Aoudad Hunt West Texas

CaptnC

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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 hunter hunted there 16 years ago and 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 been dialing up the yardages which is new to me. But my most recent purchase was SWFA 16X fixed scope 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 bullet 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.

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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 there 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.

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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 a nice Aoudad Rams on the next short ridge right behind it! You might have to voom in to see it but there are two short ridges in front of me.

So I packed all my gear and took off!

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At 5:30pm I took the 323 Yard shot, hit tight behind the shoulder and he made it about 30 yards before he sis 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!

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CaptnC

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Day two I never seen a Aoudad on the property. I seen a herd of roughly 30 head at the boarder fence but they never crossed the fence into the unit.

But I did find a small group of Corsican ewe's, they were legal game so I took three because I was 2 miles from the nearest road and didn't want to pack any more than that.

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All three ewe's are exit hole up and only one was well ventilated. You can see the one in the middle has a massive exit hole. It was the only one to run, plenty of tracking blood on that one! But you couldn't hide a rat in this canyon...no tree, bush nothing! It was my first time to bone out an animal laying on the ground!


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Day ended without seeing an Aoudad on the property. I hunted the last day till 11am and I called the wife to tell her that I was heading to camp. The spot above was one of a few places you get any cell service. While I was talking to her I seen 5 bedded Aoudad on the far ridge. So they get to live for another day!
 

CaptnC

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What caliber were you using? Did you recover the slug?
Sorry, I guess I forgot that in my story...300 win mag. When I was fleshing the hide getting it ready to be mounted I found a small chunk of lead, no copper/jacket. It was against the hide in a very blood shot area. The entry missed the shoulder bones, but I noticed the area of his sternum was very blood shot. I'm sure it was from the shot because the hide was clean.

On one of the ewe's one pedal of the tip went straight through the one side of the back strap. That ewe was hit behind the shoulder and went right through, but the one piece went up through the back strap...all of the ewe's where shot at 100 yards.
 

geo4061

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Jun 25, 2014
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Southern Oklahoma
I am impressed. Success on a self guided Aoudad hunt. Aoudad are the toughest critters I have ever tried to spot. You are among the few at the top of their game.
 

CaptnC

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The area I had to hunt was roughly 6 miles x 5 miles without any interior roads. And the only road I had truck access on was on the west side.

While it was one of the hardest hunts I've been on, it was by far the most enjoyable. The first night of hunting I didn't make it back to camp until 8:30pm...2nd night was 7:30pm
 

CaptnC

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Ed, the rifle I was hunting with nearly 16lbs with a full mag and dressed as seen in the above pictures. I was carrying a tri pod and spotting scope. I never set them up so the ended up just being unused ballist. I also carried a shooting bag that I dropped off after the first day of hunting.

The most difficult part was walking vertically on tennis ball sized rocks. There was a couple times during my night time decent it was more of a controlled fall.
 

Aoudad shooter1975

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Sep 4, 2017
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957
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Blanco, Texas
My rifles get lighter and lighter the older I get...my 33 nosler in 9.5lb naked..it will be over 11 dressed

My 6.5-284 my builder and I scrutinized every oz...except for the scope just a smudge under 9lb loaded--and scoped..wished it was a pound lighter from time to time...
 
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CaptnC

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Jun 21, 2017
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Texas
Every time I've seen guys ask about the weight of a rifle that's for sale...I think...what a bunch of girls! But I get it now.

Hunting 99% of the time on nearly flat ground the weight is no issue, but it is pretty obvious now that weight becomes an issue pretty quickly as you climb up and down steep terrain.
 

CaptnC

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Jun 21, 2017
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1,426
Location
Texas
I got off the weights and started on the stair climber at the gym in October but tore something in my left heal. I still have not went to the Dr. It feels like a stone bruise.

I told the wife they could cut the foot off after the hunt, but I'm not letting anyone touch it until after the hunt.

It actually feels much better after the hunt.
 

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