On June 16, 2021

Three lost sheep rescued after a five-day adventure through Killington

By Emma Cotton/VTDigger

The administrators of a Facebook group called “Killington Locals” chose a new featured photo for their page on Thursday: two sheep peeking over the backseat of a Volvo. 

Submitted
After five days on the move in Killington, the sheep hitch a ride home on Thursday. They’re baaa-ck!

The picture marked the end of a journey for the sheep in question, who escaped from their new home at Mission Farm on Sunday, June 6, and for a bevy of locals who helped rescue them. 

Over five days, the sheep crossed Route 4, slept atop Killington Ski Resort and descended to Pico Resort, where a group of 15 coaxed the animals into capturing range with the help of oats and maple syrup.

“We had actually just finished up a church service, and we were doing a yoga walk around these trails down by the river. That’s when it happened,” said Morgan Baughman, whose mother is a vicar at the Church of our Saviour located at Mission Farm, an idyllic riverside property near Route 4.

A loose dog on a walk with its owner spooked one of the sheep, which had joined the farm as permanent residents only a week earlier. One tangled itself in the fence, creating an opening. The other two animals ran through it and into the nearby woods.

“A bunch of people who were doing the yoga walk helped us look for the sheep in the woods,” Baughman said. “We saw them, but we couldn’t rally them, so we just kept on, pushing them further and further into the woods. Eventually, we lost track of where they were.”

Later that night, someone saw the escapees across the road, by Killington Resort’s Skyeship Gondola.

“They’re very good at dodging people,” Baughman said. “So even when we did have half a dozen people surrounding them, they always managed to slip between us.”

Submitted
The sheep accept a snack of oats and maple syrup —the sweet snack that lured them in.

The “Killington Locals” page saw frequent updates throughout the week as residents, spotting the animals in various parts of town, alerted Baughman and a group of interns who are spending the summer tending to chickens, bees and sheep at the farm and church.

On Monday, one person posting on the Facebook page asked, “Anyone lose three sheep?” with a photo of the animals walking down Route 4.

“Any word on the sheep?” read a graphic posted Tuesday. One commenter called it the “most VT post ever.”

Intern Caity Stuart responded that the group “spent all morning trying to collect them but they continually outwitted us.” She added, “We’ve called in more help to join us tomorrow. To be continued!”

By Wednesday, June 9, a patroller at Killington called the Mission Farm crew and said the sheep were sleeping at the top of the mountain. The team rushed over. Jimmy Pickett, an intern, said the animals seemed happy when the group approached them but darted away when they got close.

“Somebody on a four wheeler followed them down to Ramshead,” Pickett said. “At that point, they were off trail.”

Between Wednesday and Thursday, the sheep made their way to the parking lot of Pico Mountain Resort. 

Tom Alcorn, senior program coordinator for Vermont Adaptive, the offices of which are located at Pico, first saw the sheep in the parking lot. He pulled in after an errand and found them licking salt off the ground. 

“I went into the office and alerted everybody, and a call went out amongst the community,” he said. Five staff members from Vermont Adaptive assisted in the rescue, according to Alcorn. “We rallied,” he said.

Having seen the Facebook posts, Alcorn knew to call Mission Farm.  

Baughman was in the middle of a summer environmental economics class when he got the call. “I jumped up,” he said. “I threw on my running shoes and some shorts and a T-shirt, popped in my Volvo, and sped up there.”

Arriving on scene, he spotted a group of eight people guiding the sheep away from Route 4. One person had Tupperware containers filled with oats and maple syrup, a snack Baughman said the sheep enjoyed but only until the capturers approached.

By Emma Cotton/VTDigger
Morgan Baughman, left, and Jimmy Pickett, right, a summer intern, at Mission Farm.

“I would go for oats and syrup, too, if I had wandered away from my home for [five] days,” Alcorn said.

The crowd grew until around 15 people were there, attempting to capture the running animals. They nabbed one and placed it in the car, but it escaped. Baughman ran laps around the building, into the woods, toward a lift and back again, chasing the last sheep until it tired. 

“There were people from the ages of 12 years old to probably in their late 80s who were part of this crazy sheep chase,” Baughman said. “Employees, residents, visitors.”

Once the animals were captured, Baughman drove his car into the pasture to deliver them. The group celebrated with cake. 

Stuart took to Facebook, thanking “everyone who cheered us on, alerted us of their whereabouts, gave us rides up the mountain, helped with their capture, and delivered some of the best sheep jokes around.”

With Mission Farm now high on the minds of some Killington residents, Baughman and Pickett hope to see more of them visit the farm, which has trails and public events. They clarified one new rule: Dogs must be leashed.

Locals posted to Facebook with their own celebrations of the animals’ return. “They’re baaaa-ck!” wrote one of the page’s administrators above the photo of the sheep in the Volvo.

Gary Scannevin, who appears to have aided in the capture effort, posted his own report:

“BREAKING,” he wrote. “Fugitive sheep apprehended at Pico after [five] days on the lamb. Bystanders described the scene as, ‘shear madness.’ Ewe herd it here first. All’s wool that ends wool.”

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Eligible Vermont students to receive funds for summer meals

May 29, 2024
Vermont is among the first states to launch thenew permanent federally-funded program  Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont agencies of Human Services and Education announced May 21 that the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has approved Vermont’s Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (SEBT) plan to help feed eligible school aged children during the summer vacation months.…

Report shows trooper driving 88 mph before crash into fire truck, and up to 86 mph at impact

May 29, 2024
By Alan J. Keays/VTDigger The cruiser Vermont State Police Cpl. Eric Vitali was driving when he crashed into a parked fire truck on Interstate 89 in March was traveling at 88 mph just before the crash and between 79 mph and 86 mph at impact. That’s according to a standard crash report submitted by the Vermont…

Killington Resort exhibit in the Wonderfeet Kid’s Museum showcases mountain recreation

May 29, 2024
By Brooke Geery/Killington Resort As part of Killington Resort’s commitment to Play Forever, it sponsored a new exhibit at the Wonderfeet Kid’s Museum located in downtown Rutland on Merchants Row. Killington Resort exhibit offers the little ones a chance to be fully immersed in what The Beast has to offer during all four seasons, including…

$6.3 million in state grants to boost outdoor recreation

May 29, 2024
Nearly $1 million dedicated to local projects The Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore and the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) announced May 29 the 51 new recipients of the VOREC Community Grant Program. These projects mark an investment of over $6 million into Vermont’s outdoor recreation economy. “These grants are an investment…