Arizona Game and Fish Biologists Offer Small-group Bighorn Sheep Viewing Experience
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering a unique opportunity to view one of Arizona’s most iconic arid land animals, the desert bighorn sheep, in an intimate, small-group setting on Canyon Lake. The three-hour morning boat tour will take place on June 28.
Participants will board department work boats to explore the canyons and bluffs of this scenic lake in search of these spectacular animals. Biologists aboard each of the boats will share and interpret bighorn behavior and biology during the trip. Due to limited space on the boat, attendance is restricted to 22 people. The cost is $30 per person.
“Arizona’s hotter months provide the best opportunities for seeing sheep up close,” says Joe Yarchin, Game and Fish’s watchable wildlife program coordinator. “Sheep stay close to the water during June and July, and since the mating season is still under way, we occasionally see rams fighting or chasing ewes. But, the thing I enjoy most is watching lambs born earlier in the year cavorting around near their mothers; their agility is a marvel.”
Game Management Units 22 and 24B are home to some of the largest bighorn rams found anywhere in North America. Canyon Lake forms the border between these two administrative areas, and animals from both areas congregate near the lake’s shore at this time of year. This is an excellent opportunity to view, photograph, and enjoy bighorn sheep in their native environment.
The tour will leave Acacia Recreation Area at 7 a.m., heading up lake towards the dam to look for sheep. In addition to bighorn sheep, bald eagles, herons, and a variety of waterfowl are often seen. The area is also home to a myriad of other wildlife including deer, mountain lions, javelina and numerous small mammals, birds, and reptiles.
To register, call Joe Yarchin at (623) 236-7589, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check or money orders should be made out to the Arizona Game and Fish Department and mailed to: Joe Yarchin, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086. Payment must be received within 10 days of registration. Parking for the event will be at Acacia Recreation Area and a $6 Tonto Pass is required to park at the recreation