Would love to see some bighorn sheep-best times?
Posted 07 June 2009 - 08:21 AM
Posted 07 June 2009 - 09:00 AM
Posted 07 June 2009 - 09:53 AM
The best hikes to see the bighorns is the hike up towards Lawn Lake or Ypsilon Lake. The rams hang out up there. The ewes with newborn lambs are in the very high country. There's a good group of them at "The Crater" on Specimen Mountain. But, that trail is closed for the summer to protect the lambing area.
The biggest rams can be seen on the hike towards Mt. Ida, from Milner Pass. It's probably the closest thing to a sure thing sighting. It's somewhat common to see a group of three to five rams at Rock Cut.... especially near sunset. The rams like to graze the tundra in July in the area below Rock Cut.
The Big Thompson Canyon drive is often a place to spot bighorns.
Of course, November 15 until December 20 is the rutting season for the bighorns. During that time of year the biggest rams will gather a flock of ewes and defend breeding rights against all challengers. I look for the ram head smashing in Big Thompson Canyon and on the Mountainside +/- one mile from McGregor Lodge. Again, 10 am until 2 pm is always the times when the most rams are viewed.
With regards to the nightly amphitheater presentations, the new summer schedule for RMNP starts on June 14. Right now, the new rangers are in training.
Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:09 AM
Edited by marci, 07 June 2009 - 11:15 AM.
Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:49 AM
About 21 sheep in that photo. But, this was a flock of 35 in December 2008... just west of McGregor Lodge. 35 is a large flock, considering we only have about 250 sheep in RMNP. (Down from about 400... 20 years ago.) That is the largest flock I've seen, and it was rare. The big ram had a lot of "charisma" to attract such a large group. And, he had the dominant strength to defend his flock against all challengers. When a ram is much larger than his challengers, there is rarely a head smashing contest. It's when the rams in competition are similar size that the head smashing ensues. By the way, the bighorns are wonderful, kind, gentle animals. My favorite mammals in RMNP.
Posted 07 June 2009 - 12:05 PM
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