for the Handgun Bighorn Slam as recognized by Records of Exotics can be
long, difficult, expensive, and usually lots of fun. This slam consists
of six specific species of exotic animals. Those animals are the Corsican
Sheep, Mouflon Sheep, Catalina Goat, Merino Sheep, Black Hawaiian Sheep,
and the Texas Dall Sheep.
My first ever exotic with a handgun was a Corsican Sheep. I had booked
a rifle hunt with Barry Cox near Campwood, Texas. He had just gotten back
from a gun show at which he had traded for a Thompson Contender in .223
caliber. He said, " let's go out back of the house, I want you to try
this handgun out." I said, "why not." So out we went. We set up some rocks
on a log about 30 yards away. I tried three shots, and close but no cigar.
Barry said extend your arm more and you can get a full field of view.
The gun was topped with a two-power scope. When I then shot, I hit the
Then Barry sprung an idea on me. Why don't we hunt that ram with this
pistol? I told him, are you out of your mind, I haven't shot a handgun
for years, with the exception of just now, much less one with a scope.
He laughed and said heck, you did okay awhile ago and I'll get you close.
You really think that is a good idea, I replied. I thought it over and
said, if you think we can make it work, I'm game. You know, he was right.
We got within twenty yards in the thick mesquite and I put two rounds
within an inch of each other. I had just taken my first handgun exotic.
As a result I decided to hang up my rifle and become a handgun hunter.
My agenda now took me near Hunt, Texas and the game rich, scenic, Texas
hill country to try for the elusive Mouflon sheep. I was to hunt this
time with a good friend, Thompson Temple, on a ranch he had been leasing
for a number of years. We arrived on the ranch on a typical late November
day. Hot and clear, and around 85 degrees.
This ranch is weird and I emphasize weird! The front half is covered with
nice stands of timber and has nice hard sand roads traversing it. The
ground is hard enough everywhere so you can cut across country if need
be. The other half is very rocky, very rough, and what few roads that
exist are nearly invisible.
We searched the flat part first, hoping in vain, that we would find our
ram there. Of course, that didn't happen, even though we did see a good
number of rams there. So it was to the rock pile we went, as my friend
had said that was where the sheep and goat type animals usually hung out.
We bounced around quiet a bit and quite awhile seeing many animals and
many species. Thompson said, he knew there was a better ram than we had
seen so far. We kept searching the rocks and brush to no avail. We both
arrived at the same conclusion. "If it's not here, it must be somewhere
else". That else, has to be on the other half. So we decided to go back
to where we started.
Wouldn't you know it, there it stood in an opening not 400 yards from
where we started hunting earlier in the day? We were able to get within
50 yards of him. When I touched off the shot from my 30/30 caliber Thompson
Contender, with a 4 power Leupold scope he dropped like a rock. When we
got to him, we found strangely, the remains of the Winchester, 130 grain
ballistic tip bullet mushroomed and hanging by a few hairs of the rams
coat, on the far side if its body. He made the gold medal classification.
Next, was my third animal to hunt for with a handgun, towards my Bighorn
Slam. My weapon was a Smith & Wesson, 6 inch barreled, 41 magnum, loaded
with 210 grain soft point hand loads and a Tasco Pro Point scope with
an adjustable red dot reticule. It was also my first time to guide myself
on such a hunt. My wife, Shirley, and I had arrived in the Kerrville area
to hunt Catalina Goat with outfitter and good friend Thompson Temple.
It was April 6th, 1995, and we were scheduled to hunt the next morning
on the Hi Hatch Ranch, a little off highway 41, sorta between Mt. Home
and Hunt Texas.
We arrived at the ranch gate about 8 am. the following morning to try
for this sometimes wild and sometimes semi tame quarry. Luckily mine was
among the harder to hunt variety. As I pulled through the gate it was
already promising to be a pretty warm day in the Texas hill country. Shirley
and I had hunted this property a number of times in years past, when I
was hunting with a rifle.
We hunted the front part of the place for 2 or 3 hours without a sign
of a goat. Thompson had told me he'd seen four or five Billy's of the
size I was looking for. After no luck in the easy areas we decided to
head for the whiplash area located in the boulder patch in the rear of
After bouncing around for a couple of hours we finally spotted a band
of about 15 to 20 goats. There were about 5 Billys in the bunch that I
thought could bear a closer look. Of course they were headed away from
us at about 200 yards. We made a big half circle in the truck to try to
get closer for a stalk. After a while Shirley spotted them about 100 yards
away at the edge of some thorn covered brush. I decided to try a stalk
for a closer look. I hunkered over at the waist and tried to look like
a goat. After about 30 to 40 yards I had to get down on hands and knees.
I've got real bad knees and can hardly crawl on my carpeted floor. But
there I was on all fours, in the rocks, trying to keep the ouches down
and make a stalk at the same time. As I got closer the goats were getting
restless and started to move away down a small winding trail at the edge
of a brush patch. There were a number of promising trophies but one stood
out from the rest. I decided I'd better try and take him. That wasn't
as easy as it sounds of course. The animals were changing positions rapidly.
I finally got a chance and touched one off, a miss that impacted right
under his belly.
The whole herd thundered away as I called myself a few choice names for
missing. With head held low it was back to the truck where my wife Shirley,
the eternal optimist, said well find them again and you wont miss this
time. The goats had traveled in a big curve to our right. I took my truck
in the opposite direction to make a left-handed curve with the hopes of
getting around them for an ambush shot. We traveled almost half way around
the ranch and finally, through the binoculars she spotted them coming
toward us about a 100 yards away. I got ready to take the shot, and when
my Billy got within about 30 yards, I shot and he dropped in his tracks.
Wouldn't you know it he fell in the middle of maybe the only mud puddle
on the whole ranch. He was a good one though, and topped my previous best
one with a rifle by a good bit. The Billy had horns that curved out a
little over 35 inches per side, and a tip to tip spread of approximately
42 inches, making him a gold medal in the record book.
by Steve Mahurin on May 23, 2000.