Magazine article Sunset

Not the Smae Old Rut

Magazine article Sunset

Not the Smae Old Rut

Article excerpt

TRAVEL

Go eye-to-eye with bighorn sheep on Wyoming's Whiskey Mountain

Autumn may have greeted northern Wyoming with snow and single-digit cold, but the bighorn ram about 50 yards up the mountain from me had other things on his mind besides the weather. While six ewes in his would-be harem were intently browsing frosted clumps of grass and rabbit brush, the large, taupe-colored ram was eyeing us and shaking his magnificent head.

"What a stud! `See how big my horns are?"' said June Sampson, executive director of the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center in Dubois, Wyoming, narrating the scene that was playing out before us. "He's showing off his horns!"

Nearby a younger ram gazed on. He was still learning the finer points of the fall rut on Whiskey Mountain, home to North America's largest wintering herd of bighorn sheep.

Most of the year bighorn sheep are skittish and elusive; if you are lucky enough to see them at all, it's typically only through powerful binoculars and spotting scopes. …

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