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Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Ram casts a wary eye at the photographer

This young ram was certainly keeping close watch on me as he walked by. I was taking pictures of him and about a dozen others in a herd in the foothills southwest of Denver as they gathered along the road. There wasn’t much action that day but plenty of opportunity to snap pics of these cool dudes. This particular one was moving around the perimeter of the herd and passed right nearby allowing me to get this close up and allowing it to get a good look at the guy with the camera. 😉

Found across much of western North America, Bighorn Sheep are adept mountain climbers, best known for the male #ram’s monstrous horns. This particular ram was only a couple of years old so his horns were not overly impressive. While the animals are social, rams and ewes typically only meet during mating season.

A Bighorn Sheep ram keeps an eye on the photographer.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ram keeps an eye on the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

Someday, young one. Someday.

This was a really cute, fun scene to watch this past weekend. A young Bighorn Sheep ram puts his head down and tests one of his elders. Certainly the big guy could have flattened the juvenile if he wanted and instead simply put his head down as well and nudged ‘junior’ back a bit.

Mating season for Bighorn is gearing up and I had hoped to get the opportunity to see and photograph some of the big guys clashing. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be as this was the only big ram in the area at the time. I will have to give it a shot again, perhaps this weekend.

The Bighorn Sheep is the Centennial State’s official animal and to me that is quite fitting. Just like the terrain and many of its people, these animals are very rugged, strong and tough. The animal is found in many places in the state’s high country. Diseases from European livestock and overhunting had caused the animal’s population to drop precipitously by the early 1900s. Thankfully conservation efforts have been successful in helping the sheep rebound since then.

A young Bighorn Sheep ram tests his strength against a far more senior ram.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A young Bighorn Sheep ram tests his strength against a far more senior ram. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bighorn Sheep lambs enjoy the spotlight

A picture for #TBT to June when I was in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada.

We had enjoyed a very relaxing morning at Miette Hot Springs and were on our way back to camp when we happened across this pair of little ones as well as eight ewes. The adults were quite comfortable with my family and another watching them and paid us little attention. The young ones though seemed fascinated by all the attention and put on quite a show of bounding around the side of the mountain then stopping and seeming to look to make sure we were watching.

Found across much of western North America, Bighorn Sheep are adept mountain climbers, best known for the male ram’s monstrous horns. While the animals are social, rams and ewes typically only meet during mating season. The young are kept on high ledges to help protect them from predators.

A pair of Bighorn Sheep lambs seems to enjoy the spotlight as they hang out in Jasper National Park, Canada.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A pair of Bighorn Sheep lambs seems to enjoy the spotlight as they hang out in Jasper National Park, Canada. (© Tony’s Takes)

Portrait of a battle-tested Bighorn Sheep ram

You can tell by the look for the horns on this guy that he has seen his share of fights in his years on the mountain. They are weathered and worn and even the ends are chipped off and his size showed that he was clearly one of the senior members of the herd. In fact, of the 15 bachelors we saw hanging out together on the top of Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, he definitely appeared to be in command.

While the males were all getting along at the time, in another few weeks the rut will be starting and that friendliness toward each other will be gone. Raging hormones and the need to mate will take over and those horns will once again be getting a workout.

Portrait of a Bighorn Sheep ram in Glacier National Park, Montana. (© Tony’s Takes)

Portrait of a Bighorn Sheep ram in Glacier National Park, Montana. (© Tony’s Takes)

You shall not pass!

A bit of a Lord of the Rings reference for those that might catch it.  It is amusing to me too that in a way these Bighorn Sheep look a bit like Balrog. Ha!

These rams were working their way through the parking lot at the Logan Pass visitors center in Glacier National Park back at the end of June. They were part of a larger bachelor herd of 15 or so that gave me many photo opportunities. Needless to say, I did not try to pass.

Bighorn Sheep rams make a formidable barrier in Glacier National Park, Montana. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bighorn Sheep rams make a formidable barrier in Glacier National Park, Montana. (© Tony’s Takes)

Happy 140th birthday, Colorado!

On this date in 1876, the Centennial State was admitted to the union, becoming this great nation’s 38th state. It is, to me, very fitting to have the Bighorn Sheep as Colorado’s official animal. Just like the terrain and many of its people, these animals are very rugged, strong and tough.

The animal is found in many places in the state’s high country. Diseases from European livestock and overhunting had caused the animal’s population to drop precipitously by the early 1900s. Thankfully conservation efforts have been successful in helping the sheep rebound since then.

This particular ram was lounging near the top of Trail Ridge Road last August.

A Bighorn Sheep rests at the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep rests at the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Little Bighorn plays king of the mountain

This very young Bighorn Sheep lamb and his playmate were hanging out with a group of eight ewes in the Disaster Point area of Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.

The pair were quite entertaining as they bounded around the side of the hill and seemed quite fascinated by the fact they were being watched. Here, one of them stands up high, just before bounding down below and running into its buddy. The two were so darned cute!

A Bighorn Sheep lamb looks down on its playmate near Disaster Point in Jasper National Park, Canada. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep lamb looks down on its playmate near Disaster Point in Jasper National Park, Canada. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bighorn ram on the run

Bighorn Sheep are among the more sure-footed creatures you will ever find. They are able to easily climb up and down the sheerest faces without missing a beat or slipping once. On flatter surfaces, they run with an authority and speed that gets your attention as they are sizable creatures and all muscle.

This big fella and a dozen of his bachelor friends were hanging out at the top of Glacier National Park’s Logan Pass a couple of weeks ago when we were visiting. They put on quite a show as they navigated the tourist hoards. This was one of the more senior of the herd and he and another were jogging through one of the remaining patches of snow at the top of the 6,647 foot pass.

A Bighorn Sheep ram runs across an area of snow on Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ram runs across an area of snow on Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

King of the mountain

It is ‘hump day’ and being coupled with the first full workweek after the holidays it feels like we are climbing a mountain. So, in honor of that, I present a very able mountain climber – the Bighorn Sheep ram.

This handsome guy is striking a classic pose showcasing its powerful body and ability to navigate even the roughest terrain. I don’t know about you, but those are traits I wish I had. 😉

The Bighorn Sheep is found in many places in Colorado’s high country and it is the state’s official animal. Diseases from European livestock and overhunting had caused the animal’s population to drop precipitously by the early 1900s. Thankfully conservation efforts have been successful in helping it rebound since then.

A Bighorn Sheep ram stands tall on the side of a mountain in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ram stands tall on the side of a mountain in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bighorn ram stands tall and proud

From the top of a cliff some 40 feet above me, this Bighorn Sheep ram looked quite majestic. The rugged animal is accented by the red rocks he is standing on and the brilliant blue sky behind him.

This particular ram is one of the younger ones in the herd that maintains its residence in Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver, Colorado.

The Bighorn Sheep is found in many places in the state’s high country. Diseases from European livestock and overhunting had caused the animal’s population to drop precipitously by the early 1900s. Thankfully conservation efforts have been successful in helping it rebound since then.

A Bighorn Sheep ram stands proudly on the side of a mountain. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ram stands proudly on the side of a mountain. (© Tony’s Takes)