Published on Monday, February 2, 2015
If you’ve read my blog much, you’ve figured out that I’m a seed salesman that travels a wide area and sometimes writes about those travels. I also like to write about my winter escapades/vacations, because I don’t tend to take much time off during the growing season. You’ve probably already figured out that hunting is my hobby. Well, before trekking out on my most recent expedition to Texas, I wasn’t planning on writing about it. But what happened was not what I was expecting.
Upon landing at a fairly small airport in Lubbock, Texas, a group of friends and I were met by the outfitter who immediately took us south towards the ranch. We first had to make a stop to get all of our hunting licenses purchased. Where in Texas would we purchase a hunting license? Cabela’s? Wal-Mart? A gun store? Nope. A drive-thru beer barn, of course! I couldn’t believe it! The small town of Post, Texas indeed had one place to purchase hunting licenses…this drive-thru beer barn.
I guess this was part of the overall experience. I probably won’t ever experience this again. My sense of humor is a little off but the funniest thing I saw about purchasing hunting licenses here was a little sign on the wall.
Is it just me or does that feel a little ‘out of place’?
When we arrived at the ranch we witnessed country that was absolutely breathtaking. It was different than the flat/slightly rolling corn fields of the Midwest. A small area would be highly diverse in landscape as well as plant life. Here is a sampling of what we saw.
Hiking from “down there”, to “up here” is not quite as easy as you would think.
Watching the beautiful sunrises and sunsets on a Texas ranch? Piece of cake.
One of the coolest and most original things I saw was in the kitchen. They had taken wine bottles and made chandelier lights out of them. Looks like someone has been surfing Pinterest to me!
Well, anyway…we weren’t in Texas to sight see. We were there to hunt a species of caprid (goat-antelope) called Aoudad sheep.
Otherwise known as Barbary sheep, Aoudads are native to rocky mountains in North Africa and the Red Sea Hills east of the Nile River. They were introduced to North America, some parts of Mexico and Southern Europe mainly. They were released in the wild in New Mexico in 1950 and in 1957, 31 Aoudads were released in Texas. By 1989, the Texas Aoudad population had exploded to an estimated 20,000! This sheep is adapted to the dry, rough and rocky, barren and waterless habitats of parts of Texas extremely well. So, if you want a shot at a trophy sheep, you’ve got to travel.
Let me tell you…this was not an easy hunt! From hiking to high points and glassing with binoculars, to stalking these animals only to be busted at the last minute, Aoudad sheep hunting proved to be one of the most exciting hunting challenges I’ve ever experienced! That wasn’t the only exciting part though. Don’t forget the awesome Texas food!
I was hoping that we would all be successful at harvesting a fully mature 10-15 year old Aoudad ram and we were! But, something happened that I wasn’t even hoping for, let alone expecting. I was fortunate enough at the end of the hunt to become a little more acquainted with SCI (Safari Club International) for a very specific reason.
SCI is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI is also responsible for the SCI Record Book, the largest record keeping system in the world for scoring big game animals. I received a text from the outfitter upon returning home stating that they thought my ram could possibly be in the Top 20 SCI Record Book for largest Auodad ever taken. I can score a whitetail pretty close but had no clue when it comes to Auodad. So I was not expecting that phone call. A day later, he text me again to tell me that they are thinking it is probably going to place #13 in the world! SCI has been contacted and we are waiting for an official score. To say the least, I’m happy no matter what!
Sometimes good things come when we least expect it. Many times, we don’t deserve it. A lot of times, we do nothing to earn it but it comes to us anyway. When those things happen to you, bask in it. Be thankful for it. Cherish those memories for the rest of your life and most importantly, share those stories with the ones you love. Take that memory and pass it down. I know I will.
Author: Ryan McAllister
Categories: Field Stories
Tags: Beck's Hybrids Blog, Ryan McAllister, Field Stories, Aoudad sheep, Sharing Stories, Making Memories, Barbary sheep, Texas Aoudads, Safari Club International
Practical Farm Research Director at Beck's.
2/3/2015 10:18 AM
Nice to here of u our accomplish ments and relaxing time with ffriends.i'm also a farmer wife and I know it's hard to get away.
2/3/2015 3:04 PM
congratulations on your trophy! What a wonderful trip had by all!!!
2/11/2015 7:17 AM
Nice Ram, it is beautiful. Looks like you had an amazing time, you deserve it Ryan. God Bless.