Texas Exotics

Starting in 2001, I’ve been very fortunate with the outfitted hunts that I’ve been on. Now, hunt prices as well as an aging body have limited me to hunting closer to home. Each year there is deer hunting, of course, but still the urge for something else remains.

As I’ve always thought that the aoudad sheep is a great looking animal, mid-winter 2011, I decided to plan a trip down to Texas for 2012.

Since they were introduced to Texas from north Africa in the early 1900s, aoudad have flourished and now inhabit much of the state. Research led me to a ranch that not only had aoudad but nilgai as well.

Non-resident hunting license for exotic animals is only $48, a bargain considering today’s license fees.

Packed and ready to go
Texas Ranch House

I arrived at the ranch and was quite surprised at the really fine accommodations.

While at the ranch, I would be the only hunter and have full run of the ranch to myself.

After checking my rifle at the makeshift shooting range, the ranch manager, who would also be my guide, and I took off in search of an aoudad.

He knew of two large rams that were on the ranch and throughout the day, we found some sheep - mostly ewes and lambs.

We made stalks on a couple of rams but they turned out to be not what we were looking for.

Ranch Entrance
Aoudad stalk

Late in the afternoon, we spotted a ram feeding along the edge of a woodline.

As we made our stalk, he returned back into the woods. Later, he returned to the field feeding along with another ram … the ram we were looking for.

No shot was possible because the smaller ram stayed between me and the big fella. Then a third ram came out, and they slowly fed apart, finally offering me a clear shot a little over a hundred yards.

At the shot, all three fled back into the woods. Twenty yards inside, my ram was laid piled up against a log.

A terrific ram, just over 30 inches; sure to make SCI book.

30 inch aoudad trophy
Nilgai shot

The next day, we spent all day locating and stalking a few nilgai bulls. Nilgai, a large unique animal, were  imported around the same time as the aoudad, and likewise have done quite well.

They are quite good eating and would fill the freezer.

Although they are a large animal, they’re as difficult to hunt as a whitetail in northern New England, and we were never able to get close enough for a shot.

Finally, as the sun started to set, I had a chance at one of the largest nilgai bulls on the ranch. We had finally spotted three bulls disappear into a finger of heavy brush and timber.

I set up at the edge of a large field on the opposite side, thinking they would try to cross into a large forested area.

They came out, but not where we had planned, and not together; the large bull had kept way back from the others.

As I was about to be seen by the two smaller bulls, I had to take a chance at the larger one while he was still out over 150 yards.

The shot was good, and I now had my nilgai bull as well as a trophy aoudad.

Nilgai trophy

Back from the taxidermist.  In my spare time, I did  the habitat for the aoudad.

Nilgai Trophy
Aoudad Trophy
Aoudad Trophy
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