The Fattest Aoudad The World Has Ever Seen

Video world record aoudad sheep

“He’s a damn vacuum cleaner is what he is,” is how Dr. Richard Allen described the moocher aoudad that has made his Goat Creek Ranch near Kerrville, Texas his private buffet. “He’s sucked up several hundred if not thousands of pounds of deer corn since he showed up a few years back. He’s gotta be the fattest aoudad the world has ever seen.”

Aoudad 110119a The Fattest Aoudad The World Has Ever Seen

Also known as Barbary sheep and scientifically as Ammotragus lervia, aoudad is a goat-/sheep-like animal native to the north African countries of Algeria, Tunisia, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger and Sudan. They were first brought to Texas as a potential game animal by Texas Parks & Wildlife in the 1950s and to private game ranches in the years following. Although it is unknown how many animals can be found behind high fences, the latest estimates put the number of free ranging specimens at well over 25,000. Large free ranging populations can be found in the Texas Panhandle, West Texas and in the Hill Country. The vacuum cleaner at Dr. Allen’s was most likely a member of this latter group.

Aoudad are technically of the species Caprid, which, depending on which scientist you ask, is a member of the sheep or goat family. From a hunter perspective, they are considered a sheep. They are sandy brown in color with a lighter underbelly and darker ridge running the length of the back. Males have long “manes” or “chaps” of hair that run the length of the throat and front legs. Their triangular cross sectioned horns curve outward, backward, then inward and can reach lengths of upward of 40 inches although 30 inches is considered a fantastic trophy. Aoudad stand upwards of just over three feet at the shoulder and can reach weights of 300 pounds.

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Except for the one at Dr. Allen’s.

That bad boy was pushing 400 pounds thanks to his never-ending supply of free food.

Thus, the reason Dr. Allen suggested hunter Joel O’Shoney take the animal.

Aoudad 110119c The Fattest Aoudad The World Has Ever Seen

Despite the fact that the aoudad was a notorious raider of deer feeders at Goat Creek Ranch, hunting him proved to be far more difficult as he forwent visiting the feeders when Joel hunted the property. Joel hunted the animal for three weekends with little luck.

“I saw him a few times on the property here and there,” Joel said. “But he was always just out of range or would disappear into a stand of thick cedar.”

Persistence paid off however and Joel took the animal with a single shot just before sundown on the last day of his hunt. The moocher wasn’t big in the horn department as he carried just over 26 inches of curl, but did break the bank in terms of weight. Both Joel and Dr. Allen put the animal’s weight at close to 400 pounds. So too did taxidermist Neal Coldwell who Joel entrusted to mount the massive animal.

“This is the fattest damn aoudad I have ever seen!” Neal said. “And I’ve seen a lot of them.”

I asked Darren Carr, a friend of mine who once guided aoudad hunts in Chad and manages the Indianhead Ranch guide near Del Rio what the biggest aoudad he’d ever seen weighed. He replied, “Maybe 375 pounds.” When I told him of the Goat Creek Ranch’s moocher’s weight of almost 400 pounds, he was astonished.

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“That’s a fat boy for sure.”

Or as Joel said, “That’s a lot of sausage for sure.”

Author Gayne C. Young has contributed to Sporting Classics for more than 20 years. He is the author of And Monkeys Threw Crap At Me: Adventures in Hunting, Fishing, and Writing, Texas Safari: The Game Hunters Guide To Texas, Sumatra, The Tunnel, Bug Hunt, Teddy Roosevelt: Sasquatch Hunter, Vikings: The Bigfoot Saga, and more. In January 2011, Gayne C. Young became the first American outdoor writer to interview Russian Prime Minister, and former Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Visit Gayne at his Amazon page.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>