Aoudad sheep hunting needs to be in the crosshairs for any big game hunter.
Do you want a challenging hunt? I mean a hunt that will test your endurance, your toughness, your tenacity, your marksmanship, your ability to withstand harsh conditions, your eyesight, and your stalking ability. If the answer is yes, then aoudad sheep hunting may be for you.
Trophy aoudad hunting is indeed a challenge. It will test you and then some. These sheep inhabit some of the sparcest and roughest mountain country you’ll find anywhere. There is little vegetation from which to hide behind, and the inclines tend to be rock-hewn and precarious.
Aoudad blend into their rocky backgrounds, making them a challenge to spot. In fact, hunters have spent hours glassing a mountainside, thinking that there’s nothing there, only to be surprised to suddenly see several aoudad stand up and begin moving.
When confronted by a predator, aoudad will often simply be still, hoping that their capacity to blend in will be enough to discourage or “lose” the threat. Such is their ability to camouflage themselves and get lost in plain sight.
If that doesn’t work they will usually just quickly scramble up the side of the mountain and drop over the ridgeline. There’s nothing like camouflaging oneself by hiding on the other side of a mountain!
The rocky terrain is as easy for them to traverse as walking on a sidewalk is for you and I. It is amazing how quickly they can travel over rough country.
The fact that these sheep live in such remote places also adds to the fun. You’ll need to be in “sheep shape” to hunt them. That is, you’ll need to climb, in places where the air is thin and the terrain is ankle-twistingly rough. You’ll want exceptional footwear for this kind of hunt.
You may indeed spot them – if your optics are good – from 1,000 or more yards away. But getting near enough for a killing shot is the trick. They have excellent eyesight and a nose that would make a bloodhound envious. So, you’ll have to plan your stalk well to take advantage of what little cover may be available, and hope that the unpredictable mountain winds favor you during your approach.
This is high tension hunting. You are literally trying to close the distance on an animal that is built to see and smell danger approaching, with sparse few obstacles between you and it. You better be in good shape to do so too, as the aforementioned thin air and rough terrain will take its toll. You don’t want to be gasping for air and you don’t want your elevated heart rate to prohibit you from making a good shot.
If you’re bowhunting, rather than using a rifle, that challenge is greatly magnified. You may have to crawl and skulk a couple or three-hundred yards closer to get within bow range. One screw-up or a sudden shift in the wind, and you’re busted. Now that’s what we call a thrilling stalk!
You’ll want to wear excellent boots; carry a light, flat shooting rifle or bow; dress comfortably in layers; and have your rangefinder and binoculars handy at all times.
Your Ox Ranch guide can help you devise an approach that will put you in a position for a shot, but its execution is up to you. More than one hunter has painstakingly stalked a trophy aoudad over hundreds of yards of challenging terrain, only to witness the animal’s hind quarters waving him a hasty goodbye as they disappear over the next ridge.
The other option is to set up a stalk to intercept moving and grazing aoudad. You may have to move a little quicker with this kind of approach. Timing yourself to be in a place to ambush the traveling animals. If the wind is right and the cover is there to help conceal your approach in getting out ahead of them, you may find success.
It makes for a thrilling hunt, and the satisfaction of performing a great stalk is a reward in its own right. But there’s still lots that can go wrong, and you need to prepare for changes in the animals’ behavior or direction. If you’re successful you will have a trophy that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
This is what makes aoudad sheep hunting so rewarding when you do succeed.