Nebraska March 01, 2019
The Magical Places In Nebraska Where You Can View A Wild Bighorn Sheep Herd
We’ve all seen the typical wildlife roaming Nebraska: deer, cranes, river otters, maybe even the occasional elk or bison and plenty more. But how often do you get to see the majestic bighorn sheep in real life? In western Nebraska you can do just that, and it’s truly impressive.
Among the buttes and canyons of western Nebraska lie some of the most rugged, spectacular natural areas in the state.
Wildcat Hills and Pine Ridge are two recreation areas that sit about 65 miles apart, but they share breathtaking wilderness and the kind of wide-open space that we Nebraskans love.
This region of Nebraska is the only place in the state you can see bighorn sheep. There are two herds, one in Pine Ridge SRA and the other in Wildcat Hills SRA.
The sheep live among the craggy hills, easily navigating the difficult terrain. Their diet consists of grasses and woody plants.
These impressive beasts can grow to 300 pounds, though some have been found to weigh as much as 500 pounds. Their horns alone weigh around 30 pounds.
In recent years, the bighorn sheep population in Nebraska has declined dramatically due to widespread pneumonia. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and other wildlife professionals have worked tirelessly to control the disease and help the two herds recover.
Many of the sheep have been fitted with tracking collars to allow wildlife professionals to track their locations and health.
The Game and Parks Commission has been known to host excursions to see the majestic bighorn sheep in both Pine Ridge and Wildcat Hills. Seeing them in person is an unforgettable experience.
Head to Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area near Scottsbluff or Pine Ridge SRA near Chadron for a chance to see the only herds of bighorn sheep in Nebraska.
Have you ever seen the bighorns in person? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!