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Found 12 results

  1. masterthehunt

    NM Barbary Sheep

    Sitting here waiting for the NM results to come out has me going crazy, thought I'd share a few pics of our first "sheep" hunt. I drew a couple tags in NM last season, but was super excited about hunting barbary for the first time. Unfortunately its a little ways away, and of course as things go, I only managed one scouting trip. Luckily that scouting trip went great, and me and my buddy were able to glass up multiple groups of sheep, and some good looking rams. The hunt came before we knew it, so me, my dad, and grandpa loaded up the trucks and left Thursday after work for sheep country. Getting in late that night, we slept as good as we could in the cold, howling wind. That morning found us glassing some awesome country, but no sheep spotted. We spent the next day and a half maneuvering around other hunters and trying to find some sheep that were not already being shot at. We later ran into a super nice couple that had harvested a great ram, and they gave us some pointers on where to look and how to best hunt these animals. That afternoon, me and my dad hiked back into a far canyon where we thought we could get away from other hunters. Just as we got there, I glassed up two rams on the far ridge. After closing the gap a little more, we found them again and I set up for a shot at around 500 yards. The first shot felt great, but was a miss. Still not sure what happened, whether it was the wind or I just pulled it. Luckily they ran to our left and even with a little too much adrenaline, I was able to connect. As we climbed to find our ram, we found him wedged between some giant boulders. The country these things live in is amazing, and they can cover ground in 10 seconds that takes us hours to cross. He's not a giant ram, but I couldn't of been happier to kill one and now can't wait to hunt them in the future. How we found him in the rocks My first barbary. The packout was probably the most memorable part of the whole trip, coming down those cliffs in the dark was probably not the smartest thing in the world, but we eventually made it back to the truck around midnight and ended a hunt that I'll never forget. Here's a short video of the hunt for those interested:
  2. C.C.Cody171

    A Walk In The Park!

    The anticipation of a hunt with a rarely drawn tag is near the top of the list for torture of a common hunter. Months of this treatment passed during detailed preparation and I felt as if my insides were going to boil from anxiety. In the small gaps of a busy and active life, there was research and practice to the umpth degree. Every piece of gear tinkered with, red eyes from staring at google earth and maps late into the night, countless arrows sent down the driveway into several worn out targets. As much as anything, the challenge it turned into for me to become at least decent at talking to elk with various calls. This particular adventure involved extra aspects of packing in with equine and the planning of getting meat out when the time came. Improving and maintaining health before and during can not be over looked. For me, a highlighted question during the pre-hunt process is, "what's gonna cost me?". What's gonna stand in my way of success. Preparing for an elk hunt was less comfortable for me than other game animals I'm used to pursuing. I live in the desert, many hours drive from elk country. I've had a September archery tag in the past, in my home state of Arizona. At that time, immaturity blinded me from realizing I wasn't ready, when the sun came up opening morning. Now, several years later, I was at least capable of seeing the learning curve there would be for me to find what I was looking for on this journey. Along with my hunting partner, Creed, we gathered as much information about this new area from anywhere and anyone we could find it. Breaking into the vast Gila Wilderness of New Mexico has become a story of its own and the excuse to do so has also been its own great reward. Out of at least a dozen close competitors, our tack was finally driven into one specific place we would hang all hope on. A place no person could ever forget after spending any amount of time there. An absolute paradise that riding or walking into is as much a surprise as is it a lush habitat for wildlife, including the infamous screaming bull elk of September! As we explored this newly found playground, we discovered it was roughly five miles across in all directions. This may not sound like very much country but, believe me, its more than enough to walk yourself into a dither. Especially while fixated on a majestic quarry. Surrounded by completely opposing landscape, it would remind you of a park created in badlands. Along each border are steep rock formed upward and downward slopes, with a few select possibilities for exit or entry. We also planned on hunting into this rough stuff, in every direction, adding to our hunting grounds considerably. Our several trips into this country ranged from six to nine hours astride our saddles. Arriving at our predetermined camp location four days before opening day, I could hardly contain my excitement, it was time to stiffly dismount. Already having visited The Park a few weeks before to figure out our best path and set a handful of trail cams, we had become somewhat familiar with the area. These scouting and packing trips along with Creed and my dad were completely dependent upon the mules of this story. My rambunctious youngster, Beaudean. A couple of my brother Caleb's mules, Peaches and Clyde. Also part of my dads impressive herd; Wanda, John John, Emma and Sullivan. Without the donation of these animals and my dad along for the work involved, none of the following would have been possible. Creed would not arrive for a few more days, on the night before opening morning. However, my dad and I picked up a friend and fellow hunter on the drive in that had traveled all the way from Michigan to join in the chase. So on this Monday evening, Emmet, crawled from the back of the first mule he'd ever ridden, to regain feeling in his legs. My cousin, Travis, also tagged along for the pack in. The four of us worked together caring for the animals and putting camp together, home sweet home for possibly the next 20 days! With the countryside painted in dew soaked green