Have you always dreamed of Aoudad sheep hunting? If you plan to hunt for aoudad sheep, you can visit a privately-owned Texas hunting ranch to get access to free range aoudad sheep. You can go hunt with a group of fellow hunters or go alone.
History of Aoudad Sheep
Even though aoudad sheep are native to North Africa, they were brought to the Palo Duro Canyon by Texas landowners in 1954. These passionate and avid hunters cooperated with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to introduce them to the region. Later, the state introduced more aoudad sheep, releasing in Western Texas’s Trans Pecos Mountain Region.
The introduction of the aoudad sheep was Texas’s solution to the declining population of the desert big horn sheep, which was due to them contracting a deadly infection transmitted from the domesticated sheep.
Since then, the population of free ranging aoudad sheep has flourished, spreading to several remote regions of North Texas, West Texas, and Southern New Mexico.
Characteristics of Aoudad Sheep
The aoudad sheep are incredibly agile and have soft, spongy hooves, which offer the needed traction to climb steep and rocky terrains. They have heavy and muscular forequarters that give them the strength to climb, whereas their light rear quarters allow them to spring easily from ledge to ledge.
They can squat and spin 180-degrees as they transverse a knife-edge ledge. They can push 300 pounds with most adult aoudad sheep weighing around 250-pounds. In North Texas, aoudad sheep have a pinkish color. In West Texas, aoudad sheep have a tan and brown color.
Adult aoudad sheep have horn bases with a circumference of 12 ½ to 14 ¾ inches. Generally, the horn length varies with their age and frequency of dusting. Eight to twelve-year-old aoudad sheep’s horn measures 28 to 34 inches.
They have a long flowing beard, which hangs from their neck and down to their knees called chaps. They also have excellent eyesight. If you are hunting an aoudad sheep, you need to use extreme caution to evade the potential scrutiny of being detected.
These highly intelligent aoudad sheep are well aware of their surroundings, sensing the slightest movement in their environment. If they sense movement, they will have a staredown that may last one hour. Whether you are hunting aoudad sheep in a free range setting or a Texas hunting ranch, you need to take essential hunting measures to hunt aoudad sheep.
The Popularity of Aoudad Sheep Hunting
Here is why aoudad sheep hunting is popular:
· Open Season All Year Round
In Texas, aoudad sheep hunting season lasts all year round. However, most hunters prefer hunting from late fall through early spring to avoid the scorching hot summer temperatures. On most hunting ranches, you can combine aoudad sheep and mule deer hunting in Texas together.
· Spot and Stalk Game
If you like a challenge, aoudad sheep will give you a challenge. Not only do they have excellent eyesight, but if they have experience with hunters, they will move off when they spot a hunter. They can spot you from a half-mile or more.
When you are hunting free range aoudad sheep, you are playing a spot and stalk game. To win at this game, you need to bring a 10x binoculars and a spotting scope with a tripod and an upper power of around 45x.
· Practice Marksmanship
The average shot distance is between 150 to 300 yards, but it is possible to stalk a 30-inch aoudad sheep, shooting it less than 40 yards. Shots can also measure 160, 250, and 310 yards. You can use flat-shooting cartridges in 6.5 to .30 caliber. Use stout bullets because they are known to soak up the lead.
· Hunt on Ranch
Even though you can hunt on public lands, success rates are low. Most hunters prefer to hunt for aoudad sheep at a Texas hunting ranch. For this reason, most hunts occur on privately-owned ranches. You can even get a guide to help you hunt.
· Beautiful Countryside
You will come across beautiful and stunning landscapes on your hunt. The arid, desert environment will expose to steep hills, gorgeous views, and rocky structures.
What Will You Need to Pack for Aoudad Sheep Hunting?
