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  1. #376

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    An easy target is awfully tempting, but I came for a big one.

    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  2. #377

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    Holy guacamole! I'm gonna have to stop hunting for a bit...

    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  3. #378
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Newhartford Iowa
    Posts
    2,093

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    That was a great moose hunt with awsome pictures.

  4. #379

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    Man you guys need a walk in freezer!

  5. #380

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    Looks like another awesome trip!

  6. #381
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    1000 islands area
    Posts
    156

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    That's big! is that an orax?

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Crossbowguy View Post
    That's big! is that an orax?
    Barbary sheep or aoudad. Whichever name you prefer.
    We call them Barbary sheep.

  8. #383
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    1000 islands area
    Posts
    156

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    Bet it will be a hike getting him out!

  9. #384

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    I'm taking full advantage of my time here in New Mexico, and hanging out with some friends while I'm here. So, I'm sorry I won't have the time to write up the entire story of my Barbary hunt, but I promise you I'll have it posted as soon as possible and you won't be disappointed.



    As far as the pack out... It's good to have friends.Name:  OI000048.jpg
Views: 176
Size:  84.9 KB
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  10. #385

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    At the beginning of this whole long thread, Dan and I mentioned how important being flexible is. Well, after I killed my moose halfway through my scheduled leave, I suddenly find myself with extra time. I thought I would deer hunt for a few days with my daughter then take my stuff down to New Mexico later in the week. As I was driving back from scouting a spot the night before the opening day of Idaho rifle deer season, it dawned on me that if I left earlier in the week I could spend a few days hunting Barbary sheep in New Mexico.

    Since I promised my daughter I'd take her hunting in the morning I had to follow through on that promise. So I took her hunting and left for New Mexico midday after the morning hunt.



    I drove about halfway and stopped to sleep in the Subaru for a few hours, and pressed on the rest of the way to Santa Fe the next morning. I ended up spending a little more time there than I originally anticipated, but it was a great time sharing the stories of the hunts with the taxidermist and sharing time with some great people.

    One thing that's really hit me this year is how important spending time with people is, and how awesome it is to share experiences with people. Since starting this thread I've had the pleasure of conversing and getting to know a lot of new people, and also a surprising number of fellow military guys.

    Prior to going down to New Mexico, I hit up Ryan to let him know I was coming down. I never actually met Ryan before this hunt, but we'd talked via social media for several months before the hunt. Ryan is a fellow Air Force guy, and he also grew up in the area I was planning on hunting. So I bounced my plan off of him and he gave me a few pointers on how to work the area smarter and not harder... Which I'm very guilty of working harder, so his advice was golden. Basically he told me to glass more and walk less, which is pretty much the exact opposite of my normal operations. He also confirmed that the area I was headed to was still a good area, so I pressed on down the road to go hunting.

    I made it to the area I planned to hunt with a little more than an hour of glassing light. I didn't see a single animal, but I wasn't worried. I still needed to reacquire an eye for spotting barbs, and I knew they were there. I'd been to the area before, so I knew it was just a matter of time before I'd see a rock move. (Barbary sheep look like... rocks.)

    After the sunset, I needed to go back into town to get some cold medicine. I was feeling like garbage. Prior to leaving home I contracted whatever sickness my kids had, and I knew the only way I was going to get any decent sleep was by getting some medicine. I ended up sleeping like I was dead, but was able to wake up plenty early to get to the spot I wanted to glass from before the sunrise.

    The morning didn't start very eventful. I got a text from Ryan at 745 asking if I'd seen anything, but I hadn't. I told him I'd give it another 30 minutes before I moved to a different spot. I decided to put the spotting scope on the area I figured the sheep were most likely to be and leave it there for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes of staring at the same spot, I finally saw a rock move. I immediately had my sheep eyes back and was able to see half a dozen sheep feeding in a very huntable spot. One of those sheep was a STUD!



