Aoudad Hunt West Texas
By Charles Foster Jr. (AKA CaptnC)
I was drawn by Texas Parks and Wildlife to hunt on their Devil's River SNA. It was for exotic sheep and had no limit! Because it is labeled a "Natural Area" they don't want any exotics on the unit, but they thrive in this environment so they have been having the unlimited hunts for at least 16 years. One of the hunters hunted there 16 years ago and had been applying all these years to no avail. One other guy and his group had been trying for 12 years. So this hunt is somewhat coveted here in Texas. Oh me? This was my first time to apply!
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Just as I had thought, it was big open country and because of that I been burning powder for the last month like crazy. I had set a personal restriction on myself of 600 yards because that was the max I could shoot at the range.
I had been dialing up the yardages which is new to me. But my most recent purchase was a SWFA 16X fixed scope, which was just what the doctor ordered. It is mounted on a 0 MOA EGW base and set in Vortex rings. That all sits on top of 98 Mauser VZ-24 BRNO trued actioned, ER Shaw 26" heavy varmint barrel, Timmey trigger and a custom made Winchester style safety bolt shroud. That all resting in a homemade Mesquite thumb hole stock!
I was shooting 168gr Berger bullets because I am limited by action length and can't get any longer bullets to feed in the action. Powered by 82.2gr of H-1000 at 3125FPS.
Hunting alone made some of the photos a bit of challenge, but I managed a few...it also meant that there was only two eyes looking for game in the vast area of Texas.
Day one ended with me about 3 miles from the truck, as I found out later. The hunt master had ask everyone to head to their vehicle at 5:30pm so they could get a feel for getting out.
After blowing a shot oppotunity a little after noon time, I had spotted a young ram bedded on a big rock. I sat down to take the 274 yard shot when I noticed I'd have to shoot through a tiny bush about 50 yards away. So I moved about two feet to my right, he busted me and was gone! He was the only Aoudad I had seen in the cedars, all the other had been out in the open.
I sat down on a high ridge over looking some low land because there are a few Axis deer on the property. The hunt master had said they stayed in the bottoms. I was also 3/4 of a mile from the road...more on that later.
I took this picture after I had all my stuff ready to wait for sunset. I put the camera down and picked up the bino's to scan the near short ridge and noticed nice Aoudad Rams on the next short ridge right behind it! You might have to zoom in to see it but there are two short ridges in front of me.
So I packed all my gear and took off!
At 5:30pm I took the 323 Yard shot, hit tight behind the shoulder and he made it about 30 yards before he did a flip on a full run! I was a little disappointed in the bullet performance. No exit, no blood not even out of the mouth. Had he ran any distance there was no blood to track. I am going to mount him and found a small chunk of lead against the skin on the off side.
BUT...dead Aoudad is a dead Aoudad!
The trip back to the truck was a hell of an adventure. I was three big canyons away from the truck and this was my first time cutting across the big dry wash in the main bottom. You can't tell it from on top, but a rabbit has to have a machete to get through it! And I was wishing I had a rabbit in my pocket!
I arrived at camp at 8:30pm and my ram was hanging in a tree!
About the Author
Charles Foster Jr. (AKA CaptnC) has been into hunting and fishing all of his life. In the past he was a part time hunting and fishing guide and had a little taxidermy business. He still gets out there hunting and fishing, and even does a little taxidermy now and then. Charles's main job though has been supervising the maintenance of the bus fleet for a large school district. He's been with this school district for 41 years. His dad built him his first hunting rifle when he was 13 and that interest has followed him throughout his life. Charles built his first rifle for himself in the 90's, then got into Black rifles for a while. The height and end of that phase of his life was an 80% AK build in 2007 that he's quite proud of. Now Charles (CaptnC) is back into center fire rifles and long range shooting, which is what brought him here to LongRangeHunting.com!