grass, at least as high as our knees, we were grateful for waterproof boots. Mostly taking it slow and easy on those days leading up to having valid tags. Emmet and I checked cameras and drooled over the info they obtained. We perfected our high line system to hitch Sullivan, in accordance with the rules of the Wilderness area. We also enjoyed the different sounding bugles and close encounters with bears, deer and various wildlife. We even read a mushrooms for dummies book and took some semi educated risk to enjoy the native cuisine. Something I could see becoming a hobby in the future. I figured out the use of my new hammock and also continued to shoot my bow every day as I had been. My dad and cousin didn't stay long, they returned home with all the mules besides Sullivan. Creed would have to go pick up Peaches for his ride in on Thursday, "Peaches and Creed". I laughed at Creeds recollection of Peaches doing her worst to join the elk they passed on the way in. She's a bit heard bound and apparently thought they were mules! We ran through the highlights discovered on the trail cams and then we all did our best to catch some sleep. The air was cool but our lunges and legs felt a slight burn as we quietly moved out of our canyon towards the elk. Legal shooting light was closer than I'd hoped but that didn't matter to the sun, here came opening day. As the morning progressed, our camera man, Emmet, shadowed Creed and myself through the tall pines and forests of fern that grew to our elbows. We captured some footage of a couple good looking bulls that didn't quite have the maturity we'd been dreaming of. With fourteen days ahead of us, we saw no reason to quit the fun and start the work with an immature animal that hadn't had a chance to run his own harem yet. We kept moving toward the gnarly bugle that had occasionally echoed in our ears throughout the last several mornings. Each time, we would all glance at each other raising our brow and grin. Suddenly from behind us about forty elk came stampeding by, along with them was a nice 6x6 we had already passed on. Never knowing for sure what caused this, we briefly followed through with our stalk to discover the running group had swept the owner of the impressive bugle away from us. We had more close encounters with elk before mid morning but no bows were drawn. Circling past several trail cams and learning more about the country, we kept on the move most of that day. At one point, we walked within shooting distance of a younger 6x6 and decided to give him more time. We had the first day, several opportunities and about twelve miles behind us. Feed and water Sullivan and Peaches, prepare packs, eat, drink, sleep, feed and water again, eat and take off. The second morning we moved out of camp in a slightly different direction, going up the canyon bottom for aways. We ran into a good 6x7 and got some of his bugles of video. We let him work his way out of our path and continued on. We had discussed the night before, that we would go after different bugles to see as many bulls as possible. Emmett joined me to the left, to run down some distant whistling, Creed continued up the canyon solo. After working our way into the action, we laid our eyes on a shooter that I started calling "Cowboy", because he was hearding cows like a pro! We dogged this group for a couple of miles, slowly closing the gap, waiting for the right opportunity to slip in. After all my practice, I lacked the confidence to try any calling. I knew I could provide myself a shot with fast stealthy movements as I do with other game, with my bow. For me, playing it safe seamed to be my best option in this scenario. We barely missed an intense fight between this bull and another bull we never quite saw. A slight rise blocked our view but what a ruckus! The mystery bull retreated to the left. As we advanced the demeanor suddenly altered within this heard. Another bugle sounded off very close to our right and Emmett and I thought this may mean another clash of massive antlers. We carefully moved forward a bit more. We were getting close, something was about to happen. Scan the vegetation from left to right. There's the bull! No shot yet but they were no longer on the move. We could see most of the cows staring toward the bull we heard coming in from our right. We kept our slow and steady pace undetected, something was making them nervous. We moved a little closer. In a time like this it's very obvious when the gig is up. Especially with the vocalization of elk. Off they went with loud and disheartening barks, goodbye "Cowboy". I was watching their exit when Emmett angrily said with that Michigan accent "Dude, there's a hunter! Dude, that's Creed!" The bull coming in from our right was a very realistic sounding Creed. It turned out he was moving in on the same elk and almost made it happen as well. We walked over, he was just as surprised to see us. After an exchange of info pertaining to the encounter, we came up with a new game plan for the rest of the day. Emmett and Creed would make a big loop to the right as I did the same to the left, meeting in camp some time after dark. Wanting to get video of each of us, it was my turn to go solo. I also needed to retrieve my bugle tube I had lost the day before, so I hoofed it to where we had been, a few miles away. A few hours and a couple distant bugles later I had my bugle tube and was doing my thing. An occasional locator bugle and a little cow talk here and there. To my surprise I received a text through my garmin inreach that Creed had shot a bull! I thought, wow he shot a bull on the second day. After some clarification between shot or killed, I needed to know where they were. Knowing Creed, I assumed it was an impressive animal, which was a correct assumption. I was several miles away and at first was gonna continue hunting but I couldn't think of much else, so off I went to the opposite side of The Park to lend a hand and see his bull. A short while later I received their coordinates. I sat down to rest and grab a quick bite while determining the best route to take. This was gonna take me a few minutes so I figured I'd rip off a bugle with a variation of some stuff I learned on the internet and see what happened. Shortly after, a bugle came echoing through the woods and it was a deep, growly, mature sounding voice! My head popped up to help pin point his