Here's where to head for a trophy aoudad ram in the states.
Aoudad - also known as barbary sheep are not normally an animal you'd expect to see here in the United States. Mostly because these interesting-looking creatures are native only to North Africa. However, some were introduced to North America and Europe in 1950s as exotic game. And they have been here ever since.
Recognized by fringed hair on their necks and trademark curved horns on both rams and ewes, aoudads posses incredible eyesight and sense of smell. These defenses make them both fun and challenging to hunt.
Their unique looks can make you feel like you're on an African safari without ever having to leave the country.
Aoudad Sheep Hunts in the US
Fair-chase aoudad hunting in the United States is pretty localized to West Texas, particularly in the El Paso area, with a few outfitters also located in bordering New Mexico and Oklahoma.
Sure, you could opt for a high-odds high-fence hunt - and it might be slightly more affordable - but if you want the real deal, book your hunt with an outfitter that offers the free-range aoudad hunting experience. The success rates won't be as high and you'll work your tail off, but it sure beats sitting in a blazing hot blind over a feeder.
Expect to put on miles through tough terrain, spend hours glassing, and possibly take a longer distance shot on free-range West Texas aoudads. Pricing varies widely, but most trophy aoudad hunts fall in the $3,000-$6,000 range, with some outfitters adding an additional trophy fee once you tag a ram.
When and how to hunt.
There is one huge advantage hunting aoudad sheep here in the states has over other forms of hunting. Since aoudad sheep are considered an exotic species in Texas, there's no designated hunting season. So, if it feels like you didn't scratch that hunting itch in the fall, aoudad is an option to get your fix. Even better, private ranches offer day hunts and multi-day packages year-round. But success rates for mature rams are usually best in the fall rut between September and October.
Most non-residents will opt for an affordable 5-day special hunting license available over the counter. West Texas offers virtually no public land hunting opportunities, so you'll have to go with a guide to get access to private property.
As for how to hunt aoudads, most hunting is using spot and stalk techniques. And this could be over especially rough terrain. Make sure you are dressed appropriately with the proper footwear. You may be forced to pursue the animals over miles of terrain. Quality optics are a must because they blend into their environment extremely well and can disappear in the rocky areas of west Texas like a ghost. These animals seldom stay in the same place for days on end. Most hunting is going to be a lot of trial and error. But that's part of what makes the pursuit of an aoudad so fun.
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