A Stalk, A Shot and A Dream Come True!
Markhor, as with all sheep and goats, have horns that grow rather quickly in the first two to three years of their life. After that time, the amount of horn added each year, as a rule, is inversely proportional to their age because the rate of horn growth slows tremendously as they age. The Patio Ranch prefers to offer trophy markhor to our clients in the 38” or larger range to allow the markhor to have the long, flowing hair and long, twisted horns that are the signature of a true markhor trophy. Thus, the investment of time in a really large trophy male is usually seven years to nine years and the limited number of truly unique markhor.
After seeing the story of a markhor hunted here on the Patio Ranch, Colette and Larry requested an opportunity to hunt one of these magnificent wild goats. We added Colette’s name to the queue of requests for trophy markhor and the wait began for a large male to become available. Also, Larry wanted to check out the large aoudad in the 600 acre pasture if the elusive creatures were spotted.
Larry and Colette arrived late morning. We visited and caught up on happenings with each other. Teresa served up a wonderful warm lunch to boost the energy levels for the hunt in the cold weather and then it was off to the rifle range to test the weapon accuracy. No surprises there…Colette was on the money with her shots as was Larry. It was time to search for the markhor and aoudad.
The pasture in which the markhor is hunted has thick juniper stands along most of the fences as well as in the large draws. The rest of the pasture is rolling hills with lone oaks interspersed with small mottes of oaks and long strips of oak in places. There are many downed oak and juniper trees that add to the escape cover for an intelligent animal like the markhor that uses anything as camouflage or a hiding spot.
A methodical search of the brush/tree cover in the pasture is usually the best way to start. The wind was strong out of the northwest and Ray had spotted what he thought was the markhor in a stand of brush on the hilltop overlooking a large opening. Wes and Colette set up a spotting position where the hillside below the brush was in the field of fire. A waiting game ensued…we felt the markhor would move from the hilltop brush to the next fence line brush stand to get more cover from the wind and cold. If he was successful in making that transition to the next brush stand, the search would be extended indefinitely due to the large size of that brush and the steepness of the draw.
Noting that some barasingha bulls were tracking something moving out of our sight on the hilltop, we felt that maybe the markhor was there and starting to move to deeper cover. Colette caught a movement that was the markhor slowly nearing the edge of the brush and checking the open hillside for any danger. The moving target did not allow a good shot at that spot. And then the large markhor male started to traverse the open hillside. Colette watched as the markhor moved across the opening toward what would be security for him in thicker brush; still no good shots. Suddenly the markhor stopped as if to determine the best route, still unaware that Colette was near. The shot needed to be taken now or lose the open country that would be the best chance for a clear shot. Colette had been practicing and that preparation proved to be invaluable as the shot rang out and the majestic markhor reared-up and then fell to the ground! As the hunting party approached the site, all stopped in awe of this grand, old markhor. A last bite was given to the animal to show respect and appreciation as congratulations on a great shot were lauded upon Colette and pictures for the memories were taken.
This story is just part of the memories created on this hunt, but the rest are for another story to be told. We ask that you again join us in congratulating Colette on a great hunt and a majestic trophy. These opportunities and what are made of them are not luck; much preparation, planning, and practice are required to make the best of any hunting situation. The exciting hunt, sharing of stories around the warm-burning fireplace and great meals make each hunting experience unique. All of these factors create this total experience and adds to the material as Colette again can truly “…tell a different hunting story!”
Best wishes for a Christmas season filled with joy, happiness and recognition of the “reason for the season”!