Back Seat Aoudad
By Steve Mahurin

I had been wanting to get a bigger Aoudad Sheep for my trophy room. I was looking for one with horns at least 32 inches long. I'd been communicating with an outfitter named David Groce who was head of an organization called Southern Safaris near Mt. Home, Texas. David told me he knew of a ranch that had a large population of these spooky and elusive natives of Africa. He told me that he could just about guaranty a 32 incher for me. I wondered then if that statement was bragging, factual, or wishful thinking, but figured we'd wait and see.

My wife, Shirley, and I arrived at the lodge as per our instructions and were very satisfied with our lodging. The lodge sat in a nice grove of trees and had high ceilings adorned with trophy heads of a number of species. It had a large complete kitchen, comfortable beds and much more. From the kitchen window you could watch a number of species of birds that were coming to a feeder hanging in a big tree. On the big front porch, the Chimney Swifts were building nests and perching on a big chandelier made of Axis, Sika, and Elk horns.

The first two days of hunting was on a huge ranch called the Green Longhorn, and it stretched out over 100,000 acres, into parts of two counties.We drove parts of the ranch and saw more Axis than you could believe, but no Aoudad. We hunted out of ground blinds most of the time. To our detriment the ranch was undergoing major brush clearing,road construction, and who knows what. One evening we saw one animal, an Aoudad, but real small. The only other thing we saw were a couple of Fallow and Blackbuck, The only other thing we saw, right at almost dead, dark was a herd of 10 or 12 Elk. It was even too dark to take a photo.

Our next try was on a big pie shaped wedge of land that was known to have a single, supposedly, large Aoudad on it. We sat in a blind most of one day and saw many Fallow,Axis, and Blackbuck but no Aoudad. So the next day we decided to try a drive. Shirley and I sat in the back of a pickup at a choke point while two others walked towards us from the back of the property making some noise. It worked just fine as we had hoped. After about 30 minutes here came that Aoudad traveling with a big Catalina Goat/Trouble was they both were just a blur as they streaked in and out of the thick, green, leafy brush all around us. Definitely no chance for a shot.We tried again and about 30 or 40 minutes later our drivers came back to the vehicle and told us they had gotten a good look at him from 20 to 30 yards and he just wasn't what I was looking for.

That evening around a campfire, with firefly like embers winking their way into the night time skies, we did a little brainstorming to try to figure out what to do. David said that we should try our luck on the Priour Ranch for a day or two.

The wind the next day was a raw one with temperatures ranging in the 40's and 50's. David had a truck seat bolted across the width of his pickup sort of like a low, high rack, and we talked through the rear-sliding window of the cab. Believe me it wasn't too comfortable with the combination of temperature, wind, and truck movement. We saw nothing that evening except dozen's, maybe hundreds of Sika and Axis and a pretty good number of Rocky Mountain Elk.

The next morning we were back in the backseat and even colder than the evening before. We rode to the far backside of the ranch to try finding some rams. Well we did see a herd of about 30 Aoudad rams with a couple of promising heads in it. We played cat and mouse with them for over three hours , but never a chance for a shot. The next time we saw the herd it was standing at the far end of an opening, near one corner of a fence line, about 400 yards away from us. We just sat there each trying to out stare each other, and not move a muscle until finally they got antsy, and started moving into a grove of trees and brush to our right. After they had all disappeared into the undergrowth we moved ourselves in a diagonal direction to the right, hoping to be at the right spot where they would be crossing a small opening. Luckily we guessed correctly and all of a sudden, there they were streaming across the open area, their sandy colored coats shining in the sun and the long hair of their chest ruff and leg chaps flapping in the breeze, at a dead run.

Trying to pick out the biggest or a specific ram out of a large bunch is not for the faint of heart, because there is usually things like a goodly amount of money, a reputation, or even the few inches between a record book animal, or not, and in very special circumstances, the difference between a World Record animal and a just great trophy.

Finally there was one ram David pointed out to me and said "that's the one you want". It was really difficult twisting way to the right from my position so quickly, but I did and let loose a shot at the ram. He was hit but a little farther back than I wanted, but went down after a 100 yards or so. I had my second Aoudad after a very long and difficult hunt.

He turned out to not be the 32 inches I'd been promised, but he was bigger than my previous one.

Written by Steve Mahurin on March 23, 2000.

Back Seat Aoudad

Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

Copyright 2001 - 2011

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