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Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep

Formerly one of the most common large mammals of the American West, Bighorn sheep are still often seen in Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is one of the best places to view Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. Two hundred years ago, millions of bighorn sheep roamed the west, but hunting and disease spread from domestic livestock decimated populations in the 19th century. Despite the name, Bighorn Sheep no longer range in the Bighorn Mountains but they still range freely in higher elevations of Glacier and some other Rocky Mountain ranges.

Bighorn sheep stay in herds, the rams with the classic large curved horns and the ewes with shorter slightly curved horns. They prefer mountain grasses and shrubs, and since they do not move as easily through deep snow as some other ruminants, they tend to stick to rocky, south facing slopes in the winter.

Although disease is still a leading cause of death, Bighorn Sheep are predated mainly by cougars and to some extend by bears and wolves. Falls from cliffs can also take a toll.
 Below right:  Bighorn ram posing on rocks above the Grinnell Glacier Trail.  Below right: a flock of sheep grazing along the Highline Trail
The best places to see Bighorn Sheep in Glacier are around Logan Pass on the Hidden Lake and Highline Trails and in the Many Glacier Valley on the Grinnell Glacier and Iceberg Lake Trails.

Below left:  On the Highline Trail these sheep came from uphill, walked on the trail for a few yards, then abruptly jumped down the cliff below the trail. We couldn't believe how they were able to jump from rock to rock down the cliff toward the highway without falling to their death.  Below right:  This ewe treated guests at Many Glacier Lodge to some close up viewing without having to hike to the high country.

Below left: sometimes a Bighorn Sheep can be easy to spot, like when this ram ran across a snowfield.  Below right:  As with all types of sheep, the lambs can be pretty darn cute