Hunting Tips, Questions, Stories & Discussion

Focusing on managing Texas wildlife habitat and natural resources for native and exotic wild game species, for this and future generation of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I thought that these sheep did best in mountainous areas, how does that fit in for south Texas aoudad populations?

There is a considerable amount of variation in the topography throughout the state of Texas. While it is true that in their native country of Africa these aoudad sheep live in the most rugged of terrain, they have adapted amazingly well to the rather gentler landscape of Texas. The south Texas Aoudad sheep live in what is often called the hill country. While it is not truly mountainous, there are significant rocky areas, steep gravel hills and river banks as well as lots of cover for the sheep to get into during the heat of the day.

The south Texas Aoudad sheep are no less athletic than those that range into the mountains in Texas as well as New Mexico. The hill country sheep are just as wily, alert and highly intelligent as those that live in the much more remote areas of the state. The south Texas Aoudads that live on managed game ranches often are slightly larger than the free range members of the species, plus they are not over hunted or decimated by extreme weather conditions or disease that can occur in wild herds.

Other than south Texas Aoudad sheep on managed game ranches or exotic game ranches, are there a lot in the wild?

For people that aren't used to the miles and miles of unfenced land in south and west Texas it may be surprising to know that most south Texas Aoudad sheep are actually on free range, not confined to a game ranches in the true sense. These game leases or ranches can run for literally hundreds of square miles of brush, rugged country and dirt roads. It is estimated that the original Barbary or Aoudad sheep that were brought over from Africa after World War ll quickly escaped from their fenced pastures and immediately began populating these huge grazing ranges and leases.

Based on different studies that include a lot of extrapolation from actual hard numbers, it is estimated by researchers that there are over 25,000 central, west and south Texas Aoudad sheep living in unconfined pastures and on grazing and hunting leases. The number of captive or contained Aoudad is not known, however they are likely to total at least another 10,000 or so animals.

What is the difference between shooting a male or a female south Texas Aoudad?

If you are looking for a lot of sporting opportunity there is really no difference between either the male or female when it comes to south Texas Aoudad hunts. In general the female is going to be lighter in total body weight plus she will not have the huge trophy horns that you could possibly get if you decided to go for a ram.

The females also don't have the distinguishing chaps, the heavy, long growth of hair on the front of the legs. Females don't have the highly prominent beard either, however they still make a terrific head mount or horn mount, your choice.

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Monday, December 29, 2008


What makes hunting an Aoudad Sheep so challenging?

If you are used to hunting from a blind or from a stand, hunting Aoudad sheep can be a whole different ball game. These sheep are much more leery of humans, simply by nature, than are typical native North American deer species. One of the major differences is that the Aoudad relies much more on visual acuity, but also has an amazing sense of smell. Combining these two features really makes this species a true hunting challenge.

One other peculiarity of the Barbary sheep is that they will always run when they sense danger approaching, however if the danger seems very close they immediately freeze. This freezing can make them very hard to distinguish, especially on the rocky and rather desolate terrain they prefer.

In their native land of Africa hunting an Aoudad is seen as a true test of manhood and it is not an easy process, even for hunters with years of experience. It is this very trait that first attracted North American sportsman to the species. Because Aoudad Sheep do not shed their horns, they can be and are hunted year round.

How many Aoudad Sheep are in Texas?

Since the mid 1960’s the Aoudad sheep population has expanded within the state and even into surrounding and neighboring states. The original few pairs that were imported by Texans stationed in Africa in World War ll simply couldn’t be fenced in and escaped to live in the wild areas of central and southwestern Texas. The living conditions were comparable temperature wise to their native land, but food was much more plentiful. This combination lead to a rapid expansion of the population both in the wild and now on game ranches. It is estimated that there are approximately 25,000 Aoudad sheep now in the state, with more throughout New Mexico. Since these sheep are largely living in small groups throughout some of the roughest terrain in the state, total populations are only an estimate rather than a hard number.

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