Subscriber Gives Rancho Del Cielo Hunts A Thumbs Up For Aoudad Hunt


Published: January - 2010

Subscriber Peeler Lacey reports on a Texas aoudad hunt with Rancho Del Cielo this month. He writes, "Having completed the Grand Slam of North American Wild Sheep in 2003, I am no stranger to wild sheep hunting. I returned home in February 2009 from one of the best sheep hunting trips I have ever taken. I hunted with Ralph Donaho at Rancho del Cielo in West Texas for free-ranging fair-chase aoudad. His ranch is not high fenced and is approximately 40,000 acres in the beautiful Davis Mountains. The ridges and rocky slopes on his ranch attract large bachelor groups of old trophy rams. Native to North Africa, the aoudad or Barbary sheep were introduced to Texas in the mid-twentieth century. According to rumor, aoudad were released on a ranch, and Texas now has an estimated population in excess of 20,000.

"Donaho and his wife, Julie, have commercially hunted these animals for only six years and take up to six aoudad hunters per year. Aoudad can be hunted anytime during the year, with the optimal time from October through March. Their three-day hunts have produced 100 percent success for prior hunters. I talked with Donaho for a couple of years before booking the trip because I wanted to bow hunt. He had never had an aoudad bowhunter but was optimistic he could get me within 30 yards. He went above and beyond, buying ground blinds and setting them in perfect positions. His pre-hunt scouting was thorough, and before I arrived Donaho had prepared a perfect game plan.

"I flew into El Paso, Texas, rented a car and drove to the ranch. After a great Mexican lunch at his beautiful ranch home, I took some practice shots with my bow. The wind was blowing from 20-40 mph with occasional gusts. Wisely, Donaho suggested I practice with a crosswind rather than the wind to my back. The strong wind blew my arrows about two inches from my point of aim at 30 yards.

"That afternoon, we drove to the top of the mountain, and Donaho dropped me off........(continued)

 
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