    I sent the pics to Ryan to let him know what I was looking at, and he confirmed that I was indeed looking at a very large ram. I was hoping he'd tell me it was just a decent 27-28" ram and that he was just ok so I wouldn't get all excited, but he didn't. I started to get almost overly excited. Ok... I'll admit, I was was shaking with excitement. I knew I was looking at a TOAD, and I had to get after him.

    I went over some options with Ryan and spent the next 2 hours watching the small group of sheep feed and then disappear into the steep canyon. Since it was midday I figured they were bedded somewhere in the shade and wouldn't move for a little while. I spent the next 20-30 minutes evaluating the terrain and figuring out how I was going to get up to them without putting myself in too much danger. There were a few sections that required a bit if rock climbing skills, but it was a very manageable climb.

    The sickness I had slowed me down a little bit and caused me to be completely drenched in sweat by the time I got up to where the sheep were. I...felt...like...garbage. But there was no way anything was going to keep me from getting eyes on that ram again. I knew there was no guarantee I would get close enough for a shot, but I at least wanted to see him again.

    So I dropped my pack (horrible idea pretty much anywhere) and slowly crept over the ridge toward the spot I last saw the sheep. Ever few feet I moved I would sit and glass the newly visible terrain. I figured I was within 400yds of the sheep at this point, but I couldn't find them.

    I didn't see any sheep until I was past where I assumed they would be, and the sheep I saw were not the ones I was looking for. I glassed a group of a dozen or so sheep about 700ft of vertical gain above where I assumed the big ram would be, and none of them looked big.

    I ended up getting pinned down by these 2 ewes and a lamb at about 320 yards.



    I sat and baked in the sun for a few hours and texted Ryan about the situation. Earlier, while I was climbing up, Ryan texted the pic of the ram to one of his buddies who lived nearby. His buddy finished his school work and headed straight to the cliffs to help me find the ram.

    ***I have to emphasize that I have never met Ryan at this point nor do I have any idea who this guy is who dropped what he was doing to come help me on this ram. This was definitely a unique situation.***

    The ewes finally hid themselves back into the shade of the cliff they were standing under and I was able to make it back to my pack. That's when I saw the truck and the random guy glassing for me. He wasn't in the best spot to see where I thought the ram was, so I asked Ryan to tell him to move a little bit and to pass him my number.

    While the random stranger was relocating, I moved back up the cliffs to get a better vantage point of everything below me. Once we were both sort of situated, I noticed I had a text from the guy. He spotted the group of sheep directly above me. So I called him to let him know where I thought the big guy was.

    "Yeah, I know those sheep are up there, but I don't think the big one is with them. I'm pretty sure he's going to be below me. I just have a feeling," I said.

    "Ok." A brief pause maybe 5 seconds long, "I see a ewe. Skylined. Below you.... Oh... I think... Yeah, I see him... He's big, and he's walking your way. I can't see him anymore. I'd stay where you're at. You're in a good spot." the voice on the other end of the line said.

    "I know he's big. Where's he at from me? Can you send me a pic?"

    So we hung up and he sent me a picture of where the ram was in relation to me. It took about 10 minutes for the picture to come through...He was less than 300yds from me. I just needed to find him!

    I texted him back. "Holy crap dude... I was sitting less than 200 from him for over an hour"

    No more than 30 seconds after I sent that text, I heard a lamb bleat and some rocks falling. They were CLOSE! I frantically started glassing the slope below me with my binos. I was doing everything in my power to hold back the adrenaline rush. After a few seconds I saw 2 lambs and 2 ewes come up over a the edge of a bluff, but the big guy wasn't with them. I put my binos back in my harness and scanned down with my eyes....

    OH MY! He's laying down RIGHT THERE!!! Right in the open! Clear as day! I racked a round into the trusty weatherby and ranged him at only 160yds! I didn't even think to take my pack off, or the camera off of my left shoulder strap. I dropped down prone (as prone as you can get on the cliffs) and quickly found him in my scope. He was up and walking now.... directly to me!

    It felt like an eternity before he turned broadside to give me a good shot. As soon as he did, I hammered him. He ran 10yds before I put a second round through his chest, and other 10yds before I hit him with the 3rd and final shot. He was dead!

