The Badlands’ Bighorns

While in the Badlands NP, we were excited to see some of the park’s Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis). In fact, we saw two different herds on both days we were there. One herd was pretty skittish and would not stay near the roadways when humans were near, but the other herd was not at all intimidated by humans. Today, I’ll share some images of the former herd.

Fearing humans, this herd would immediately head for the rugged, mountainous hills of the Badlands whenever a vehicle would come anywhere near them. Although closeups were not easy with this group, the herd did make for some great images of them among the steep and colorful Badland landscape. Here are a few of my favorite images of this herd:


Bighorn Sheep


Bighorn Sheep


Bighorn Sheep herd climbing Badlands


Bighorn Sheep on side of Badlands mountain


These herds consist of the females (ewes) and the young sheep; the bigger males (rams) depart the group after mating, which occurs in late fall/early winter. As you can see in the last image, these sheep are very sure-footed, even in the most rugged terrain … this always amazes me to watch them as they move about the sides of mountains, often on near-vertical surfaces. In another post, I will highlight the second herd, the one that would walk around our vehicle, as if we weren’t even there.


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