the middle of a hot, muggy, June in 1992, when I received a call from
my friend, and owner of, Honey Creek Ranch, located near Hunt, Texas,
Luther had called if I was still interested in adding a Merino Sheep to
my collection. Another friend of mine, who is owner of the Record Book
Of Exotics, had told me that he was going to begin recognizing that species
of sheep the following year. On a hunt a few months before I had told
Luther that if he happened to acquire one that might be a good candidate
for the record book to let me know. Thus his phone call to me.
The Merino Sheep is an animal that is very large bodied and has horns
to match. Its body is covered with heavy wool the year round. Its large
horns are honey colored, and at up to 200 pounds of body weight in some
males, it makes for an imposing trophy.
My wife, Shirley, and I had a long weekend coming up soon, so a couple
of weeks later, we loaded up our pickup truck and headed out I10 west
toward Hunt, Texas. Don't you just love that name? We arrived at Honey
Creek Ranch, on a Friday afternoon and believe me it lives up to its name.
It is a honey hole of suberb trophy animals and is situated in one of
the most beautiful and scenic areas of the Texas hill country, to visit
and hunt in. The lodge sits along the edge of a cold, clear creek lined
with stately Cypress trees.
Luther met us at 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 sky that seemed like a celestial ocean. We
went across fast flowing, low water crossing and started up the steep
and winding road toward the hunting area. The ranch is a mixture of terrains.
They range from open rocky areas to thick Cedar thickets and large and
small canyons. Each canyon has it's own cool, clear spring, bubbling out
continuously regardless of the heat, year round.
When we arrived at the top of the plateau we immediately began to see
game animals. Luther has everything from the most common of exotics, the
Corsican Sheep, to the so-called super exotics like the Scimitar Oryx.
We looked literally, looked high and low. After an hour or so we did see
the animal we were looking for but he went into some thick brush before
we had a chance for a shot. About thirty minutes later after driving around
the area some more we spotted him again, but quite a ways off. Further
than I was willing to shoot at least.
It was getting really hot and we knew that if we didn't connect pretty
soon, we might as well give up and wait till the cool of the evening to
try for him. It was decided to make one more swing around the spot we
had last seen him in the hopes that we might get a chance for a shot.
Luck was with us this time. As we eased up to the top of a windswept hill,
there he was, along with a huge bodied black and white Catalina Goat male
with sweeping horns.They were standing in the deep shade under a huge
oak tree. I guess, enjoying the cool breeze at the top of the hill. Since
the space around the hill was wide open we couldn't move any closer without
spooking them. I told Luther, why don't I get out and try a stalk. I told
him to give me fifteen minutes or so to get into position and then to
drive around to the other side of the hill and maybe it would push them
my way and give me a chance for a shot. What can I say, it worked.
When the truck started to come toward them they started a leisurely walk
in my general direction. Within five minutes there they were within a
100 yards or less. I waited until the Merino was separated by a few feet
from the Catalina. I had a good sight picture through the Weaver 3 x 9
scope and when the Remington model 700, 30/06, stuffed with 180-grain
soft -nosed bullets went off, the ram dropped in its tracks. My Merino
had 38x39 inch horns and placed high up in the record book.
Written by Steve Mahurin on May 25, 2000.