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For the past several years, I had been thinking about doing a S-n-S aoudad hunt. A little while back, FORESTBOWS posted a thread about a possible hunt available in Texas, so I decided to check into it. I spoke with the young man offering the hunts, and it sounded very promising, so I told him to sign me up for early March. Michael occasionally sent me pics of his scouting trips, as well as a pic of a ram his earlier client took with a rifle. I was getting pretty excited for March 8th!
I loaded up and headed out on the 6th and stayed the night at my buddy’s place In NW Oklahoma and finished driving the rest of the way the next day. I would be hunting north of Lubbock, Tx. The ranch consists of mesquite flats, cedar choked coulees, and some deep canyons. It is part of the Palo Dura canyon system. Definitely some neat country.
Sounds like a challenging bow hunt
This winter is getting very long -- nice to have another hunt to follow.
I met up with Michael first thing in the morning and we headed out to the ranch to see if we could glass up some sheep. It didn’t take long, as we spotted a group of about 30, but mostly all ewes and younger sheep. We spent about an hour glassing with no results, before we headed to another spot to look.
We walked back into some breaks and out onto a point and spent about 30 minutes glassing before we finally spotted a herd of 30-40 sheep about a half mile away, out in a dried up pond, slowly headed up into a cedar choked coulee. The wind was perfect for us and looked like a promising spot to hopefully slip in close enough for a shot.
Once the last sheep disappeared behind the ridge, we took off to try and get in front of them, or slip in over the top of the ridge. We got one ridge over from them, when we ran into a half dozen mule deer. They spotted us and nervously trotted off a few steps before stopping. They did this several times before they finally had enough and trotted off the ridge and right down in the direction of where the sheep were at. Sure enough, we watched as the sheep blew out of the coulee and headed back north a few hundred yards before grouping up again and stopping.
Looks like fun! And country a bowhunter has a shot in!
Michael said that generally, aoudad don’t run clear out of the country if they get bumped. Oftentimes they will settle back down enough to, if you can relocate them, you can get another opportunity (or 4!) to possibly get another shot. The sheep did, indeed, eventually go back to feeding, so we made a wide swing around them and ended up slipping in behind them, on a mesquite/cedar flat. We ended getting to within 40 yards of them, but there was always too much brush in the way to be able to get a clear shot. Eventually, we got picked of by one, and they took off to the north, into a little more broken country. They still weren’t spooked very bad. We kept track as best we could, of their progress, before finally losing sight of them.
Ohhhh heck ya!!! Can’t wait for the “long version!”
Again, we headed their direction, and eventually spotted them near the top of a ridge. They slowly went over the top and down the other side. Once they dropped over the ridge, we hustled over to the back side of that ridge and peered over and down into the coulee. They were milling around down in the bottom at 40-50 yds, but, again there was just no shot opportunity, due to the cedars. They worked their way to the next ridge top, and stood about 100 yds away, before heading into the next coulee.
We again slipped up on them, but the same issue with not being able to get a shot. After the 4th attempt, we finally got busted, and they headed for the rough stuff. Here’s a quick pic that I snapped of part of the herd. The majority of them, including a couple of nice rams, had already gotten into the cedars.
They are so switched on.....fun hunt
A friend and I arrowed one each in the Palo Duro canyon several years ago. It was a blind near bait hunt. A very interesting animal and some spectacular country that I’d never heard of before v
A little bit bummed, yet very excited to have so many close calls this early in the hunt, I was ready to head out to see if we could find another herd to chase! We burned up most of the morning on that first group. We hiked back to the truck, and drove to a different part of the ranch for some more glassing. We spotted a couple more herds, but they weren’t in stalkable positions and a long ways off.
Early in the afternoon, we found another bunch to go after, but we booted them early in the stalk, and we hiked a bunch, but we could never relocate them. It was incredible how good their eyesight was! There were several times that we would sneak in and set up, well hidden in the brush several hundred yards away, to watch and glass. Pretty soon, one would be staring a hole through you. Didn’t help matters that were usually anywhere from 30-60+ animals in the herd. They always seemed to be wadded up in a tight group whenever they weren’t grazing. Even then, they tended to stay very close together. It also made it difficult to pick out a particular animal to target, especially when they had their heads down, feeding.
