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Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep

2015 December 22
by YosemiteSteve

I’ve lived in the Sierra Nevada for over 20 years, and have spent hundreds of nights in the mountainous backcountry of Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks. Through all that time, I’d never seen a bighorn sheep. Tracks, yes, poop, definitely, but the actual animal? Nope.

That all changed back in March of 2015 when I was hired to document the release of some sheep into Yosemite’s Cathedral Range. Since then, I’ve spent many days in the company of bighorn as I worked on this newest episode of Yosemite Nature Notes. These animals live up high (sometimes over 14,000 feet) and are pretty alert and elusive. The fact that they are the color of the rock also makes spotting them difficult. My advice to those who want to see these sheep in the wild? Befriend an employee of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife who has access to the GPS data and radio telemetry collars! It’s much easier that way!

Or, just go spend time around Mount Langley in Sequoia National Park in the early fall. That place is crawling with sheep.

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