See Bighorn Sheep, Dec. 3 in Utah

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Early December is the perfect time to see Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. That's why Dec. 3, 2011 is the day Division of Wildlife Resources staff have chosen to hold this year's Bighorn Sheep Watch.

Bighorn sheep

This photo of a ram was taken during the 2010 Bighorn Sheep Watch.

Photo by Brent Stettler

The cliff-edged corridor along the Green River is a great place to find wild sheep. Rams are wrapping up the last few weeks of the annual breeding season, known as the rut. It's the time of year when rams of equal size engage in head-butting, sparring and kicking to determine which rams will breed the females.

"Full-blown head crashes are uncommon," says Brent Stettler, regional conservation outreach manager for the DWR, "but the gamut of courtship and breeding behaviors by both sexes is fascinating to watch. Last year, we saw rams, ewes and lambs within 50 yards of our position."

The watch will be held near Green River. The event is free. Everyone is encouraged to attend. "You don't need to pre-register," Stettler says, "but please be on time."

When you come to the event, bring a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope along with snacks, drinks and a camera. If you don't have your own binoculars or a spotting scope, no problem—the biologists will have extra spotting scopes and binoculars for you to use.

8 a.m. on Dec. 3

If you'd like to participate, meet at 8 a.m. on Dec. 3 at the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River. The museum is at 1765 E. Main Street.

(If you're traveling along Interstate 70, the easiest way to find the museum is to exit the freeway at the second Green River exit and drive into town. The museum is situated on the east side of the Green River.)

DWR biologists will guide participants up the Green River corridor. "For those who have tried to find wild sheep, they know it's a very difficult thing to do," Stettler says. "Having a biologist as a guide is a huge advantage."

Stettler says the DWR biologists have a lot of experience finding the sheep. "If the bighorns are there," he says, "our biologists will find them."

The field trip usually ends around noon, but if you drive your own vehicle, you can leave at any time.

The road the group will travel changes from asphalt to gravel and then to dirt. Depending on rain or snow, the road may be muddy and unsuitable for passenger cars. For that reason, the DWR will furnish two large four-wheel drive passenger vehicles to help participants reach the sheep.

Because bighorn sheep are wild and unpredictable, Stettler can't guarantee you'll see sheep at close range, or even at all. "Even if we don't see sheep," Stettler says, "the beauty of the Green River should make the trip well worth your time."

For more information, contact Stettler at 435-613-3707 or brentstettler@utah.gov.

Comments

Ca_Vermonster's picture

That's a pretty cool event! 

That's a pretty cool event!  Gives some of us who don't have the opportunity to hunt them, or even see them in the wild for that matter, a chance to see them up close and personal.  And, if any of them look like that guys in the photo, I'd be pretty happy.  He's a sweet looking ram!

Nice to see the Utah DWR holding this event, and even for providing optics and such to those that don't have their own.  It would be cool to attend.  Hopefully alot of people take advantage of it.  Looks like it helps out the DWR also with their sheep counting.  Nice.

Retired2hunt's picture

  A very unique program to

 

A very unique program to get more people outdoors and involved with wildlife.  To have a free program that allows a family to participate in this opportunity to observe bighorn sheep is a great venue.  Great job Utah Division of Wildlife!

These are very majestic animals and are truly a great site to see.  We have several areas here within Colorado that offer the same opportunity to watch bighorn sheep.  One such area is the observation area just oustide of Georgetown, Colorado - just off of the I-70 before you get to State Route 6 (before Loveland).  I have seen many bighorn in this area while traveling and have seen several full curl mature males.  Another area is the bighorn sheep canyon area traveling the US 50 near Cotopaxi, Colorado.

Great wildlife watch opportunity for Utah and their residents.

 

hunter25's picture

I think this is the swcond

I think this is the swcond such event I have read about in Utah. Looks like they have many great programs going on and hopefully a lot of people will take advantage of them. I have watched rams in th ewild and it is truly worth taking the time to enjoy. If you don't know much about them or where to find them a trip like this just might be the perfect opportunity for you.