Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Desert Bighorn Sheep?

This morning, I took a long day-hike in Guadalupe River State Park, and I saw something I've never seen on my other hikes in Texas.  I came around a curve in the trail and about 150 feet ahead were about six rams, I presume male, desert bighorn sheep.  They had light beige tops and dark brown on their undersides.  At first I couldn't see them clearly, and puzzled about what they were.  They were as big as ponies.  But we don't have any wild ponies.  Then I thought about wild boar, there has been some churned up dirt that looks like it was done by wild pigs.  But these were BIG.  That thought made me a bit nervous, as the trail wound pretty close to their location.  Then I saw their curved horns.  I went from nervous to uneasy, I had never seen rams in Texas, and I didn't know how they would react. Unfortunately, I haven't been taking my camera on my day hikes--once you've been to a state park here, you really don't get any new, unique photo shots.  Normally, that is.

I waited a few moments watching them, then slowly started on down the trail.  At that, they decided to leave their grazing location and take off towards the nearest dense wooded area.  That's when I realized there were six of them.  Even more interesting, they ran straight toward a moderate sized herd of white-tailed deer I hadn't noticed.  This panicked the deer who ran ahead of them.  Kind of reminded me of an African safari on TV where the animals are panicking.  The sheep made the deer look small.  Admittedly, Texas white-tail deer around here are not real big except for a few bucks that can get pretty hefty.

In under a minute, the dual herds of sheep and deer went into the dense woods and disappeared.  I continued my hike, enjoying my rather unique and exciting few moments.

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