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 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.
It was 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
We did make one detour on the way, 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 Bracketville, Texas. This site was used for the filming of
the Alamo movie, depicting that Battle for Texas Independence.
Barry and Janet live on a ranch that sits in the middle of some of the
roughest, steepest 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 dotted with small openings. After getting settled into
the camp house provided for our stay, we went out to look for our quarry.
Barry is the one reponsible for my starting to hunt with a handgun.
Anyway, 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 powered Leupold scope sitting on top of it. My ammo was hand
loaded 200 gain soft nose 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 30 yards and with only
a thin branch to at least try and rest on, I touched one off. The shot
went low. A miss. Did I mention that we had a 30-40 mph wind rocking us
from our back, even in the brush? The ram ran off disappearing into a
green jungle. Finally we found him again! This time I took a straddle
legged off hand shot, about 20 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.
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. This
was slated to be our lucky day.
We did a lot of walking, looking and sweating as we moved thru 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 both the Black Hawaiian
and the Texas Dall Sheep that I was after. I thought to myself, here goes.
They were standing about 30 yards away On my first shot from the 6-inch
.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 at the shot. The
ram was mine. My Handgun Texas Slam was complete and boy was I happy.
by Steve Mahurin on April 23, 1999.