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Arguably, this is the best value for the dollar when it comes to hunting the wild sheep of the world, with popularity soaring for aoudad sheep hunts in recent years. Texas is home to more aoudad sheep, or what some people refer to as Barbary sheep, than their native North Africa. Aoudads are exceptionally sporty animals, combining wary nature with tough physical hardiness, thus making them one of the most sought after exotic game animals in North America . If you are truly interested in a great, challenging and rewarding experience, our free-range Texas aoudad sheep hunting may be your ticket. Wildlife Systems has been in business since 1987 and has been offering aoudad hunts since 1993, so you’ll be hard pressed to find an outfitter that is more seasoned and proven.
Aoudad Sheep were originally released into the Texas wilds in the 1950’s. Releases took place in the Northwestern Panhandle region, as well as the Trans-Pecos of far West Texas. Technically, they are not considered a pure sheep but have morphological and biological features of both a sheep and a goat. Mature aoudad males will have a live weight of up to 275 pounds, and both the males and females grow horns, but male’s horns grow considerably larger. Aoudads prefer rough, broken terrain, but you will occasionally find these free-ranging sheep using the flats and foothills, especially when traveling to water. Though these hunts are well-suited for clients who can physically get around relatively well, we have successfully hunted clients who are somewhat low-mobility clients; as a rule, the more restricted you are in being able to walk and scale broken terrain, the more restricted the guide will be in being able to pursue certain opportunities.
A respectable free-range aoudad trophy sheep will sport horns in excess of 27”, and anything over 30” is considered exceptionally good. Most of the rams taken by Wildlife Systems clients are in the 30” – 32” range, but we annually take sheep that are in the 33” – 34” range. Aoudads have a unique pelage characterized by a solid color throughout their body which is sandy color and blends exceptionally well with their environment. Additionally, they have a striking long beard which runs from their throat all the way down to their chest, and they also sport long hair as chaps on their front legs, thus they make impressive life-size or half-size mounts. Due to their wary and hardy characteristics, free range Texas aoudad sheep hunting offers a challenging hunt for a tough animal.
Wildlife Systems’ aoudad hunts take place on multiple large properties in Texas’ Trans Pecos, totaling approximately 250,000 acres. These properties are located in the Glass and Davis Mountain ranges, with the towns of Alpine and Marathon being a short distance away. This area of the Chihuahuan Desert features some of the most expansive and unscathed terrain that you will find in the Lower 48, and the raw beauty of this region makes the hunting experience that much more appealing. This big country offers a great variety of wildlife, including pronghorn antelope, elk, desert bighorn sheep, javelina, mule deer, white-tailed deer, black bear, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, and a host of non-game wildlife. The Trans-Pecos of Texas is truly one of the scenic jewels of the country.
Our aoudad hunts are normally set up as a 1x1 guided hunt. Hunt package includes 3.5 hunting days, 4 nights lodging, meals, as well as skinning/caping/quartering of animal. Lodging is modest, and hunters and we occasionally put our hunters up in cabins in the small town of Marathon. On hunts involving a single hunter or a twosie, the guide(s) often will multi-task as the cook, as well, providing modest table-fare. The beauty of this hunt is the hunt itself, so for hunters looking for posh lodging and gourmet dining, there are better options for those needs. Airport shuttle is not provided on this hunt. Plan on scheduling flights into Midland where you can rent a vehicle. It is a 2 – 2.5 hour drive from Midland to your hunting destination.
Resident hunters simply need their regular hunting license; no special permits are required. Non-residents will need a Special 5-day Non-Resident Hunting License which is only $48 and is over the counter, thus requiring no drawing or special lottery. Wildlife Systems can take care of printing the license for our clients, if the client will simply fill out our Hunter Profile and indicate their need for us to take care of their license.
Though our aoudad hunts can be conducted year-around, most of these hunts take place in January, February, March, April, September & October. If you are fond of warm weather, you can also effectively hunt aoudads during the summer. The quality of their hides pretty much the same throughout the year which gives you a great deal of flexibility on when you can schedule your aoudad sheep hunting trip.
Temperatures are generally on the mild side during the September, October, March, and April months, but can be colder during January and February. With this being in the desert, night temperatures are often much colder than mid-day, and rarely is rainfall a limiter. It’s always a good rule of thumb to check the weather forecast on the internet a few days prior to the hunt and allow that to help you determine what clothing may be most suitable to pack.
Hunting attire should be based on anticipated weather conditions for the time of hunt. Further, hunters should either plan on camo tops or clothing that is drab and blends in well with the environment. Good walking boots are a must, and it’s best to do some walking in those boots prior to the hunt to make sure that your feet are conditioned properly to your footwear. A small day pack is recommended, along with good binoculars, water bottle, and standard other hunting gear. Regarding caliber selection, we recommend a minimum of a 150 grain bullet, as aoudads can be extremely difficult animals to bring down. Also, NO highly expandable bullets, including ballistic tips, hollow points or Bergers. Use a bullet that will retain much of it’s mass, but will also have good expansion, such as A-frames, partitions, and bonded bullets.
John Van Slyke