Hey guys, this occurred back in February...but it's hard not to recap spending awesome time in the outdoors!
In February, my outfitter and I went down to Priour Ranch in Mountain Home, Texas. The quarry of pursuit was Ovis vignei cyloceros, or the Afghan Urial. Priour to my knowledge has the only pure Afghans in the U.S, and they have an extremely large herd of these coveted beautiful wild sheep. We were greeted by Mr. Walt Boerner and another ranch hand. Mr. Boerner was a very nice and honest gentleman and very informative of the whereabouts of the Afghan rams. After a little talk, I was off to hunting!
The main method of pursuit was a mix of safari style and spot and stalk. I saw a lot of great animals! Scimitar Oryx, Red Lechwe, and Sambar Deer were just some of the critters we spotted. Within an hour, we spotted a large flock of Afghans. They consisted of about 30 ewes and lambs with a few rams. The rams however were not trophy caliber and around 4-5 years old. The big boys were hanging in bachelor groups and in the farthest flung reaches of the Priour. Drats, but nothing comes easy in hunting!
For about a few more hours we searched the entire place until I caught my first glimpse of the big Afghan Rams. Just like any wild sheep, the first thing I saw of them was them hauling the mail about 150 yards away. We predicted where they might go and stalked from there on. 5 beautiful rams came down a poleline about 250 yards away from me. My god, were they beautiful!! One ram in particular caught my eye, he was absolutely massive with long thick half moon shaped horns and beautiful coat. But of course, they were running full speed ahead!
From noon to nearly the late evening the sheep gave me a better exercise routine then I ever experienced(For a college bookworm at least!) Running, running, running, running, and more running. It seemed the entire ranch swallowed the urial up at times. The layout of the area where I was hunting in the Priour consisted of elms and oaks with many draws and hills. These wily old rams clearly knew the ins and outs of the very land they were born on!
Finally, in the late evening, a bit of luck came across us. The Afghans were feeding in a small oak patch and resting, but all the rams were on full alert. For 45 minutes, my guide and I slowly creeped our way closer to the sheep. I got within 125 yards of the Afghans, but in typical sheep fashion, they were all bunched up. Another tedious amount of time was spent waiting for them to move around. I finally got into position where I had a clear shot on the biggest ram. Steady, breathe, BANG!
The shot rang off as the ram did a backflip back into the dirt. Just as I high fived my guide, my ram took off bolting. I felt confident in my shot, my crosshairs were firmly nestled right on his chest. We looked from sign but all we found was a shred bit of lung and spots of blood. After nearly 20 minutes of worry, I set my eyes on my ram laying in a bush pile. Wow!
He was an amazing animal! He was a super old ram which the guide estimated at 11-12 years of age. He had great half moon shaped horns with great length and oh my the mass he carried! He had a beautiful coat and was a healthy sheep. My shot connected through his chest and out his shoulder. A perfect shot, but sheep are super tough critters! I couldn't of been happier with my hoss of an Afghan and this experience in itself diagnosed me with sheep fever! I'm contagious!
***Due to privacy, I don't enjoy showing my face, but I was smiling ear to ear! Also the main topic of honor is the Afghan himself!***