“Fresh off another season of big buck frenzy, T-Roy, the whitetail Treestand Terror targets Texas trophy!!”
Whatcha bet this ends bloody ?
Later in the afternoon, we found another group to target. We played cat and mouse with them for several hours, making several wide loops, up and down the coulees, but they were always a half step ahead of us. After the last failed stalk, we trudged back to the truck, my out of shape butt dragging the whole way. We drove over to one last vantage point, about an hour before sunset, and immediately spotted a huge herd of probably 70 sheep. My knees and back were both barking pretty good, and I thought seriously about passing on one last stalk, but I pulled my Kuiu panties up, and we headed towards the canyon rim to try and get in front of them before they made it to the canyon.
The sheep were feeding out on a mesquite flat with a few scattered cedars mixed in. Our plan was to skirt along the canyon rim and try to reach a little thicker cover that the sheep seemed to be headed towards. The wind was perfect, and we were far enough over the edge, that we could cover a lot of ground pretty quickly. Soon enough, we were within 100 yds of being in position. There was cluster of short shinnery oak brush, that would be a potentially good ambush spot. Problem was, there was not much other cover to utilize to get to that spot. Belly crawling, I somehow made it to the shinnery without getting busted.
Most of the sheep were now within 50-75 yds of my hiding spot, most with their heads down, feeding. I was having a hard time picking out a specific animal to target. I couldn’t raise up, for fear of getting picked off, so I just held tight, glassing through the shinnery as best as I could. And, of course, one sheep spotted me, and started a stare down that lasted at least 20 minutes, with the other sheep feeding closer all the time. I finally picked out a ram that was within 40yds, feeding head on. I decided I would try and take him if given a chance. The ram finally worked his way to the front and turned broadside at 35yds. The lone sheep was still staring at me, but I decided to chance it anyway. Trying to stay as low as possible, I drew back and raised up on my knees. Most of the sheep immediately went on alert as I settled the pin on my target. I released, hitting the ram towards the back of the lungs. He immediately started running in circles around the herd. The rest of the group were milling about, not quite sure what had just happened. Within 20 seconds, the herd, with my ram included, started quickly making their way towards the canyon stopping every 20-30 yds, still unsure of what had happened. Soon, they beelined it and I lost track of my ram. I stood up to see if I could spot him in the fading light of sunset. Michael called out to me me and said “your ram is right over there, and he’s down!”
He wasn’t the biggest ram in the bunch, but I felt like I had certainly earned him! I don’t how many miles we hiked that day, but I was one tired bowhunter by the end of the day.
Awesome hunt and story! Looking forward to more pictures. Congratulations!
Congrats on a great hunt!
That trophy pic is just spectacular!
"...pulled my Kuiu panties up,..." That made me LOL!
Pretty sure this story is far from over. :-)
Solid work . That’s a great photo!! Hunt
Way to go Troy! Love the sunset picture
Michael had just recently picked the aoudad hunting rights up on this ranch, and they wanted to take some ewes as well, so we decided to chase after them on the second day. It was kind of a repeat of day one. Close, but no cigar a couple of times.
Early in the afternoon, we spotted a small group of 7-8 ewes, in a good spot. Again, we made a big loop around and eventually ended up about 60 yds from them. We watched them until they fed behind some brush, disappearing from our view. I quickly worked my way behind that brush and waited. Soon, a couple of ewes fed their way into the open. I drew, and stepped out enough to clear a small cedar, and dialed in on the front ewe, who was slightly quartering away at what I guessed was 20 yds. They looked back towards my position, but it was too late, as the arrow was already on its way. I hit her a tad low and the arrow exited her just in front of her far shoulder. They quickly took off towards the canyon rim. I hustled around some cedars and was fortunate to catch a glimpse of her as she was bedding down in between a couple of cedars, only 15 feet from the canyon edge! We decided to stay put and just keep an eye on her, and not chancing pushing her over the edge of the cliff. She tried to get up several times, but failed to regain her feet. After a few failed efforts, I decided to try to get between her and the canyon rim, to put a finishing arrow into her. Thankfully, I was able to do so. They are some tuff critters!
Congrats on a super hunt. Lots of adventure there. Nice trophies !!!
