Jump to content



Would love to see some bighorn sheep-best times?


  • This topic is locked
6 replies to this topic

#1 marci

 
marci

    New Participant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
 

Posted 07 June 2009 - 08:21 AM

We would love to be able to see some bighorn sheep on our upcoming trip. Which location would be our best chance to see them, and are there certain times of the day that we should focus on? We will be out there next week! Can't wait! I may also post this next question somewhere else, but when we were kids and our family camped out there every summer, we used to love going to the amphitheater for the evening ranger programs. I cant seem to find anything online about them - do they still have those? Thanks for your help!
  • 0

#2 rcw

 
rcw

    RMNP Junkie

  • +Donation Rewards
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 895 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Buffalo Grove. IL elevation 679 feet
  • Favorite RMNP Hike: Lake Marv
 

Posted 07 June 2009 - 09:00 AM

Good question Marci. I would like to know a good hike to see bighorns as well. I will be there in mid-September.
  • 0

#3 hahn23

 
hahn23

    Banninated

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1176 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
 

Posted 07 June 2009 - 09:53 AM

In June, the bachelor groups of bighorn rams (plus some yearlings and a few ewes) can be seen coming down to the Sheep Lakes area in Horseshoe Park. It doesn't happen every day, but the best chances occur between 10 am and 2 pm. Those are the "coyote free" times of day. The parking lot at Sheep Lakes will have several volunteer "Bighorn brigade" members monitoring car and foot traffic in an effort to protect the bighorns, as they cross the highway. I think there is a ranger talk about the bighorns at Sheep Lakes at 10:30 am each day.

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.
  • 0

#4 marci

 
marci

    New Participant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
 

Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:09 AM

This was such great information! Thank you so much.

Edited by marci, 07 June 2009 - 11:15 AM.

  • 0

#5 soatley

 
soatley

    Slab Maniac/Stream Chaser

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3519 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Burnsville, Minnesota
  • Favorite RMNP Hike: Pagoda
 

Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:25 AM

That's a huge group of sheep! Great photos.

Sandy O

  • 0

#6 hahn23

 
hahn23

    Banninated

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1176 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
 

Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:49 AM

QUOTE (soatley @ Jun 7 2009, 11:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's a huge group of sheep! Great photos.

Sandy O

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.



  • 0

#7 rcw

 
rcw

    RMNP Junkie

  • +Donation Rewards
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 895 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Buffalo Grove. IL elevation 679 feet
  • Favorite RMNP Hike: Lake Marv
 

Posted 07 June 2009 - 12:05 PM

Thanks for the info and the beautiful pictures. I can't wait to get there. Only 3 more months.
  • 0




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users