direction. Within a minute there it was again, quite a bit closer! Realizing I needed to move to my left, I scrambled to get my stuff together. Also nearly biting off my own fingers frantically finishing my lunch as most of it was wasted onto the ground. I hurriedly moved to the shoulder of the ridge I was on, to reveal the draw below. I spotted elk moving single file through the vertical gaps between the ponderosas scattered between us. About half the elk at any given time were standing still in survey of their surroundings. With no under brush as cover and watchful eyes from my eleven O'clock to my two O'clock I decided to stay put and assess the situation from where I was, about two hundred yards away. The wind was on my left cheek and the elk were coming up the draw moving from right to left so that was good news. Another hair raising growl let out, scanning through the trees I caught a glimpse of the culprit. I could only see the very back end of him and I was strongly considering continuing towards my hunting partners. Letting down my binos I noticed more elk out in front of the heard, up the draw to my left. There was about thirty elk, including a handful of small bulls. Now at a steady walk, I let them file through my binos as they disappeared up the draw. I was takin aback when the heard bull, bringing up the tale end, entered my view. Wow! It was the same bull I had seen but now I could see everything much better. I was blown away by my initial misjudgment. I also recognized him as a bull we had on camera with amazingly long thirds. I sent a message saying I was on elk, my chase began! Similar as in the morning, I was playing it safe and waiting for them to reach their bedding area. Unfortunately, I messed up and bumped the big bull and a few cows at one point and it became very difficult to keep up for about a mile. If it wasn't for their tracks I wouldn't have guessed correctly on which direction they fled. I caught a glimpse of elk and started closing the gap between us, once again. Their convoy moved over a rise out of sight, allowing my rapid advance to that point. I repeated this move a few times just in time to see the the stragglers topping the next rise. After a little over two miles their pace let up, I followed suit. Knowing I had to be more careful, I studied the wind and cover for stalking possibilities. I was several hundred yards away so I crept forward, constantly doing my best to monitor about sixty eyeballs. Because of the wind, I had to move through an area with zero cover for one hundred yards or so. Literally not even grass. Additionally, I was below them. An advantage I avoid gifting my prey when possible. They had gravitated toward barren land at the edge of The Park, during the chase. As I closed the distance, they were slowly working along to the right, away from me. Twice, a cow nailed me and I couldn't budge for long periods of time. Holding my breath she wouldn't ruin my chances. As they rounded a steep ridge once more I covered more land and was almost within shooting distance as the last elk disappeared. At last they were calm and the bull was screaming back and forth with another mature sounding bull, further away up the mountain. Now I was on the same hill as them but I needed to move through a very noisy looking draw in order to regain visual contact. I knew the elk were close so I couldn't risk it, knowing they could step back around and bust me at any point. I decided to risk my calling after all but to stay conservative. I sent out some cow calls and stood silently for a few minutes. I could hear the bulls and cows continuing their racket so I repeated the system. I was intently focused on the crest of the ridge and I couldn't believe my eyes. My target came slowly strutting back towards me, slowly swaying his impressive head gear! He moved downhill onto a flat bench at the same elevation as me but the draw was still between us, full of loud debris. He displayed the destruction of a five inch thick pine for the next half hour. When he started, I was outside shooting range. Every chance I got, I wiggled through the obstacles between myself and success. He spotted my head poking into view at one point so I slowly backed into hiding and let out some very quiet and soft cow talk with my mouth reed. After regaining his trust, I continued my advance with unnoticeable motion. I was within shooting distance for a few minutes, just getting closer and closer because he only offered a front angle with that poor tree right in the way. My bow and nerves were begging for action but it wasn't time just yet. They got their wish, his feet shifted and before I knew it, covered ten feet to my left. All at once; I drew, stepped out from behind a burnt stump that had been my visual barrier, settled my anchor automatically and broadcasted from my mouth reed one more time. He came to a stop as his massive antlers turned in my direction, I felt dead steady. The appropriate sight pin was unmoving, buried in the kill zone. I squeezed it off and concentrated on the flight of my arrow, it was looking good! For the last portion of flight the arrow entered the shade casted by the canopy of trees where the bull stood. From the transition of light to shade it became invisible and caused a concerning confusion for an instant. The optical illusion caused me to believe the arrow sailed over my targets back by almost a foot. An instant later I witnessed as my arrow darted into fur and flesh. All this happened in about a second but my mind was flying out of control! This absolutely huge animal had no problem being out of sight immediately, it sounded like a locomotive rumbling through the wild as he retreated at a dead run. I tried to replay the events, in my head, for the next half hour. I was only about ninety percent sure I had smoked him. I retraced my steps to my pack and tried to kill some time with a snack and some water, I was too on edge to eat. Then, creeping over, I found his tracks where he had jumped, due to an arrow smacking into him. My eyes followed along for a moment and noticed a spot of blood about ten feet away! I sat down and continued trying to send out the message that I had shot a bull. Creed and I never figured out how to message from Inreach to Inreach so my wife and brother took part in all communication. We would message one of them and they would forward the message