Where Are Ewe Going? - An Opportunistic Glimpse Of The Desert Big Horn Sheep Rut
While floating down The Colorado River through The Grand Canyon, I had the great fortune to watch a small herd of Desert Big Horn Sheep near the shore-line. The herd consisted of about 3 Rams, 4 Ewes, and 5 lambs. During my observation, I witnessed the early beginning of the breeding season, as evidenced by this one particular immature ram who confronted a ewe and two lambs.
The lambs got out of the way in fright while the Ram singled out the Ewe. The Ewe was not quite ready to accept this suitor, but his insistence was quite dominating and he would not take NO for an answer. The Ewe chose to do her best to evade him, but then the action really began.
What happened next is that this caught the attention two other rams, both of course much more mature and dominate. They were not going to stand for this "punk" pushing their ladies around. They came from both sides and knocked the younger one out of the way, but now we had a much more interesting situation because these two rams were not going to stand down to the other, yet neither really wanted to stop very long to fight while the ewe attempted to escape in the confusion.
Where Are Ewe Going?
In this image I chose to expose for the brightly lit back-ground as the chase entered an area of shadow, thus creating this wonderful silhouette of the behavior.
Twice while I watched the chase, the lead ram turned with little warning, rearing up and smashing with great force his horns against the horns of the other ram. As if a gun shot had went off, the sound echoed in the canyon, but there was no time for further combat, because the ewe had continued running away. The pursuit continued again and eventually all 3 ran over a hill out of view.
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