The sheep first appeared on ranches in this area in the early 1920s, when a 500-acre, high-fenced enclosure was erected on the Hearst ranch and stocked with these animals. Ten to 20 years later, a fire destroyed the fence, resulting in the release of the captive animals, which now have been free-ranging for approximately 60 years. Currently, they comprise California's only huntable population of aoudads.
According to Anderson, this hunt is such an enjoyable experience that he sees many clients return with their friends. He represents it as a sometimes-challenging hunt that takes place in rugged mountain terrain, at an elevation between 2,000 and 3,000 feet. Hunters ride from area to area in a jeep but should not expect to just drive up on these animals. You must often walk three to five miles per day in order to get positioned for a shot.
Fall is the preferred time for this hunt. The aoudad's coats are in better condition then, he says, since tarweed, which pulls hair out of the coat, is much less of a problem at that time of year. Anderson further likes to confine his hunts to the October through November period, because January and February rains often make roads too muddy for jeep travel. As for trophy quality, the average horn length taken is between 27 and 30 inches. In order to maintain trophy quality, no more than five or six animals are harvested per year. At press........(continued)