Worlds Largest Network

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Rut

Select Your Tour Destination
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Share this

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Rut

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.
Bighorn Sheep Rut Home

Bighorn Sheep Rut

The Bighorn Sheep Rut, also known simply as the "Rut," is a fascinating and critical period in the life of North American Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis). This annual event is marked by a series of behaviors and activities related to mating and reproduction, and it typically occurs in the late fall, usually between October and December, depending on the location and the specific subspecies of Bighorn Sheep.

Bighorn Sheep Mating Season

The Bighorn Sheep Rut is the time when males, known as rams, compete for the attention of females, known as ewes, in order to mate. It is essential for the survival and propagation of the species.

Bighorn Sheep Rut Competition

The rut is characterized by intense competition among the rams. They engage in head-butting contests to establish dominance and hierarchy. These contests can be extremely violent and result in injuries, such as broken horns or even death. The winner of these confrontations gains the right to mate with the receptive ewes.

Bighorn Sheep Rut Vocalizations

Rams emit loud and distinctive vocalizations during the rut. These sounds, such as snorting and throaty grunts, serve to both attract ewes and intimidate rival males.

Courtship During the Bighorn Sheep Rut

Once a dominant ram has secured a harem of ewes, he engages in courtship displays. This includes behaviors like rubbing his scent on rocks and trees and following ewes closely. The courtship ritual ensures that a male's scent is pervasive, marking his territory and indicating his readiness to mate.

Rutting Season Reproduction

Ewes go into estrus during the rut, a period when they are receptive to mating. The successful rams mate with the ewes, resulting in the fertilization of eggs. The gestation period for Bighorn Sheep is typically around six months, so lambs are born in the spring when there is plenty of forage available.

Bighorn Sheep Habitat and Location

Bighorn Sheep rut in specific habitats, such as mountainous regions and canyons, where they have access to food, water, and suitable terrain for their behaviors. Different subspecies of Bighorn Sheep may have variations in rutting habits and locations.

Observing the Bighorn Sheep Rut

The Bighorn Sheep Rut is a popular attraction for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. National parks and wildlife reserves often offer opportunities to witness this awe-inspiring spectacle while taking care to minimize disturbance to the animals.

The Bighorn Sheep Rut is a vital natural event that ensures the continuation of this iconic North American species. It also showcases the fascinating and sometimes intense Bighorn behaviors that have evolved in these animals to secure their reproductive success.

Wildlife on Video

Popular Tours in Canada

Hike Jasper | Tour Canadian Rockies | Jasper Columbia Icefield | Maligne Lake Boat Cruise | Jasper Wildlife | Book Banff National Park | Book Jasper National Park | Banff Gondola | Lake Minnewanka Boat Cruise | Athabasca River Rafting | Jasper Wildlife Tours| Rocky Mountain Train Tickets | Maligne Ice Walk | Shopping Jasper | Columbia Icefields Glacier Skywalk | Jasper Maligne Lake Cruise | Tour Moraine Lake