Black Hills Bighorn Sheep Rams

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It was exciting to see a herd of bighorn sheep females and their lambs up close (shared here) during our recent Badlands NP visit, but it was a far distance on the herd of rams seen.  No real chance to see those massive horns they are famous for.

Since arriving to the Black Hills region, I’ve had my eye out for bighorn sheep that also roamed here in the wild.

While out cruising on one of the scenic roads in Custer State Park, it was my husband who luckily spotted and quickly stopped for me to photograph six rams tucked in the shade and tall grass.

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Bighorn Sheep Rams

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The ram’s massive horns can weigh up to 30 pounds each for a total of 60 pounds on its head!

The horns are a general indicator of the ram’s age.  The longer the horn, the older the ram.

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Bighorn Sheep Rams

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These horns play a big part during “rut” season.  During these displays, two rams will run towards each other, horns first, at speeds up to 40mph, and butt heads.  The sound of this collision can be heard from up to a mile away!

The ritual repeats until one ram gives up and the other wins the right to mate.  This can last up to 20 hours.

Today scientists are studying bighorn sheep to try to make better football helmets.

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29 thoughts on “Black Hills Bighorn Sheep Rams

  1. Lovely animal. I am slowly reconnecting with various blogs after being absent since last October. We did our first outing outside of the city earlier this month and I did our first post in a long time. Hopefully we will do more exploring soon… (Suzanne)

    • Thank you, Suzanne! Glad to hear you’re able to travel again. My husband and I are traveling in our motorhome cross country for the summer, a dream we’ve had, so we’re trying to live it! I’ll catch up with yours!

    • Thank you! I didn’t know their weight either, I can’t imagine that on my head. The horn markings do indicate age grow, but more than one striation counts as a year in age. I saw a chart where it helps show examples, I didn’t know how to post it here in your comment. Pretty cool, thanks for asking! Looks like the biggest horns in my photo might be a 6-7 year old ram.

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