NM Barbary Sheep Hunt

cowhitey

Active Member
Messages
151
Back in the Spring I received notification I had drawn a limited draw unit for NM Barbary Sheep. I had been applying for probably 15-16 years without drawing. The previous year after not drawing I booked a hunt with Pete at 505 Outfitters to go on an OTC Private Land Barbary hunt and was successful. The tag I drew this year was in the outfitter pool with 505 Outfitters.

My tag was good for the December public land hunt and Pete had arranged for me to do my 2-day hunt with one of his guides. 2 weeks before the season my buddy had work issues and couldn't go to help so I asked Pete if he could do a 5 day hunt. Pete made some calls and hooked me up with a great guide to do the 5 day hunt. This turned out to be a blessing. This kid knew the area like the back of his hand and we were in sheep country and on sheep most of the 2 days I hunted.
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My 2019 Barbary on the private land OTC hunt.
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Not a bad drive down from CO in December 2020.
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We hunted some great looking sheep country. This desert country was rough. Mostly rock and cactus. Now I know why NM transplanted sheep from Africa here. Why would anything else live here.
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Day 1 came to a close with 8 miles of hiking and 4 rams spotted right at dark. I sure was excited and optimistic about Day 2. More to come.
 

cowhitey

Active Member
Messages
151
More photos.
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The evening before my hunt the guide texted me these photos. He went out the day before the season and found a group of sheep. We would be here at daylight opening day. I was already liking my guide. :)
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Never hunted from one of these but I learned it was invaluable for getting us back into sheep country. We probably took this thing 15 miles back in and then hiked another 8 miles from it in sheep country on day 1.
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Did I say rock and cactus?
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We hiked and glassed until our eyeballs hurt.
 

cowhitey

Active Member
Messages
151
The next morning we made about an 8 mile drive on the UTV over a rugged rock filled road (more like a path) but was on the map. We glassed from a few different areas where we could see many miles in each direction.

We made our way to a deep canyon that had sheer cliffs on one side. We set up to glass and it didn't take long to spot a group of about 12 rams that were chasing a few ewes along the steep cliffs below us. It was amazing to watch them run on almost near vertical rock.

We backed off the rim and closed the distance down so we would be about 150 years above them. If we were to get a shot it would be straight down.

The group of rams started filtering off of the cliffs and down into the dry wash bed and started feeding on the few blades of grass that were there. I had plenty of time to lay down and get a rest to basically shoot straight down at about 140 yards. We waited until they all filtered out into the dry stream bed and for the largest of the group to get broadside.

From our glassing point the sheep were on the lower cliffs 1/2 way up from the bottom of the wash in the distance.

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We hiked about a 1/4 mile down the rim and then descended 1/3 of the way down the steep benches. Picture below is looking back to where we originally spotted them from.

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The sheep were directly below us and I basically had to hang off the edge of this cliff with my gun pointing straight down.
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View looking back up to the top of the cliffs from the bottom of the wash. Getting here was interesting to say the least.
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Wapitiwilly

Very Active Member
Messages
1,781
Cool story. I’ve always wondered about free range hunting for them. Congratulations and thanks for sharing🎅
 

cowhitey

Active Member
Messages
151
A group of about 12 rams started feeding out into the wash. We waited until the largest was broadside and still. The shot was about 140 yards straight down. At the sound of the shot all the rams ran back toward the cliff and went out of sight. How did I miss?

We waited but couldn't see any of them and about 5 minutes later a huge single ram came out and ran for the far side of the canyon. Then a group of 11 rams came out and followed. Not sure if I hit the ram I had to just watch as it was impossible to tell which one I shot at.
 

cowhitey

Active Member
Messages
151
We went back up the cliffs and along the rim to our original spotting spot. We watched the 12 rams filter up into the hillside and disappear into a box canyon. We made a plan to hike down the cliffs into the wash and across the valley to try and find the group of rams again.

We took the UTV about 1/2 mile away and shot my gun to make sure it hadn't been bumped. It was actually shooting 12 inches low and 8 inches left. That was probably why the ram didn't seem like it was hit.
 

cowhitey

Active Member
Messages
151
We got the gun back on and made our way back to the lookout spot on the rim. We tried to locate the 12 rams across the canyon but they were gone from sight. I then glassed down at the base of the cliff and could see that tell tale V of a rams horns bedded agains the wash back.

We put the spotter on him and I realized he had what looked like blood near his guts and close to the hind quarter. This was my ram. He never left with the others.
 

cowhitey

Active Member
Messages
151
We then hiked back down the rim and down the benches and cliffs to get back to the original cliff we shot from. He was laying in the shade of the cut bank broadside at 130 yards. I waited until his horns cleared his vitals and put my shot right through the chest. The ram rolled over dead!
 

cowhitey

Active Member
Messages
151
After some celebration my guide said lets go back to the UTV and get our packs and go get him. I was confused and said why don't we drive down to the 2 track that ran the valley floor and get him. He then told me the 2 track access was blocked by a private ranch 5 miles away. The only way to the ram was to take snake down through the benches and cliffs to the valley floor and pack it back up hill.
 

cowhitey

Active Member
Messages
151
Luckily before we shot the ram the guide had a buddy in the area and had texted him to come and spot for us as we were making a plan to cross the valley and go up the other side after the 12 rams. He was there with his girlfriend before we got back to the UTV. This was a welcome sight to have 2 extra backs for the pack out.

The 500 yard pack down took us an hour due to the cliffs and benches we had to navigate.

We made quick work of the ram. We boned him out and the 3 of us split up the load and the girlfriend took our extra clothes and pack gear in her pack.

We made it back to the UTV after almost a straight climb uphill for 1.5 hours.

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