WOW!! My outfitter Sterling thinks I may have just harvested the largest Aoudad in New Mexico taken with a bow!! Words cannot describe my spot and stalk Aoudad hunt on February 4th, 2012. I had four unbelievable days of crawling in rocks, cactus, burnt terrain and hills, hunting over 40,000 acres. On the fourth day we were going from early morning till dark. I had back packed after these rams, crawling in and backing out three times over a 5 hour span. The wind created difficult conditions for me. I couldn’t risk being winded by the rams because I probably wouldn’t be fortunate enough to see them again. I knew they were all huge rams (in excess of 30 inches) and I would be lucky to get one good shot. The fourth stalk of the day had us looping back below the mountains, running and back tracking. The rams were feeding fast away from us and we were starting to loose daylight. I had to crawl the opposite direction for the wind to work for our advantage. I crawled to try and get behind this big Yucca bush for cover. I was only six yards away from the bush when I looked up the rock ridge and spotted the first Big Aoudad’s horns at 200 yards clearing the ridge. It was the monster ram I wanted!!
I knew I would risk the entire hunt if I moved. My body was twisted and my right knee was on a rock point. After thirty minutes, my legs were going to sleep!! I stayed frozen, all while keeping my head down. The big ram was now feeding in front of me in the ravine 65 yards away. I prayed the wind would not shift. Thirty-five years of Bow hunting experiences were running through my head and I was trying mentally to cover all my bases. I knew my only chance would be to allow the first big ram to completely feed and get below me quartering or walking away. I would have to make a move on my knees to get a shot. If the other rams saw me, it would be over! From the corner of my eye, I could see the second big ram 85 yards above me. He could see me and kept his eyes on me! I was totally still for 10 minutes when finally the huge ram beneath me turned broadside. He was feeding and I knew I still couldn’t move without being seen. He finally turned and hopped down another ledge below and started to walk away!! I knew this was my only chance. I had to scoot on my knees and get in position to draw my bow. I guessed it to be about 40 yards since I wasn’t able to accurately range the distance. I heard big rocks above falling; the other rams had to have seen me draw and took off running. With the other rams bolting, I knew I only had seconds. I settled the pin quickly in front of his hip and as he started to walk, I released my arrow. He jumped up on a ledge and collapsed after running only 80 yards. I was so excited! A 17 year old 31 1/2 plus Aoudad ram, spot and stalk with a bow!! My adrenaline was pumping! I helped cape him out and made the three mile journey, packing my monster ram off the hill in the dark back to camp. The thorns that covered my body were well worth my harvest. Words will not describe the great hunt and wonderful time I had with Sterling Hendricks (my outfitter and new friend) and one of my great friends, Fred Pape. Let’s all keep making memories!!
Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to the 10%
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