetup with the rest of the team later. Of our team that bailed, the guy that suffered and was forced to turn around did talk to Mike and got reassigned to the trailhead. I talked to him after and he did enjoy counting from there.

Myself and the remaining team member hiked up with the 4th grove team with no remaining issues.

First day was tough with the wind, but we kept our tarp up. We didn’t see sheep until 2:00 when they appeared out of no where. We watched the herd most of the afternoon. The group included 3 tagged ewes. We were sure 4th grove saw them too, but we found out later they did not see any sheep on day 1.

Day 2 we saw most likely the same herd. Tough to tell at a distance with just binoculars and no spotting scope. We assume it was the same group by the tagged sheep with them and similar group makeup. They also appeared first thing in the morning in the location the group from day 1 bedded down for the night.

Day 3 we only saw one sheep at a long, long distance during the count. We left after 12:00 for an easy hike out. On the hike out we saw a group of rams up really close.

Overall the weather was very temperate for the count. It was chilly at night in the Canyon bottom. My count partner was great. It was a little tough counting with only two people. I need to get better at describing sheep to distinguish between repeats. I am good at spotting them and dividing into ewe/ram/lamb/myearling/fyearling buckets. Notable non sheep sitings were a Baja Collared Lizard, Chuckwalla, and a couple bird species I already forgot the names of.
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Buford
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19 days ago
Buford
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All zoom pictures were taken holding a cell phone in one hand through the 10x binocular eye piece in the other hand.

First sheep on Day 1:


Three more sheep, you can see the collar on one:


Showing why it is so tough to see the sheep, I think there are 5 in the image:


4th Grove team hiking up to the tarp, gives you an idea how remote and high up the count site is:


Baja Collared:


Rams on the hike out:

edited by Buford on 7/3/2018
edited by Buford on 7/3/2018
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ziphius
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19 days ago
ziphius
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Nice photos Buford; they really capture the scale and difficulty of the job. I was hoping for a collared lizard, none this year! Maybe I'll try to join you at 2nd grove for a little change next time.
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tekewin
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19 days ago
tekewin
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Impressive. Is the count up or down from last year?

I had a hard time seeing the sheep in a couple of those zoomed photos. Man are they hard to spot sometimes.

I would be interested in this next year if I am in town.
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Buford
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19 days ago
Buford
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That hill climb to the 4th grove count site is daily during the count after they hike all the way in. I actually enjoyed it last year when I counted at 4th due to the views.

Count was up slightly mainly due to Rattlesnake having sheep this year compared to last. Looking forward to Dsefcik’s report. The rest of the sites combined were about the same.

There was concern with the lamb survival rate this year being low. According to the data only 20% of this years lambs were still alive.

BPC has very little water this year. The water level has not always coincided with rainfall totals from the previous winter. The Canyonn is being choked with brush potentially drawing up the water.
edited by Buford on 7/3/2018
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dsefcik
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18 days ago
dsefcik
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Great reaports everybody....I would concur that the wind on Friday was pretty bad, we had to re-enforce our shade shelter to keep it up. Day temps were 95/100 and night temps I did not pay attention to other than to say it was cooler than normal. We saw BHS each day with a few repeats and several collared/tagged BHS. Lamb count was way down, we normally see a lot of lambs but this year was only 8.

Here are a few photos and many more can be seen here:

https://www.darensefcik.com/Photography/Anza-Borrego-Desert-State-Park/Bighorn-Sheep-Count-2018/

























Total Mylar Balloons this trip - 3

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Britain
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18 days ago
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Pretty awesome cam shots. Was anything done to the springs to rehab it somewhat?

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dsefcik
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18 days ago
dsefcik
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Britain wrote:
Pretty awesome cam shots. Was anything done to the springs to rehab it somewhat?
We dug it out a bit to give it some depth but overall it was fine. It seemed to refill over a few hours enough that several BHS could get water, we never saw it get completely dry.

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Britain
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18 days ago
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dsefcik wrote:
Britain wrote:
Pretty awesome cam shots. Was anything done to the springs to rehab it somewhat?
We dug it out a bit to give it some depth but overall it was fine. It seemed to refill over a few hours enough that several BHS could get water, we never saw it get completely dry.

Hope you don't mind I shared your cam shots link on my FB page.
edited by Britain on 7/4/2018

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ziphius
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18 days ago
ziphius
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Great photos Daren. Congrats on getting a spotted skunk on camera, I'm still waiting for one. Have you ever recorded BHS using the water at night? I imagine fear of mountain lions might preclude night ventures?
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rockhopper
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18 days ago
rockhopper
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Daren, Great trail cam photos! Super efforts put in by all the volunteers. Maybe some year I can pull it off and join in. btw I am going to start joining in with the rain dance and pray for some monsoonal moisture for all of those full time wonderful desert creatures.
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dsefcik
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18 days ago
dsefcik
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ziphius wrote:
Great photos Daren. Congrats on getting a spotted skunk on camera, I'm still waiting for one. Have you ever recorded BHS using the water at night? I imagine fear of mountain lions might preclude night ventures?
Yeah the skunk, lizard, squirrel, fox, etc were nice to get. I have only used the trail cam twice and no BHS at night recorded.

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dsefcik
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18 days ago
dsefcik
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Britain wrote:
Hope you don't mind I shared your cam shots link on my FB page.

That is fine...what is the link?

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Britain
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18 days ago
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dsefcik wrote:
Britain wrote:
Hope you don't mind I shared your cam shots link on my FB page.

