A true mountain hunt guided personally by the outfitter for massive free-range trophy Aoudad rams.
5 Hunting days, fully guided.
Winter months, particularly January through March
Wild, Free-ranging & Introduced
Some of the least explored regions of Texas, the Big Bend county is a beautiful and ecologically diverse region, becoming increasingly notable amongst sportsmen for producing huge free-range Aoudad rams in true mountain hunting fashion. This is a true mountain sheep hunt for big wild desert-dwelling sheep. Some vast areas here have never yet been formally outfitted and ancient Aoudad rams die of old age. Experimental hunts on several very strategically located new private and exclusive ranches have produced phenomenal results with impressive Aoudad measuring 35+ inches and aged at 13-14 years old. Recent scouting efforts have located rams bigger yet with suspicions that one of the next Aoudad of all time will emerge from these hunting grounds.
A big advantage on this hunt is that two outfitters have partnered together to offer premium trophy sheep hunts for these Aoudad. These packages come standard at 5+ days, 1×1 guided personally by the outfitters in search of only top-end rams. A very limited quota on these ranches of only 5-6 hunts annually ensures the time needed to produce the biggest specimens. They require time to grow, and this hunt is about quality vs quantity. Our primary ranches are reserved for our limited premium trophy hunts, commanding a premium price. The outfitter also offers standard hunt packages on other nearby private ranches, where one can expect to see greater numbers of sheep but a greater challenge finding rams over 30 inches.
These hunts are also 5 days 1×1 guided to ensure the best experience and highest possible success rates. Opportunities exist to combine your Aoudad hunt with Javelina for a trophy fee, or Desert Mule Deer & Scaled quail can be possible but will depend on season dates, and permit availability. Very limited free-range trophy Desert Bighorn hunts are also possible, on their own or in combination with trophy Aoudad.
Typical Day & Tactics
Greet the outfitter at a vintage general store or tavern in your personal or rental vehicle on the main crossroads about 30 miles from the hunting area. This simplifies the final directions and logistics. Arrive at the lodge in the evening, unpack and prepare your gear, midnight snack and then settle in the for the night with a big day ahead.
Wake up in the pre-dawn, scarf down a quick breakfast, pack a lunch then hit the slopes for dawn. Part of the ranches can be driven, assisted by 4×4 side by side, and the rest needs to be hiked. The hunt is generally relaxed. Short climbs to strategic vantage points and you to bust out the optics enabling hunters to scan a vast landscape with your guide in search of sheep. As the morning light shifts, it exposes new canyons and crannies that Aoudad can hold up in.
Visit several key glassing spots each day, day after day if needed while looking for a big mature ram until one is located. At this point, the energy changes and a game plan is devised on how best to get inside of shooting range. Careful maneuvering along the jagged mountains is exciting as you creep your way to a big Aoudad. Long-range shooting confidence is your ally in helping you boost odds at connecting with these wary sheep. After celebrations and caping, the Aoudad are prepared and hand-delivered to a capable local taxidermist if desired, who can perform various taxidermy options.
Landscape & Climate
The Chihuahuan desert of Southwest Texas is a harsh and rugged landscape. An obscure corner of the continental US that many don’t get the privilege to explore and experience. Numerous jagged, lower elevation mountain ranges provide ideal habitat for Aoudad, in addition to the indigenous wildlife line-up including Desert Bighorn and Mule deer, Pumas, Mexican Black Bears, Grey Foxes, Javelina, Golden eagles, Kangaroo rats, Scaled Quail and Road Runners. Once on the mountain, the terrain will be a sloped combination of rimrock, ridge tops and undulating spiers full of nooks and crannies. Generally, vegetation is sparse, but the dominant plants are various species of Yuccas. Prickly Pear, Ocotillo and some Cholla cactus also fill in the gaps. The low country gives rise to Mesquite washes and creosote dominated flats. A dry desert environment, temperatures here can range throughout the year, but winters are often mild and rarely dip below freezing. Mornings are crisp but the sun warms the landscape as temperatures rise throughout the day. You tend to start the day in a sweater and end it in a T-shirt.
