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by James Swidryk a.k.a. jamesfromjersey Last updated: 2010-06-29 19:56:10
After seeing the excellent tahr that fellow handgunner Ed Folmar took at White Elk Ranch I booked a hunt for Red Sheep. The hunt should have taken place during the winter months but had to be pushed to the first day of summer. Since the animal is not large in body size I brought my Freedom Arms model 83 in 41 Magnum shooting a hot loaded 210gr XTP. Driving into the hunting area that first morning we came upon a group of 20 or more Red Sheep and it was difficult to find the largest because of so many good size rams. I did not realize it then but that was to be the last time I would see them as calm and grouped together as they were in the hay field. Hunting these and other types of ram at White Elk is normally done during the winter months where the odds of making a good shot from one of their blinds is much higher. Numerous alfalfa fields and a full moon did not make things any easier.
We sat in the blind most of the morning with only some Tahr and Ibex coming into the feeders. We packed up around 11 for the ride back to the lodge. Tad,the owner, and Paul my guide discussed what options were available and figured that an ambush was the best way to go for a hunter using a revolver in 41 Magnum. I stayed with Tad who set me up in a number of choke points but either the sheep came running through at full speed or they circled and completely avoided us. Add to that the fact that when you were inside 100yds with a good ram in your crosshair there was always another animal behind him and you had to hold your shot until one or the other moved and then the group would move on after only a few seconds.
With the three of us riding in an open 4-wheel Ranger we began to cover the area behind the high cliffs when Paul spotted movement in a dry wash. To the surprise of everyone were two aoudad rams trying to dig themselves deeper to be out of our sight. The rams then moved out and over a nearby hill without presenting a shot. We drove in the opposite direction to circle and cut them off when, sure enough, they came out at 50yds. We stopped on the hillside facing downhill and I made a standing shot off the rollbar.
Damm it I missed... rushed the shot pulling the trigger to hard and shot over him. The aoudad ran off to places unknown. The good thing about the shot was that it stirred up all of the other game that was bedded down in the valley. The guys spotted a small group of Red Sheep making their way uphill in our direction. Tad and I quickly set up an ambush and waited for the sheep to show. In less then a minute the movement of the sheep caused the aoudad to come out of their hiding spot and come in our direction. They stopped, Tad said the first ram was the bigger of the two and put him in my crosshair when they started moving. They did not see us because when Tad whistled they stopped again to see where we were. That was all the time I needed to slowly squeeze the trigger. As the two rams took off I could clearly see the red spot over the boiler room.
This was a big (over 250lbs) old (around 8 years) Aoudad ram that fell to a 210gr XTP. The bullet had punched through the left side taking out a rib and both lungs before stopping under the right shoulder. The XTP did another excellent job with its terminal performance with perfect expansion and a recovered weight of 167.6grs. You know the rest of this story in that I did not get to take a Red Sheep but was given instead, a chance to take terrific Aoudad ram that I thought I`ed never get to see, much less shoot...
PS- if a handgunner was to ask me what guns to bring to White Elk I would definitely say to take their hunting revolver and I would also add that he bring a scoped single shot to reach out in case a target presents itself at ranges over 150 yds.
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