Living with the Bighorns

Wildlife expert and naturalist Chadd Drott, spent 60 days living in the midst of the world’s largest Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, on a protected state wildlife area in Western Montana. While observing the behavior and physical traits of this unique species, Drott chronicled his findings by means of photos and self-produced videos. Presented last month, before a small crowd at Farmington public library. You’re watching the Local News Network brought to you by ServiceMaster Restore and 3 Rivers Brewery. I’m Wendy Graham Settle. While camping out with 100 or so bighorn sheep, Drott literally became part of the herd. Because the animals never been targeted by human hunters, they had no fear of him. He would set up a camera and they casually wandered by, ready it seems for their close up.

With this one, kind of some identification markings. You guys can see his fur. You guys get the white lines and the cream colored rump. Hard to see here. It’s not a pure white, it’s cream colored. You can see that he also has a cream color muzzle. Zoom out, I want to show you kind of the landscape that this guy’s looking at. This day was horrendous. This is the worst filming day I’ve ever had in my life. It was amazing.

Some of the footage he caught includes the sheep’s well known ability to ram their heads into each other without being fazed.

Okay, and then they just hit and it’s over. The impact speed and the way that these two hit would be equivalent to two full size football players on a kickoff return meeting in the middle. So it comes up right here. Those two right there are going to fight. And flip up their heads. Don’t worry about that. I need to blur that out but if you guys look back there you guys will see and then they’re totally fine.

Bighorn sheep live the good life. A typical day begins with a long cool drink of water. They feed under the cover of trees until late morning when they visit their favorite salt lick. Late afternoon sparring and breeding takes priority. At night, they bed down in open areas to feed and watch for predators. The latter of which, they have very little love. That’s why some of the rams tip the scales at nearly 500 pounds.

They are protected, they’re not allowed to be hunted. And they also live in a very unique area where there are little to no predators. And so these guys get massive and I mean, big. That’s why I went up there. You guys can see these curls. So this is a desert bighorn, the one in the middle. You’ll see that these are kind of broken off. They do this when they live in an area where there’s predators. They’ll actually walk up to rocks and they smash their heads against the rocks. And they break the tips off, because those tips come around and they block their eyesight, and they can’t see predators coming in. You’ll see this guy didn’t break off his curl, or this guy. This guy kind of did, but he’s still covered. And that’s because they don’t have that predator issue. So they get these huge curls, beautiful ones. There’s actually one in here. I’ll show you on a video. I named him Enrique ’cause it’s the one that all the ladies like. But he is just extremely big.

A former firefighter, Drott lives in Colorado, where he gives tours of Rocky Mountain National Park while also writing for wildlife reference guides and producing educational videos and podcasts. He has devoted most of his life to working in wildlife sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers.

Definitely, if you ever have interest in learning any more about this or any other species, please look me up. I definitely like to do education for wildlife. I do truly believe that that is the first step to conservation, is through education.

For more information on his private year round tours or his speaking schedule. Go to Chadd’s Walking with Wildlife website at chaddswww.com. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I’m Wendy Graham Settle.

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