Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hunting Corsican Sheep: Tips and Techniques

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Hunting Corsican Sheep

We discussed Hunting Trophy Fallow deer in our post on July 28th, but another exotic that is becoming very popular to hunt is the Corsican Sheep.

Also called the Corsican Ram, it is a commonly available exotic on many concessions throughout the United States. Its history began about fifty years ago in Texas when Mouflon and Barbados sheep where crossed in attempt to create tough capable sheep that could thrive in harsher environments but produce meat quickly and at an early age. The breeders got some of what they wanted, but they definitely got more than they bargained for.
Image Credit: E Borshoom

The Corsican sheep turned out to be tougher and more tenacious than expected. They not only survived, but thrived in the harsh and intemperate near desert conditions of the Texas scrub lands. Within a couple of generations, they were as cagey as a whitetail, tough as a boar hog, and capable of defending themselves from most predators. They went all out native!

A full grown male Corsican Ram will weigh between 130 and 160 lbs. They have horns, which they do not shed, and which continue to grow throughout the sheep's life.The females, known as ewes, are much smaller averaging about 75 lbs. The ewes also have horns, but they are smaller. Weighing as much as 30 pounds, the ram's horn configurations can vary between a tight or loose curl, to a wide, flaring, helix. Horns typically tape anywhere between 26 to 36 inches in length. The accepted length for trophy starts at 30 inches with exceptional Corsican rams growing them to 40 inches, maybe even a little more! Some males have long black hair on the neck that is called a ruff. The horns, along with their ruff and heavy beards, make them a unique and noteworthy addition to any hunter's trophy wall.

A trio of goats. Note the curls and ruff of the one on the right!

Another trait of the Corsican Sheep is the variety of colors that are available. There are actually several different lines that have been developed, each with a unique configuration and name.

The Texas Dall Sheep is a white colored Corisican, with horns that approximate that of the Dall sheep. The Hawaiian Black Sheep is an all black Corsican, black hide with black horns. The Painted Desert sheep is the latest color selection to be refined. These are Corsican sheep that have up to four different colors, harlequins if you will.

As you might imagine, the opportunity afforded by the different configurations have created a "Corsican Sheep Slam!" Trophies of the Mouflon, Corsican, Texas Dall, Hawaiian Black make up the "Corsican Slam."

These sheep are tough, so good shot placement is very important. A wounded sheep will go further, faster than any other comparable animal. So make your first shot count. Any reasonable caliber will suffice with my nod going to the 6.5 Swede, 260 Remington, or the 7mm-08. A light rifle coupled with a good cartridge and projectile will make the job of collecting your trophy much more likely, just not necessarily easier. As I mentioned in my Fallow deer post, if all you have is a 308 or 30/06 then by all means bring that! If you are going to hunt wild boars at the same time, then perhaps a minimum of 30 caliber would be prudent. The range that they are shot at can vary substantially, so check with your outfitter to determine the conditions you are likely to face, and what they recommend.

This is a wonderful quarry to chase on foot with archery tackle, and there is by no means a guarantee of success even on a game ranch. Here the poundage should be around fifty at your draw, and good tough, sharp broadheads are a must.

Muzzy Phantoms are a good choice for tough goats!

The Corsican's eyesight is sharp, and stalking into shooting position can be a real challenge and result in a well earned trophy. While guiding clients at Native Hunt, Phillip Laughlin of the Hog Blog, recounts just how difficult sheep can be. "We’d wait and wait, and just when we thought we’d have the opportunity, they’d catch wind of us or spot us, and off they’d go again." Oh, they got their goat in the end, but not until they had worn the soles off their boots.

Capeing out your prize is not difficult, but unless you are well experienced, it is a task best left to the guide. Ranches like Native Hunt have experienced guides who are also accomplished skinners to assist you in this so that your cape and horns arrive in the best possible condition to your taxidermist.

The meat is edible although it will have a gamey taste. There are several ways to marinate and prepare the meat to help reduce the gaminess. Personally, I haven't found anything that can't be fixed with some hot sauce. For the more culinarily inclined, quite a few Middle Eastern dishes revolve around the goat, as do many Caribbean island recipes. The American Meat Goat Association has many recipes in an easily printable PDF: Chevon Recipes. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Mr Hank Shaw over at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, who undoubtedly has something to turn a stringy old goat into something remarkable. Somewhat like turning water into wine, but without the metaphysics. He does something similar when he turns a goat leg into Mocetta.

My good friend Mike Riddle at Native Hunt has been managing several herds of Corsican Rams on his properties for many years. He has impressive rams that you will be proud to hang on your wall.

"At Native Hunt, we focus on providing guests with absolute Tier I service. Our goal since we began operation in 1990 is that guests should be able to spend their days in the rugged outdoors hunting exotic game or exploring the property with one of our adventure tours, yet still be provided with great comfort and luxury in the wilderness. Native Hunt’s focus is entirely on the guest; giving them a memorable, successful hunting experience, while at the same time providing an extravagant retreat."
Mike Riddle, CEO Native Hunt

If you are considering a trophy hunt for Corsican Sheep, or perhaps a mixed bag of exotic game, give Native Hunt a call and book a hunt. Mike runs an exceptional operation that caters to his clients needs and desires. Native Hunt is a licensed, state-bonded, and insured hunting guide service. They have been in business since 1990 with ranches located in beautiful Monterey and Fresno counties. A hunt at Native Hunt will be a hunt to remember!

Native Hunt

Contact Native Hunt with any questions or to make reservations:
General Questions:
Hunting Questions:
Bookings: 408-837-0733
Or call toll free: 1-888-HUNT-321

Related Links:
The Hog Blog: Busy Weekend!
Phillip takes a Fallow
Fallow Deer: Hints and Tips
Little Grey Rockets, Skittish Sheep, and a Sheepish Guide

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


Wild Ed said...

I would suggest that if you want to eat the meat you kill a lamb or young ewe. I have had several Rams and we could not eat it. I end up utilizing for our pets. They want me to go again. :)

Albert A Rasch said...

Wild Ed!

My good friend, I have always wondered about that. Goats can be prtty stringy and tough, and an old billy probably tastes like... well, an old billy!

Glad you stopped by!


Sudeepta said...

Very nice post thanks for sharing.
Welcome to Centex HuntClub - Offering hunts all over Texas! Come hunt with us today. Unlimited hogs, hunt day or night! Huge Trophy Boars, young meat hogs too.Hog Hunting

Sudeepta said...

Very nice post thanks for sharing.
Welcome to Centex HuntClub - Offering hunts all over Texas! Come hunt with us today. Unlimited hogs, hunt day or night! Huge Trophy Boars, young meat hogs too.Hog Hunting

tours in pakistan said...

We hunt Markhor (National animal of Pakistan) while we are on trekking trip. Thanks for sharing.