My Aoudad hunt

cornchuck

FNG
Joined
Jan 20, 2023
Messages
34
Location
NW Ohio
I had always wanted to go on a Aoudad hunt in West Texas. It was put on the bucket list and one day my wife said to me "Why don't you book a hunt" She was probably felling guilty because she just went to Ireland with her mother. I knew couldn't go on a elk or mule deer hunt because of the money and the time. The money I could probably swing but being a farmer, my time in the fall is solely for the farm. I knew Aoudad could be hunted year around but I didn't want to go in the heat of the summer. So in September of 2022 I booked a hunt for March of 2024.

My hunt was March 8-11, 2024 in West Texas south of Van Horn. I had never been to Texas so I was excited to go. My wife and I drove down from our home in north west Ohio. We left the Monday before the hunt so we could stop at some places on the way like Bass Pro headquarters in Springfield, MO. That store is huge. Bigger than any other Bass Pro that I have been in. I even went through the fishing department and I am not a fisherman anymore.

We made it to St. Claire, MO for the first night. Went to Bass Pro in Springfield the next morning. Spent a couple hours there then made our way to Tulsa, OK for the second night. We saw parts of Route 66 that night. The next morning, we made our way to Lubbock, Tx for the second night.

The next morning (Thursday), my wife rented a car. I was going on to Van Horn. She wanted to go to Santa Fe, NM. My wife didn't want to go on the hunt with me. So we parted ways. I left Lubbock heading south. I got into some ag ground and thought that was cool. Then I got into the oil fields. I got into Midland and headed west, and more oil wells. Never seen so many oil derricks. I made it to Van Horn to meet up with my guide, Casey. We made the hour half trip to the camp. We got the trucks unloaded, made sure my .300PRC was still zeroed, had supper, and got some shut eye. I was surprised I was able to sleep that night.

We got up the next morning and headed out on the side by side. We stayed on one ranch but hunted another ranch that was next door. We had about a 20 minute ride before got onto the ranch. We stopped a couple of times to glass but there was nothing to see. So we kept on going. The third stop, Casey spotted a couple ewes coming over a big hill. They spotted us too. We watched them for awhile then made our way a little more into the ranch.

About 1 in the afternoon, we spotted 3 rams bedded down just soaking up the sun. Two of them looked young. The third couldn't be judged the way he was laying. They were 775 yards from off the trail we were on. We watched them for awhile then they got up. Yes, the 2 were young but the 3rd one looked to be a good one. Casey wanted to get better look of him and possibly make a stalk on him. But as we was moving closer, the ram disappeared. We hiked off the road to try and find him but nothing. So we kept traveling. Didn't find anything else that afternoon that was close enough. So we headed back to the bunk house. It was about dark when we got back and the wind was starting to blow. And it was getting colder.

The wind blew all night. We got up the next morning and headed out in the cold wind. We stopped a few times to glass and harm our hands near the muffler of the side x side. We saw a couple young rams after about the second stop. They were about 1000 yards away on a mountain. While we watching them, noticed this cat moving right above them. The rams were watching the cat. I asked Casey if that was a bobcat because Casey told me that there have been a couple mountain lions spotted on this ranch. I couldn't tell for sure that it was a bobcat or a bob tail mountain lion. I have seen bobcats while deer hunting back home, but I could not see the spots on this bobcat. My guide assured it was a bobcat, he could see the spots through his binos. Oh, by the way. 10x42 binos I would think would be the bare minimum to use for this type of country. Casey was using 12x42's. Plus, he knew what to look for. I was starting pick up on where to look. And started to pick some Aoudad out before my guide.

After watching the young rams and bobcat, we kept moving. It was still cold and the wind was still blowing. We stopped a couple more times to glass and warm our hands up. Finally, about noon, Casey said we have to stop and hike a little to get warmed up. So we did.

We hiked up this hill for about half mile to the other side to do some glassing. We made it to the top and was glassing this mountain in front of us which was about 1100 yds. away. Casey was glassing for awhile and not seeing anything. So he moved to my left about 30 yards and was glassing a different area. I stayed put and kept glassing in front of me just incase something showed up. While I was glassing, I pulled out my sandwich that was made for lunch. It was wrapped in tin foil and I thought I had better get that tin foil put away before I was spotted. Because we were right out in the sun and I didn't want the foil to flash.

