A bighorn sheep ram seems to be relishing the shrub he is sampling. Taken back in October, I had high hopes for some good rut activity but it wasn’t to be. The rams stayed up high for much of the morning and when they finally came down, they were more interested in eating than battling for the affection of the ladies. Nevertheless, it is always fun to spend time with Colorado’s official state animal.
Bighorn sheep ram has his sights set on number four
This handsome fellow was clearly hoping 4 would be his lucky number. 🙂 Unfortunately for him, while he was ready, she wasn’t willing. It did however make for a cool capture from the Colorado high country as he closed in on his intended love. That collar she is wearing is a tracking collar, allowing wildlife officials to monitor her movements and those of the herd.
“Oh, baby. I love that new perfume. Is that ode de estrus?”
Heehee. A bighorn ram checks a ewe to see if she is ready and willing.
Taken late last month, the big guy was going from female to female, gauging their readiness for the season. Unfortunately for him, none seemed ready – or willing.
Since then I have made two outings for bighorn sheep but have gotten skunked both times. Sigh. Such is the life of a wildlife photographer. I cover tons of miles and spend a lot of time out there but the critters aren’t always cooperative.
Bighorn ram smiles for his portrait
Such a handsome fellow although he could stand to see the dentist. 😀
This ram was one of the more active ones up Big Thompson Canyon recently. He was all about checking the ladies, seeing if any of them were ready and willing (none were).
Here, he is performing the flehmen response – lifting his lips and opening his mouth to take in more of a scent, just as you or I do when taking a big whiff of something.
Bighorn sheep ram stakes out the high ground in the forest
Wow! Check out this hulk! This time of year, as the rut kicks into high gear, the rams really thicken up and look quite impressive.
This guy and one of his buddies were hanging out on the opposite side of the canyon from where I was so it was quite a long shot but turned out quite nice. He struck an awesome pose atop a bunch of rocks and that early morning light shooting up the canyon really made for a cool capture.
I had hoped he and his friend would come down lower and put on a show for us but they opted to head higher, taking them out of range.
Bighorn ram up close and ready for battle
I spent some time with these handsome denizens of the Colorado high country this past weekend. With the rut season here, I was hoping to get some head smashing action but, alas, by the time they got close, the boys were not in the mood to play.
They were initially far up the mountain and I could see and hear them butting heads but the action was just too far away. When they finally got closer, they were more interested in sniffing the ladies and getting a drink of water than battling.
Nevertheless, they are always fun to see and it is neat to be able to get some nice closeups like this one.
Bighorn ram stakes out the high ground
Yeah, I don’t expect too many would challenge this guy for his spot as king of the hill – I know I wouldn’t. 😉
Going back to the end of November for this capture. This handsome fellow and the rest of his herd were hanging out in a northern Colorado canyon. There wasn’t much action that day but the poses they gave were great and really helped to showcase how impressive the bighorn sheep is.
There are three subspecies of bighorn sheep with the Rocky Mountain variety like this one being the largest. These guys can weigh over 300 pounds with their horns alone weighing 30 pounds! Here in Colorado, they are our state animal and are incorporated into the logo for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Bighorn sheep ram displays the flehmen response – and the need for a dentist
I figured that since I just had to have a tooth yanked yesterday, an image showing some teeth might be appropriate. 😉
This image harkens back to November when the rut was going on and hormones were raging. This big boy was heavily checking out the nearby ewes, trying to determine if any of them were ready (and potentially willing).
He was doing the flehmen response, peeling back his lips and soaking in the scents. In doing so, we can see that his teeth are looking a bit rough and it might be time for a visit to the dentist.
Bighorn sheep ram takes a break, strikes a pose
The rut is hard work and sometimes the boys just need to take a break. This striking fellow was lucky enough to have a couple of ewes all to himself so he wasn’t particularly concerned about keeping an eye on the ladies. This allowed him time to settle down in the grass and take a brief nap, striking a Playgirl worthy pose in the process. 😉
Bighorn sheep lamb strikes a pose
Ah, quite the cutie, eh? This little one certainly didn’t mind having its picture taken and was kind enough to strike a nice pose for me. It was kind of “chunky”, perhaps putting on some weight as we headed into winter.