Drivers encouraged to be cautious during sheep migration season in Wood River Valley

HAILEY, IDAHO (KMVT/KSVT) — On Sunday, co-founder Brian Bean of Lava Lake Lamb guided his band of sheep through Ohio Gulch Road in Hailey.

Sheep herding is an Idaho tradition. For almost 20 years, Bean has trailed with them as they make their way through the Wood River Valley for their migration season.

"(There are) anywhere between 12 and 18 bands that come through the Wood River Valley and at the end of the season they're coming south," Bean said. "Because south is downgrading. They're coming from the Smoky Mountains, they're coming from Pioneer Mountains."

Sheep herders use old and new techniques to safely move their herds.

"The sheep moved slowly, they moved everyday, they don't use the same bed ground twice. Their movements are controlled, based on grazing presence that the operator has," said Bean.

The Trailing of the Sheep Festival starts on Wednesday and the Blaine County Sheriff's Office asks drivers in the area to be cautious.

"We ask people to, if they're are going to pull over to try and take some pictures, that they pull over in a safe place or turnout where its a little bit safer for other motorists," said BCSO Chief Deputy Will Fruehling.

As the sheep migration will end soon, Bean thanks the community for their patience.

"Idaho is a home Ag state. We never take that for granted and we appreciate very much the patience that almost everyone accords us as we trail," he said. "We want to be safe, safe for those around us and our neighbors safe for our livestock."

The Trailing of the Sheep Festival will celebrate 22 years of sheep herding tradition on Oct. 10 to Oct 14.

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