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Bighorn sheep festival takes place this weekend

On Nov. 16-17 the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) will once again sponsor its annual Moab Bighorn Sheep Festival.

The event is free to the public.

Participants of all ages are invited. No pre-registration is needed. Sheep watchers are encouraged to bring a pair of binoculars, spotting scope, snacks, beverage and camera. The DWR will guide participants to locations where Bighorns have recently been observed.

DWR personnel will have extra spotting scopes and binoculars for public use. The DWR will also have several large four wheel drive passenger vehicles available for those who wish to carpool.

The event begins on Friday evening, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Moab Information Center, located at the corner of Center and Main. Bill Bates, DWR wildlife program manager for southeastern Utah, will present a power point program on Bighorn sheep ecology and life history. For Bates' master's degree thesis, he studied Desert Bighorn Sheep in the Moab area.

Bates will also display skulls and horns of Bighorn sheep and will answer any questions the public may have.

The following morning at 8 a.m., participants will gather at the Moab Information Center once again, where they will split off into groups in search of bighorn sheep. Each caravan of vehicles will be guided by a wildlife biologist. All parties will be in radio contact with one another, so that everyone can be advised of any other group's success at finding sheep.

Those who wish to drive their own vehicles may leave the group at any time. For those, who ride-share, fieldtrips generally finish by noon or early afternoon.

The festival has been scheduled for the Nov. 16-17 weekend because Bighorn sheep are in the rut at that time. During that time Bighorn rams seek out ewes for breeding and engage other rams in head-butting and other ritual showmanship. This makes for exciting public viewing.

Remember that no pre-registration is necessary, nor is there any cost associated with the event.

For more information, contact Brent Stettler at 435-613-3707 or brentstettler@utah.gov.





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