Green River Bighorn Sheep Watch Scheduled for Dec. 6

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Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Press Release

You can see Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep up close at the annual Bighorn Sheep Watch. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will host the free event on Dec. 6 along the Green River in southeastern Utah.

“Bighorns are in the rut this time of year,” explained DWR regional conservation outreach manager Brent Stettler. “So, they are less wary of people.”

Since the sheep are focused on courtship and breeding, Stettler said you can get your vehicle closer to the sheep than you can during others times of the year.

In past years, participants have gotten within 50 yards of bighorns. Occasionally, the group has seen rams butt heads. Most of the time, though, members of the group watch large rams kick and harass smaller males. The ewes and lambs seem relatively uninterested in the harassment. “The opportunity to see the courtship behavior of these animals is worth the trip,” Stettler said.

The Dec. 6 watch will take place along an eight-mile stretch of road alongside the Green River.

If you’d like to participate, meet at 8 a.m. at the parking lot at the John Wesley Powell Museum, 1765 E. Main St. in Green River. After meeting, the group will caravan to the river. The road that runs along the river is packed dirt. Unless it’s rained or snowed recently, passenger cars should have no problem traveling the road.

The event is free. Plan on bringing binoculars or a spotting scope and a camera. “Also, wear warm clothes,” Stettler advised. “And bring water and snacks or a lunch.”

If you don’t have your own binoculars or a spotting scope, Stettler has some you can use. Also, if you don’t want to drive, you can ride with DWR personnel.

Because bighorn sheep are wild and unpredictable, Stettler can’t guarantee you’ll see sheep. ”Regardless of the outcome, the beauty of the Green River will make the trip worthwhile,” he concluded.

For more information, call Stettler at (435) 613-3707, or email him at brentstettler@utah.gov.

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