One of my favorite things about sheep hunting is the beautiful places in the world the hunt takes you to. My November Desert Bighorn hunt was no exception. My husband Leo and I traveled to the beautiful ranch La Palmosa in Old Mexico.
La Palmosa is known for having the best of all the ingredients necessary for a great sheep hunt; beautiful scenery, great people, delicious food and big rams.
Our first day of sheep hunting started with a familiar routine: climb to the top off the mountain and look for rams. We climbed for a couple of hours and glassed for the remainder of the day. We spotted many rams, but not the special ram we were after. I wanted to be patient and try to find the right ram. Over the next few days, we hiked the same country and had the same results. Many rams seen, just not the one.
On day four, we moved on to a new area and began the long climb to the high mountains. Our day was again filled with seeing many rams, but not the special ram we were looking for. I knew he was out there, I just needed to be patient. That was easier with our great team and being surrounded by the beautiful mountains the desert sheep call home. Each day was filled with all the elements that make me love sheep hunting.
"One of the unique elements of sheep hunting is the lifelong bonds you develop on the mountain."
Our fifth day found us up early and heading up into the mountains. The plan was to again climb high and look for rams. While traveling to our hunting area, Juan, our guide, spotted three rams on a ridge. One of the rams appeared to be the type of ram we were looking for. The spotting scopes were set up and everyone agreed this ram needed a closer look. We made the stalk and were a mere eighty yards from a very heavy and beautiful ram. He had everything I had been looking for; massive bases and heavy horns all the way through. At close range, we were able to determine he was about nine years old. Even though he was already a great ram, we felt he could be amazing if given another year or two to reach his full potential.
It was a very exciting moment. Being that close to an excellent ram really raises the level of intensity. We were all smiles and happy with our decision as we hiked off the mountain. Next we headed further up the valley and made the climb to the top of the mountains (again!). We spent the rest of the day glassing for rams. I felt very fortunate to have a great team of people helping me and had faith we would find a very special ram for my tag.
Our sixth day of the hunt began much like the others; organizing our gear for the day hike into the mountains to look for rams. We climbed to the top and began glassing all the canyons for sheep. We had glassed several canyons and began to walk down a ridge to look into the next canyon. Juan suddenly stopped and motioned for us to do the same. There were sheep feeding in front of us as they were passing through a saddle from one side of the mountain to the other.
Juan and Leo watched the group of sheep for a very short time as they fed over the mountain and disappeared. Leo crawled over to me and explained there was a great ram in the group. The hunt was on!
We gave them some time to feed over the top so we could make a stalk. We began our stalk Anticipating the band of sheep would be feeding a few hundred yards over the edge where they had disappeared, we began our stalk. It was slow and quiet. We soon began to see some of the ewes feeding in front of us. The anticipation was high as we all glassed for the big ram. The minutes went by as we carefully moved forward to try to locate the big ram. We could see all the ewes and a different ram, all that was missing was the big ram that Juan and Leo had seen earlier. We moved forward a few more feet and suddenly there he was lying in his bed. I raised my binoculars to view the ram and thought, “Wow, that is a huge ram!”
We had stalked in close and things were happening fast. The ewes had us located when we were 140 yards away. I set up for a shot and hoped the opportunity would come.
The ram continued to lay in his bed facing us with no shot possibility, the ewes were milling around, and I continued to wait for the big ram to stand up out of his bed. Finally, he stood, and I was able to make the shot and put the trophy ram down for good.
As I walked over to the ram, I was filled with emotion and gratitude of being able to hunt these magnificent animals. When I pulled his horns up from the ground they grew in both size and beauty. He was absolutely perfect and as beautiful a desert ram as one could ever hope for.
My guide Juan later told me that when they saw this ram earlier in the year, they had a given him a name, “El Hermoso”. With his heavy bases and long horns, they had named him “the beautiful one”.
After taking photos and packing up the ram, we began the journey out of the mountains. I insisted on carrying the head and horns. With the added weight in my pack, the trip down the mountain was slow and difficult, but very gratifying. We arrived back at the house, I enjoyed some special moments with my guide, Juan, Leo, Justin and all the great people involved in the hunt. One of the unique elements of sheep hunting is the lifelong bonds you develop on the mountain in pursuit of one of the most beautiful animals in the world.