My First Merino
By Steve Mahurin

It was 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 Graham.

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.

Merino Sheep

Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

Copyright 2001 - 2011

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