BearHead Photography Sheep and Mountain Goat Pictures
BearHead Photography has many images to showcase his expansive portfolio on mammals of North America, and here are his sheep and mountain goat pictures.
The winter in Glacier is not pleasant. It is often quite cold and snowy, and the wind will blow up to 90 mph at times. On this day, the wind was around 40-50 mph and making it hard to take a still shot. Fortunately, I was able to position myself in a place to capture the bighorn in front of the mountain when it walked on the ridge. Edition of 40.
Their are big horn rams, and then there are big horn rams like this guy. This full curl ram did not like to be seen, and would hang on the sides of mountains that couldn't be seen by people. He owned the area when he was around other rams, and knew he was the king of the mountains. Edition of 40.
Sometimes animals realize just how large they are compared to their fellow mates. A look like this toward me was to let me know he was boss of the area and showing me the size of his horns. Edition of 40.
Watching dall sheep high up on a mountain is always a great experience, because I get far away from tourists and am alone with the sheep. I was not expecting this behavior when I hiked up that day, but it was awesome. These three rams head butted over and over, and the echo through the mountains was incredible! Edition of 40.
Alaska is a beautiful state with amazing landscapes and animals. As we were leaving these mountain goats, I noticed how calming of a scene it was. Seeing the mountain goats resting on the cliff by the sea's edge with endless water behind the cliff created a very serene scene.
Dall sheep are only found in the far north and high in the mountains. In the late evening as this sheep moved across this valley, the Alaskan Range was behind him and mountains he would rather be on. Edition of 40.
Big horn sheep have always been one of my favorite animals to photograph. The rams are awesome, and seeing a large bodied full curl ram doesn't happen every day. This ram was very calm and moved around on this ridge slowly and allowed me to frame him perfectly against Electric Peak! Edition of 40.
During the winter bighorn rams move into the valley to more easily find grasses to eat under the snow. But this winter was a mild winter and they had much more area to browse, so this monster ram was moving back up to the safety of the cliffs. Edition of 40.
There are bighorn sheep in numerous places all across the west. However, massive sheep like this guy are few and far between. So when I found this guy a few years ago, I was hoping to one day get him in the snow. It took me a while to find him, once the snow came, but seeing him in the snow and him being even larger than the year before was worth the wait. Edition of 40.
After hiking high into the mountains in Canada, I finally found some dall sheep. I was excited to see new lambs and be able to photograph them. These lambs had likely never seen a human before, and were trying to figure out what I was. Edition of 40.
Living on the Edge
The higher you go on a mountain, the harder it is to find a flat place to rest. This is fine with dall sheep, as their hooves are made so that they can move easily and be stable on the edge of the mountain. Edition of 40.
A Rams Look
Big Horn sheep are foragers. Foraging for grass in the winter is not very easy in Yellowstone. As this ram was looking around he had an intense look because he could not see any nearby. With this discouraging discovery it did not give up, and ended up finding some a few hills over. Edition of 40.
Mountain goats are only found in the high elevations of the mountains. They are safe from predators on the towering cliffs, and can move around with ease. This goat was on a cliff looking out over the valley to see if it wanted to go forage on grass. Edition of 40.
There is just something about baby sheep that is hard to not watch. They stay close to mom, but have incredible balance from a very young age. While mom was licking salt from the rocks, this lamb walked under her legs and was curious about its surroundings. Edition of 40.
A winter landscape can create a much different look to animals than in other seasons. There isn't as much color, but that allows the animals natural color to stick out more. When it began to snow, the river and dark background allowed this large sheep to stick out and be the main focus of the photo. Edition of 40.
During the winter months, the big horn rams will hang out together in a group. This lake dries up almost completely during the winter, when there isn't much run off to feed the lake. The rams were thirsty and went to the dry lake bed to drink from what little water remained of the lake. Edition of 40.
It's not very common to come across a ram with this much mass in the Yellowstone ecosystem. He stood out much more than any other rams around him, and was a monster ram! Edition of 40.
These mountain goats were up well before the sun rise. It took a while, but once the sun crested the mountain and the light hit these goats you could see them smile. Edition of 40.
To get food in the winter, sheep and other animals must dig through the snow to find grass and other plants. One of the ways sheep move the snow is with their horns. After digging in the snow a few hours, this big horn rams horns were covered in snow. Edition of 40.
Baby mountain goats are a small pretty ball of white fur. They hang very close to mother for protection and to learn how to survive in the mountains. This little guy was grazing on grass and drinking water as mother watched over nearby. Edition of 40.
After climbing up the mountain and searching for sheep, I finally found a few walking a ridge coming my direction. As this sheep paused to check me out, Mt. McKinley rose in the background. Edition of 40.
Looking down a steep rocky cliff can be scary. These two young lambs were nervous and unsure of how to move off this rock. They stood there together a while, and then just decided to go for it. Edition of 40.
I was fortunate to spend all day with these sheep, and be able to watch their social dynamic. They were cautious of their surroundings the entire time they were eating. A marmot called out and they all turned and looked at once. Edition of 40.
Seeing a family of mountain goats together is pretty common. But seeing a family of mountain goats down by the sea's edge is rare. Because of how steep the rock is immediately up from the sea gave these goats comfort to be low and not high in the mountains.
A Serious Look
Billy goats are much larger than their female counterparts. It is obvious when they come near a group of females, and when they want to be noticed. This goat was eyeing another male to let it know who was boss. Edition of 40.
Don't you wish you could live in a place like this? To be able to live in a place where the mountains and river valleys have so much natural curve, that it feels like it could go on forever. Edition of 40.
One of the neat things about dall sheep is that they grow different types of antlers. These two large males are great examples of a traditional tight curl, and one that spreads out wider. Edition of 40.
Stone sheep have a much smaller horn than bighorn, and are classified as a skinny horn sheep. Finding a nice stone ram is very hard and not many people get to photograph one. This nice ram allowed me to photograph him for a couple of hours, and here he stretches before getting up and moving in the evening. Edition of 40.
This was a very cooperative big horn sheep. Not only did it stand on the edge of the cliff, but it stayed there. It took a long time to scan the area beneath him before deciding it was safe for him to go down. Edition of 40.
Big horn rams like to hang out on ridges to see in many directions while eating. They often hang out on steep cliffs as well because their much less vulnerable to be attacked on steep mountainsides. This ram was on a very steep ridge, and because of that I was able to get almost directly below him and capture the sun shining beneath his body. Edition of 40.
The way big horn males decide on dominance is by ramming heads. They will back up time and time again, and then run into the head of their opponent. It's a very fierce impact and creates a loud noise. Edition of 40.
High Valley Sheep
Dall sheep spend the majority of their day on the cliffs to avoid predators. In this high mountain valley they are a little safer because they are never a far distance from the cliffs. Edition of 40.
Denali National Park is a huge park. Every mountain valley looks small because the mountains are so large, but most valleys are miles across. Traveling from one mountain range to the next is risky for dall sheep. Their predators are in the valleys waiting on them. This herd wasted no time and ran most of the way across the open tundra. Edition of 40.
After many hours spent with a group of lambs and ewes, I found a group of rams on the mountain. This ram in front was very big, and was what drew me to the group of rams. He was the leader of the group, and one followed right behind him as he moved across the scree slope. Edition of 40.