A Remington Texas Slam
By Steve Mahurin

In February of 1991, I embarked on a quest for the Texas Slam of Sheep that would take me the better part of a year and a half. The Texas Sheep Slam as recognized by the Records of Exotics, Record Book consists of four animals, just as the Grand Slam of North American Sheep does. The Texas has the White Texas Dall and the Grand Slam the White Alaskan Dall Sheep. The Black Hawaiian Sheep compares with the gray-black Stone Sheep. The Corsican Sheep compares in horn configuration with the North American Bighorn. The Mouflon Sheep is kind of like the Desert Bighorn. The biggest difference is of course in dollars. You can probably complete a gold medal Texas Sheep Slam for under $3000.00 dollars, while the Grand Slam of North American Sheep, even if you can get the tags, some of which you can only have one of in a lifetime, whether your hunt is successful or not, can cost you from $30,000 to over a $100,000 dollars. This Texas Slam is in my opinion the poor or regular guy on the streets sheep slam, and within the reach of many hunters, and not only the richer members of the hunting clan.

The first stop on my quest was the Mouflon Sheep. The Mouflon is one of the smallest of the wild sheep of the world, with the larger males being only 110 pounds on the scales. The Mouflon is also one of the wariest and wildest of the sheep species. In my opinion, only being surpassed in spookiness by the Barbary or Aoudad Sheep, natives of the Dark Continent of Africa. But that's a whole different story. The Mouflon is considered by many to be amongst the handsomest of the wild sheep of the world. These rams have brown sides and white bellies and black hair on their faces and necks. They also, especially in the cooler months of the year have a luxuriant ruff of hair from their throats to their briskets. The most distinctive marking though is a white saddle on their backs. The horns grow up, back, down, forward, and then back up toward their eyes. Older rams will almost always have one horn broomed back at the tip on at least one side, to help the ram's vision.

First up was a trip to the Texas hill country near Kerrville, Texas, about sixty miles west of San Antonio, Texas. My wife and myself Shirley met with our friend and guide, L. R. Castleberry, at our motel n the first morning of February, 1991. We would be hunting this elusive Mouflon on the Turkey Run Ranch, near Harper Texas. L. R. said that he, himself, had stocked this ranch with pure Mouflon, a little over eight years before. This ranch was seldom hunted and L. R. was the only guide the ranch owner would allow to guide on this property. The first weekend was a cool one with a drizzly rain mixed with fog coming down. As we drove through the tunnel of light punched through the dark, wet countryside. Little did I know that I was embarking on one of the longest, hardest, yet most satisfying hunts for an animal that I've experienced in over thirty years of hunting exotic, as well as native game in my home state of Texas. I would be carrying my tried, true, and trusty Remington, Model 700, 30/06, loaded with Remington, core - lokt, soft pointed bullets. My scope was a Weave 3 to 9 variable one and I was using Tasco binoculars to judge the quality of the horns. The first few hours were spent trying to glass for rams through the once in awhile holes in the fog, from the ridge tops. The best we did was see a number of animals running away from us at long distance. We then drove for quite awhile and finally, at last, we saw the ghostly outline of five rams through the eddying swirls of fog, feeding along the top of a small hill. It was real difficult, but finally I found them in my scope, in spite of the moisture running down my eyeglasses. My guide said, "take the one at the rear" and I asked him how far. The reply was about 150 yards. Finally I squeezed the shot off and they all melted into the white blanket of moisture and fog. The guide said, I'm pretty sure it went over his back. We went to check for any sign of a hit. We found nothing, but the guide said, I'm sorry, the rams were more like 50 yards away and the distortion caused by the fog made them look farther away. We finally decided to call it a day and try again tomorrow. As we left we checked with the ranch owner on the way out he told us he had friends coming the next day to tour the place, so we couldn't hunt the next day. We tried another ranch the next day but had no luck. So we had to head back home and promised to try again as soon as I could.