Meals & Accommodations
To complete this experience, stay in an old traditional hacienda stone house, set picturesquely amidst a canyon peak overlooking the main wash that carves its way through the floor of the ranch. Rugged mountain slopes on either side let you start and end each day glassing from camp, nestled right in Aoudad country. The lodge has running water, flushing toilets, a shower, and generator-powered electricity allowing for light, cooking, and wifi. Enjoy all the local artifacts collected by the owner over a lifetime of living on the ranch. The main bedroom has 4 beds comfortably housing hunters. Breakfasts are quick and simple to get you in the field bright and early. Toast, eggs, fruit, cereal, and coffee most days. Plan on packing a lunch in your day pack to stay out and hunt all day. Water, Gatorade, fruit, sandwiches, jerky, cookies, and candy are provided. Once back for the night the lodge has a large outdoor wrap around deck complete with an open cooking fire fueled by aromatic mesquite logs. Cook like a cowboy under the stars. Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, grilled chicken, pork chops or Texas steaks often find their way onto the grill, with Potato’s, rice or veggies on the side.
Key Equipment Suggestions
This is a true mountain hunt, and so appropriate equipment will only assist you. Comfortable, broken-in ankle-high hiking boots and optics are the two most essential items. Consider 10-15x binoculars and rangefinder, with a quality spotting scope and tripod proving a real asset. Hiking poles, a day pack, camelback bladder, polarized sunglasses, a digital camera, durable pants and a lightweight sweater for the cool mornings round off key items on the list.
Premier Trophy Hunt: 5 full days – 1×1 guided – x1 Trophy Aoudad Ram – January – March = $7500
Standard Hunt: 4 full days – 1×1 guided – x1 Trophy Aoudad Ram – January – March = $6500
All meals and accommodations during the hunt
1×1 professional guiding personally by the outfitter
All trophy fees for x1 trophy Aoudad Ram with no size restrictions
Custom Gunworks rifle rental and ammunition for the duration of the hunt
All ground transportation while hunting
Basic trophy skull & hide preparations for drop off at the taxidermist
Travel to the ranch or hunting area
Any pre and post-hunt meals and accommodations
Texas Exotic Hunting License (approx. $50 available online if not a Texas resident)
Trophy fees for any additional game animals harvested
Gratuities to guides and staff
Taxidermy and trophy export
Personal side ventures or tourism
purchases of a personal nature, alcohol, souvenirs, etc.
Hunters are asked to arrive at either the Midland or El Paso Airports in SW Texas. Unless driving from home, it is encouraged to rent a vehicle at the airport and drive the approximate 3.5 hours south to the hunting area the day before the hunt commences.
Unless choosing to drive from home, Midland or El Paso are both easily reached by various North American airlines. Either direct flights, or with connections typically in either Denver or Dallas.
Airport pick up & drop off services are not included in the package. Hunters are asked to drive to the lodge or rent a vehicle enabling the outfitters to continue pre-scouting prior to hunter arrival.
Passport required for all international travel. Visa’s or Immunizations may be required for certain destinations
Phillip – Texas Trophy Aoudad
I have been fortunate to have hunted across much of the US as well as a handful of international destinations. This time around I was looking for a big Aoudad. I didn’t want to hunt sheep that were coming to feeders or out of blinds. I was looking for a real west Texas mountain Aoudad hunt.
It was suggested that we take a trip to a remote region of SW Texas. Driving up to the ranch was like turning back the clock to the days of the old west. We knew the Aoudad population densities in this area were lower compared to others, but the quality of the rams that could be encountered might be some of the very best. Hunting days began early and due to the extremely rough and mountainous terrain, extensive enough hiking was required as UTV’s are unable to access the heights where the sheep lived. Once at the summit we glassed and glassed scanning for life. On the third day, we spotted some big rams heading our way and it was game on! We quickly set up and I managed to take a massive old ram with a couple of well-placed shots.
Big Aoudad harvested on these ragged mountains gives a hunter a sense of pride due to the effort required to make it all come together. This hunt is how sheep were meant to be hunted. Much of what really made it all possible was the quality of the two outfitters, who have partnered up to deliver truly world-class Aoudad hunts. They were knowledgeable, professional, hardworking, had eyes like falcons and were an overall pleasure to spend time and hunt with.
I had the chance to hunt with Adrian on this trip. You won’t find a nicer guy and more genuine fellow to help you find the big game hunt of your dreams. He harvested a monster ram on our trip and can speak from genuine experience about this hunt. We had an excellent week in the mountains together. I plan on booking future trips through Adrian because of our trusted relationship and his passion for a great hunt.