We took a few pics, and quartered this younger ewe up, to try the meat. Michael offered me the opportunity to take an additional ewe, for a reasonable trophy fee. I jumped at the chance. Late in the day, we spotted big herd that was out in the middle of a big wheat field, feeding. On what, I’m not sure! They have had zero rain, and the wheat fields east of canyon country are complete failures this year. We watched them and tried to figure out a possible ambush route. That was like herding cats…
We ended up booting the entire herd out into the cedar coulees and breaks, splitting them up into two separate groups. We eventually relocated one of the herds, and the cat and mouse game began again. They were working back toward the big canyon. Michael stayed back as I made another big loop around to try and get in front of their route. I got lucky and spotted them before they saw me. I was within 60 yds from them, but needed to close another 15-20 yds to get to a shooting lane. I almost made it, but got picked off about 5 yds short of where I wanted to get. That sheep got nervous and trotted to the bottom of the coulee and started up the other side, while I eased forward another 2-3 steps. Fortunately, she was one of the first ones in the bunch, and the rest of them would come through the same opening, stop for a few seconds before continuing on the same path.
I caught a glimpse of a nice ewe headed for the opening. I drew and waited as she finally stepped into the opening at 44 yds, and paused long enough for a shot. I hit her a bit too far back, and the entire herd bolted, but only went partway up the hill before stopping again. Watching for any sign of the ewe, I noticed a couple of sheep intently staring down into a wash behind them. After a couple of moments, the herd worked their way up and over the ridge top and disappeared. Michael had finally located my position, and he had caught sight of my sheep bedded down in the wash. I slipped in quickly and put a finishing arrow into her. She wasn’t going anywhere, but I wanted to put her down as quickly as possible.
Congrats, you are living the dream my friend.
I love the Palo dura canyons area.
Congrats, Troy! Nice work!
Nice to see a hunting thread too!
Good stuff. Aoudad are a blast. They don’t run out of the country when spooked, but they can make the chase plenty long. This was the day I killed mine. In the snow to boot!
I knew the Aoudad were in trouble when I saw who started this thread. Congrats on some great sheep, bud!
Congratulations Troy, and neat pics as well!
Outstanding! Nice work buddy. Gorgeous country.
Good work t-roy! Congrats and thanks for the recap!!
Congrats Troy! Thanks for taking the time to post.
Good job buddy! Enjoy your write ups and pics ;-)….. strong work as usual!
Looks like it turned into a fabulous time Troy! Good job!
Any of the meat decent? I've heard mixed reviews.
Looks like a blast. Congrats, Troy!
Thanks for the kind words, guys.
Chris…..I know a guy ;-)
I haven’t had a chance to try any of the meat yet.
Michael was a great kid to hunt with. Crazy thing is, Michael has never killed a big game animal, but I was very impressed with his knowledge of the terrain and how well he knew what the sheep would do under different situations.
Congrats again, Troy....great story and pics!
They make a great mount, with the chaps on the front legs.
Outstanding, total Bucket List for me right there…Great job!
WHAT! two days, three sheep? Nicely done Troy. I might have to put that hunt on my bucket list. my best, Paul
Too cool!! Congratulations
Awesome t-roy!! Congrats!! What a great hunt! An Aoudad hunt has definitely been on my bucket list.
You sure made the most of your trip, congrats! Those pictures are great!
Congrats!! Thanks for the write up, good to finally read a bowhunting story on Bowsite.
ForestBows has led many of us to great hunts. Good for you taking a chance. Enjoy your success.
Man you hiked for those shots bud. That country looks amazing also.
Thanks for sharing, this sounds like something I would love to do some day.
Congrats Troy. I knew there would be critters harmed on this hunt.
Way to go Troy ! Thanks for taking us along!
Nice job T-Roy! Thanks for sharing your hunt. 3 aoudad with a bow is pretty impressive.
Looks like good terrain to bow hunt them in.
Well dang, such a cool area of the states, great hunt...and a real hunt! Congrats buddy!
Congrats Troy! Don't read about many big game bowhunts in March. Sounds like a blast!
Nice job Troy! Cool animals.
Strong work my friend ! I knew blood would be spilled, I just didn’t know how much ! ;-)
Great hunt! Congratulations Troy, you’re a killer!
Congrats Young Fella,
Congrats!! Great recap! Enjoy that meat!!