on. Another half an hour had gone by so I decided to investigate his path. Blood was never in abundance but it was easy tracking. With huge hoof prints, broken branches and rolled over logs you couldn't miss where he crashed along. After about seventy five yards, due to lack of blood, I almost pulled back to return the next morning for tracking. My mind was taunting me with failure. Failure to myself and to this animal for the possibility of delivering a bad hit, it's torture. I studied the lay of the land and decided to only continue to the edge of the small bowl type ravine I was in. After progressing for about thirty yards, I lost my mind at the sight. My bull was on the ground, unmoving, he had expired in less than one hundred and fifty yards! Out of habit, I finished out the blood trail partially because I was too nervous to approach what had been on my mind around the clock for months. I walked up as I started to lose it. Wow, unreal! I got the word sent out and did my best at some self photography with my phone wedged between a couple branches. Once again, failing to capture anything to the fullest. I had invested in a high quality camera prior to this hunt but, as I previously explained, Creed and Emmett had it at that time. Which turned out to be awesome because the harvest of Creeds bull was all caught on tape, very exciting! By this time they were finishing up hanging all the deboned meat from his bull in game bags. With coordinates I sent out, they grabbed Peaches and Sullivan from camp and headed my way. Upon their arrival around 9:00 that night they were depressed to hear I had only gutted my bull. It was impossible to handle such a big animal by myself. Only to be relieved a moment later that I was joking, haha. I had removed the quarters, deboned everything else and caped him out. While dismantling the carcass I was pleased to discover my worries over the shot were unwarranted. It was a heart shot! I tend to aim above that so it was a bit low after all but, I understood why. When he had turned to walk I thought he was perfectly broadside. When I studied his tracks, later, I realized he was slightly angled away causing an extra four yards between us. I didn't take that into consideration in the heat of the moment. I've hardly hunted anything bigger than deer and when I have killed elk I had plenty of help. I have to admit, field processing an animal of that size by myself was more difficult than I would have imagined. I'm proud to say I didn't waste any meat and none of it hit the dirt. This wasn't easy but after almost five hours of working hard, I was more proud of that accomplishment than I was of harvesting this bull to begin with. Hundreds of pounds of excellent food for my family and friends to enjoy for many months to come! After Creed and Emmett passed a saddling inspection with flying colors, we worked together loading everything up. We took turns carrying the antlers by hand to avoid any wrecks in the dark and headed for camp. We didn't get to bed until after 1:00 in the morning and got up first thing to retrieve Creeds bull. From the time we squeezed the trigger there was constant hard work for days getting everything packed out, twenty miles to our vehicles. It was all worth it. I used both mules that day to ride and lead, getting Creed's meat hauled out and put in a freezer at a friends house who lives nearby. My dad came running, from back home, when he heard the news and was anxiously waiting at the trailhead upon my arrival. We spent the night there and headed to camp the next morning. While I was gone, Creed and Emmett deboned the quarters from my elk and got camp ready to pack out. We kept my meat cool by submerging it under the running water of the cool mountain creek that flowed by our camp. This worked wonderfully, the meat is excellent and stayed cool to the touch. Never even emitting a questionable smell throughout the eight hour haul. On the fifth of September, we got up early for the long day of getting packed out and going home. I had become very home sick and couldn't wait to see my wife and kids. Show them my bull and tell them stories about the adventure. They can't wait to go on the more serious trips like this one. I also realized I had hardly eaten sense tagging out, I simply forgot to. Emmett also forgot to drink water. On top of dehydration, being from Michigan and not used to our climate, he found himself in a dangerous spot. On the way out, still several miles from the truck, his body literally started shutting down and worried us all very much. My dad started forcing water into him and he recovered well, to all our relief. Paradise or not, wild country can be non forgiving and harsh at any moment. We'll all miss it until we hopefully are fortunate enough for another visit. Possibly with a rare tag in someone's pocket once again. Until then, we can dream of a walk in The Park, in the depths of the Gila Wilderness! I'd like to thank my dad. We couldn't have done this without all of his help and willingness to do what's needed for such an amazing experience. He prepared in various ways, some of which I'm probably not even aware of, so everything would come off as planned. Also, a huge thanks to Emmett, he drove for days sleeping in his pickup some of the way to be there for Creed and I. He was great company and is welcome in my camp or home any time. Many thanks to Creed, he is a great hunting partner and I'm lucky to have a friend with his character. He has an unwavering appreciation and respect for the wild critters we hunt and wildlife in general. I'm thankful to my brother Caleb, for the use of two of his mules. He was going to ride in and hunt with us for a few days but we both tagged out before then. He drew the second hunt in NM this year, in another unit, that I'll be joining for a three day weekend. I can't wait! Above all, I would like to thank my wife for all her support. I have often seen hunters that had a spouse or someone in their life that handed out grief, concerning their way of life. Not understanding their natural draw to wild places. I couldn't imagine obtaining the happy success I experience under those tense conditions. Also, her and our kids always enjoy jumping in to help process meat, which I think is awesome! Thanks to everyone for reading, I hope it was enjoyable. Good luck to everyone with your hunts, stay safe and shoot straight!
