Montana Outdoors

October 6, 2009

The hard way

Filed under: Animals, Bighorn sheep, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — Tags: — montucky @ 7:27 pm

After about a mile into a hike this afternoon into the one of the roadless areas here in western Montana I paused to look back and enjoy the scenery from where I came, and because in that mile the elevation had increased a thousand feet, I was ready for a breather. As I composed the photo I noticed (in the lower center) toward the far edge of the grass, a Bighorn ram.

Sundance Ridge Roadless area

Along the highway on the way to the trail head I had seen about a hundred Bighorn sheep, but all were ewes and this summer’s young. This was different and worth some attention: a big ram in the wild country, well away from the vestiges of civilization.

After a careful and quiet maneuver to get closer without being seen and gain a position in the shade from which to attempt a photo, the best I could get was this rather poor one, but it whet my appetite for rams and led me to attempt to get closer for a better shot.

Bighorn rams

After leaving the cover of the trees, traveling for a few yards in a crouch got me to the edge of the cover, perhaps 150 yards from the rams. There was then nothing between us but that grassy slope (which was a heck of a lot steeper than it appears in the photo) and the only chance to close the distance was the hard way, a crawl on elbows, knees and belt buckle, during which I ingested about a half pound of grass/weed seed and an equal amount of dust, bruised both elbows and both knees, and which resulted in these close range shots ( at about 30 yards) of two mature Bighorn rams in their own domain. Well worth it any day!

Bighorn rams

Bighorn rams

Bighorn ram

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