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Handgun Bighorn Slam
Part 1
By Steve Mahurin
     

The quest 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 target twice.

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 the ranch.

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.

Written by Steve Mahurin on May 23, 2000.

     
     
Bighorn Slam 1
     
     

Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568
409-935-9673

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

Copyright 2001 - 2011


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