  3. C.C.Cody171

    Archery NM Barbary Sheep

    Wandering the new and wide open grounds of what seamed like endless desolation with my brother, Caleb, wasn't similar to any hunting I've done. We had already been walking for days, occasionally reaching enough of a rise in the rolling topography to see a few more miles of the same color rock and sparse vegetation. Although, snaking through it, here and there, were cliffs made up from many years of water flow in washes and what the maps refer to as "rivers", even with the absence of water for a majority of each year. Along with each new vantage, earned by sore feet and legs, came the hope for a sighting of our nomadic prey. Of this foreign animal we knew very little, basically just what we came to believe through word of mouth and limited research. We had a decent amount of information going into this hunt but like any other subject, there's plenty of info, the trick is separating accurate from false. The only consistent way we have found to achieve this is with boots on the ground and eyes behind the glass. Late nights walking back to camp or the truck, hours after dark. We were beat, how could we go so many days without even laying our eyes on a New Mexico Barbary Sheep (Aoudad) and expect Caleb to fill his rifle tag and take one home. After laying down one night in the freezing temperatures with nothing but a breathing channel exposed to the night air, I was held hostage by my hunting partners night howling that I've been pestered with since childhood. Always jealous of Caleb's ability to immediately be asleep and snoring, I remained awake. Without motion, going over this hunt with detailed consideration. It was time for a change in landscape. We discussed our options, hours before daylight, the next morning and high tailed it for different country. The several combined units for this hunt makes up an absolutely massive chunk of real estate, scattered with private land. We had to avoid the often non fenced, non posted, private land with extreme care. In NM, it's each hunters responsibility to be capable enough with a GPS or map to stay out of court for trespassing. A serious offense, especially if you've dropped an animal. So, now we found ourselves in habitat the opposite of what we had been hunting. Most of this maze of deep canyons clustered with sheer cliffs was impassable for humans. We carefully navigated along the ridges from the top of the mountain where, fortunately, a rough road granted us access. We both glassed until our eyes were burnt from the intense wind that apparently never rests in this area. Two days later we were in awe that our efforts to provide Caleb with a shot were still without reward. No Barbary Sheep were found. What the "heck" can we do!!!Another night spent away from home and my warm bed. Once again laying in the pitch black. Too tired, thirsty and confused to sleep. Listening to the consistent inhale of my beloved brothers nasal situation. We had both, long since recognized my good fortune on opening day. Now, I recall those unbelievable and exciting events in my minds eye. Accustomed to hiking, glassing, spotting, stalking and killing coues deer in Arizona, we topped our first hill of the hunt with long awaited excitement. Soon realizing this wouldn't be the meticulous, picking apart, type of glassing we were used to. By 8:00 we were already aways from our trucks, surveying from our third hilltop. I spoke up about some sheep I discovered, they looked about a mile away. We studied them for a little while, this being the first either of us had ever seen in the wild, it was interesting to note their behavior. There was eleven in the group and possibly a couple were rams. We had rifle tags for either sex but we had agreed to hold out for any ram. Both females and males grow horns and from a distance it can be difficult to tell the difference, for beginners especially. Hearing from other people that these crazy looking things were extremely flighty and had incredible vision. We decided to carefully retreat from our lookout and circle around in order to advance while out of sight. After covering nearly a mile we realized Caleb's range finder still wouldn't reach half way to our destination. It's advertised as a 1600 yard tool. To say the least we were terrible at judging distance in this barren place. I've never even hunted antelope and their typical range would be the closest example of our surroundings. We navigated through several gullies and modest changes of elevation trying to remain hidden. As we reached our new goal we slowly gained vision over the horizon. We were now positioned with a deep rocky gorge between us and the sheep. It was impossible not to spot them with our naked eyes at this distance. A quick check, it came back at roughly 400 yards. A chip shot for Caleb with his 7mm mag but, still a bit outside my comfort zone with my stick flinger. Knowing we had the entire month of February to return to NM on the weekends, after our initial week long trip. I had decided to give it a chance with my bow for the first half of the days I could hunt. Everything I could find to read or watch about Aoudad hunting wasn't encouraging of this challenge. As Caleb set up to shoot, I studied my stalk options and came up with a plan. We checked the GPS one more time to confirm we were still within the fairly small section of public land. I told him not to hesitate to fill his tag with what turned out to be only one ram in this group, if I bumped them during my attempt to get within range. Although only about 400 yards away, it was necessary for me to back out of sight