Montana Sheep Rancher Admits To Creating Giant Hybrid Sheep

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Montana sheep
Photo Credit: "Desert Bighorn Sheep" by Lake Mead National Recreation Area is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

An octogenarian Montana sheep farmer confessed to illegally breeding an enormous hybrid sheep, dubbed the ‘Montana Mountain King,’ by using contraband sperm from Kyrgyzstan.

Montana sheep breeder creates illegal hybrids for hunting

For over a decade, Vaughan, Montana resident Arthur ‘Jack’ Schubarth clandestinely acquired genetic material from the gargantuan Marco Polo Argali, the planet’s heftiest sheep.

He covertly produced cloned embryos to inseminate his female sheep, spawning sizable forbidden crossbreeds.

Schubarth and a quintet of accomplices peddled these colossal hybrids to hunting estates across Texas, manipulating their health certificates to smuggle them out of Montana.

This July, Schubarth faces hard prison time for two serious wildlife offenses that each carry a potential five-years behind bars.

The Department of Justice reveals that Schubarth’s illicit enterprise ran from 2013 to 2021 on his ranch in Montana.

He began buying endangered Marco Polo Argali sheep sperm from Central Asia in 2013, clandestinely ferrying it into the U.S. without proper disclosure.

To execute his plan, Schubarth forwarded the smuggled sperm to a laboratory, where it was used to create cloned embryos.

He implanted the embryos into his ewes, to create a “‘pure genetic male Margo Polo argali,” dubbed the “Montana Mountain King” or MMK for short.

From there, he used MMK’s sperm to impregnate more females, generating additional illegal hybrid sheep.

These progenies were sold off to Texan hunting lodges for steep prices, sometimes as much as $10,000 per animal, while MMK’s genetic material found buyers among other sheep breeders.

Creating MMK wasn’t enough to satisfy Schurbarth’s inner mad scientist.

He allegedly paid $400 to a poacher for the procurement of Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep testicles, intending to extract sperm for further trans-species breeding efforts.

His ultimate objective was to engineer an even bigger and more lucrative sheep variant for sale to Texas shooting ranches.

To facilitate the illicit transportation of his illegal sheep hybirds, Schubarth falsified veterinary certificates.

Montana sheep rancher accepts plea deal

Once the feds caught on, they seized MMK to prevent the scheming rancher from creating more hybrids.

If Schubarth is found guilty, he could face imprisonment for up to five years, a maximum financial penalty of $250,000, and a subsequent three-year period of supervised freedom.

He accepted a plea deal this week that will protect him from further prosecution, if he agrees to help the government in the wider wildlife trafficking case that he has caused by selling off MMK’s sperm.

Schubarth agreed to quarantine any of his herd containing MMK or the illicitly purchased bighorn sheep’s DNA.

His ranch is also subject to federal inspection, and may lead to the neutering of his current flock.

Chief Judge Brian M. Morris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana has scheduled Schubarth’s sentencing for the 11th of July.

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