So on March the 1st we were back on the Turkey Run ranch, trying for that elusive Mouflon Ram. But unlike the last time the sheep were not as spooky and we were able to glass three small herds of sheep without their running away. But we passed on them, as there wasn't anything big enough in them to try to take. On a third stalk L. R. spotted some good rams feeding in a big open area. So down on hands and knees we went for about a hundred yards, But for some reason we couldn't seem to get on the same page, and I never did spot the ram he wanted me to shoot and they all ambled off out of sight and down into a small canyon. So it was back on all fours for about 300 yards this time and punishing my poor knees, through the cactus and knee bruising rocks. Finally we got to the edge of the canyon and about a 100 yards straight down, there were our rams bedded down. After deciding which was the best one I had another problem. If I tried shooting prone, I couldn't see the rams without spooking them. Sitting up and using my knees as a rest, I had only a little green bush about 6 to 8 inches high and 4 inches wide to hide me from the sharp eyes of the rams. I finally was able to get the chest on shot off and the 180 grain core - lokt bullet did its job and the ram lurched to its feet for a final death run of about 50 yards. It was quickly getting dark, so we dragged the ram to the top of the canyon for pictures. His horns measured 32 inches long and had 10-inch bases. When I look at that mount on my wall, I flash back to sore knees, the rocky road to success, and the feeling that I really earned that trophy. It's a great feeling isn't it!

Well here I am again heading back to the hill country of Texas near Kerrville again for the second step towards my sheep slam, the Black Hawaiian Sheep. As the name implies this is a sheep that is a hybrid sheep that originated in the state of Hawaii, and was imported to Texas as many species have been. This animal is black in color and sometimes has an outer layer of reddish wool. The horns sweep downward, forward, up, and then out. A large male can weigh up to 140 pounds.

The date was October 27, 1991 and I would be hunting with good friend and outfitter, Thompson Temple of Texas Wildlife, and owner and originator of the Records of Exotics Record Book. We were to be hunting off highway 41 a few miles off Interstate 10 about 70 miles west of San Antonio, Texas, on a pie shaped wedge of land covered mesquite or a knee high type of grass. Awhile after we got on the property we found and eased up on a small band of sheep that had no Hawaiians in it. In this small band of sheep there was one animal of interest. It contained a medium sized Armenian Red Sheep. These sheep are a pretty rare species of sheep and Thompson said, if you like, you can take the Armenian Red instead of the Hawaiian. I told him I was very tempted but would pass. We wound our way thru the cedar and grass for quite awhile and after looking over a number of rams we finally found the one that was the size I was looking for. I rested the Remington 30/06 on my knee and sent the Remington 180 grain core lokt on its way from about 120 yards away. The ram dropped in its tracks. But this is here the mystery starts. When we got to the ram we could find only one hole in it .Now I know what you're thinking. So whats the big deal, that's not so unusual. The problem was that the hole we found in him was on the opposite side if the animal that I had shot at him from. We dressed and skinned him out and still only found the one hole and it looked to us like it was an exit hole as well. You tell me how that happened, because none of the three of us could figure it out. The ram scored in the gold medal class at 100 3/8 points. He still remains a mystery ram to me to this day.

On October 30th of 1991 I was back again in the Texas, hill country near Hunt, Texas, great name huh! looking to complete the third rung in the ladder of my Texas Sheep Slam. This trip was for the Corsican Sheep, a native of, reputably, West Indies. This sheep is a brownish colored one with a black or white belly. Often, especially in the colder months of the year, they have long black chest ruffs growing from under the chin to the brisket area. Only the males have horns, which grow up, back, down, forward, back up, and out away from the eyes. These sheep are probably the most hunted of all the exotics in the United States as well as in Texas. Large males can weigh in the neighborhood of up to 140 pounds.

This hunt was to take place on the Honey Creek Ranch, owned by Luther Graham. Luther is a crusty, over six-foot tall, tobacco chewing, ex oilfield roughneck, who doesn't mince his words. But for all of this, when you get to know him is one of the nicest and most lovable people you could ever want to know. The first time we met him and toured his ranch and asked him the price ranges of his animals, he gave me the following quote. "I ain't too good with figures, so all the big animals are $700 dollars and the rest are $200 dollars. Makes it easier to keep up with that way."Short and to the point, huh!

Honey Creek Ranch is a beautiful place to hunt. From its cypress tree lined, crystal clear, ice cold streams, and springs. It's large and small canyons edged with cedar thickets, each with it's own bubbling springs that haven't gone dry in over 70 years. We drove up a winding rocky road to the top of a plateau like area. This area was a little more open and we saw a number of plains type species, including Oryx, Buffalo ( American Bison), Nilgai Antelope and Blackbuck Antelope, along with three or four types of sheep. Sadly though no Corsican rams were in sight. We did our best, but no luck that day.

