Big Boys – Rocky Mountain Bighorn Rams
Limited Edition of 200, 20″ x 26″ – $150.00
Open Edition 10″ x 13″ – $40.00
Mature rams form their own bands in the spring; separate from the young rams, lambs and ewes; and move from valley ranges in the winter to alpine ranges in the summer. In the autumn, the older rams descend to rejoin the others for the rut. Prior to the rut, the rams posture and do battle to assert dominance. Young rams are usually eliminated from the contest, and the most powerful rams with the heaviest horns combat and do most of the breeding. Head to head clashes are heard for long distances echoing through the valleys like trees splitting in extreme cold. The smacking of horns between rivals can be repeated five or six times hourly. One observer reported a contest lasting over twenty hours before one ram finally gave way to the other. Most bouts are settled after four to six body wrenching collisions. The victors breed the ewes as one of nature’s ways to ensure that the gene pool of the population remains healthy and virile.
In the drawing, “Big Boys”, the central ram is most dominant at the peek of his life cycle. The ram to the right is older and past his prime but still retains dominance over the younger less experienced ram on the left. The youngest ram, lowest ranked of the “Big Boys”, awaits his turn to reign supreme; however, young rams occasionally seize the opportunity to breed with ewes while older rams are occupied doing battle. Youth possesses rejuvenation – the ability to play, grow and develop. With age this ability slows, stops and even recedes. Before strength wanes, rams must earn the right to leave their legacy to those who follow. Nature is sometimes harsh, even violent, but always practical.