Bighorn Sheep of the Okanagan, also known as California Bighorn Sheep are found all over the valley’s lower slopes. Just a few feet of a highway’s shoulder, the animals are often spotted grazing. Not shy whatsoever they make for an easy model to photograph.
Apparently the Big Horn is at risk of contracting a lethal infectious disease which can cause pneumonia in both domestic and wild sheep and goats, but it is particularly harmful to wild sheep herds, according to the B.C. Wild Sheep Society.
Bighorn Sheep of Okanagan BC – Bighorn sheep get their name from the large, curved horns on the males, or rams; with female sheep sporting shorter, less curved horns. Bighorn Sheep keep their horns years round, unlike mammals with antlers, which are shed each year. Bighorn rams are armed with a pair of curled horns up to 45″ in length and weighing as much as 30 pounds. These horns are used to clash or battle against competing rams to achieve dominance.
Bighorn sheep are diurnal. They are very social creatures, sometimes forming herds of up to 100, although more common are small groups of 8 to 10. Mature males keep away from young and females in separate flocks for most of the year. Young females remain with their mother’s group, which is led by an older ewe which by scientific definition is any female bighorn sheep having a horn or horns of at least 5 inches in length, each as measured on the outside curve of the horn from the skull to the tip. That’s an easy one to spot!
Okanagan Bighorn Sheep are easy to find and photograph. They are tame and they tolerate the adventurous wildlife photographer in their vicinity. However, wild animals are unpredictable. Bighorn sheep normally don’t attack humans but in the rutting season in December, the males may attack if provoked or startled.