I’d been down in Texas hunting deer and javalina for 9 days and was on my way back from a friends ranch when I got a call. It was an invitation to delay my return home a few days to hunt aoudad, also known as Barbary sheep. The hunt was in conjunction with a group called Operation Pay It Forward, that organizes hunts for active military and veterans on properties owned by TM Exotics and Whitetail Hunts.
I used to hunt exotics quite a bit with big bore rifles, back in the early days of big bore airgun hunting in the early 2000’s, this was one of the only hunts we could do for larger game with an airgun. In more recent years I started going after deer, javalina, and of course hogs…… I’d not done much hunting for other exotics, and had lost interest in most. There are a few exotics that I do gravitate towards, often ones that are hard or impossible to hunt in the original range. For me the trifecta of exotic hunting in Texas comes down to three species, the fallow deer, the blackbuck, and the aoudad. I’d actually been on aoudad hunts in the past, but had only managed to bag one small ram several years ago.
I’d planned to use a .457 custom prototype gun I’d been testing but ran into an issue preventing me using it on this hunt. The other gun I had along with me was my Texan in .308, which is light for these heavy body sheep. Aoudads can stand 3.5 feet at the shoulder and weigh up to 350 lb. Because of the caliber and the ability of this animal to carry a lot of lead, I decided on a head shot.
After striking out in a blind, we drove and glassed until we spotted a ram bedded down. As we moved in he stood up and looked around. I could see a second ram still laying down. I sat down and lined up the shot, as the ram looked in my direction. I’d been worried about a frontal shot as I reckoned that since these animals smash their heads together when sparring, the skull was probably very thick up front and I wanted a side shot…or maybe the back of the head.
As I watched through the scope he started to bolt as three more sheep, two of which I’d not seen, jumped up. As the ram started to move away he stopped and I sent the 109 grain hp at the back of the head and dropped him on the spot. It was a very exciting hunt, and I was really happy with this nice representative ram, beautiful chaps and sweeping horns with a lot of mass.
Next hunt I’m out with the RTI Prophet for predators, and will be back with you all soon!