By SANDRA CHEREB | Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada wildlife biologists are recommending 100 hunting tags for ewes to reduce the numbers of some bighorn sheep populations and improve the overall health of herds.

The Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners earlier authorized the hunt — the first in Nevada targeting female bighorn sheep. Biologists are recommending 85 tags for Desert bighorn ewes found in southern Nevada and 15 California ewe tags in northern Nevada.

Biologists say it's a decision of “last resort” because of ongoing drought and range conditions. But it's also a testament to the success of Nevada's efforts over the past four decades to restore sheep numbers.

Populations have quadrupled to about 12,000 since the first sheep were released in the 1960s.

Nevada has the largest number of bighorn sheep in the nation, outside of Alaska.