Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bighorn Sheep....

...Instead of Birds..

Yup, our New Years Day hunting plans were a bust because of minus -10 windchill at our destination; so we went to Plan B.

I'd recalled a couple days earlier Rookie suggesting I go shoot some pics of the Bighorns since they're down low now; and he knew right where to find them. Based on his verbal directions we located them rather quickly only about 30 minutes from home; in the Gallatin Range.

These are the first of any sigificant-size rams I've ever gotten so close too; and was in awe thruout most of the afternoon. Even though the temps never rose above 11 degrees all day, the wind up there was rather calm and the only issues were my frozen fingers as I snapped away; though also frequently hiked back to check on the dogs in the truck; just to make sure they were okay.

It also appeared that some 'rutting' was in progress (not sure thats a sheep term); as the rams showed similar signs as bull elk and buck deer do in their body gestures and staging amongst each other.

Several other sheep were about as well and played 'king of the mountain'; which was highly entertaining.

"Crazy Kids"..(I nearlly stepped on this one before I saw her)..

The 'Big Guy' stayed bedded for the most part and rested even dozing occasionally; while briefly openning his eyes every now and again to check on the activity of his underlings and harem feeding 50 to 60 feet below.

Some lesser rams showed as well and casually fed along with the ewes.

Some posturing and few slight smacks of horn...

But no full-on head butts occured while I was there.

At some point I (and they) determined I'd gotten "too close for comfort"; and I wisely decided it best these two were left alone to sort this all out..

With one last frame snapped, I bid them farewell; but promised to return in hopes of capturing more images of these majestic creatures of the Rockys.