A 9-year-old ram whose skull was found on Wild Horse Island is poised to break the record for world’s largest ram.
The Missoula-based Boone and Crockett Club records bighorns’ size using the sum of each horn’s length and their circumferences at quarter-length intervals, minus the difference between the two sets of circumference measurements.
In December, FWP reported that three rams recently collected on the Flathead Lake island likely ranked among the ten largest bighorns ever found, and that one was within striking distance of the world record, a 209 and 4/8-inch ram killed in Alberta in 2010.
But per the club’s regulations, each skull had to complete a 60-day period outside the freezer before it could be measured and scored.
On Wednesday, with this waiting period completed, the ram was measured and received a score of 216-3/8, blowing away the previous record holder. Its horns and skull weigh about 48 pounds.
The world record will become official in early March, when a panel of senior Boone and Crockett officials will convene in Bozeman and verify the ram’s entry score measurements.
The two other rams were measured at 205-2/8 and 209-0/8, both in the top 10.
State wildlife managers credit these animals’ impressive growth to careful management of Wild Horse Island’s environment.
“Wild Horse Island is a unique state park that provides world-class wildlife viewing opportunities for the public,” said David Landstrom, State Parks Manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 1, in a press release. “We’re devoted to preserving this special place, and we look forward to working with conservation partners to perpetuate critical habitat work that maintains this incredible bighorn sheep herd,”
The public will be able to view the horns and skull at Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 1 headquarters, located at 490 North Meridian Road in Kalispell, between noon and 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23.