again and follow the landscape way around for possibly over a mile walk in total, to get all the variables in my favor. Caleb patiently waited for me to appear from over the rocks along the opposing ridge. If these Aoudad began to move off at any point he was game for putting this ram in his freezer but later he would share how excited he got when my head suddenly floated into view on the horizon above the sheep. I started creeping down hill towards the wary critters. At this point I was glad to see my landmarks had served me well for the blind approach. I came over, slowing exposing the hillside below me and started to see the yellowish/orangish shapes through the short shrubs and grass. Some were bedded and I couldn't see the ram so I continued forward. I had assumed this stalk wouldn't work out when I started but figured since we found the opportunity so early in the hunt, there would be more chances often. As I closed the distance I spotted my shooter once I was about 130 yards from him. Some of the ewes were bedded and the rest were lazily grazing, all in close proximity. Constantly scanning each animal, I inched closer for a long while. There was minimal breeze but it was in my face and I had elevation in my favor as well. The only problem was a complete lack of cover. I worked to get close for probably an hour and was disappointed to realize I was still over 100 yards away. Unfortunately, the sheep were also slowly working their way down hill. I had practiced more than ever for a long shot in preparation for this hunt, due to their elusive reputation and the possibility of open terrain. I ranged the ram, he was standing quartered away at 102 yards. I observed that I was having no issue with buck fever. The wind was basically dead and what remained was straight in my face. I glanced across the ravine at the statue behind his glass on a tripod. Little did I know, Caleb's heart was racing. I'd been smoking my target beyond this distance at home, with my broadheads. My live target in that moment stood his ground, completely unaware of my contemplation. I subconsciously went through my mental checklist and felt a flutter in my stomach. I studied the ground between us and knew there was no getting closer. With 22 elite eyes doing their best to survive predators, I wondered how I even got to where I was. Delaying my next step was coming to an end. A few ewes took small steps, they were moving away. I was convinced I could make this shot but I'll be honest. I'm a skeptic for long shots, on living creatures. My prey was clueless, soaking up the sun in the wide open. Although, in my experience, being in the open exposed to this many animals, getting busted is only a matter of time. My chance was evaporating every second. The ram took a few steps away and then turned broadside, looking downhill at his ladies that were becoming distant. I thought "ok 104". Caleb about lost it when I rose from my position and drew my bow. Settling my last bit of movement, my pin sunk into his bread basket. Everything was perfect, I felt I could responsibly send the deadly arrow. My bow suddenly sprang and I was almost shocked to see my arrow way above the ground, arching onward! It traveled so far I lost it in flight but the ram stood for impact. I glimpsed fletchings bouncing along beside his body as he rapidly disappeared over the crest. I was suddenly aware of my pounding heart and felt nervously sick. I stood still and put in another arrow. The rest of the sheep hadn't run, they jumped around a bit and stared in all directions trying to figure out what happened. They moved uphill, toward me and came to within 70 yards! I watched for the ram but counted only 10 heads over and over. Caleb was doing the same thing, the ram had darted into the draw out of view but it happened so fast. We weren't sure if he had returned to the others. They finally spotted me and wasted no more time. Those animals move amazingly through anything. They were across a cliff that skirted the deep, narrow canyon and out of sight within seconds. I took a deep breath after once again counting 10 animals, as they disappeared. Caleb and I each examined up and down the gorge that separated us, carefully from each of our positions for about 30 minutes. No movement. He gathered his gear and snuck my way. I slowly crept toward the point of impact, reaching it provided zero satisfaction. I moved in the direction of the rams exit, no tracks, no blood, no sheep, no good. I was disappointed in myself but there was still a chance. We both saw the arrow in his side but were unsure of its exact location. Caleb was coming across the very bottom of the deep rocky cut as I went to meet him. Now at only a short distance, we traded enough info to learn we were both unsure of my shot results. He excitedly exclaimed about being able to see my arrow through his binos coming toward the sheep from the opposite side. He said it looked like I smoked him but it was hard to tell because the ram immediately ran down, out of sight. Caleb had barely been peeking over his ridge, in fear of spooking them. Hope was dwindling as I cautiously worked down through the rocks for the last bit, to reach the bottom. Both our mental states of mind did a 180 and a couple back flips when I noticed the dead ram in some bear grass a short ways ahead! I erupted and Caleb almost hurt himself getting through the terrain to reach me. After some big hugs and coming back to earth I yelled "Dude, I just killed a Barbary Sheep with my bow!" We soaked in the moment, exchanging details of the whole ordeal. I've been fortunate to harvest a number