    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  11. #386

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    I called the random guy to tell him I got him, but I must have muted my phone. Haha. I hung up and texted him. "I GOT HIM!!!" He grabbed his pack and headed up the cliffs.

    I also texted Ryan, Ryan from the Arizona hunt, Dan, my mom and my wife.

    I then desperately tried to get a good photo of him before I walked down to him, but it took several minutes for me to calm down enough to stop shaking long enough to get a crisp photo. I couldn't believe it happened. 140yds! A huge ram! Help from people I've never met before. What an amazing experience. I thought it couldn't get better than my moose hunt, now this happened!

    I sat down and shed a few tears while I reflected on the experience. I don't know what I did to deserve this season, or how it all came together. I don't feel like I deserved this. Some higher power had to be helping it come together. I've said before that I couldn't have been more blessed, but I was wrong. There's no limit, and sitting on the cliff, looking down at the ram, I felt more humbled than I'd ever been.

    After regaining feeling in my extremities, I carefully made my way to the ram. I struggled to walk, and I think I found every cactus, ocotillo, and mesquite thorn along the way. But I didn't care. I was on cloud nine.









    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  12. #387

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    After getting a few pictures of the ram I walked over to the cliff to see where the random guy was below me. I vectored him in to a decent spot to climb, and as soon as he was up to me I realized I never even had the common decency to ask his name. "Hey man. Thanks so much for coming out here... What's your name?" I felt like an idiot...

    "Cole. A ram like that is a great way to meet someone."

    I thanked Cole again for all of his help and reiterated how grateful I was that he would drop what he was doing to help a complete stranger (who was sheep hunting out of a Subaru Forester) and for coming all the way up to help pack out.

    Meanwhile Ryan finished up with work, and had his wife meet him with a pack, some water, boots and appropriate hiking clothing. Ryan invited his buddy Jim, who Dan and I had also been talking with for a while before the hunt.

    So here I am, on a cliff, with a young guy I didn't even known of 4 hours ago, a huge sheep, waiting on 2 guys I'd never met before. The bond we share as hunters is amazing. Four people from completely different walks of life coming together for the first time on the side of a nasty cliff is something few other groups of people will do. So I waited for everyone to get there for a group photo to capture this peculiar moment.



    This hunt had so many awesome themes to it, and I couldn't be more thankful to share the joy of this harvest with 3 great men.









    ---------

    For me this ram and all OTC Barbary sheep are the perfect symbol of what Dan and I had in mind when we started this thread. It isn't just that people refer to them as "the poor man's sheep," or any one thing alone. It's a combination of everything; the country they live in, their hardiness and resilience, the toughness and grace they exude, the work it takes to find them, and then the luck it takes to make it all come together is what makes them so special to me.

    The average guy does not have many opportunities to hunt sheep. They can't afford the tags, guide fees, or can't draw the tags. So the fact these creatures are available to people of modest means, and the things I listed above, makes this ram the most special trophy I've ever harvested.

    To be clear, the animal is not the real trophy. The animal, and the mount I'll have on the wall, are merely representative of the experience, the hard work, the success of the hunt, and the joy shared with friends. Poor man's sheep or not, walking down that hill with my new friends, I felt like the richest man on Earth.



    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  13. #388
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,267

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    That is a monster Barbary. Congratulations.

    I have always wanted a Barbary Ram mount with the mane and front legs. Have only shot a ewe. Still an awesome and fun hunt.

    How are you guys paying your taxi bill?

  14. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbydean View Post

    How are you guys paying your taxi bill?
    Strict budgeting!!!!
    It plays a factor into all of my hunts and end results like taxidermy or any meat processing bills.

    The nice thing about being in the military is we know what our income is going to be on the 1st and the 15th!
    So I'm always running a strict budget and putting the money to work. When it runs out I am done hunting or the head is sitting in the freezer until I can pay cash!


    Part of the whole "average joe" thing is we don't make a ton of money, but we make enough to take care of our family, spoil them, and hunt.
    I work year round with mine and forecast out a hunting budget. I can tell you that all of my hunts, taxidermy, etc were funded by cash this year!
    It's a good feeling!




