Nine Bar Ranch Blog
Surprisingly, the Aoudad, or the Barbary sheep, is the only native sheep in Africa. This is a very interesting species, and today’s blog post will discuss all about the Aoudad.
In the early 1900s, these one-of-a-kind mammals were transported to the United States for exhibitionary purposes in zoos and parks. Due to their apparent success at creating little aoudads, there was quite a surplus in the population. This new abundance was used to establish populations on a variety of appropriate lands. In the current day, there are free-ranging populations in California, Texas, and New Mexico. Juxtaposing the growing U.S. population, in Africa, the number of Aoudads are abating due to a loss of ideal habitat. Not only are the hide, hair, and sinews a staple in the economy, but the Saharan people rely on the Aoudad as a source of food.
Standing approximately 40 inches tall and weighing anywhere between 100 and 300 pounds, the Aoudad is characterized by a light, reddish-brown, bristly outer coat that provides camouflage to their dusty desert surroundings. Typically, the underbelly is lighter in color while the back tends to be slightly darker. One of the keynote features of the Aoudad is the long, soft fringe of hair that treads from the throat to the forequarters. Another distinguishable feature are the horns that curve outward, back and then inward toward the neck. Just like human fingernails, their horns are made of keratin. Not surprisingly, both the fringe and horns are more conspicuous in the male. Also considered remarkable and quite interesting are their horizontal pupils surrounded by yellow irises.
Generally, Aoudads reside in dry, rocky, or mountainous terrain where they can dwell in small, familial groups. They are native to northern Africa, but populations have been introduced to Spain, the United States, and other parts of Africa. Naturally, these beasts are adroit climbers and jumpers that follow a diurnal pattern of life, but will often seek a spot of shade during the blazing heat of the day. Due to their environment, they tend to be grazers that will feast on multifarious sources of grasses, shrubs, and other flora. Fortunately for them, they are able to survive several days without water, as they obtain the majority of it from their diet as well as dew. Longevity for Aoudads tends to be about 15 years, but can extend up to 20 years.
From September to November, you’ll find Aoudads to be in their peak breeding season. Following a gestation period of about 160 days, one to three kids are born. Twins are not uncommon in Aoudads, and if food sources are plentiful, the mother may have three. It’s possible for a female Aoudad to have two pregnancies in one year. At about three to four months old, the kids are weaned and around 18 months, they achieve sexual maturity. Almost immediately after being born, little Aoudads are adept at handling mountainous, rocky terrain.
Socially, there is normally one male for several females. Though the males will compete for dominance in breeding, multiple males in one group can get along well.
Here at Nine Bar Ranch, we provide an opportunity to hunt the free-range Aoudads that you’ve always imagined. We offer exceptional deals on hunting packages. Tracking down an Aoudad is important, but so is the experience. Don’t fret; we’ve got it all covered. Contact us for questions or if you’re ready to book your next outstanding hunting adventure.
Hog Hunting at Night Tips
Searching for feral pigs in the dead of night isn’t an image that usually comes to mind when you think of “north Texas hunting.” Although many hunts take place during daylight hours, many of the creatures we hunt here at Nine Bar Ranch can be nocturnal. The old world species that belong to the family Suidae are better known as wild hogs. Specifically in Texas, a wide range of European wild hogs, feral pigs, and European-feral crossbreeds can be spotted rambling across the sandy terrain of the Lone Star state. As more generations are born, these beasts lose more of their domesticity and gain the skills that are crucial for surviving in Texas.
Because of their ability to adapt for survival, the optimal time to track down these big-bodied beasts is at night. With the growing feral hog population and increased hunting, the animals have developed a lifestyle of nocturnal living. Of course, that’s their feeding time as well, so it’s an ideal time to hunt them. The exceedingly warm days further encourage our prey to take to the night, and it makes life easier for us, the hunters.
At Nine Bar, you have the opportunity to hunt down these creatures on foot and from vehicles while using specially designed gear such as thermal scopes, night vision goggles (NVG), and infrared laser beams. Even better, all you have to do is schedule a time to hunt, and we will provide all of the necessary gear (and tips).
If this is your first time hunting wild hogs, we have a few helpful tips that will increase your chances of taking home a trophy:
Bait and Wait.
Hogs have an outstanding, sharp sense of smell, which means that they can easily smell you as you track them. Because this is one of their strongest senses, they rely on it to seek out and track down food. Believe it or not, they can smell odors between 5 and 7 miles away. Our tip: Set out feeders with some of their favorite, natural foods. Acorns, fruits/nuts, corn, and oak mast are great fillers for your feeders and will provide optimal attraction for your prey. Your goal is to create a natural attraction to your feeder, and once the hogs associate your feeder with tasty food, they’ll be running back for more repeatedly.
Though the moon will provide a minimal amount of light, you’ll want to utilize some additional form of light to ensure that you will make the kill. Naturally, you don’t want to alert the hogs to your presence, so the paramount form of light will be discreet and dim. Since feral hogs are naturally aggressive animals, an overly bright or white light may scare them away or cause them to be more hostile. Our tip: Attach a low red light to the underside of the feeder to ever so slightly brighten up the area which will ensure that you’ll get your kill on the first shot.
Know Before You Go.
Feral hogs are non-native to the United States and are normally exceedingly destructive, so typically, state-to-state regulations vary. If you’re going on a trip in your state or another state, be sure that you know the regulations before you set out. There are several southern states that permit use of artificial lights during nighttime hog hunting. When you hunt with us at Nine Bar Ranch in Texas, we will educate you on all of the state and local regulations in our area.
We take out small groups on each hunt, knowing that the hogs can easily sense changes and new noises/smells in their surroundings. Be prepared to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is incomparable to any other hunting trip. Rest assured that you’ll be returning home with a trophy. Be sure to contact us if you have any questions, concerns, or want to set up a trip with us.