Bighorn Sheep Rut



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(Ovis canadensis) BIGHORN SHEEP

Bighorn Sheep Ram Bosses Start Battling During the Rut

These are some of the Largest Bighorn Sheep Rams you will see anywhere. Bighorn Ram Bosses are just beginning to Battle and decide who is King for this Year's Rutting Season. Lots of Rare Vocalizing Growls and some Headbutting as these Big Fellas Ramp Up their efforts for dominance.

Bighorn Sheep Rut Courting

Bighorn Sheep Rams are vigorously Courting Ewes as they come into Estrus during the Rutting Season. A Ewe may only stay in estrus for a very short time during the Rut, so Rams naturally become very active and attentive at these times.

Epic Heavyweight Bighorn Bosses Battle

This is Earlier in the Day.. Part 1 of 2 of Heavyweight Bighorn Bosses Battling. These Bighorn Sheep Rams represent some of the Biggest Rams in Canada's Rocky Mountains. Four of them were in a marathon Head Butting Battle for hours on this day. You can hear lots of vocalizing as these Heavyweights Grunt and Growl at each other while they figure out who the Boss will be going forward. These Bighorn Rutting Season Battles can go on for hours at a time along with Days at a stretch. Bighorn Sheep Ram's skulls and horns experience massive impact loads during ramming. Their structure and materials have adapted through evolution to sustain very large dynamic forces while preventing Brain failures or injury. Bighorn sheep horns are not shed and regrown annually so they can not rapidly heal damage. Sustaining repetitive high impact loads and harsh environments throughout the animal's lifetime is due to their Keratin-based horns that are much tougher than mineralized hard biological materials like bone.

Bighorn Heavyweight Rams Growl and Grapple with Lots of Vocalizing

These Bighorn Sheep Rams represent some of the Biggest Rams in Canada's Rocky Mountains. Four of them were in a marathon Head Butting Battle for hours on this day. You can hear lots of vocalizing as these Heavyweights Grunt and Growl at each other while they figure out who the Boss will be going forward. These Bighorn Rutting Season Battles can go on for hours at a time along with Days at a stretch. We witnessed some of the most heavy impacts we have ever seen with this group of impressive Rams. Bighorn Sheep Rams skulls and horns experience massive impact loads during ramming. Their structure and materials have adapted through evolution to sustain very large dynamic forces while preventing Brain failures or injury. Bighorn sheep horns are not shed and regrown annually so they can not rapidly heal damage. Sustaining repetitive high impact loads and harsh environments throughout the animal's lifetime is due to their Keratin-based horns that are much tougher than mineralized hard biological materials like bone.

Big Rams Still Working Out Who the Boss is!

Several Bighorn Sheep Rams are Still Working Out Who the Boss is during the Rutting Season. Each one Gifted enough to be Dominant, but a couple are starting to Stand out. Ewes usually have to be in Estrus for the Fighting to ramp up several more notches.

Heated Competition Starts - The Bighorn Sheep Rut!

About 7 Gifted Bighorn Sheep Rams met and Battled on this Day during the Bighorn Sheep Rutting Season. All of them are Gifted enough to be Dominant, which will likely mean the "Crowned King" may change depending upon who is drained and who has the most energy. Regardless, the Incredible Genetics going into this Group's offspring will surely strengthen their herds.

Bighorn Sheep Rut - Canada's Angry Ram Mating Dance

Bighorn Rams Fighting for Mating rights During the Bighorn Sheep Rut. The larger Bighorns with superior genetics are able to battle like this for quite a long time during the bighorn sheep mating season. Several larger Rams are seen here battling for the right to mate on this day.

Big Rams Tolerate Each Other in the Beginning of Bighorn Mating Season

Several Large Bighorn Rams have gathered to pursue Ewes during the Bighorn Sheep Mating Season - The Rut. A Couple Mature Rams that Stand out will gradually use their genetic gifts and prime condition to intimidate their Younger or Older Rivals and ultimately pair up with Ewes in estrus.

Bighorn Rut Behavior with Some of the Largest Rams

Some heightened Bighorn Sheep behavior during the Rutting Season. It has been a little more rare for so many Rams, including some of the Largest Rams seen this rut, to continue competing and fighting to mate for such a long duration. While there were a couple clear Bighorn Bosses that ruled when they asserted themselves, some young energetic Rams showed lots of incredible genetics, stamina and stubbornness. Hopefully, many new Lambs appear this Summer as a result of a successful Rutting Season.

