Bighorn sheep tours return to Canyon Lake on June 30 and July 1

See desert bighorn sheep in an intimate setting during tours at Canyon Lake on June 30 and July 1, including a Friday history session and Saturday morning viewing cruise. (Submitted photo)

Arizona Game and Fish Department announces its annual public wildlife viewing tours of the desert bighorn sheep, June 30 and July 1.

Participants ages 10 and older will board AZGFD boats to explore the canyons and bluffs of scenic, Canyon Lake in search of one of Arizona’s most iconic arid land animals, according to a press release.

Biologists aboard each boat will share and interpret bighorn conservation, behavior and biology during the trip. Each boat will have an ice chest for participants to use.

Participants are advised to bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and wear a long-sleeve shirt and long pants to prevent sunburn as the boats do not have canopies, the release noted.

Due to limited space on the boat, attendance is restricted to 30 people per tour, the release noted, adding that tours include a Friday history session and Saturday morning viewing cruise.

“Because mating season will be underway, it’s quite possible there will be plenty of activity and photographic opportunities, we may even see rams fighting or chasing ewes,” said Randy Babb, AZGFD watchable wildlife program manager, in a prepared statement. “Sheep tend to remain close to the water during June and July, so participants may also see young lambs cavorting around their mothers, displaying their masterful agility in precarious locations.”

The location, which is home to some of the largest desert bighorn rams in North America and Canyon Lake, provides one of the best sites for congregating sheep this time of year, the release noted.

In addition to bighorns, 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, the release stated.

The cost is $75 per person and can be paid online. The tour departs the Palo Verde Recreation Area at 7 a.m. Participants need an $8 Tonto Pass for each vehicle parked at the lake; Tonto Passes are available at many convenience markets and sporting goods stores in the Phoenix Metro area or from the Tonto National Forest Mesa Ranger District Office, 5140 E. Ingram Street in Mesa.

For more information or to register, go to: https://www.register-ed.com/programs/arizona/186-world-of-wonder; contact Jeff Meyers at 623-236-7589 or jmeyers@azgfd.gov; or Randy Babb at 480-466-1334 or rbabb@azgfd.gov.

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