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20. Aoudad---Texas

map showing the range of aoudad in northern AfricaThe aoudad, or Barbary sheep, is native to northern Africa. There populations are quite low, but in 1935 they were stocked in the inhospitable, dry, mountainous Texas hill country where they have thrived and extended their range into New Mexico. Their hair is thick and long on the throat and forelegs. Both sexes have horns, but they are small in the female. The male displayed here is just an average size. Larger males can get horns that are over 30 inches in length. This animal was taken in Texas in 2002.


Samuel with aoudadTaking a free range aoudad is difficult, especially with the bow. They are extremely wary, and live in mountainous, rocky, dangerous country. I had no intent to hunt aoudads on my axis deer hunt in Texas, but one hot afternoon, while killing time before the evening axis bowhunt, the rancher and the guide wanted to show me the aoudad habitat on the ranch. While driving with the rancher and guide on a mountain ridge, we stopped at a small water hole. It wasn’t more than six feet across but there were fresh aoudad tracks there, so we built a quick blind from brush, and I sat there. An hour later this aoudad showed up and I made the shot. Sometimes you have to make your own luck.