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Bighorn Sheep

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)

Bighorn scrum

Three rams put their heads together in a bit of a shoving contest this morning. There were more significant battles accompanied by the amazingly loud sound of their massive horns smashing into each there.

Taken in Waterton Canyon, southwest of Denver, the bighorn sheep are very popular but do require some work to see as no vehicles are allowed. The trail / dirt road is relatively easy but it was 12+ mile round trip on my bike.

Bighorn Sheep rams put their heads together in Waterton Canyon, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bighorn Sheep rams put their heads together in Waterton Canyon, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)