Big Horn Sheep

Bahhhh!!!! Male Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep can weight up to 300 pounds (140kg) and female up to 200 (90kg), they are native to North America. A very long time ago, sheep crossed over into North America over the Bering Straight land bridge from Siberia into Alaska.

A while back, I read about coral reefs to work on my fear of the water. I like what’s in the ocean, I’m afraid of the water. The intro said something like, “You know those stories you hear from old divers about fish being so huge and you hear people talk about them being old senile geezers? Ocean life was plentiful and a lot bigger before the days of over fishing, etc. They aren’t making it up.” To me this herd was big but I sure would like to be able to see it when they numbered in the millions.

These pics were taken through our van window. We were on a highway headed back to our hotel when we were graced with sheep. I have a fondness for sheep and goats. If I was allowed to have goats as pets, I would.

There are 3 subspecies of Bighorn sheep (Ovis Canadensis): Rocky Mountain big horn sheep (US/Canadian Rockies, and Northwestern US), Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, and Desert big horn sheep (desert regions in Northwestern Mexico and Southwestern US).

Bighorn live in herds as you can see here 🙂 We didn’t expect to see that much wildlife in winter. A dream vacation on my radar in the next 5 years is to go to Jackson Hole in winter, wildlife winter pics look amazing online.

Estimates say their numbers ranged over 2 million 200 years ago. Big Horn Sheep numbered in the millions but by 1900, their numbers crashed to a few thousand due to over hunting and diseases from European livestock. Reduced hunting, national parks, a decrease in domestic sheep, and reintroductions helped the numbers come back. On the wiki page, I haven’t been able to find anything about their current numbers. I also have a bad cold and it’s 2:32 AM so I may not be all here.

Mature male bighorn are known as rams. Their horns get big and curl and can weigh up for 30 pounds (13.6kg). Female bighorn are called ewes and have smaller horns. They are social creatures but rams live in bachelor groups while ewes live in groups with their kids. So from the pics, my guess is we have ewes with their youngin.

This little baby stole the show.

During mating season, the big boys with their big horns really do ram each other to fight for the female. The winner is whenever one of them walks away. Good thing their skulls are thick to be able to handle all that head ramming with little injury. Now, that’s a hard head.

They can run up to speeds of 40mph.

The rams were a nice surprise.


9 thoughts on “Big Horn Sheep

  1. Beautiful photos! Did you take these in Banff? The little guys are adorable.

    If you ever get serious about getting a goat, just be warned that male billy goats are stinky! I visited a goat cheese farm last year; the does and kids were cute, but the two billys they kept for stud had a smell that went straight through my stuffed up sinuses. That said, I always wanted one of those little black pygmy goats for a pet/garden helper. They eat weeds, and their poop is great for compost. 🙂

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