What you pack for your aoudad sheep hunting trip depends on how many days you intend to spend at the location you are going. Here is a list of things you can take with you on your trip:
- Base layer top and bottom (two to three pairs each week)
- Blaze orange
- Boot grease
- Camo cap
- Camo headnet
- Camo stocking cap or camo beanie
- Camp shoes
- Extra laces
- Hunting boots
- Knee pads
- Lightweight camo jacket
- Lightweight camo pants (one to two pairs each week)
- Lightweight camo shirt (three to five each week)
- Lightweight camo vest
- Lightweight gloves
- Liner socks (one pair each day)
- Midweight camo jacket
- Midweight camo pants (one pair each week)
- Midweight gloves
- Rain gear
- Socks (one each day)
- Stalking shoes
- Undergarments (one each day)
- Windstopper camo jacket
- 2 liter water bladder
- Caping salt
- Day pack
- Dry bag
- Fire starter kit
- Game bags
- Game cart
- GPS device
- Hunting knife
- Large framed backpack
- Scent elimination spray
- Topo Maps or mobile mapping software
- Water bottle
- Wind direction indicator
You should always get the best optics that is within your budget.
- Bino harness
- Lens cloth and cleaning equipment
- Phone skope to place your phone to your optics
- Spotting scope
As a hunter, you need to shoot well. You can prepare for your hunt beforehand by buying your rifle. Practice shooting for all possible angles and shoot out to distances that test your skills as a hunter. In doing so, you will be able to perfect those close shots.
If you are using a rifle for hunting, go with a flat shooing, a large rifle with a premium quality scope, or a bolt action .243. It is important to sight in because you need to be dead on at 200 yards. Do not be scared to use shooting sticks.
- Rifle (If you are going for aoudad sheep hunting in the open country, you need to prepare yourself to make long shots)
- At least one box of shells
- Gun cleaning kit
- Hard rifle case
- Scope with rain cover
- Shooting sticks
- Soft rifle case
If you want to hunt using a compound bow and an arrow, you should use bows weighing 60 pounds or more. You need to be sighted in at 20, 30, and 40 yards.
- At least one dozen arrows
- 2 Releases
- Hard bow case
- Soft bow case
When it comes to getting any of the following items, you should check the regulations of the state that you are visiting for aoudad sheep hunting beforehand.
Aoudad Sheep Hunting Tips
Once you have the necessary supplies needed for a successful aoudad sheep hunting experience and you are ready to visit a Texas hunting ranch, use the following tips to make your hunting experience a guaranteed success:
The mornings may be cold and windy if you are hunting in West Texas. Wear layers because you will feel the wind chill from top of a rim rock. It can get hotter by mid-morning, so ensure you are wearing lightweight clothes.
2. Busy Animals
Most hunters spot aoudad sheep when they are on the move. They also blend well in their environment. If you lose sight of them, they will be far gone, covering a lot of distance in a short time. Move quickly and check on them regularly.
3. Use a Long Range Shooting Rifle or Bow
You can hunt an aoudad sheep using both a long range shooting rifle and bow. You should practice long range shooting beforehand. Practice extreme downhill angles as well. If you are using a rifle, use the 200 Win or one similar to it.
You need good hunting boots. Break them before you wear them to the hunting grounds. The aoudad sheep reside in tough and rocky locations.
You need to use premium quality binoculars that are within your budget. You will find yourself doing a lot of glassing. You should get a spotting scope too.
You need a rangefinder for extreme angles.
7. First Aid Kit
You should pack a medical kit and take with you on your hunting trip. If you get hurt, you will have a first aid kit. Having one is also necessary because you will be several hours away from town.
Before you come for aoudad sheep hunting, you need to train and practice. Apart from practising your shooting skills, you need to get in shape if you are not in it already. You can plan a diet and fitness routine several months before you come to hunt in West Texas or any other place. If you are out of shape, you will find it difficult to hunt and the overall process will become quite exhausting and tiring for you.
Desert Safaris offers free range aoudad sheep, free range axis deer, Texas mule deer, and New Mexica antelope hunting. They offer hunting in Texas and New Mexico.
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