ROCKY MOUNTAIN BIGHORN SHEEP

DOW VIDEO: ‘ROCKY MOUNTAIN BIGHORN SHEEP’ THE NEXT BEST THING TO BEING THERE

DENVER, Colo.– Few animals epitomize Colorado’s rugged and unforgiving mountains like the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Yet the vertical terrain that keeps sheep safe from predators also limits opportunities for Coloradans to view and appreciate this majestic animal.

That’s why the Colorado Division of Wildlife dispatched their video production team to scale the steep ledges and rock cliffs along I-70 near Georgetown and capture the drama of bighorn sheep during the “rut” or mating season.  Filmed in high-definition video and recorded in digital audio, “Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep” takes viewers on an intimate journey into the world of Colorado’s state mammal. It’s now available online as part of the Division’s “a.m. Colorado” video library.

Bighorn rams are famous for their aggressive mating jousts; violent collisions that reverberate across the mountains and determine dominance within the herd.  Although the head-to-head combat is an annual rite, capturing this spectacle in high-definition format proved to be a challenge for Division of Wildlife videographers.

“We put in some really long hours on this project,” said Dennis McKinney, DOW video producer and videographer.  “Filming was physically more difficult than we had anticipated and it seemed like we were always in the wrong location or our view was impeded.  We spent nearly two months in the field before we were finally able to get the footage we wanted of two rams butting heads.”

“Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep” is the latest instalment of the Division’s “a.m. Colorado,” an ongoing series of short, online documentaries that capture the early-morning sights and sounds of some of Colorado’s most unique landscapes and wildlife species.  Filmed in high-definition video and recorded in digital audio, these mini-documentaries provide stunning visuals and sound, and incorporate informative captions that both educate and entertain.  In addition to bighorn sheep, current episodes feature the intricate mating dance of the greater prairie chicken, the spectacular breeding displays of the sage-grouse, the springtime gobble of the Rio Grande turkey and unique underwater footage of spawning whitefish, brown trout and kokanee salmon.

“The project was certainly time- and labor- intensive, but it was definitely worth all the hard work,” said Nick Clement, DOW video editor.  “The bighorn sheep are amazing and a great addition to the ‘a.m. Colorado’ series.  We are really happy with the final result.”

Since debuting last year, the “a.m. Colorado” videos have been viewed nearly 15,000 times, and continue to receive rave reviews.  Denver Westword said, “. . . the videos look fantastic and capture some of this state’s most unique early-morning wildlife displays. . . here’s hoping DOW keeps ’em coming.”

The high-definition videos are linked to the Division’s Web site from an outside provider, resulting in faster loading times and outstanding picture quality. To play the videos, viewers need a high-speed Internet connection and the latest version of Adobe Flash installed on their computer.

“‘a.m. Colorado’ is the next best thing to being there,” said McKinney. “We view the series as the ideal format to showcase Colorado’s amazing wildlife on computer screens around the world.”

In addition to the “a.m. Colorado” series, the Division’s video department produces a wide variety of wildlife educational DVDs and Web-based videos, which are distributed to hunters, anglers and wildlife viewing enthusiasts.  This department is also responsible for producing internal training and public-service content for the Division’s constituents and employees.

The “a.m. Colorado” series and other DOW online videos may be accessed directly by visiting the following link: http://wildlife.state.co.us/NewsMedia/Videos/

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.

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