Water sources are an important habitat component for populations of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), and the technique of sampling at water sources has been used extensively to study behaviors and estimate parameters of bighorn populations. Little is known, however, concerning the time of day at which groups of bighorns visit water. Understanding when bighorns visit water sources will allow wildlife investigators to conduct sampling when bighorns are most likely to be present at this resource. We quantified use of 7 water sources by reintroduced bighorn sheep during summer 2005 and 2006 on Antelope Island State Park, Utah. Our purpose was to determine if female, male, or mixed-sex groups visited water at a particular time and if visits to this resource by all bighorns differed in time during drought conditions compared with nondrought conditions. The mean time that all bighorns visited water was 14:22 (s = 3:08 hours). No time differences existed among female, male, or mixed-sex groups or between drought and nondrought conditions. Our results provide wildlife investigators with a time frame for activating motion-sensor cameras or sampling at water sources, which will increase the likelihood of photographing or observing reintroduced Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep at water sources in portions of the Great Basin Desert.
Whiting, Jericho C.; Bowyer, R. Terry; and Flinders, Jerran T.
"Diel use of water by reintroduced bighorn sheep,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 69
, Article 18.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol69/iss3/18