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West Texas Aoudad, Spot & Stalk
So I finally got the opportunity to head out to the Trans-Pecos of West Texas to hunt aoudad in a free range, spot and stalk environment. I've seen and heard numerous requests for places to do that, that don't involve fences and feeders. I was in the same boat, and wanted to do it like a true sheep hunt. I finally ran across a great young man to help make that happen, so ventured out this past week. The Trans-Pecos is beautiful in its own right, and to combine that with an extremely challenging hunt was just what I was looking for. Thought you might enjoy some of the photos from the hunt.
West Texas is big country, and like any sheep hunt, started with lots of glassing to locate rams.
We started by focusing on one particular peak, and were set up about 1,200 yards away.
We eventually located two very mature rams up in the cliffs. It's no wonder they are so hard to find up in the rocks. It was pretty obvious that both rams were shooters. But the real question...how in the heck to we get within bow range?
Like every other sheep hunt I've been on....it required patience. Logan and I agreed that there was no way we could successfully climb to them without being spotted...or accidentally bumping them once we lost sight of them. So we decided to wait them out, and hope for them to come lower where a stalk would be possible. As hot as it had gotten, we found some shade,....and waited for them to make the next move.
But they never did. From the morning when we first spotted the rams, until right before dark, they never moved more than 200 yards. Just as the sun was going down, they did start feeding, ever so slowly, down the mountain. But it was too late and too far to go after them. So we headed back to the ranch house, under a beautiful sunset.... and planned our attack for the next morning.
"That don't involve fences or feeders"... I like your style! Looking forward to the rest.
The best laid plans...never seem to work out. Our plan had been to find the two rams, hopefully down low where they were pointed the night before, and execute a stalk. But they were nowhere to be found. We searched high and low in the cliffs. And then assumed they were down in the valleys where they had appeared to be traveling. So rather than sitting all day like the day before, we ventured into the mountains on foot. Mile after mile searching every little valley and hill. According to Logan's iPhone, we logged 4.8 miles. But never caught a glimpse of them again. Tired and exhausted from climbing through the rough, rocky terrain, we made it to an old Blazer he had stashed just in case we ever set out on foot. It was a sight for soar eyes. And legs. Unable to find these two rams, we ventured to another part of the ranch.
Around 4:00, we located a group of rams, just coming out of some extremely rocky hills, and heading into a grassy hillside to feed. Because of the time, we didn't bother setting up spotting the spotting scope. Based on our quick glassing, there were definitely mature sheep in the group. With the wind, we had to circle far around the hillside. So we hiked up one small mountain, through the next valley, and then up the backside of the mountain where they seemed to be heading. After an hour and a half of getting into position, we finally spotted 5 rams. So we continued down the hill, under the cover of one cedar to the next. We kept dropping lower and lower, until we spotted the rams feeding about 100 yards out.
Logan stayed back on a large rock with the camera, and I started inching forward on hands and knees. I could just keep track of the backs of the sheep as they were feeding, moving in and out of the cedars and high grass. I finally was able to close within about 45 yards, and then just sit and wait for them to feed closer and offer a shot. I also had to make sure that I was shooting a mature ram, which was a little difficult to do with their heads in the grass. Finally, one of the rams offered a broadside shot, and I drew. But with his head down, couldn't tell if he was sufficiently mature. So I let down. He stepped forward, raised his head and looked my way...and when I saw the mass, realized I should have taken the shot. Several steps later, at 30 yards, I shot.
The group of rams bolted downhill about 40 yards and stopped. Including the ram I had just shot. We honestly didn't realize how many rams were in the group until they started running out.
I'd like to say my first shot was perfect. But that just wouldn't be true..... It hit a bit far back, but a complete passthrough. Fortunately, when the group stopped, so did my ram. He was facing away, and I could see half of him from around a small cedar. So I quickly delivered another shot at 40 yards... arrow shown in this photo.
He ran with the group downhill and across a draw, and then stopped at about 200 yards. Within a few seconds, he laid down in open view.
We were very fortunate that he was an old, mature ram. Lots of mass, and good length. The perfect ram to take.
That's an awesome Barbary/Aoudad! Congrats!
A great hunt and a true trophy. Congrats
In the end, it was an incredible hunt. The Trans-Pecos region did not disappoint. Logan was an amazing guide and outfitter, and provided the perfect opportunity for a spot and stalk hunt. Aoudad are such a unique animal. Tough, wary, and great to look at.
Congratulations... he is a beauty.
Spectacular! Congratulations on a great ram hunt done right!
Nice job ! Great ram. Congrats.
That's awesome! So for those of us that would love to do this hunt. . . Who was the guide?
Outstanding! Great pics, too!
Absolutely amazing animal. Congrats!
Wow! Congrats on a tremendous ram! Especially love the chaps. Looks like quite a few really nice rams were in that group as well.
I am only seeing one ram in the pic, where the ram is standing under the huge rock. (the first 2 rams that you spotted) Is the other ram in that pic as well or is he not in the frame?
Beautiful ram! Congratulations!
Bake - Sent you a PM on the guide/outfitter. Anyone else interested can PM me. I'm just not a fan of broadcasting cell phones on a thread. T-roy, if you look at the very bottom of the picture, in the center, right above a big rock, you'll see its back. He has his head down....
Amazing animals and hunt. Thanks for taking us along!!
Yes that is awesome stuff
That is an amazing accomplishment for free-range aoudad. Those are the most alert critters I have ever hunted and just getting in rifle range proved as much challenge as I was up to taking on a few years ago in that same region. Congrats and thanks for posting the recap and pictures.
Amazing! Congratulations on a beautiful ram with a bow to boot!
Awesome! Aoudad have been on my list for a while, really need to make it happen.
That's an awesome accomplishment!
Awesome. Great job, buddy. Congrats!!
Congrats great pictures and story! Thanks for sharing!
Gorgeous ram! Thanks for sharing the hunt!
Awesome, hey are on my short list. I have talked to a few outfitters, his haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I’ll shoot you a PM. Congrats.
"No feeders no fences"...who would have ever thought that would be considered hunting anyway?
Congrats man, great ram and that's some cool country!
Way to go! Appreciate the pics and write up. Beautiful ram!
Super cool I need one of those!!!
Spectacular hunt description and pics! Well done sir!
Great accomplishment and beauty ram!
Very Nice indeed!!
Good luck, Robb
Nice job Alan. Awesome ram and great story.
Very cool! Something I have dreamed of doing.
Thanks for sharing.
Awesome Billy! Great storied and photos! I hope to hunt these someday!
Thanks, guys. So I don't know what his current price is since I booked mine last year (everyone out there is pretty close in price), but I can tell you that I could have booked this hunt 15 times for what I paid for one desert sheep. And the funny thing is, I killed my desert sheep about 15 miles from this same spot, in exactly the same kind of terrain, on exactly the same kind of spot and stalk hunt. And because there is no hunting season, it's a great "off-season" hunt. That's what makes this such a great hunt. It's a true sheep hunt, for a fraction of the price.
GREAT "off season" big game hunt. Amazing what kind of animals can survive in that county. You did well.
"STASHED A TRUCK" Now that is a cool guide. my best, Paul
Great Hunt and story.Thanks Tough to do with a Bow. Nicely Done! If thats the same Logan I hunted with down there he lives to hunt. Up and Comer!
Quick Draw, that looks like a great hunt, and the real deal, not some canned thing. I never thought of hunting exotics in Texas but this is a game changer. Thanks for posting.