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What is the major different of Rocky Mt and Desert??
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Rockies are larger animals with larger horns in general although the top 5 records for each species are close to the same size. Rockies have larger sculls, longer noses, bigger bases, and are on average at least 100 lbs heavier. They look squattier too becuase their chests are more square and beefy. In some areas, a rocky coat will be more gray/brown while deserts are usually somewhat cream colored. I have even seen a few that where kinda pinkish/taupe.
In the nine mile/range creek unit around Price, Utah, there have been a few documented rocky rams that have wondered out into the north end of the San Rafael Swell and bred with a desert ewe creating an odd looking mix. Huge horns are usually the result with a narrow neck and body and triangular shaped noses. These rams look like the weight of their horns could tip them over because they are so unbalanced. Of course, if you shoot one of these on a desert tag, B&C will score it as a rocky! This really stinks if you needed a desert to complete your slam!
There are also several different strains of desert sheep. Nelsons and Mexicanas are the most common. Utah has had both transplanted here from baja california and Nevada and Arizona. The ram my dad killed looked a lot like a mexicana.
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I don't think most people can comprehend the vastness of some of southern Utah and the difficulty to access some of those canyons. If it wasn't for Lake Powell that area might not even show up on a map!!
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You aint a kiddin'! That is why it is the most remote area sheep have been found. So many unexplored, unreachable areas that not all the sheep have been found. Some have been released in this area and have never been seen again even in arial surveys! I know several guys have taken rapelling gear on their hunts so they could get to the top of a mesa they thought would hold sheep!
After my hunt, I learned part of the area that the biologist thought might hold sheep and we sat down and he took some official statements and gps locations from me so he could check them out by plane. I found one spring that had sheep droppings piled up about 6 inches all the way around it and some monster tracks led up to the water. This spring was completely hidden from the air and not on any map but was about 4 miles from a drop-off guzzler the sheep hadn't even touched. They couldn't figure out why it wasn't being used. It was because they are habitual animals and will never deviate from a known water source. They have found desert ewes that died of dehydration because their habitual water source (in this case, a guzzler) dried up and the sheep wouldn't go look for another drink!
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There might even be some ancient ones living in there some where!!
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In fact, you are absolutely correct. This unit is so remote that is was never used for domestic sheep ranching so there are wild sheep in that maze that are native! I have seen a herd in this area that were native and it was the coolest thing I have ever seen in my hunting career. After hearing about these possible native sheep and how they look, I know the ones we saw were native by their unusual appearance. They had different faces and different eyes and were very pinkish in color. It was like looking at a ghost from the past. Almost eery. They had no idea what we were. We quite possibly were the first humans they had ever seen by the way they acted. They didn't know if they should run, come closer, or just stand there and figure us out. We got about a 3 minute close encounter and then the lead ram bolted away and down a 500 foot cliff.
There are also native desert bighorns in the San Juan unit and up the Escalante arm of Lake Powell. Some of the San Juans have never been close to a human but the ones up the lake a bit have. Many visitors on house boats have seen ram bands come down to water in the morning. Some of these are transplants and some are native.
The biggest herd of deserts in Utah are in the San Rafael swell on both sides of I-70. That is the boundary for the north and south sub-units. There are thought to be well over 1000 sheep in this area. But again, because of the remoteness of this area and all the little hiding spots in the slickrock, no one is absolutely sure of how many there really are.
It's too bad you have goat points and not sheep points [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] Just kidding. Goats are cool too. I keep tabs on the ones on Leihty peak, Beaver mountains, Box Elder mtn, and the Timp units. I can watch the ones on Timp from my backyard! Uncle B also takes frequent trips up the mountain to look at them. He has some great pictures of them from arms length! B, can you post them?
Here is some more pics of sheep country. Sorry, I just get so excited about sheep I can't help myself.
THis is more of the East K. unit:
Lots of places to hide huh?
Here is probably a good specimen of the Nelsoni type desert:
This one was taken on the beaver dam mountains by St. George:
And here is my dads ram that looks Mexicana. This is the unit record for the East sub unit: