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Big Battle

Big Battle
Photo Information
Copyright: Rick Price (Adanac) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-11-29
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 5d Mark II, Canon EF 600mm f4.0L IS USM
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-02-04 16:20
Viewed: 2998
Points: 40
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
We watched and listened to an epic battle between these two Bighorns in northern Yellowstone. They were battling for the girls of course.

Bighorn Sheep
Ovis canadensis

General Description

By Gustave J. Yaki

The Bighorn Sheep has the distinction of being named Alberta's provincial mammal.

Its naming distinction does not stop there; nor does its Albertaconnection. The Bighorn Sheep had been seen by Europeans much earlier. The Spanish explorer Francisco Vazquez de Coronado had met it in the American southwest between 1540-1552 and although it was well-illustrated in the 1691 account of southern California by the Spanish missionary Father Piccolo, it was not until 1804, after Duncan MacGillivray (of MacGillivrays Warbler fame) first encountered it on the Bow River, near Exshaw, AB. on 30 Nov. 1800 that the species was given its official scientific name. At the time of MacGillivray's sighting, he was with explorer David Thompson on his survey of the Canadian Rockies. Today, this species is perhaps the best known of all North

American mammals, worldwide. The magnificent head-battering battles of the rams during courtship have been repeatedly seen in films, aired on TV and even featured in corporate advertising. Banfield, in Mammals of Canada, described their jousting perfectly. "The contest usually begins with pushing and shoving at close quarters, often accompanied by slashing jabs of a foreleg. Then, according to an established ritual, the antagonists part and walk away about ten yards, turn, rear up on their hind legs, twist their head to one side 'as if sighting down their noses,' and advance slowly toward each other, still erect. As they approach, their pace quickens, and they lunge forward onto their forelegs, crashing head-on, horn to horn, with a crack [so loud] that it can be heard a mile away. So great is the impact that a shock wave ripples back the length of their bodies."

These courtship battles take place during the mating or rutting season. In Alberta, this occurs in late autumn. About 180 days later, in late May or early June, the ewes seek ledges on steep rocky cliff near mountain streams where they give birth to the lambs, usually single, occasionally twins. The lambs wear a creamy-fawn-coloured, soft, woolly coat and stand about 40 cm (16 inches) high on wobbly legs. The mothers hide them during their first week, but they soon are able follow her at a fast pace, nursing or nibbling grass along the way as they join the rest of the herd, which is always led by an old ewe. The lambs gambol and soon can climb expertly. At five to six months of age they are fully weaned. The ewes, lambs, yearlings and two year olds remain together as a group of about ten but sometimes as many as 100 individuals, all year. The young females reach reproductive maturity at two to three years; the rams at three years. The three-year old rams form into bands of their own, and led by an older, experienced male, migrate to separate, higher alpine summer pastures. Not until autumn do they rejoin the ewes.

Always alert, they can see movement a mile away. In areas where they are not hunted, such as in parks, they have become fearless, and will readily allow approach, especially in areas where there is escape terrain in the form of sparsely-treed, rocky cliffs nearby. They require salt and will travel miles to find a natural salt-lick. They have now learned that salt is applied to highways in winter and will often lick and eat debris along the road-edge, unfortunately setting them up for auto accidents.

The crowning glory of the Bighorn sheep is the ram's big horn, a massive brown spiral, which curls back and down, close to its head. The tips project forward and outward just below its eye. Because of it, the ram has a price on his head. The one with the biggest set is most sought be the hunting fraternity. Unfortunately, by always culling the biggest and best, the future generations will have ever diminishing-sized horns. The Bighorn Sheep have largely been eliminated from much of their former range, but some have been reintroduced successfully, most often with Alberta stock. Their distribution is in the drier areas of the mountainous country of western North America, from south of the Peace River in Alberta all the way into northern Mexico and eastward, formerly to the badlands in western North Dakota along the Missouri River, and to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

CeltickRanger, aljy, maurydv, luciola, bungbing, eqshannon, Miss_Piggy has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Rick

WOW ! the timing was great to shoot this action
of the Bighorns battle, it must touch one to
the other hardly, i see that you where with
a fixed zoom lens Rick, if you could go back
a little to not cut the head to the one of the
foreground eating grass, but it is more easy
now to write it than to think at that moment, TFS


  • Great 
  • ana974 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 477 W: 48 N: 968] (4857)
  • [2012-02-04 17:11]

Hello Rick!
What a pleasure see that you are active in TN again!
Lovely action shot with a wonderful timing and so many good details.Nice job, indeed! TFS
Good sunday!

