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Dall Sheep

February 04, 2022 2 min read

Dall Sheep

Ovis dalli is the scientific name of the white Dall sheep of the family Bovidae. The Dall sheep is the mountain goat, but the wild sheep has the white coat, and the most notable sheep’s feature is the curved heavier horns of male Dall sheep. Male Dall sheep are rams while females are ewes.

Sub-Species of Dall Sheep:

White Dall sheep has two subspecies,

  • Ovis dalli dalli
  • Ovis dalli stonei

General Characteristics:

Body Color:

Dall sheep have naturally white coats. The coat basically consists of long and hollow guard hairs and a fine undercoat which is also called wool.

Fannin’s sheep of Yukon have abdomen and torso with brown patches while the subspecies Stone’s sheep of northern areas have grey-brown coats.

Body Weight and Body Size:

The male body weight is an average of 80 kg while females are average 50 kg, although they are smaller than bighorn sheep still their height may reach about 3 ft.

Horns:

Both rams and ewes have horns. However, rams horns are more curved and massive than ews. The horn's growth starts at the age of two years, and growth is more prominent in spring, summer and early fall. The annuli or growth rings present over the horns help determine the Dall sheep’s age.

Hooves:

Dall sheep have two-toed with spread out hooves; their hooves have a pad that helps them walk on the rough and dry surface.

Habitat of Dall Sheep:

Dall sheep prefer the dry areas and live in the alpine areas, ridges, steep slopes, meadows. White Dall sheep do not migrate too often, but their migration is directly controlled by temperature, snow, and food availability. Therefore, Dall sheep prefer the areas with no or lower snow and wind-swept areas most liked.

Distribution of Dall Sheep:

The wild Dall sheep inhabit the arctic and subarctic ranges.

Dall sheep are native to northwestern North America, north side of Alaska, west of the Delta River, northern and central British Columbia, eastern and central Brooks Range, Yukon. It is also present in the White Mountains, Nutzotin, Kenai Mountains, Wrangell Mountains, Mentasta, Chugach Mountains.

Diet of Dall Sheep:

Being herbivorous mammals, Dall sheep are ruminants and eat, 

  • Grasses 
  • Lichens
  • Sedges
  • Moss
  • Forbs
  • Mineral licks (calcium-magnesium, calcium-phosphate)

Life Cycle of Dall Sheep:

November and December is the mating season; females give rise to one lamb in the month of May, the lamb start walking within one day after their birth. Lambs are more vulnerable to predators and other threats during the first week and need more protection. The average life span is 12 to 16 years

Predators of Dall sheep:

The predators of lambs and adult Dall sheep are

  • Wolves
  • Golden eagles
  • Coyotes
  • Bears
  • Wolverines
  • Lynx

Dall Sheep Hunting Tactics:

  • July to October is the Dall sheep hunt season. Dall sheep hunt for the skin, meat and their coat.
  • Look for the weather conditions before going on the Dall sheep’s hunt.
  • Please stay off the skyline, as sheep are at the top of the cliffs and don't forget while you are looking at them, it is actually the sheep looking at you, so try to stay in lower areas.
  • When you spot your hunt, be ready for some serious climbing and shoot from the high ground. 



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