Snow on Mountain edges Doesn't Slow Down the Bighorn Rut!

Snow on Mountain edges does not slow down Bighorn Sheep during their mating season - the Rut. Bighorn Rams continue to check Ewe's estrus levels as their Rutting Season progresses, regardless of weather.

Big Rams Fighting for Mates

Big Rams Fighting for Mates During the Bighorn Sheep Rut. Bighorns with superior genetics are able to keep this battle pace up for quite a long time during the bighorn sheep mating season. Two larger heavyweight Rams are seen here battling on this day.

Bighorn Sheep Rut - The Mating Chase

With Ewes in estrus, Bighorn Sheep Rams become very worked up and the Mating Dance ensues. Head butting becomes a common occurrence during these peak Bighorn Rutting days.

Bighorn Rut Cautious Mountainside Mating

Late in the Bighorn Sheep Rut, the two Bighorn Bosses of this area have been well established. You can make out the largest and most dominant Ram as he ascends and moves mountainside, with number two backing down. During the Aggressive Bighorn Rutting season, you can witness death defying battles upon mountain edges, or the kind of cautious respect witnessed here. Early in the Rut, mountain edge battles for mating rights are common, but here, these Bighorns show the intelligence to be cautious and respectful as the largest Bighorn Boss moves up and towards the Ewes to mate.

RAM Tough - Light Heavyweight Battle

Two Bighorn Rams separated from the herd to perform their ritual head butting battle. It almost appears that one Ram simply did not want the other one following him around during this time of the rutting season. The moments were captured over the course of a couple hours into dark. These Bighorn Sheep Rams looked as if they were going to continue their fighting much later into the night. *Thank you for your patience with us.. these moments are too rare to let the dark make us part early at the end of a great day!

Bighorn Bash

Bighorn headbutting at the height of the Bighorn Sheep Rut. Lots of Ram Rut fighting was captured this year and this is some of the best headbutts of these powerful creatures.

Rockies Rams During the Bighorn Sheep Rut

Rockies Ram behaviors during the Bighorn Sheep Rut. Bighorn Sheep mating season shows much more aggressive Ram behavior as they court Ewes and try to block other Rams from mating. When Ewes are in estrus, Rams will detect it through the flehmen response, which immediately heightens competition among the big males. Short Fights and jostling is common with big head butting battles being more rare.

Bighorn Rams Pursuing Ewes During the Rut

With Bighorn Sheep Ewes in estrus, Bighorn Rams are persistently pursuing them During the Rut. Mating season for Bighorn Sheep is well underway as fresh snow blankets the landscape.

Alberta Rockies Bighorn Rams Entering the Rut

The Alberta Rockies is home to some of the largest Bighorn Rams in the World. Some of the Bigger Rams continue to establish a pecking order as the Bighorn Sheep Rut escalates.

Bighorn Sheep Struttin' into the Rut

Bighorns are gathering for the rutting season. This powerful species is a favorite for us to witness. Here, in early rutting season, they are gathering with larger Rams, beginning to assert themselves among the Ewes. It may be a little early for estrus and mating, but not too early for the pecking order. These amazing mountain climbers are always so inspiring to watch. We hope they have a successful mating season.

Bighorn Sheep Ram Battle for Mating Rights


Bighorn Sheep Ram Aggression Rising for the Rut

With lots of Bighorn Sheep Rams sharing space with lots of Ewes here, the tension has become palpable. Some of the highest numbers congregated during the beginning of the Bighorn Sheep Rut we have ever seen. We are looking forward to lots of great moments among this fantastic group of incredible animals this winter!

Rare White Bighorn Sheep Ram Lamb

A first time seeing a rare, pure white Bighorn Sheep Ram Lamb in the wild Canadian Rockies.

Bighorn Sheep Boss Receives a Challenger During the Rutting Season


Bighorn Boss Enforcing His Status During the Sheep Rut

This Bighorn Boss enforces His status during the Sheep Rut as a couple younger Rams come down to try their luck with the Ewes. This particular area's Boss Ram would have none of it!

Bighorn Ram Teenagers Host Their Own Version of the Rut

These Bighorn Sheep Rams seem to be fired up by beautiful weather as they host their own version of the Rut. Soon, they will have shed their winter coats and begin packing on Summer weight again in hopes of reaching their genetic potential as fast as possible. You can see how they carefully align their strikes and positioning at this age.. something rarely seen, but required learning for future battles.