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on Feb 18, 2019 in Wildlife Photography

Scent is In the Air

Rocky Mtn Bighorn
Z6 / 180-400VR

Lambing season is just around the corner but before they can drop lambs, there is that birds and the bees thing first. That starts about this time of year for Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. For a majority of the year, the rams and the ewes are in separate bands, not really hanging with each other that much. That all changes once the winter snows have forced them all downslope, using the same foraging areas and the ewes come into season.

Rocky Mtn Bighorn
Z6 / 180-400VR

When you’re able to be accepted by a band, they go about their business totally ignoring you. That’s simply the best as their biology is so fascinating. The rams scent the air by doing what’s called a lip curl (as the name suggests, they curl their upper lip to catch the scent). Once they get a scent from a ewe possibly in season, it’s off to the races. It’s a tad too early right now so the Rams had all their advances rejected but that didn’t stop them. And wherever the ewes went, the rams soon followed. I’ll leave that piece of biology without any social comment :-)

Rocky Mtn Bighorn
Z6 / 180-400VR

I had the Z6 / 180-400VR either hand-held or on a RC-8860 tripod cause we didn’t have to really move much to work them (more of that story on the Podcast). With all the activity, being able to quickly react was important in getting the photo. I think this last photo pretty much sums it all up for the rams and the ewes. I think they were both asking, the sent is in the air?!

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