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
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.