By Michael BodenchukEditor Note: Last month, we offered a brief glimpse of a new desert bighorn opportunity in New Mexico. Correspondent Michael Bodenchuk accompanied subscriber Bill Walters on the first hunt on the Fra Cristobal Mountains, which are entirely on Ted Turner's Armendaris Ranch. Since then, Walters has weighed in with a sparse hunt report (Report ID 8910), and Bodenchuk has dug a little deeper to bring you the full story in time for you to plan for 2013 hunts. Enjoy!
Subscriber W.L. (Bill) Walters was lucky enough to draw one of the two public tags for the first desert bighorn sheep hunt offered in the Fra Cristobal Mountains on the Armendaris Ranch in New Mexico, and I was lucky enough to be invited along to provide extra eyes. This was Walters' 17th sheep hunt worldwide, and he was rewarded with a 10-year-old ram that green scored 171 4/8. Incidentally, the other public hunter also took a 10-year-old ram, as did one of the private tag holders.
Walters booked his hunt through Turner Ranch Outfitting (www.tedturner.com/turner-ranches/
; firstname.lastname@example.org). Neil Lawson personally guided the hunt with the help of E.D. Edwards. Walters reported all aspects of the hunt (quality of the outfit, food, condition of camp and equipment, ability of guide and trophy care) as "excellent." That's actually a bit of an understatement. In fact, Walters' hunt was an exceptional opportunity for high quality sheep. We stayed at the Deep Well House, a renovated turn-of-the-century ranch house to which a guest house and additional buildings have been added. The original house, where we took our evening meals, includes a cistern inside the house (necessary to protect a drinking water supply back when Apache warriors scoured this country). The bunkhouse had individual bedrooms with a common bathroom, satellite TV and good, comfortable beds. Sadly, I never saw the place in the daylight.