Dall Sheep photos

Dall sheep photos gallery

All of the Dall sheep photos on this site may be licensed as stock photos for business use, or purchased as fine art prints for your home or office. While sheep inhabit large areas of Alaska, the bulk of my Dall sheep photos are from the slopes of Denali National Park and the Brooks Range mountains in Alaska’s Arctic.

Dall Sheep (Ovis dali)

Dall Sheep inhabit Alaska’s Interior and Arctic mountain ranges. They prefer open alpine ridges and meadows for feeding and retreat to nearby steep slopes for rest and safety. The winter weather in these mountain areas can be severe, making food sources sometimes difficult to access. Dall sheep generally inhabit high country but sometimes travel below timberline to feed or during seasonal range migration.

Dall sheep photos: Dall sheep rams rest on a mountain ridge in Polychrome Pass, autumn colors in the distance, flanked by the Alaska range mountains, Denali National Park, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Dall sheep rams rest on a mountain ridge in Polychrome Pass, autumn colors in the distance, flanked by the Alaska Range mountains, Denali National Park, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)


Flock of dall sheep rest on rocky mountain slope of Sable mountain in Sable pass, Denali National Park, Interior, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

A flock of Dall sheep rest on the rocky mountain slope of Sable mountain in Sable Pass, Denali National Park, Interior, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)


Dall sheep photos: Dall sheep ewes and lambs climb along the rocky cliffs of the Brooks Range, Arctic, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Dall sheep ewes and lambs climb along the rocky cliffs of the Brooks Range, Arctic, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Physical Description

Dall sheep are a white/ivory color, they are sometimes confused with mountain goats. However, goats and sheep inhabit different geographical regions, and despite their similar color, look quite different. Male Dall sheep are called rams and females are called ewes. Massive curling horns distinguish the males from the more slender and slightly curved horns of the female. As rams mature, their horns arc to form a circle when viewed from the side. Horn size can be used to determine age by referencing the distinctive growth rings that mark each year. Horns reach half a circle in about two or three years, three-quarters of a circle in four to five years, and a full circle or “full curl” in seven to eight years. They can live up to 12 years.

Dall sheep photos: Dall sheep ram on a mountain ridge in Denali National Park, interior, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Dall sheep ram on a mountain ridge in Denali National Park, interior, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)


Dall sheep photos: Dall sheep ewe, Atigun pass, Brooks Range mountains, arctic, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Dall sheep ewe, Atigun pass, Brooks Range mountains, arctic, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Lambs

Lambs are born in late May or early June. As the birthing time approaches, ewes seek solitude and protection on rugged cliffs. Ewes bear a single lamb and they remain in the safety of the cliffs for a few days until the lambs are strong enough to travel. Lambs begin feeding on vegetation within a week after birth and are usually weaned by October. Normally, ewes have their first lamb at age 3 and produce a lamb annually.

Dall sheep spring lambs in the Brooks range mountains, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Dall sheep spring lambs in the Brooks range mountains, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)


Dall sheep photos: Dall sheep ewes and lambs forage for food in the snow in atigun pass, Brooks Range, Alaska (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Dall sheep ewes and lambs forage for food in the snow in Atigun Pass, Brooks Range, Alaska (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)


Dall sheep lambs, Atigun pass, Brooks Range mountains, arctic, Alaska. (Patrick J Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Dall sheep lambs, Atigun pass, Brooks Range mountains, arctic, Alaska. (Patrick J Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Social System

Sheep have well-developed social systems. Adult rams live in bands which seldom associate with ewe groups except during the mating season in late November and early December. The horn clashing is used to establish order among the group. The clashing occurs throughout the year but increases in frequency before the mating season, or “rut”. Dall rams typically do not breed successfully until they approach dominance rank which is usually at full curl horn size.

Dall sheep photos: Background has been blurred. Two Dall sheep rams crash horns as part of a dominance display on a mountain ridge in Denali National Park, interior, Alaska (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Two Dall sheep rams crash horns as part of a dominance display on a mountain ridge in Denali National Park, interior, Alaska (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)


Dall sheep photos: Dall sheep ram follows ewe in the winter snow during the rut in Atigun canyon, Brooks Range mountains. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Dall sheep ram follows ewe in the winter snow during the rut in Atigun canyon, Brooks Range mountains. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Food Habits

Dall sheep diets vary from based on location. During the summer months when food is abundant they consume a wide variety of plants. Due to snow cover, the winter diet is much more limited and consists primarily of dry, frozen grass and sedge stems. Some populations consume significant amounts of lichen and moss during winter. Many Dall sheep populations visit naturally occurring mineral licks during the spring. While sheep may travel to mineral licks, they are loyal to their home ranges.

Dall sheep ewes graze on the tundra vegetation, decorated by ross avens, in the Brooks mountain range, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Dall sheep ewes graze on the tundra vegetation, decorated by ross avens, in the Brooks mountain range, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)


Dall sheep photos: Dall sheep ram feeds on willows in Polychrome Pass, Denali National Park, Interior, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Dall sheep ram feeds on willows in Polychrome Pass, Denali National Park, Interior, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Photographing Dall Sheep

Photographing Dall sheep is popular for many visitors and residents of Alaska. The greatest success can be found in areas where sheep are protected from hunting pressure. Denali National Park is one of the most popular and favored destinations for sheep photography because the animals show little fear of humans. To access sheep habitat, however, may require some climbing since sheep prefer the high alpine slopes for summer feeding.

Dall sheep photos: Hiker photographs Dall sheep on a mountain ridge in Denali National Park, interior, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Hiker photographs Dall sheep on a mountain ridge in Denali National Park, interior, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)


Dall sheep ram in the snow along the Brooks range mountains in Atigun canyon. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Dall sheep ram in the snow along the Brooks range mountains in Atigun canyon. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)


Tourists congregate along the Seward highway to view dall sheep ewes with lambs, southcentral, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

Tourists congregate along the Seward highway to view Dall sheep ewes with lambs, southcentral, Alaska. (Patrick J. Endres / AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com)

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Dall sheep photos slideshow