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School me on hunting Texas Exotics
I’d like to bow hunt Axis and Aoudad in Texas. Who has hunted them and can supply some information? I’m not interested in high fence. In general how wary/difficult of a hunt is this? All spot and stalk or is there stand hunting as well? Are they only hunted certain times of the year (I realize there is not a season but it seems like they’re mostly hunted summer months) For those who had a good experience I’d appreciate ranch/ outfitter suggestions. Thanks!
I've managed a few in Tx., High fence & not. I did all my bowhunts on day lease ranches. No guarantee of a shot or kill & no added trophy fees. I did 4, 4 day bowhunts for Axis & took one on the last day, last afternoon of my last hunt. The other times I managed a Fallow twice. Axis are tough, high fence or not. Oh, the High fence places I did bowhunt were 4000 & 5000 acres, not a walk up & shoot pen for damn sure. Go to Texas Bowhunter message board & their rate the day lease section. These fellas are great & will point you in the right direction. Caution, lots of not so good places out there.
Maybe try for a Texas dall sheep if you get a chance
Hunted a couple high fence Texas ranches.
1 in 4 days only axis I saw were walking to my stand and they took off like a shot. Never saw a sika, red stag, Catalina goat or scimitar oryx the entire time there. Had one Blackbuck come in two small to shoot let pass.
One ranch hunted for 3 days and finally on last day at last min took an Addax with a rifle. Saw one axis while in blind that gave me great shot, but my wallet wouldn't allow it. Only Aoudad seen were hauling ass to next country. Other animals seen on stand were very leary and spooking.
One ranch I left after one day, as guide was on some sort of drugs, was rude crude and the animals would follow the trucks around looking for food. Was pathetic.
Do your research, there are good and bad thats for sure.
Btw the last and most miserable was the largest of all the ranches. They were all between 1500 and 5000 acres.
Good luck in your search.
Most likely you wont be able to hunt free range axis and aoudad within several hours of each other. Most Aoudad is spot and stalk in West Texas and most axis is around Sonora/Junction and east towards Austin/San Antonio. Id say you need to plan on spending 3-5 days for each. There is a small part of their ranges that overlap with consistency but otherwise its a crap shoot on what might show up. Axis with a bow is almost 100% going to have be over a feeder as they live in cedar thickets in the hill country. Aoudad could be spot and stalk buts its tough and they get hunted hard with a rifle. A mature free range axis or aoudad with a bow is very tough and a great accomplishment these days.
There are lots of ranches that are high fenced with several thousand acres or more that still provide good challenging hunts. Its making sure you avoid the tiny petting zoos. Also after the big freeze a couple years ago, pricing went up on exotics, not to mention the texas economy is doing well.
hunted both axis and aoudad free range a lot. I love it more than almost any other hunting except elk rut..I found my own leases in Texas on private grounds which I negotiated directly with landowners. .None of my axis were over feed of any kind. Where there is a good population, you can hunt funnels or bedding areas . they move around in daylight a lot more than most whitetails. They are really wary so tree stands are better than ground blinds. And you need a quite bow and quite fletching in flight..Aim for low heart, if they duck you can still connect most times.. I in 15 or so years I have made about 20 plus weekend trips for axis hunts. I have taken 8 axis bucks (all bow) and two auodads,and one black buck. all low fence non commercial ranches . it is just like getting good whitetail property in Kansas or Iowa; it takes a lot of work to find a good place
Both are tough with a bow. Axis are some of the most wary animals I have ever hunted. Good luck on your search!
last day rifle kill. Almost got a bowshot twice
last day rifle kill. Almost got a bowshot twice
Auodad are the wariest wild sheep there is. I was able to draw a bighorn tag in Colo and have photographed bighorn a lot many years ago. I have enjoyed chasing aoudad with a camera almost as much as hunting them with a bow. But I am lucky , I live just a couple of hours from lots of good "barbary" country in both Texas and NM. I am NM resident and draw tags adn hunt some private across the line in Texas when I didn't. Took me many years to take my first aoudad with a bow. took another the next year cause I paid my dues and learned how to stalk them. It's a real good time If you are in shape. I am still in shape but don't have the desire to chase them anymore at 71,especially since the rams are not good to eat, compared to axis , I will still bowhunt axis and elk for as long as I can. I can say that Nilgai don't cost more than trophy axis in average outfitters prices. After bowhunting them a couple of days without a bowshot I picked up guides rifle and took my only rifle critter in 30 years. I want to try with a bow again.Nilgai best value pound per pound. Daily limit outfitters and king ranch have quality Nilgai free range hunts. Very fun hunt to spot and stalk nilgai with a bow
Thanks everyone for all the great info. My worries about them not being very wary are gone and I’m more excited about hunting them. I’ll likely start out Axis hunting out of a stand and go from there. I hear the meat is delicious and that’s a big deal to me. What’s the average Axis hunt cost?
As mentioned above many Texas exotics took a big hit from a freeze a couple of years ago.
Because of that the price to hunt some exotic species sky rocketed. Axis , nilgai and blackbuck really took a price jump that has not really adjusted downward and probably never will
A Trophy Axis deer is one with main beams being longer than 30 " and having good brow tines and long Caudal tines. Pricing for Axis in that class will probably run somewhere between $3500-$6000 with either an additional daily rate of anywhere between $250-$450 or an inclusive price
Do your homework well while vetting whomever you are thinking about going with. There are a lot of sub par outfits out there, just like in other states
FYI. A free range Aoudad hunt or high fence hunt will be in the higher end of the Axis pricing.
Good luck. They are both awesome critters to hunt
I have taken several species of exotics in Texas and Oklahoma. I have taken both aoudad and axis bucks. Neither were "fish in the barrel" types hunts. The animals were very wary and difficult to get within my effective shot range. Remember that most exotic sheep are "vital forward" animals as compared North American game animals. "High Fence" is a relative term. Property size and thickness of coverage are key elements to the challenge.
You have to do your research- one of the first questions to ask is about property size.
Axis bucks usually start at about $3500 for a 30” and go up as size goes up. I don’t know what aoudad hunts cost, (on some ranches the leasees consider them a pest), but on the pay-to-play ranches they will probably be more expensive than an axis buck. As Greg said, first question to ask is how big the property is, the bigger, the better.