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 Bighorns on the hillside

Summer is the best time to see bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah.

Brent Stettler
Brent is the DWR's conservation outreach manager for southeastern Utah. He loves wildlife and the outdoors and spends his free time exploring the backcountry.

NEARLY EVERY YEAR, around the middle of June, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) hosts a bighorn sheep watch in Sunnyside. This year, we’re holding the event on Saturday, June 18. The best viewing generally occurs from late afternoon until dusk, so DWR biologists will be on hand from 4–7 p.m. to help you locate animals and answer questions.

Two Rocky Mountain bighorn rams at Sunnyside in 2008

The Sunnyside bighorn herd consists almost entirely of rams, which number around 25, depending on the day and year. Each year, the sheep spend their summer in the general vicinity of the firestation and surrounding cliffs. They water at Grassy Trail Creek and forage on native and reclaimed vegetation in the area. This particular group of bighorns is accustomed to vehicle traffic and humans, and can often be observed and photographed at close range.

On June 18, DWR personnel will have spotting scopes and binoculars available for public use, although we encourage you to bring your own optics, if you have them. There is no cost for the event, and you don’t need to pre-register. Everyone is invited to participate. Viewing is done from the road, so people with disabilities don’t need to worry about hiking or walking. However, please leave your dog at home. Dogs can startle the sheep. Noisy people can have the same effect. Please show courtesy to other wildlife viewers and try to stay fairly quiet.

A bighorn ram on the hillside

Sunnyside is less than 20 miles east of Price. From Price, travel southeast on U.S. Highway 6 to its junction with State Road 123 (East Carbon/Sunnyside junction). On State Road 123, travel east to Sunnyside, where signs will guide participants to the viewing area.

If you have scheduling conflicts on June 18, don’t be disheartened. You can drive down another day. The sheep stay in the same general area until early fall. They can often be seen somewhere near the road at the far side of town or in the canyon up to the rodeo grounds. Although seeing the sheep is a gamble whenever you go, you will have the best luck from late afternoon until dark. For more information, give me a call (435-613-3707) or email me at brentstettler@utah.gov.

2 Responses to Bighorns on the hillside

  1. I enjoyed helping at the Sheep watch. I think the public that showed up also enjoyed it.
    Good job Brent.

  2. I wish I would have known about this sooner. I will be certain to go if it is held again. Sounds like a great time!

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