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Bighorn Slam
Part 2

By Steve Mahurin
     

A few months earlier my old, friend Luther Graham, called me and told me that he had a big Merino Sheep Ram on his place that might be something I'd want to try for. The Merino Sheep is an animal that is very large bodied, but also has large horns. It's all white and covered with heavy wool the year round. It has large honey colored horns and at up to 200 pounds of body weight in some males, makes it an imposing trophy.

Shirley and I had a long weekend coming up, so we loaded the truck and headed up I10 West, to Hunt, Texas. "I just love that name." We arrived at his ranch, called the Honey Creek Ranch, and believe me it really lives up to its name. It is a honey hole of superb trophy animals as well as one of the most beautiful areas in the hill country of Texas, to stay and to hunt in.

Luther met us at the bunkhouse around 7:30 a.m., that Saturday morning. This was one of those beautiful Texas, days that started out a little crisp, and with a crystal clear, azure blue Texas, sky, that seemed like a celestial ocean. It was also one of those days where everything seems to go right as well. We hadn't been looking for much more than an hour when, there he was, our ram. He was traveling with a big black and white Catalina Goat Billy. They were standing on the top of a ridge, covered with rippling waves of green grass, outlined against the brightness of the clear blue sky. It wasn't a cakewalk though. But after a couple of busted stalks, I got the shot I wanted and I was one step closer to finishing up my slam.

Next up on my quest, was the Mouflon Sheep. The Mouflon is one of the smallest of the wild sheep, with larger males weighing in at only 110 pounds on the scales. The Mouflon is also one of the wariest and wildest of the sheep species. The Mouflon is considered by many to be one of the best looking of the sheep species. The rams have brownish sides and white bellies and black hair on their faces and necks. The most distinctive marking though is white saddle looking marking on their backs. My Mouflon trip was to take place on the first morning of February, on the Turkey Run Ranch near Kerrville, Texas. This was a seldom hunted ranch and L. R. Castleberry was the only guide the landowner would allow to bring hunters onto the place. It took me three different trips to this ranch to get my Mouflon. On the third trip, after stalking and passing three or four bands of sheep, as being to small, we finally found a ram that was the size we were after. The bunch of rams was bedded down in the bottom of a ravine about 100 yards nearly straight down. Now came the hard part. After a 300-yard crawl on our hands and knees, thru cactus, and knee bruising rocks we found the following.

If I tried to shoot from the prone position, I couldn't see the rams without spooking them. Setting up and using my knees for a rest, I had only a small green bush about 8 inches tall and 4 inches wide to hide me from the sheep. I finally got off the chest on shot and the 180 grain core - lokt bullet did its job, and the ram lurched to its feet for a final death run of about 50 yards. It was quickly getting dark, so we dragged the animal to the top of the canyon for a few pictures. His horns were 32 inches long with 10 inch bases. Whenever I look at that mount on my wall, I flash back to sore knees, the rocky road to success, and the feeling that I really earned that trophy. It's a great feeling isn't it?

I was finally on the last animal of my attempt to complete my Big Horn Slam. This trip was for the ever popular, Corsican Sheep, native of the West Indies. These sheep are probably the most hunted exotic in the United States.

This hunt was to take place on the Honey Creek Ranch, probably, my most favorite hunt destination, of all the ranches that I have been privileged to hunt in over 30 years of hunting. This ranch is owned by Luther Graham, a crusty, six foot plus, tobacco chewing, ex oilfield roughneck, who doesn't mince his words. But for all that, when you get to know him, he is one of the nicest people you could ever want to know.

The first time that we met him and toured his ranch, I asked him what the price range on his animals was. Here is what his answer was. Well, I'm not too good with figures and so all the big animals are $700 and the rest are $200. Short and to the point, huh? Honey Creek is a beautiful place to hunt, from its Cypress Tree lined, crystal clear, ice cold streams, to its rocky fields and large and small canyons, edged with Cedar thickets, and containing, bubbling springs, that haven't dried up in over 80 years.

We drove up a winding, rocky road to the top of a plateau. This area was a little more open and we saw a number of plains type of species, including Oryx, American Buffalo, Nilgai Antelope, Blackbuck Antelope, and three or four types of sheep species. Sadly no Corsican sheep were in evidence. We did our best, but no luck that day.

The next morning we were up early and back out hunting. Today was a little better. A couple of hours later, on a little hunted pocket towards the back of the ranch; we spotted a large Corsican Ram and got a shot, after a short stalk. My trusty old, Remington, Model 700, barked and the ram was down and dead in an instant. That 150 yard shot was the one that ended my quest for The Big Horn Slam with a rifle.

Written by Steve Mahurin on March 16, 2000.

     
     
Big Horn Slam 2
     
     

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

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

Copyright 2001 - 2011


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