That is fine...what is the link?

https://www.darensefcik.com/Photography/Anza-Borrego-Desert-State-Park/Bighorn-Sheep-Count-2018/
Did you take the big lens?
edited by Britain on 7/4/2018

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dsefcik
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18 days ago
dsefcik
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Britain wrote:
dsefcik wrote:
Britain wrote:
Hope you don't mind I shared your cam shots link on my FB page.

That is fine...what is the link?

https://www.darensefcik.com/Photography/Anza-Borrego-Desert-State-Park/Bighorn-Sheep-Count-2018/
I meant your FB page link...or is it private?

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Britain
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18 days ago
Britain
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dsefcik wrote:
Britain wrote:
dsefcik wrote:
Britain wrote:
Hope you don't mind I shared your cam shots link on my FB page.

That is fine...what is the link?

https://www.darensefcik.com/Photography/Anza-Borrego-Desert-State-Park/Bighorn-Sheep-Count-2018/
I meant your FB page link...or is it private?

Only friends...
https://www.facebook.com/vern.britain/posts/10214822609931320
edited by Britain on 7/4/2018

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Buford
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18 days ago
Buford
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Those game cam pics are great. I like the other critters it caught too. Glad the spring had water.
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Rocko1
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17 days ago
Rocko1
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Awesome pictures. Love that game cam. What make/model is that?
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dsefcik
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17 days ago
dsefcik
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Rocko1 wrote:
Awesome pictures. Love that game cam. What make/model is that?

Browning RECON FORCE FHD PLATINUM BTC7FHDP

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Britain
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17 days ago
Britain
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Notice the temperature readout on the pictures. Looks like July 1 was the hottest day. Nice set-up.
Edit June 29 had 113.......
edited by Britain on 7/5/2018

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ziphius
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17 days ago
ziphius
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I've noticed that my trail camera temperature readings are notoriously too high when the unit gets any sunlight on it. This isn't unexpected, as official temperature readings for any location are supposed to be taken in shade. The 113 reading for that date / location is probably an artifact of sunlight hitting it. The temperature at lower elevations that day was not that high.
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dsefcik
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16 days ago
dsefcik
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The camera was in the shade/covered brush mostly, especially when pointed at the water. Our day temps with the thermometer under our shade tarp were 95/95/100 for the three days. Normally temps are 112+. If the count was this weekend things would have been different.

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Britain
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16 days ago
Britain
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dsefcik wrote:
The camera was in the shade/covered brush mostly, especially when pointed at the water. Our day temps with the thermometer under our shade tarp were 95/95/100 for the three days. Normally temps are 112+. If the count was this weekend things would have been different.

Perhaps the 113 the camera was out of the shade. Most of the temps were inline with what you said. Still cool to have the info.

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dsefcik
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16 days ago
dsefcik
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The temps in these photos from 2 years ago were with the camera in open sunshine and the shade shelter temps were around 112

https://www.darensefcik.com/Photography/Anza-Borrego-Desert-State-Park/Bighorn-Sheep-Count-2016/

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Britain
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16 days ago
Britain
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dsefcik wrote:
The temps in these photos from 2 years ago were with the camera in open sunshine and the shade shelter temps were around 112

https://www.darensefcik.com/Photography/Anza-Borrego-Desert-State-Park/Bighorn-Sheep-Count-2016/

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Still good info to have. I'll put Rattle Snake on my list for next year.

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tommy750
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14 days ago
tommy750
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Nice to see water back at Rattlesnake. Great trail cam pics, Daren. So does the park ever place temporary July 4th trail cams at the guzzlers scattered about the Vallecito and Pinyon Mts? That would seem like an easy way to improve on the total park sheep population count. Maybe even a count I could participate in smile
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ziphius
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13 days ago
ziphius
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Tommy, I met a park biologist (Jeff Manning) at this year's BHS count check-in. He noted that the park is ramping up the number of trail cameras to be deployed in the park, though he didn't address the BHS count specificially. They hope to eventually have 200+ cameras throughout the park. Jeff was interested in enlisting backcountry travelers into participating in the program (retrieve + replace batteries / SD cards). I can send you his contact info if you want. - Jim
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tommy750
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13 days ago
tommy750
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ziphius wrote:
Tommy, I met a park biologist (Jeff Manning) at this year's BHS count check-in. He noted that the park is ramping up the number of trail cameras to be deployed in the park, though he didn't address the BHS count specificially. They hope to eventually have 200+ cameras throughout the park. Jeff was interested in enlisting backcountry travelers into participating in the program (retrieve + replace batteries / SD cards). I can send you his contact info if you want. - Jim


I would be interested in volunteering for a program like that. Kudos to you all that spend your 4th out in the heat. Would be willing to help out with the count but have family commitments that make that weekend unavailable.
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Buford
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12 days ago
Buford
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ziphius wrote:
Tommy, I met a park biologist (Jeff Manning) at this year's BHS count check-in. He noted that the park is ramping up the number of trail cameras to be deployed in the park, though he didn't address the BHS count specificially. They hope to eventually have 200+ cameras throughout the park. Jeff was interested in enlisting backcountry travelers into participating in the program (retrieve + replace batteries / SD cards). I can send you his contact info if you want. - Jim


I might be interested in that as well. I have joked about doing it for fun.
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DesertWRX
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10 days ago
DesertWRX
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Our little group was set up at the earthquake station on Monkey Hill. Zero sheep. There is some talk about closing some sites that consistently have a lack of sheep.
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dsefcik
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10 days ago
dsefcik
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DesertWRX wrote:
Our little group was set up at the earthquake station on Monkey Hill. Zero sheep. There is some talk about closing some sites that consistently have a lack of sheep.

Is there water at that site?

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DesertWRX
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8 days ago
DesertWRX
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No water in our area. We are between Middle Willows and 3rd Crossings, which had water.
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