an unseasonably warm April as we made the trip up I-10 West, on our way
to meet good friend, Barry Cox and his wife Janet for a weekend of exotic
sheep hunting. Barry has access to over 100,000 acres over a number of
different ranches in the Texas Hill country. This was my second hunt with
Barry who is a retired Air Force Colonel and has been outfitting and guiding
hunters for many years. And this gentleman has a spotless reputation.
We did make on detour along the way. With both of us being native Texans
and never having done so, decided to swing by to view the remote location
of the Alamo Village, a near perfect duplication of the San Antonio, Alamo,
located near the south Texas town of Bracketville, Texas. This site was
used for the filming of the Alamo movie, depicting the battle for Texas
Barry and Janet live on a ranch that sits in the middle of some of the
roughest, steepest, brushiest, deep canyons and valleys and twisting turning
roadways between Rock Springs and Camp Wood, Texas. We were to stay on
their place during the hunt. His ranch is heavily overgrown with the usual
Hill Country cedar thickets and dotted with small openings. After getting
settled into the camp house provided for our stay, we went out to look
for our quarry. After a while of pushing thru acres of brush, we spotted
one of the sheep we had come for. I was using a Smith & Wesson .41 caliber
revolver, with a four power Leupold scope sitting on top of it. My ammo
was hand loaded 200-grain soft nosed bullets. Even with all the brush
for cover it was difficult to get close enough to the huge old Merino
Ram, whose huge flaring horns made my mouth water. Finally, at thirty
yards and with only a thin branch to at least try to get a rest on, I
touched one off. The shot went low. A miss. Did I mention that we had
a 30-40 mile per hour wind rocking us from our back, even in the thick
brush. The ram ran off, disappearing into a green jungle. Finally we found
him again! This time I took a straddle legged off hand, about twenty yards
away. The old ram sagged to its knees and died. We got him to the walk-in
cooler and went back to camp to rest up for the next day's hunt.
Thanks to the kindness of our hosts, we were saved from a cold meal. At
their insistence we took an evening meal with them. After a good nights
sleep they insisted we also have breakfast with them as well, which we
were happy to do. After two wonderful meals and very interesting and enjoyable
conversation we were ready again to take on the brush and the sheep again.
This was slated to be our lucky day.
We did a lot of walking, sweating and looking as we moved through the
thick humid brush. The lucky part comes now!! All of a sudden down a long
clear lane of brush there stood a herd of about 12-15 sheep, never got
a good count. Right there on the edge of the brush, stood the Black Hawaiian
and the Texas Dall sheep that I was after. I thought to myself, well,
here goes. They were standing about thirty yards away. On my first shot
from the six-inch barrel of my .41 magnum the Black Hawaiian went down
on the spot. Of course the whole herd bolted away at the crack of the
gun As we got to the animal to check whether it was finished or not, we
saw that the herd had only went about 25-30 yards. They had held up in
a thicket and were milling around on the verge of moving out of my sight.
I quickly got on my rear end, rested my elbows on my knees and looked
for the Texas Dall in my scope. Just as I found the ram in my scope, he
stepped away from the edge of the herd. I started the squeeze on the trigger
and was surprised when the gun went off. The ram was mine. My hunt for
those three sheep was over and boy was I happy.
by Steve Mahurin on May 23, 2000.