Unusual Hunt For Aoudad Sheep And Elk


Published: November - 2004

Still on the subject of hunts in Texas, here is a truly unusual one. It's for free-range aoudad sheep and elk on the 43,000-acre Wild Horse Ranch, located in the Wiley Mountains outside of Van Horn. The elk are what remains of an abandoned effort by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to establish elk in Texas back in the 1980s. The animals roam freely now in pockets of Texas where they have found enough suitable habitat to maintain an isolated herd. The aoudad, or Barbary sheep, were introduced many years ago, of course, and have established wild, free-ranging herds in the Davis and other mountain ranges in the Lone Star State.

We heard about this hunt from booking agent John Barth of Adventure Unlimited, who says the elk here have never been hunted before so he can't give scores on animals previously taken. He claims 6 x 6 and even 7 x 7 bulls have been seen on the property. As for the aoudad, the ranch recently had two hunters take 33-inch rams with wide, heavy bases. They are expected to rank in the top 20 in the SCI record book.

Both species may be hunted year round, Barth says, as Texas Parks & Wildlife classifies both as non-indigenous species. The best time to hunt elk is now through March, before they drop their antlers. The ranch plans to take only five elk hunters this season, while they are willing to take more clients for just aoudad.

The ranch is in very mountainous country, Barth says, which gives both the elk and the aoudad all the habitat and cover they need. The terrain is very rugged. Hunters drive up to vantage points to glass and stalk and have to do some climbing in steep country, though sometimes the elk come down to the flat ground to feed and can be found in the foothills of the mountains as well.

Accommodations on the ranch are in the original ranch house built on the property. The building was recently renovated and........(continued)

 
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