Bob and I have recently been seeing information about hunting a large game animal called an Aoudad. And if you are anything like me, your first thought might be “What the heck is an Aoudad?” So of course I had to go online and look up information. And if you are anything like Bob, your first thought might have been “I don’t care what they are! How can I get on a hunt for an Aoudad?” Well in either case, I am going to save you some time and fill you in.
The Aoudad, or Barbary Sheep (although they are sometimes included in the goat genus Capra), are a wild, non-native species originally from Africa that were brought to Texas and New Mexico after soldiers stationed in Chad and the Barbary Coast of Northern Africa, during World War II, recognized the potential of the Aoudad as a game animal and had some shipped to the United States.
The Aoudad are a short haired,reddish-brown animal, with a mane of longer hair under their neck and front legs. Both the male and female have horns. They have flourished in the mountains of Texas and New Mexico due in part to their ability to obtain all hydration from the vegetation they consume and remain hydrated for long periods with little water.
Based on what I have read, they are super alert which makes for a challenging hunt. I imagine it would be like hunting antelope if they were still in the mountains.
So what makes these animals so intriguing for hunters?
In Outdoor Life, Alex Robinson says:
In a lot of ways, a wild mountain sheep hunt is the least attainable big-game hunt on the continent for the everyday American outdoorsman or woman. It’s not so much the physical challenge, but the financial burden and the long odds of drawing a tag that push a sheep hunt out of reach for most.
And that’s why a wild aoudad hunt in West Texas might be one of the most underrated big-game trips out there. You get to glass, climb, feel your muscles ache, and hear your joints creak. And if you hunt hard and shoot well, you’ll likely come home with a very cool trophy and some great memories.
He goes on to share some good information and tips in this article.
While hunting Aoudad is less expensive than some hunts out there, right now it still is above our budget. So Bob and I were excited to find a group of guides from Terlingua, Texas who run a site called HUNTAOUDAD.COM and who regularly give away Aoudad ewe hunts as part of their management strategy and to build awareness about their organization. You can sign up to win a hunt on their website. They also have a great FAQ page that lays out the requirements for a hunt on their place.
It would be so exciting to win a hunt and get the chance to go after such a unique and challenging animal. I really like that the hunts are free range and fair chase so we wouldn’t be shooting an animal while it’s feeding at the hay mow. They also have a guide available for the extent of your hunt and you can decide how much or how little they help out.
What do you think? If you had the chance, would you hunt one of these critters?