PS: thanks for visiting my gallery! I appreciated it!

  • Great 
  • aljy Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 47 W: 4 N: 42] (593)
  • [2012-02-04 19:22]

hello rick

what a action of it is! excellent capture. look there due to ur sheeps battel, asbed squirel jumping in double speed!hahaha.i delay my presentation of mina otherwise it should fly off by this non stop battle.love yeah!
master slice of a candit action.tfs
have a nice day.

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2012-02-04 22:45]

superb in action capture!but where is the snow? :)

Impressive scene and fantastic action photo Rick! Perfect timing, very good composition, wonderful colors and great sharpness!

Hallo Rick,
a superb capture of these two Bighorn Sheeps in battle, marvellous natural colours, great timing and excellent point of view for a spectacular composition
Best regards

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2012-02-04 23:45]

Hello Rick.
Beautiful action catch nicely composed with beautiful colors ans sharpness,great details and this is a stunning shot.Well done.Best regards Siggi

Hello Rick,
Great moment, an interesting battle for domination.

Good timing here Rick, I only seen an ewe and a lamb when i was there, and no males, certainly not as entertaining as these


Hello Rick,
A great scene from nature caught with natural colours and good details. Excellent timing for such an image and I think you had a lot of patience to capture it. Well done!

Hi Rick
Yes males do crazy things for the girls, not only the bighorn males.
But maybe you should remove the girl from your picture, after all this is a story about males
Otherwise perfect moment, I can hear the sound of the horns clashing!

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2012-02-05 17:35]

Hello Rick,...perfect timing!!
What a unique action packed capture, although I must admit It almost gives me a slight headache just viewing it. I can't imagine the jolt they must feel when they slam together like this. Wonderful work!!

great rare capture, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2012-02-06 2:07]

Hello Rick,
very exciting indeed to see the battle with the heads on. Very well composed with some symetrical which is so hard to get. your moment is so right!
I like the tall dry grass in the background too, it gives a special effect.
very special moment well presented.


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2012-02-06 3:44]

Hello Rick,
Very nice action shot of this exciting moment. Beautiful natural colours and fine sharpness. Perfect timing.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2012-02-06 4:19]

Good battle and you won with wonderful image. tfs.

  • Cobo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 236 W: 1 N: 535] (5799)
  • [2012-02-06 5:00]

Great moment, very well captured in action, right in the perfect moment. Congratulation.

Hello Rick,
What a great action shot! very good timing, excellent details sharpness, nicely done and very well presented a lovely nature picture,
Thanks for sharing and have a nice week,
Best Regards,

PS: Yes we had a wonderful time with a lot of traveling and enjoy a holiday very much, thank you!

Ana amazing image of a ritual which has gone on for generations. Analogous to football in the US which I could never understand, but among these large mammals I have no hard time grasping why and such but rarely outside of National Geo do we get such beautiful images... the timing of the shutter click catches the raw power unleashed. Love it Rick!

Hi Rick,

I have not been here in a long while, good to see you shots again. This one is in such moment of impact, it hurts my head just looking at it and I can hear the sound of it, like two rocks collided. If I should be knit picking, I would have clone out the one in the foreground, but I understand we don't want to mess with the original as is.


Dear Rick
What a great image, filled with lots of action and great movement that is well seen. The interaction seen between these 2 Bighorns are really great and I can also just echo what Asbed has said and that is "WOW"

Since you not have been posting on Trek Nature for such a long time, I do not know if you will see this critique or not, but I am going to write it anyway. I have decided to go back to my 1st postings here on Trek Nature and visit the members who welcomed me when I just started and ask the question, where are you and why have you disappeared, as I really, really miss all the older members to the site and you are one of them. I think I know the answer but I would love you to return to the site.

Best regards

Calibration Check