of big game animals with my bow over the last few years. All in the same spot and stalk fashion but usually it has happened while solo. It was so very special for me to share this experience with my brother and not only that, he actually got to watch the whole thing. We decided to carry the sheep, out of the canyon, to get pictures showing the land we were hunting in. Major chore, they're heavier than they look. Then we worked quickly carving meat and packing up. We were both exhausted once we reached the trucks several miles away. With some relief, we figured, surely we could find Caleb a sheep right away and head home. There was no camp, we had simply parked on the shoulder of a county road at 10:00 the night before and gone to bed. It was our first time in the unit because, regrettably, our work schedules and prior commitments made scouting impossible this time. We just knew there was a section of public land in one direction, that hopefully held some of these mysterious Barbary Sheep! I woke up later that month still shaking my head with disbelief and realized I was quite cold. Caleb was getting ready for another day of trying to grind out success. I rolled out of my sleeping bag to prepared our oatmeal. We hunted the rest of the days we planned but never fired a shot. One time, Caleb spotted two running sheep about five miles away for just a few seconds. That's the only other sighting we had. Besides the impressive herd of mature rams we got to observe right in the middle of our hunting area, on the other side of an eight foot fence! At only a couple hundred yards they paid little mind, we could have blundered within bow range of these pets. All this took place back in February of this year. Seven months later I was sitting around with my kids telling stories and they insisted to hear about the cool looking euro mount once again. Grabbing it off the wall brought back all those memories and I couldn't help but write something up, after all. I'm not necessarily for long range shooting at animals, that's what has kept me from feeling as good about that hunt all this time. I'm glad it worked out for that amazing animal to not have suffered but it's a lot of arrow flight time for one step to cause a bad hit. As it was, the double lung dropped him within 80 yards! As always, I was able to enjoy this hunt to the fullest knowing I had the support of my amazing wife and would like to thank her for everything. Her whitetail hunt in AZ is next, wish us luck! Thanks for reading and if anyone is planning an Aoudad hunt, I wish you the best of luck!
  4. Hey guys, looking for some direction in unit 27. I drew an early (Oct 28-Nov4) muzzy tag for coues and am not really sure where to start. I was just with a friend right across the border in the Chiricahua mountains which turned out to be a really tough hunt in some thick crap. I hunted coues for the first time last year when I got an archery tag from a friend that was hurt and couldn't hunt and only saw does. I am glassing really hard but am struggling to connect. So, in short just looking for some advice and direction. I don't want to take anyone's secret spots. Also, is the illegal activity still a problem in the area? Plan on hunting by myself and I know we saw quite a bit of activity across the border.
  5. Forum for 2017 New Mexico year hunts! Anything goes!
  6. Just in time to start scouting. We have added hundreds of water catchment locations and will be updating USFS MVUM roads. The water catchment data is available on the Premium Map Viewer for only $6.99 when you use the coupon CouesBuck at the check out. The Premium Map Viewer allows members to download GeoPDFs compatible with the Avenza Maps app. The Avenza Maps app works just like a GPS, and allows you to use your own custom maps from the Premium Map Viewer. Now is also the perfect time to get your Custom Hunting Map. Game Planner Maps can make any map, for any unit, in any state you have a tag. Custom maps are double sided, as well as, water and tear resistant. They are perfect for out of state hunts The Free Map Viewer is the ultimate map resource to the DIY hunter. Register for free here and check your email for a confirmation link. After that you can use the Free Map Viewer to Map Scout and even print your own maps. Please email ed@gameplannermaps.com with any questions. -Ed
  7. Couestracker

    Ready to chase some gobblers

    Anxious to hear which archery elk hunt I drew, but in the meantime, I leave for San Carlos a week from tomorrow! Went to the Desert Christian Archers (now Christian Hunters of America) sponsored turkey hunting seminar last night. It was a great seminar as usual, except I didn't win the Mexico guided Gould's hunt from Colburn and Scott outfitters. Oh well. Ammon from Little Creek Calls was there with some of his awesome calls he makes. I bought a couple of diaphragm calls and a couple of strikers from him. Thanks Ammon! Somehow I wound up short on strikers, wonder how that happened? Actually, the holders in my turkey vest are lame, gotta come up with something better. The strikers I got from him are really cool, they have bug holes in them, giving them more character. One has an acrillyc rod in it. (See pic) I'm working on another striker, mounting a bear claw on the end, just for something different. Will post when I finish, going to take it with me on the hunt, so I'd better get busy. I also am going turkey hunting in New Mexico on the 15th, after I get back from this hunt, then going straight to Colcord Ridge for the youth turkey camp as a mentor. Good luck to all the turkey hunters in the coming weeks!
