Through Mike Eastman’s Lens – The Sheep Rut
By the end of October 2012, I found myself heading to the special rutting grounds to film and photograph the mule deer and bighorn sheep courtships. I have been doing this trip every year since the 60s when I would film for my father Gordon Eastman.While I was searching, I ran across this ram I had photos of from the sheep rut in 2011. I compared it to a photo I took this past fall and wondered if it was the same ram? Could he have made it through the 2011-2012 winters, wolves and fall hunting seasons? Sure enough, it was, as the chips and hole in the end of horn are a dead match. This is incredible because these rams are hunted in the fall and this is a great Wyoming ram that eluded a few lucky sheep tag holders.
This old ram banging heads left his horn severally chipped on the driver side. Not only is the chipped horn a dead giveaway, but also the scar on his shoulder. Look how much horn growth he put on in just one year.
This is a photo of the ram the from November 2011 rut. Look at the chips on the horn and the scar on his shoulder.
Here’s a photo from this past December. The scar and chips match up identically.
In 2011, I filmed the ram fighting with a smaller ram. Notice the chips out of the horn on the driver side. He banged heads with this ram for two hours – a real fighter for sure!