    So for anyone following along who still is not sold..... YOU CAN DO THIS!

  15. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbydean View Post
    That is a monster Barbary. Congratulations.

    I have always wanted a Barbary Ram mount with the mane and front legs. Have only shot a ewe. Still an awesome and fun hunt.

    How are you guys paying your taxi bill?
    Any pictures of your ewe? I'd love to see it!

  16. #391
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,267

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    I had pictures in the back of a my pickup. Not very good and not on my computer. We had promised the meat to a local minister. We were thinking ram, and got ewe. Two between my partner and myself; were probably pretty good eating.

    You know the old joke on a Barbary ram. Nail to a board and cook it. Eat the board!

  17. #392

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbydean View Post
    That is a monster Barbary. Congratulations.

    I have always wanted a Barbary Ram mount with the mane and front legs. Have only shot a ewe. Still an awesome and fun hunt.

    How are you guys paying your taxi bill?
    Thanks. Barbary are one of the few animals my wife actually wants on the wall. They're rugged but still majestic. They're really beautiful animals.

    As far as paying for the mounts... I honestly didn't budget for a taxidermy bill this big, but as long as I don't keep killing big stuff I'll be able to have it paid for no problem. My only hobby / past time / lifestyle is hunting. So it's the only thing I really spend my money on. Not having much debt really helps too.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  18. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbydean View Post

    You know the old joke on a Barbary ram. Nail to a board and cook it. Eat the board!
    Ha ha! I've not heard that one before, but it's spot on!
    I had to cut my barb with lots of fat just to get to a point where it was "enjoyable".... and I use that word very loosely

  19. #394
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Newhartford Iowa
    Posts
    2,093

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    What an awsome auodad hunt. that is definitely on my bucket list. The way it played out with complete strangers speaks volume for our hunting community.

  20. #395

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    Quote Originally Posted by duckhunt View Post
    What an awsome auodad hunt. that is definitely on my bucket list. The way it played out with complete strangers speaks volume for our hunting community.
    I can't say it too many times, the hunt was a blast. In general, I think people today just need to be nicer to each other, and that includes the hunting community. But you're definitely right, overall our hunting community is very helpful and kind to each other. The bond we share is unique, and we have to do the best we can to build each other up and help out whenever we can. Yes, there are a few bad apples, but we can't let them ruin the whole batch.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  21. #396
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    eastern Washington
    Posts
    3,097

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    Congratulations on your ram, reminded me a lot of my one-and-only hunting trip to NM in Feb 2016, for Barbary sheep as well. As for the meat, even my wife said the flavor was good, but it was fairly tough meat.
    Being defeated is a temporary condition, giving up is what makes it permanent.

  22. #397

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishing4sanity View Post
    Congratulations on your ram, reminded me a lot of my one-and-only hunting trip to NM in Feb 2016, for Barbary sheep as well. As for the meat, even my wife said the flavor was good, but it was fairly tough meat.
    It's very tough, but the taste is whatever you season it like. I'm turning the entire thing into sausages, hot sticks, and brats.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  23. #398
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    eastern Washington
    Posts
    3,097

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    I really enjoy the photographs you've been sharing throughout this thread, lots of great ones. What camera do you carry with you hunting?
    Being defeated is a temporary condition, giving up is what makes it permanent.

  24. #399

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishing4sanity View Post
    I really enjoy the photographs you've been sharing throughout this thread, lots of great ones. What camera do you carry with you hunting?
    I carry a refurbished Olympus omd em5 Mark 2. Most of the photos were taken with the 12-100mm pro lens. The pics of animals that are zoomed in were probably taken with my Panasonic lumix g vario 100-300mm lens. I'm really happy with the setup. I can do just about everything I need with those 2 lenses. It's not the best camera for any one thing, but it's very flexible and small in size and weight.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  25. #400

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    Leg day everyday's workout for today is going to be carrying this 40# 3yr old to a deer spot close to home. We'll see if we can make it happen tonight.

    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

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