  8. I read in the paper today (ABQ Journal) the NM Dept. of Taxation and Revenue is sending letters to landowners for not paying gross receipts tax. The whole point is the landowner authorizations for elk hunting that landowners sell for tags. These allocations are given by G&F in recognition of the landowners efforts in managing elk and their habitat. They can either sell them to individuals, brokers, or outfitters. The outfitters are suppose to pay the gross receipts and give the landowners an exemption certificate showing they paid the gross receipts. The landowners are responsible for the gross receipts tax on any license they sold to individuals. Some of the landowners paid personal income tax from the selling of these licenses but not the gross receipts tax. Reading the article it was never explained they had to also pay gross receipts tax. Now Tax and Rev. is asking for several years back taxes for failure to pay. Most of the records are not going to be available. It is a big mess. I think either the landowners will shut off their land without any tags or it will all go to outfitters. I feel the price of hunting elk on private land is going to increase big time or completely stop. The worst case scenario is the landowners will not manage their land for elk anymore. That means the elk hunting here is going to go down in quality. With the big fight with the SLO I am wondering if somebody is trying to disrupt all hunting rights here. It seems kind of fishy that two state agencies are trying to cause a bigger fight between landowners and the G&F Dept., a third state agency. Thoughts or ideas?
  9. Buckshotbob

    New to Coues

    Hi everyone Buckshotbob here very happy to have found this site. Im new to hunting out west very different than south Louisiana so mainly looking for advice. This year coming I plan to put in for everything I can draw in New Mexico and possibly put in for deer in Arizona, but if I am fortunate enough to get a chance for Coues deer in NM im going to need some help. Anyone that has experience with hunting these beautiful little deer please help me out with info. What units are the best, anywhere to setup camp, what calibers do you like, scouting tips. spot and stalk tips, just anything helpful id really love to get into Coues hunting. Also anyone looking for help or teaming up for a hunt let me know I could use a hunting buddy! I stay in the south east corner of NM near the caverns. " bring down the lion and the rest of the jungle will quake in fear "
  10. Going on a muzzleloader whitetail hunt in New Mexico, my first! Now I just got to figure out where they are in unit 23.
  11. My good friend Jesse Novak and his hunters have been having a good season in New Mexico. He is one of the rare people that hikes in sheep country just to “see what’s up!” I’m talking straight up and down country. Looking for rockys and deserts is his passion. I wanted to share a few photos for the guys that enjoy sheep on the forum. This first ram completes this hunters ¾ slam and was taken this October. Congratulations again to Jesse and his hunter Dale Ableidinger. This second ram sure is beautiful. Taken by Dain Ellsworth this November. This final ram was just taken two days ago this December. Completes ½ of Kyle McGovern’s sheep slam. Congratulations!
  12. I'm new to this site and to New Mexico and am looking for some guidance on NM Unit 23, first rifle hunt in November for FAMD. I've been looking at maps and reading through these forums and am hoping someone who hunts unit 23 on a regular basis (for coues or mule deer) can point me in the right direction of where to hunt. I live in Albuquerque and with gas prices the way they are and an upcoming wedding in just a few weeks, it doesn't look like I'll be getting to scout before my hunt. I'm planning on getting down there the day before the hunt opens and I'm ready to spend the day hiking in (no animals or ATVs to help me out) and camping that night to get away from the road hunters (I hear there is a good possibility of seeing quite a few) into the wilderness where the good mule deer are. I have that entire week off of work, so I'm not afraid to really get into the backcountry. From what I've seen with the maps, it looks like the area north of Mule Creek would be promising but probably full of hunters. I'm also pretty interested in the Whiterocks Mountain area and from there up north along the AZ border. I would guess these are my best bets for getting away from the road hunters where the good deer hide. I would love a shot at a big deer, but I recently graduated from college and haven't been hunting in three years, so this year I'll be happy to get what I can get. Anyone have any suggestions? Where are my best bets to get into the deer and any other suggestions would be very much appreciated. Since I'm new, I wasn't sure whether to post this in the Mule Deer forum or the NM forum, so if I would get a better response elsewhere, I would appreciate your help. Thanks much!
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