Bighorn sheep skull lives up to the name

By , on April 24, 2014

Bighorn sheep skull. Photo courtesy of Alberta News.
Bighorn sheep skull. Photo courtesy of Alberta News.


Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers have discovered a huge bighorn sheep skull near Hinton that has the potential to break the existing record for ram horns.

The ram, which died of natural causes over the winter, had horns measuring 209 1/8 inches according to a representative from Boone and Crocket – an America group that tracks records for big game. The previous record, also from in Alberta, was 208 3/8 inches. It will likely be several months before the measurement can be confirmed.

“It’s no surprise that another potentially record-breaking bighorn sheep has been found along the eastern slopes in West Yellowhead. Alberta has long been a hotspot for hunters and the envy of other jurisdictions because of the variety of hunting opportunities and our sustainable wildlife management practices.”

Robin Campbell, Minister, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
On April 10, as part of government’s ongoing bighorn sheep enforcement program, fish and wildlife officers discovered a large bighorn sheep carcass at the former Gregg River Mine site near Hinton. Bighorn sheep are known spend time at this remediated site in the winter.

Officers collect bighorn sheep skulls to prevent trespassing on the reclaimed mine site and to discourage unlawful possession of these skeletons. In addition, the skulls provide valuable biological data for ongoing research projects.

Facts about bighorn sheep in Alberta

Alberta has a stable, healthy population of 6,500 bighorns living outside the national parks.

Bighorns are the largest of all North American wild sheep.

Adult rams weigh up to 135 kilograms (300 pounds), but adult ewes are much smaller, averaging 70 kilograms (150 pounds).

Bighorn sheep graze on grasses and herbaceous flowering plants.

They may also browse on alpine willows.

As a result of thoughtful and responsible wildlife management, Alberta boasts some of the finest hunting opportunities in the world, including nine big game species and numerous game bird species.

Related information
Bighorn Sheep facts
Photo gallery

Press release courtesy of Alberta News