It’s two against one in this bighorn ram skirmish captured off of the North Fork Highway between Cody and Yellowstone. (Greg Wise)

Powell photographer Greg Wise was on the North Fork Highway between Cody and Yellowstone when he spotted bighorn rams beginning their mating season ritual of head-butting battles. 

When a two-against-one skirmish started up, Wise caught the moment. He was on higher ground, allowing him to capture all three of the animals’ bodies in the photograph, as well as one male’s striking eye. 

On that day, the three rams were “just testing each other,” Wise said, rather than engaging in the full-out clashes they are known for.  

Rams fight to determine the dominant male of their group. During these battles, which can last hours, the animals rear up on their back legs and crash their horns with astounding force.

“It’s incredible,” Wise said. “It’s such a piercing sound when it happens. They say you can hear it a mile away.” 

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Katie Klingsporn

Katie Klingsporn is WyoFile's managing editor. She is a journalist and word geek who has been writing about life in the West for 15 years. Her pieces have appeared in Adventure Journal, National Geographic...

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