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Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep ram relieves itself

A photographic lesson about paying close attention to exactly what your subject is doing.

Fantastic high altitude mountains. Check. Powerful wildlife subject. Check. Subject in a majestic pose. Check. All looks good, the Bighorn Sheep is standing rock solid still. Click the shutter.

You get home and process the pictures and you then see exactly why that ram was holding so still. 😉 A bit of a Friday funny for you.

A Bighorn Sheep ram relieves itself in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ram relieves itself in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

“What? Do I have something stuck in my teeth?”

A Bighorn Sheep ewe chomps on pieces of a bush it was snacking on.  This pretty lady was hanging out in Waterton Canyon, Colorado yesterday along with a friend and a lamb. In a few more weeks the rams will start making their appearance and begin gearing up for the annual rut.

"What? Do I have something stuck in my teeth?" A Bighorn Sheep ewe chomps on pieces of a bush it was snacking on. (© Tony’s Takes)

“What? Do I have something stuck in my teeth?” A Bighorn Sheep ewe chomps on pieces of a bush it was snacking on. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bighorn Sheep stake out high altitude residence

With more mountain peaks over 14,000 feet high, it is fitting that #Colorado chose this creature as their official state animal. Bighorn Sheep love the rarified air at high altitude and their rugged lifestyle seems appropriate for the Centennial State.

I was lucky enough to come across two Bighorn rams recently as they lounged around near the top of Trail Ridge Road (12,183 feet) in Rocky Mountain National Park. With no trees in the way thanks to their being way above timberline, I was able to capture many pics of them.

In the coming weeks they will undoubtedly move to lower altitudes and closer to the females. As they do, the males won’t likely be so tolerant of each other as they begin competing for the affection of the fairer sex. ?

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

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

Very weathered and battle tested horns on this Bighorn Sheep Ram.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Very weathered and battle tested horns on this Bighorn Sheep Ram. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Bighorn Sheep rams gaze down the side of the mountain.  (© Tony’s Takes)

The Bighorn Sheep rams gaze down the side of the mountain. (© Tony’s Takes)

Rocky Mountain Bighorn ewe casts a gentle gaze

This pretty lady and a few of her gal pals were hanging out in Estes Park, Colorado this past weekend. The four of them were clearly quite accustomed to having their picture taken as our presence didn’t bother them one bit as they continued to lounge and graze.

Right now they aren’t particularly photogenic as they shed their winter coats, notice the raggedy appearance of the ewe behind this one. Unfortunately I didn’t spot any rams on this day.

The Bighorn Sheep is the official animal of the state of #Colorado and 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.

You can read more about these cool animals here.

A Bighorn Sheep ewe looks at peace.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ewe looks at peace. (© Tony’s Takes)

Young Bighorn Sheep rams lock horns

Taken in Waterton Canyon, Colorado back in October. Not old enough to do battle with the big boys, this pair of young rams was testing their mettle against each other in preparation for the day when they would be fighting for females’ affection.

Two young Bighorn Sheep rams test their mettle against each other. (© Tony’s Takes)

Two young Bighorn Sheep rams test their mettle against each other. (© Tony’s Takes)

Posing Bighorn Ram

This big guy didn’t mind having his picture taken back in October in Waterton Canyon, Colorado. The Bighorn Sheep in the area are a big attraction for photographers and recreationalists for good reason. This is one location I may be re-visiting during the long holiday weekend. I just have to convince my photo buddy – my son – that it is worth the 12 mile bike ride. 😉

A Bighorn Sheep ram poses for the camera.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ram poses for the camera. (© Tony’s Takes)

Battle-tested Bighorn Sheep

This ram wore the scars of battles past proudly as he strutted with his peers in Waterton Canyon, Colorado a couple weeks ago. The bighorn rut is in full swing right now as they fight for the right to mate with the nearby herd of ewes.

A Bighorn Sheep ram poses.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ram poses. (© Tony’s Takes)

Double trouble

Two bighorn sheep rams stand side by side in Waterton Canyon, Colorado.

The bighorn rut is starting to gear up and as it does, the rams will begin battling for dominance and the right to mate. Throwing themselves at each other at speeds up to 20mph, the rams will bow their heads and crash their massive horns into each other. This will repeat, sometimes for hours, until one of them submits and walks off.

Two bighorn sheep rams in Colorado stand side by side.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Two bighorn sheep rams in Colorado stand side by side. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ten Butts Mountain

I was able to get a picture of this unique landscape feature this past weekend in the Colorado Front Range foothills.   😉

You can view the complete photo gallery from a day in Waterton Canyon below the image.

Ten bighorn rams graze on the side of the road in Waterton Canyon, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Ten bighorn rams graze on the side of the road in Waterton Canyon, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Head on with a Bighorn

Bighorn Sheep are rugged animals capable of surviving in the sometimes harsh climate of the Rocky Mountains.  It is perhaps fitting that Colorado chose this creature to be the state’s official animal as it is a great symbol of the American West and in particular, the high country which dominates the western part of the Centennial State.

This image was taken this past Saturday as a Bighorn Ram seemed to stare right into my camera. You can view the complete gallery of images from the day below the main image.

A Bighorn Sheep looks head on into the camera.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep looks head on into the camera. (© Tony’s Takes)