Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bighorn Ram - National Elk Refuge, Jackson, Wyoming

There are 50-60 Bighorn Sheep wintering on the National Elk Refuge. They are easily seen by driving east on Broadway in Jackson and out the refuge road. They often graze right along the road and are used to seeing people. This ram is one of the biggest rams that I saw.
I didn't see any large, full curl rams in the herd, which leads me to believe that the Wyoming Fish and Game Department is allowing too many of the large rams to be hunted and killed on their summer range. A herd of 50 Bighorns would have several full curl rams in an unhunted population.
Bighorns are the easiest of all wildlife for me to approach for photos. Hunting magazines would have you believe that they are difficult to find and even harder to kill, which is not true. I was about 30 yards from this ram when I took this photo.
Bighorns are subject to catching disease from domestic sheep. Many Bighorns have died (up to 1000)this year in Montana and Wyoming due to diseases acquired from their domestic cousins.
Domestic sheep should not be allowed to graze on any public lands inhabited by Bighorns.

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