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Show Down Along The Gardner

A Photographic Story Of The Big Horn In Rut
by Dan Hartman

Nov. 21, 2011

Cindy and I were crossing the bridge just a mile or so south of the North Entrance when we spotted three rams down by the river. When I hopped out for a quick look I heard that old familiar hollow knock sound. I rushed back for my camera and returned just in time to miss another head butt.

The rams seemed to call a truce then and one by one walked to the rivers edge to drink. A few minutes later and they were back in their jostling mood. First standing apart and glaring at each other, turning their heads to show off horns. Then they closed to push and kick at each other. Two younger rams, one dark and one lighter appeared to be challenging an older dark ram. When they pulled apart again, the big ram walked a few paces then turned to face the other two. He seemed to zero in on the darker ram, completely ignoring the other. The big ram stood tall, leaning forward slightly. When his opponent didnít respond, he pawed at the rocks with his front hoof. This instantly infuriated the younger ram and they came at each other with a rush. On impactí their horns splintered, showering their faces with fragments. They stood apart then, heads held high. The third ram rushed in and assumed a like pose, wanting badly to be included.

Soon the rams began shoving and kicking at each other again and the whole process was repeated. After a time they stopped to drink which was probably why they were there in the first place as no ewes were in sight. High above a mule deer buck watched as if waiting to take the victor.


View slide show

Stand Off

Jousting Rams

Kick !!!

Pawing At The Rocks

Sizing Each Other Up


Their Horns Splinter On Impact

After Impact

Time Out For A Drink

I'll Take The Winner

A Grizz Not Far From Our Cabin Being Escorted By A Ranger