New Idaho State Record California Bighorn Sheep

Brad Visser with his Idaho California Bighorn Sheep

This huge new Idaho state record California Bighorn sheep was taken by Brad Visser this fall in Southwestern Idaho. It will shatter the current Idaho state record for California bighorn sheep.

The California bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis californiana is considerably smaller than the Rocky Mountain bighorn, with rams of the same age weighing as much as 50 pounds (23 kg) less. The horns are shorter and less massive, and tend to have more flare. The ears are longer, the coat is not as heavy, and the color is lighter, being more gray than brown. Normally a dark stripe extends from the dorsal area through the white rump patch to connect with the dark tail, whereas in the Rocky Mountain bighorn this stripe is usually interrupted or absent. Their habitat tends to be less steep and rough than that of the Rocky Mountain bighorn, with more grass and less browse. In Idaho, California bighorn sheep inhabit only a small portion of the Southern part of the state.

All California bighorn sheep entries into the record books must show the name and number of the game management unit in the province or state where they were taken. Many populations of California bighorn sheep are the result of introductions and/or transplants, but are treated as indigenous for record-keeping purposes.

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