Big Horns in the Canyon

In July of 2018 I signed up for the Arizona Game and Fish tour of Canyon Lake. During this hot and dry time of year the Big Horn Sheep herds in the Tortilla Flats area congregate near the lake as other water sources dry up. Water is an essential part of any animal's habitat, whether it is in the desert or a dry tropical forest, you're sure to see wildlife near their water source. Scroll down and take this trip with me.

Jeff from AZGFD explaining that sheep are poor swimmers, in part due to their massive horns. A body of water can permanently separate two herds, which is the case at Canyon Lake.

Learning to age a ram by the rings on its horn.

A ewe clatters down the canyon wall.

The thin skin of big horn sheep helps to regulate their body temperature during the hot summers. This ram stands on a high, breezy place to cool down.

Shade works to stay cool as well.

Two rams look for footing on the canyon wall. Both were in pursuit of a ewe to mate. The larger, older ram on the left was successful, the younger one may have to wait another year.

Hoping to see sheep down near the water, I had to settle on watching them high up on the rocks.

For more information on Wildlife viewing in Arizona check out the AZGFD World of Wonder events!

Tommy Mac