Did you know that the Bighorn Sheep rams will deliberately break off part of their curved horns? When photographing the rams of Waterton Canyon and the Badlands NP, I noticed that most all of the older rams … those with “full curls” … had horns that were broken off near the tips. As a photographer that had not photographed rams much, I thought that they must have broken off the tips in their battles with other rams in the rut. But researching this further, I find that once the horn curls to a “full curl”, the rams often “broom their horns”, deliberately breaking them off to prevent the large horns from blocking their peripheral vision. Here are a few examples of some of the rams I photographed in the fall rut:
Here are a couple of images, showing the broomed horns of the older rams:
This next image shows an older ram with broomed horns, a younger ram with pointed horns, and a ewe that is fitted with a collar (for research purposes … the herd at the Badlands were reintroduced in the late 1990’s and they are studying where they go in the Badlands habitat:
Amazing how nature works!
Photo Equipment Used:
- Canon 7D body
- Canon 100mm-400mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6 IS lens
- Handheld, from the vehicle
- ISO 500
- Aperture f/5.6
- Shutter Speed 1/4,000 sec.