Exotic hunting is a big industry in Texas.
From a handful of species available to hunt in the 1960s, we now have more than 40 species from around the world available on Texas ranches. The following species make perfect quarry for crossbow hunters and will give hunters something different to seek this season.
Corsican-This is the classic exotic sheep with horns that curl outward and often in a full double position. Their coats can range from burn orange to nearly deer color and some specimens sport an impressive mane of fur that makes them as attractive as any North American game.
Texas Dall-While most hunters will never be able to hunt Alaska’s dall sheep, the Texas dall is an affordable alternative that is essentially a white Corsican. The horn configuration is the same although the horns of this ram tend to be a light color. Some Texas dalls are pure white while others have a mixed reddish/orange in their coat.
Hawaiian Black-There’s something majestic about a large, black ram walking up a hillside and that is what makes this one of the most popular of the exotic sheep. They are often noted for sporting a heavy coat of wool although some have a thin coat and will occasionally have a chocolate brown color mixed in the coat.
Mouflon-A truly wild sheep, they are small but have large heart-shaped horns that almost never spiral outward like the Corsican. True mouflons are fairly rare on Texas ranches but they do exist. Besides the horn configuration, the classic trait is a large white saddle patch on the back and a short tail.
Merino-A huge, wooly domestic breed from the Pacific, merinos often called “Rambo Rams” are the largest horned by far. Forty plus inch horns are not uncommon on these animals that can weigh upwards of 250 pounds on the hoof. Merinos seem to come in two varieties. They are either almost entirely tame or super wary. And while the wool may turn off some hunters, the horns are undeniably impressive.
Four Horn-Also called “Jacob’s Sheep”, these unique animals are mentioned in the Bible and date back to the earliest period of the Old Testament. They have goat-like horns on the top of their heads that typically rise straight up with a slight bowing and then regular ram horns on the side. Colors range from white to red although most are a mix of colors.
Many fourhorns have sort of mutated looking horns with one growing tight to the head or not at all. If you take one of these with all four horns large and well-defined you have taken a noteworthy trophy.
Believe it or not, the meat of these sheep tastes great if cooked properly. The late great bowhunting legend Fred Bear once said the freshly cooked ribs of wild sheep was his favorite of all wild game.
Now, break out that crossbow and get to hunting!