Sleeping With The Aoudad

 

This hunting trip, like most any other out of state hunt, began long before the pull of the trigger. In October of 2013, a good friend of mine, retired Texas game warden Jim Robertson, killed a 199” whitetail on a lease just a few miles from my house. As with any other big deer, when you tell your friends, they come out of the woodwork to lay eyes on the true giants. The next day several people came to see the huge nontypical hanging in the tree at the house. One of those friends was Gary McGee.  Gary himself is an accomplished hunter, having literally hunted around the world a couple times. Gary brought his good friend and accomplished guide Chad Gay with him. As it turns out, Chad shares the same passion that I do for mountain hunting big game. Chad works for Desert Safaris, which is based out of San Antonio. We hit it off and decided we should make a hunt together sooner rather than later.

 

In April I was training for my first half marathon when my cell phone beeped. I had just been notified that I drew a New Mexico late season archery hunt in unit 2A. Knowing that Chad lived near the unit, I gave him a call to quiz him about the hunt area. As it turns out, he lives on the boundary of unit 2A and has extensive knowledge of the area. The following day Chad sent me a message. It was something to the effect of, “Hey, if your interested, I have two spots reserved on the best aoudad ranch in Texas.” Well it took all of two seconds for me to respond with something in the nature of heck yes (edited). I didn’t know much about aoudad hunting, but Chad had repeatedly assured me that it was a “real” sheep hunt. We would be hunting the ranch during the heat of the aoudad rut in early October. “Expect to shoot 30 plus inch rams and see groups of 100 or more sheep,” he said.  I thought to myself, I hope he’s right. We eventually settled on the dates of October 2-5 after working around his guiding schedule and my game warden schedule. Click her to read more >

The Viking Is Dead. Long Live the Viking!

 

I’ve waited five years to tell you this story. This is not a case of writers block in the traditional sense. In truth, I have spent countless hours lying awake at night imagining how this would all transpire, and how it would be written. Even in my sleep the Viking would occasionally appear, always taunting me, so close and never close enough. For over four years now, I’ve held on to the phrase that I had reserved in my mind for when this story finally came together. I’ve never let it pass my lips, but I’ve envisioned it, imagined myself saying it, and never truly doubted that I would one day have my chance to tell the story. On January 15, 2014, the last day of the Oklahoma archery deer season, I finally got my chance to say those sweet words.

 

The Viking is dead. Long live the Viking.

 

The high plains of northeastern Oklahoma stretch across a rugged expanse of bluffs and hills choked by innumerable scrub oaks that find purchase between the jagged rocks left by the age of the earth through time. Creeks drain into small lakes and open up valleys of fertile soil where giant hardwoods can thrive and propagate by raining clusters of acorns down upon the soil. Generally unsuitable for farming, this harsh country is oil and cattle country. It is upon this country that I cut my bow hunting teeth.

 

For seventeen years, I hunted a notorious ranch in Osage county, Oklahoma. I took my first bow kill there when I was barely 16 years old. I didn’t kill another deer for over six years. I remember a man told me once that there were deer gods in the sky, watching down on me. They were studying me to see how dedicated I was. He told me that when I put enough time in to appease those deer gods, then they would smile down upon me, and the deer would fall to me, year after year. About a year after that, fresh out of college, I took my first racked buck with a bow. Click here to read more >

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