After about 20 minutes of glassing, I look over towards Casey and he was running over to me. I knew he must have spotted something. He did. He found a nice old mature ram in front of where we started glassing and right in front of me. I asked "Where did he come from?" We both missed him while glassing. Casey just needed a different angle to see him. He was bedded 1047 yds. at the bottom of the mountain in front of us just laying there soaking up the sun with no care in the world. He was facing us too. We made plan to stalk him. There was 2 hills between the ram and us that we could use to hide us.
We made to the 1st hill to make sure he was still there. Which he was. We got to the 2nd hill which we knew he was just over the other side. Casey slowly crawled up to the peak to make sure the ram was still there. Still there. Casey motioned for me to get up where he was and get set up. The ram had turned in his bed to where he was facing away from us. We ranged him at 212 yards. The shot could have been taken then, but we wanted a broadside shot. So we waited. I was laying prone ready for a shot. Casey was behind me to the left on the binos. After about 30 minutes, I turned to Casey and asked how long has he waited for a shot. He said he has waited for hours before. At one point, the ram laid his head down like he was going to sleep. I would lay my head on the stock of my gun for a couple seconds just to relax my neck.

After about 50 minutes, the rams starting to look around. Like he was going to get up. I thought in my head "he getting up soon". He did. The ram did a 180 and stood there. Casey said when I was ready to take the shot. The bullet went right into the upper shoulder. He ran to our left for about 15 yards, stopped, and laid down. We knew he was done, but I put another in him just to make sure. I know these animals are tough.

We made it to the ram, got some pictures, got the ram caped out, and loaded up for the pack out. When I came for this hunt, I told myself I was going to pack out what ever I got. So for Christmas, my wife got me the Team Elk pack from Eberlestock. It has the built in gun scabbard. Loaded the ram onto my pack with my gun and it was heavy. Heavier than I thought it would be. But I was going to carry this thing out. Casey, being my giude. offered to carry the ram or my gun. But I wanted to carry evrything I took in. I bet my pack weighed 150 lbs. We made the plan to travel some dry wash outs which was all down hill. I thought this was going to be easy. I am a flat lander from north west Ohio ag country. I was mentally ready but physically? We were traveling the drainage, I was keeping up pretty good until we came a 10' drop off. We couldn't keep going down, so we had to go up. We sat for a little bit just to get our breath. While sitting there, I was thinking that I am not going to be able to go up with that heavy pack. My legs were already burning. I asked Casey if we could transfer the head and hide to his pack, which he was more than welcome to take.

When we started to head back to the road, from where I shot the ram, it was 3:30. When we got to the side by side, it was 5:00. Then we had a hour and a half ride back to the bunk house. I was surprised that my legs didn't cramp up as much as they did. I did load up on Powerade when I got back the UTV.

That night, Casey made dinner, caped out the skull of the ram, I got my truck loaded up to leave the next morning.

I told my wife that this hunt was going back on my bucket list. I will do this again.

Jason


Aoudad 2024  .jpgAoudad 2024-2.jpg
 

Lwphunt

FNG
Joined
Mar 17, 2024
Messages
1
Great story and fun memory. On my bucket list as well. May need to learn more about where to go and who to hunt with. Congrats.
 

keller

WKR
Joined
Oct 30, 2017
Messages
641
Location
wi
Congrats on a great ram and story!! Glad it was everything you hoped for!!
 

SCHUNTER73

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Aug 25, 2021
Messages
176
Congrats, I saw your pic on Casey’s instagram page. Heck of a nice ram, you should be really proud. I hunted with him 2 weeks ago out of Alpine.
 

Syncerus1

FNG
Joined
Jan 23, 2024
Messages
53
Super hunt recitation and experience! Well done. Great looking ram. You did it right, for me I would have left the meat, except tenders and loins, to my taste barely ok even if stewed.
 

pods8 (Rugged Stitching)

WKR
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
3,976
Location
Thornton, CO
Congrats. Yeah Barbary sheep are what really drove me to get 15x56 binos. Did you help skin it at all? Its crazy how much the hide clings vs a deer/elk/etc. they make you work for it with the knife.
 
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cornchuck

FNG
Joined
Jan 20, 2023
Messages
34
Location
NW Ohio
Congrats. Yeah Barbary sheep are what really drove me to get 15x56 binos. Did you help skin it at all? Its crazy how much the hide clings vs a deer/elk/etc. they make you work for it with the knife.
No I didn't help cape it out. Casey did it all and I didn't want to get in his way. I did help keep the ram stable, from rolling down the mountain, when he was getting caped out. Casey did go through 4-5 blades when caping the body and the skull.

Jason
 

pods8 (Rugged Stitching)

WKR
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
3,976
Location
Thornton, CO
Congratulations!
and I commend you for packing out your ram , most non resident hunters just
shoot their ram and leave the meat for vermin to eat
How much of that is due to everyone down their telling them to do that? I was on a hunt once and all the TX residents there were bad mouthing barbary (including a wildlife officer) and were amazed I packed meat out. When you drill into it with them most admitted they don't think it tastes bad its just tough... talk about lazy minds. Jerky/grinder/cooking methods all address that.
 
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