Excellent work! Congratulations!
Even the ewes are tough to hunt! Always in big groups and always have lookouts. The meat tastes good, but is usually really tough. Ends up being all ground, but that’s ok.
Man, you made that look easy.
Excellent recap Troy!! Thanks for bringing us along in your success and storytelling. Congratulations MBSGA!!
Looking forward to hearing how the aoudad taste
Congrats on a great hunt! Thank you for sharing a very well written story!! Hmmm... Escape the MN weather in March.... You definitely have me thinking.
Thanks guys. I trimmed up all of the meat last night, and I could tell that it will all be definitely ground up and made into burger. Even the loins from the younger ewe seemed pretty tough just trimming it up.
Fantastic write up! Congrats !
Troy, can it be tougher than a freezer full of giant old bucks!??!
Congrats again Buddy! That country looks bow hunting friendly. but tough on bow hunters. Very unique terrain. Beautiful trophies and even a hanging cape would look great.
Great work, Troy!
Sounds like a "target rich environment"...about as fun as it gets, and in the "off Season", no less!
Congrats and thanks for letting us tag along Good luck Lewis
Nothing is safe from Troy! That sunset picture is an instant classic. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.
Great adventure, write up, pics and critters!!!
Spot and Stalk Aoudad....Impressive!
Congrats Troy and thanks for taking us along!
Way to go Troy, one heck of a trip!
Way to go Troy! He will look nice with all those giant whitetails on the wall!
Awesome! They are good eating too! Congrat's!!!!!!!!!!!
Also your thread title was clever and pretty cool!
Palo Duro is a super cool area! I killed my ram there in 2019 as well. Lots of Auodad and some rough, beautiful country! Nice job!
Congrats Troy! I need to go do this. I've wanted to see that Palo Duro Country for a while. Just the history of it. It really wasn't that long ago that the known world ended short of the Palo Duro, and the only people who dared go there were Comanches. Pretty cool
Congrats Troy. Cool looking country and great animals!
You're a killing machine, Troy! Congrats!!
Congrats! Great story..... kuiu panties.... LOL! Made my monday..... Thanks for takin' the time to take us along.
Awesome on a stick......
Nice job buddy, looks like a hunt you'll have to tell me more about!
Thanks for taking us along Troy! This site was in bad need of a good story. I love that moment with your ram where it is end of the day, and it becomes that PIVOTAL moment where a million guys could have convinced themselves to wait for tomorrow, but you reach back down in the tank and keep pushing. Success never tasted so sweet. Many times I think it is that one choice away from the easy road that separates failure and success. Congrats on an awesome hunt.
Congrats troy and thanks for the recap. Adam - I believe that to be absolutely true. Tough spot in a hunt and one decision turns the tables and decides the outcome.
Congrats Troy! Great way to end the winter. I would guess your wife was glad to get you out of the house after this basketball season too!!
Whocares……She WAS a little bummed that I tagged out early ;-)
She actually did pull for the Hawks in the tournament after the first day.
Well done buddy! Sounds like a helluva hunt!
Thanks for breaking up the winter doldrums! Great story. Congrats!
Congrats and thanks for sharing the hunt
Nice job t-roy and thanks for sharing the hunt.
T-Roy just curious if your going to try it in burgers or maid rites or something similar?
Probably try it in several dishes that the wife uses ground burger in.
APauls, exactly right! Half hour of light left and you hear a bugle over that tall ridge. With a long walk back to the truck. You bust your ass up there and call in a Bull actually we called in two. It seems that last extra effort is when it all comes together.
Way to hang in there Troy !
Congrats Troy. Great job
I thought S N S meant shoot and shovel. LOL
You are right about the meat.
I boned mine off and had it on ice in like an hour and I ended up doing Breakfast and Country sausage type with it all.
Steaks can be chewed for like a hour and the taste is rather rough to swallow!! haha
Good luck, Robb
Makes for a dang good meal though with the flavored sausage.
Final cook mixed in all together 'Bachelor Gourmet' style
Some Potato Salad to finalize the meal--------->
I'll toss ya my Recipe buddy,
Congrats t-roy!! That does look like fun.
Nothing is safe from Troy! That sunset picture is an instant classic. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.
that is such a great story and hunt. Well done and thanks for sharing. Big time adventure,