The next morning we were up and out early and back in the field hunting that Corsican. Today was a little better and a couple of hours later, in a little hunted pocket towards the back of the ranch we spotted a large Corsican ram and got a shot after a short stalk. My trusty old Remington, Model, 700 barked and the ram dropped in its tracks at about 150 yards away. Three down and only one more to go.

Nearly nine months had passed and I was finally able to go back to Honey Creek Ranch, to try and get the last animal for my Texas Sheep Slam. The pure white Texas Dall is another sheep is that is a hybrid color variation of the Corsican Sheep and is either all white with golden, honey colored horns or a reddish brown with underlying white with a white face. The horn configuration is the same as the Corsican and Hawaiian. Males can weigh up to 140 pounds. This much sought after ram originated in Texas. It was July the 4th 1992 and my wife, Shirley, and I were celebrating the holiday by going hunting. Luther's ranch hand, Augustine, told me that there were four good white rams hanging out around one of the small back canyons. He said that he thought there was a real tight curled ram in the bunch ,that would be what I was looking for. Off we went and scoured the area high on the ridge and down into the canyon with not a trace. We decided to try the next canyon over which was about ¼ to ½ mile long and probably 80 or 90 foot deep and full of rock ledges, nooks, crannies, tree stumps and downed logs. After a couple of hours of that side hill walking I felt like I would be walking lopsided for quite awhile afterward. After lots of luck,"all bad", We went back to camp for a hot meal and some well deserved sleep.

The next day we decided to go back to the small canyon and start all over, and hope for some better luck for this day. I've always said that when it comes to hunting, " I'd rather be lucky than skillful any time". Guess what, the luck came through. Within a couple of hours, there was the tight curled ram along wish a couple if others, that looked pretty good themselves, on the far side of the canyon. He was behind a big downed tree with only his head above it, and a small part of his shoulder in sight, where there was a fork in the tree trunk. My old Remington 30/06 spoke once and the ram went down. I was elated that I had made the difficult shot as we worked our way down one steep canyon wall and back up the other side. When I got to the ram I was quickly brought down from my high. He didn't look like he would even make the record book. Much less score gold medal as I had wanted. We field dressed the ram and dragged it to the canyon top and loaded it into the truck to take it back to the freezer at the bunkhouse area. I was so disappointed, I didn't even put a tape measure on it.

Later in the day my wife, Shirley and I, as well as our adopted daughter, Marian, were riding around the ranch and saw two big wide spread Texas Dalls. Shirley looked at me and said," I think that one on the right is bigger than the one you killed. I agreed with her. She wanted to know if maybe we could go ahead and kill him as well. Now tell me guys! What would you do if your wife wanted you to kill another trophy animal? Right!!. We hustled back to the bunkhouse and called Luther . He said, yes, go ahead.

We hotfooted it back to where we had seen the rams. Of course they weren't there, but we found them in about 30 minutes, standing underneath shade of a big Cedar bush. They were only about 50 yards away and my Remington 30/06 knocked him backwards.

But would you believe it they both Ran off toward the nearby deep canyon, which was only about 30 yards away. I took Marian with me to tack the ram, since she had never been on a hunt before, much less trying to track down a wounded animal. We dropped down into the canyon that was from ¼ to ½ mile long and started looking for blood sign or hopefully the ram itself. We scoured the length of that canyon both high and low with no luck. We finally decided to go back and start over from scratch, where we began in the first place. As we arrived back at our starting place .Lo and behold within 10 yards of where I'd fired at him, there he lay dead as could be. Evidently he had started toward the canyon and circled around on me My Gold Medal Remington Texas Slam was complete. By the way that tight curled Texas Dall scored 107 1/8 for the record book. He is the highest scoring ram that I've killed before or since. The "bigger" wide spread ram scored 101 2/8.

Written by Steve Mahurin on March 21, 2000.

Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568

Email: SMahurin@houston.rr.com

Copyright 2003

Remington Slam

Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

Copyright 2001 - 2011

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