My son Phil and I loaded the truck all day Monday and bright and early Tuesday morning we pointed it southwest and headed for the Diamond A Ranch in the Texas Hill Country to be a part of the First Annual Longshot Rifles Hog Hunt organized by Chris Matthews. The first day of driving got us to my old Alma Mater the University of Alabama so we had to spend some time driving around campus and see the old sights and the new sights. This is what parents always do to insure their children are properly bored, that is to recount old stories of them “ good ole days”. The second day of driving got us to Luly, Texas where we had some really fine Mexican food and Phil fixed the cable TV in our motel room so it would work. Day three say a dramatic change in landscape as we suddenly went from gently rolling terrain to broken, eroded limestone rock canyon country, and cell phone signals went to nothing. We made it into the ranch and got settled and met a few of the other hunters who had driven and went down to the range to check zero’s and drops. Damon had steel targets set up out to 600+ yards. Phil was using the Remington 40X single shot in 308 that he had used in F-class and was just banging all of the steel around until I made him quit so I could shoot. I had put a Shawn Carlock cheekpiece on it because the 56mm NF rides so high.
I piled up a bunch of bags on the floor and got the Russo stocked 240Wby laid out but couldn’t hit the side of a barn. I probably should have put a bipod on it but didn’t and after a while finally fixed up the front bags well enough that the gun would shoot consistently and called it a day.
Phil wanted to shoot an aoudad so he would have a set of “different horns”. So he and I were placed in a blind where it was believed there would be some aoudads come to the feeders. The last thing Chris said was that the aoudad would be there about 8:00. Well, the aoudad did not show up until eleven minutes after 8:00! Phil and I had never seen an aoudad before so we had a lengthy conversation about whether this was a big one or a small one. The end result was that Phil didn’t want horns that small so he didn’t shoot it. We went back in for lunch and Damon tired to explain to us what was a small aoudad and what was a large one. Although we were still somewhat mystified as to what we were actually supposed to shoot.
After lunch we went back up to the blind and pretty soon aoudads started coming and they were all small except one and it was not exactly anything that got Phil excited. Finally about 6:00 a group came down through the trees and the last one dragging up the rear had a set of long scimitar shaped horns that were not only longer than anything we had seen but had a peculiar inward curve to them. He immediately decided that this was the sheep for him and I got worried that he would shoot before the sheep was clear and we would get a pass through and wind up with several on the ground. Damon had impressed on Phil to go for a high shoulder shot so the sheep didn’t run and get over a cliff where retrieval would be hard so when the sheep was finally clear and perfectly broadside Phil fired. The 175 SMK broke the near shoulder, cut through the heart and broke the far shoulder and exited. The sheep flopped around a little but was basically dead on impact. The range was only 70 yards so it was not any real test of shooting skill. As it turned out the aoudad was a ewe and not a ram but we didn’t care because the horns were so interesting and the best ones we had seen all day.
Here is a picture of Phil and the aoudad. You can see the nice inward curve of the horns and that they have some pretty good length. As best I know how to measure, they are about 19-21 inches long- more or less.