SOUTHERN BC BIG HORN SHEEP
The Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep is one of 4 species of wild sheep native to North America. Rams (males) are named for their large impressive horns and are a symbol of status among males and used as weapons in epic battles to establish dominance within the herds. These sheep occupy the mountainous regions of North Western United States up into Southern British Columbia and Western Alberta. Breeding season for Bighorns begins in mid to late October, and can run until the end of November. Rams typically will not range with the ewes until breeding season. During this time rams will fight for dominance and mating rights, they will face each other sizing one another up. If one of the rams doesn't back down they rear up on their hind legs, and hurl themselves at each other. The resounding clash of horns can be heard echoing through the mountains as this confrontation is repeated, sometimes for hours, until one ram submits.
The Bighorn ram is one of the most sought after and majestic trophy animal species in the world. The Kootenay region of British Columbia is one of the few places that hunters can purchase tags without having to go through a draw system, however, there are a small number of tags issued to outfitters each fall so advanced booking is usually required. We begin scouting for rams in the summer months, keeping a close eye on the different bands of Bighorn rams and the basins they reside in. Hunting season begins in September and is a good time for a chance at a big mature ram before hunting pressure pushes them into timbered areas. Be prepared to stay in tents at high elevations, spending many hours glassing mountain peaks, timbered ridges and alpine basins. Once the snow begins to cover the mountain slopes, sheep become very active and start migrating to their breeding range and is also a great time to find those old cranker rams finally coming out of hiding . This is a very physically and mentally demanding hunt and can test the nerves of even the most patient hunter as it may take several days to locate a band of rams. In addition, B.C hunting regulations only allow full curl bighorn rams to be legal for hunters to harvest so even a big mature ram may not meet these requirements as they will often broom off the tips of their horns. Weather plays a big roll in this hunt as well and can ground you and you're guide for days, but it is one of the most rewarding hunting experiences when it all comes together!!