I joined Mike and guide Tyler down by the Devil's River for some hot summer trophy Aoudad hunting.
Tuesday - I flew into Ozona at 6pm and we were glassing the ranch by 7:30. Things looked like they were going to be rough, we didn't spot a single Aoudad until driving out in the dark had a Ewe and Lamb cross our path.
Wednesday - We glassed 8 hours from sunrise until early afternoon, then another 3 hours that evening. It was a great spotting day, saw 40-50+ in different groups, including a BIG boy 30"+ other side of Canyon out of range and not good opportunity to stalk.
Thursday - First thing in morning driving from one glassing spot to another we checked one of the deer feeders and there was a BIG boy on it. We moved into position 180 yards on shooting sticks, the ram hadn't spotted us, but was walking away quickly. I wasn't even on the animal when Mike had to start calling him to stop walking. Quartering away hard and not wanting to miss the opportunity, I took the shot and cleanly missed! It was very humbling and a good experience. After having a perfect record with this gun (300 yard Pronghorn, 200 yard Boar, 320 yard Aoudad, and 440 yard Aoudad) I simply blew it! I know I'm not a great shot, but thought I was better than this. Through rest of day and other 11 hours of glassing we spotted another 40-50+ Aoudad up to 26" range.
Friday - First thing Tyler and I setup on the feeder while Mike glassed a nearby canyon. We spotted a great buck and other does, but no Aoudad. We glassed several spots and about 11 AM spotted a group of Aoudad and nice ram OVER 1 mile away opposite canyon. We had to drive around into valley and then hiked up the mountain. The Aoudad first weren't in the cut we thought, but realized we were one cut over. We finally spotted what we thought was the group on the ridge. We moved into position, but the ram wasn't to be seen. We watched this group for about 20 minutes before they filtered off.
The Shot - We were heartbroken after the long spot & stalk. Mike started heading to another cut and thought just came to me, since here, just take the 20 steps and look deeper into the cut. Sure enough looked over and the ram had been on second ledge just 25 yards below where we had been looking the entire time. He was locked on a hot Ewe (in August!), had no idea we were there. Mike got back over with my sticks. After I took my last two Aoudad with long shots, it was nice to have a short 80 yard shot or so.
Frontal shot quartering just slightly the 7 mag Barnes TTSX 150gr dropped him dead.
Thanks to Mike and Tyler, it was a tough week, but so rewarding in the end. Sorry I missed the big boy, but so much better to take one the way we did vs. the feeder.