Dall Sheep Behavior



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  • Dall Sheep Behavior

    I have spent a great deal of time around bighorn sheep but unfortunately haven't had the opportunity to watch and learn about dall sheep. Bighorns in the areas I have hiked "tend" to hangout on south facing ridgelines and slopes and are seldom found on north facing slopes. Obviously there are exceptions but for the most part this is true...especially in the fall and winter months.

    I am curious if dall sheep are similar? I think a lot of it hinges on food, water, snow depth, etc. but I was wondering if there is a tendancy for rams to hang out on particular slopes? I imagine they may follow the snow line up and down certain slopes?

    Many of the major drainages in the area I plan on going have major canyons running north and south. Would you expect more rams to be on the east or west side of these long, glaciated, deep canyons? Thanks for any advice!

  • #2
    Go out & purchase a copy of Tony Russ's, Sheep Hunting Alaska book. Also check out Gillcrests. You will find some great info. W/X, time of year, hunting pressure, Mtn. Range, all have a huge roll in the answer to your question. Happy reading.


    • #3
      i've seen winters with little snow, the rams move all over and really dispearse over the rutt and next fall they are all in different areas than usual. lotta factors....
      Master guide 212


      • #4
        Being "North" I figure the South side of any mountain would be the "Sunny side" with more hours of daylight and less in the "shadow" of the mountain itsself, and therefor more feed growing , water flowing, and more exposed by snowmelt.....

        Seems to be the same 'round here, least thats how I see it.

        Of course, there are the exceptions, and seasons for everything....could be wrong, too.....:rolleyes:
        If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.:topjob:

        "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....


        • #5
          south side patterns

          Dall sheep do congregate on south facing slopes .....in the winter and early spring.
          But in summer and fall they go wherever they want to be, but they will always be where they have been before. Dall sheep are more patterned than any other game animal in Alaska. They are even more loyal to they previous patterned behavior than mountain goats. (I know others will argue that goats are more patterned than sheep...oh well.)

          Sheep will always be where they have been before. Rams generally keep to themselves enough that we refer to their hangouts as "ram valleys" or "ram bowls" But it would be incorrect to assume that a group of rams would be on a south facing slope....on a hot day. In fact, within the DCUA my client hunters shot carbon copy rams exacty one year apart only four hundred years apart. On the hot year the sheep were on the cool, north side of the ridge in the shade. On the cool summer the 26 rams were on the sunny, hot side laying in the sun.

          But they are very loyal to their former hangouts, As an example, on my personal hunts....( in an "open area"...)
          Rams # 1 and 6 (with my partners ram #1) shot in the same series of beds.
          Rams#2,3,4,5 all shot from the same rock towards a series of beds.
          Rams # 7 (friends ram #2) and my ram 10 and 11 shot in same spot in the same bowl.
          Rams # 8 (a new partners #1), #9 and my #12 (and another new partners #1) all shot in same canyon.

          I have another friend...we forum contributers have a friend (a forum member) and his hunting partner have been just as consistently successful hunting these same places, and other near by ram hangouts.

          So that was 12 of my sheep and 4 friends sheep all shot in 4 locations.

          My number 13 was a DCUA ram...different mountain range, where two client-hunter rams have also tipped over, all within 600 yards of each other.

          Yes, Dall sheep are very loyal to spots the like. They can be easily patterned. But the direction of the slope in relation to the sun seldom seems to have anything to do thier their preferred bedding and feeding locations. Just like you and I, them rams are gonna be where you find em.

          sO, JIMSS, The DCUA, the area your permit is for.....has many, many of these "ram areas" If you train hard and develope the physical and mental toughness you will not have a hard time finding rams.


          AK TAGS
          Imagine (It's easy if you try)
          …miles and miles of mountains…wide expanses of tundra...remote wild waters…
          (Whisper words of wisdom) Let It Be


          • #6

            didn't catch the name on that ram valley/ram bowl.


            • #7
              Dennis ?

              Hey Dennis,

              Were any of those rams shot with a bow? Do you think that you could have taken any of them with a bow?

              I probably shouldn't even start hunting them - are they more addictive to hunt than high elevation rocky mountain elk???


              • #8
                Well, I hate to point out the obvious, but there is a reason the DCUA and the TMA are on the NORTH side of the mountains. So I wouldnt put too much stock in only hunting the South sides of anything. Terrain, drainage, hunting pressure, visibility, wind, are all important and sheep will move a lot depending on the weather anywhere I have ever hunted. I have not had experiences like ATA which is finding sheep in the same exact beds year after year. Sounds like the kind of thing that might happen in an area with extremely low hunting pressure which I have never found...... Sheep in heavily hunted areas will leave the entire drainage at the first sign of trouble.
                “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear


                • #9

                  All my sheep chasing is with rifles. By the time I get within bow range the sheep are already dead. Years ago I was talking with Tony Russ about his bow kills and I said that I'm mostly certain that I would not be a successful sheep hunter with a bow bwcause of the tough country and because of my restless feet. My complements to any and all successful bow hunters.

                  But getting back to the thread topic...ram habits/preferred places....My early sheep were September kills. My later kills were opening week kills. So, generaly speaking, the areas I have repititively found rams does change as the sheep season progresses. the sheep movement has nothing to do with hunting pressure. It has everything to do with ...I don't know (?). But I do believe the movement patterns I have observed are simply seasonal movement patterns.

                  Again, sheep are very loyal to their preferred hangouts. During the years I guided in the southern Wrangells I saw the same pattern. We had about 8 places where rams always were at. Same deal in the Chugach. In June and July there are bowls with nothing in them, areas with lambs and ewes, and bowls where I can go and always see between 4 and 34 rams, and rams only.

                  And right now is the time to see the rams above Turnagain Arm on the south facing slopes, or on the north side of Knik River/glacier, or on the north side of Eagle River....where all (or nearly all) the local sheep are condensed onto the south facing slopes, their winter-ground.

                  Solly....I agree that spooked sheep will go up and over the top into the worst country available, which is why there will be some sheep for next year. But there is unhunted country out there, up and over the top, through all that alder brush, across another glacial river...

                  And lastly...the entire sheep permit concept behind TMA and DUCA stems from the relitively easy access to that country.

                  ....merely my observations and experiences....be aware that some sheep and bears were killed during the formation of these observations and experiences....and the high impact and consumption of these renewable resources may not be appreciated by all readers...

                  Imagine (It's easy if you try)
                  …miles and miles of mountains…wide expanses of tundra...remote wild waters…
                  (Whisper words of wisdom) Let It Be


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