See Bighorn Sheep

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Early December is the best time of the year to view Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

DWR Press Release

Green River – You can see Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep up close at the annual Bighorn Sheep Watch. The Division of Wildlife Resources will host the event on Dec. 5 along an eight-mile stretch of the Green River in southeastern Utah.

The event is free.

“This is the time of year, known as the rut, when bighorn sheep breed,” says Brent Stettler, regional conservation outreach manager for the DWR. “During this period, bighorns are less wary of people.”

Since the sheep are focused on courtship and breeding, Stettler says 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, they’ve seen rams butt heads. Most of the time, though, they’ve watched large rams kick and harass smaller males. Stettler says the ewes and lambs seem relatively uninterested in the conflict and harassment. “The opportunity to see the courtship behavior of these animals is worth the trip,” he says.

The Dec. 5 watch will take place along a stretch of road that runs alongside the Green River. To participate in the event, you must register in advance. The trip is limited to 15 vehicles.

To register, or for more information, call Stettler at 435-613-3707. He’s taking registrations on a first-come, first served basis. After you register, he’ll provide more details to you.

Participants should bring binoculars or a spotting scope and a camera. If you don’t have your own binoculars or a spotting scope, Stettler has extras you can use.  “Wear warm clothes and bring water, snacks or a lunch,” he says. “If you don’t want to drive your own vehicle, we’ll be driving two large SUVs that you can ride in.”

Because bighorn sheep and the weather are unpredictable, Stettler says there’s no guarantee you’ll see sheep. “Regardless of the outcome,” he says, “the beauty of the Green River will make the trip worthwhile.”

For more information, call Stettler at 435-613-3707. You can also email him at brentstettler@utah.gov.

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