The Barbary sheep is a dark sand colour and carries a golden shaggy coat. Males grow a beard from the chin down onto their chest and sometimes have a short mane. Males and females both carry impressive horns. Their horns form a triangular cross section, curving outwards and then back. Their horns are golden brown in colour and are fairly smooth with very slight ridges that may develop with age.
In South Africa the Barbary sheep have been introduced. They have adapted extremely well and good trophies can be taken in the Northern Cape, Free state and eastern cape provinces. Majority of the Barbary sheep are hunted in the Northern Cape and Eastern Cape Provinces. The same Animal occurs in Northern Mali, Chad, Egypt, Niger and Sudan. However the Barbary sheep in these areas are known as Aoudad, it is however genetically the exact same species.
Mature Barbary sheep reach an average weight of 220 pounds and a shoulder height of 38 inches. The males are easily identified in a herd as they have thick heavy horns compared to the much smaller horns of a female. A good male Barbary sheep will have horns that measure 20 inches.
Hunting Barbary sheep occurs in mountainous areas; they are natural built rock climbers and can clear the steepest cliffs. Barbary sheep feed on grasses, shrubs and lichens and are not dependent on water. These sheep can survive days on end without physically drinking water; they get all the moisture they need from their diet. They will however drink daily should there be a permanent water source.
Going after a Barbary sheep will involve glassing mountainous areas and hill ops. They will come out at sunrise to bask in the sun and warm up. This usually makes spotting the herds relatively easy, but getting up close will be a challenge. Barbary sheep will feed early morning and late afternoon. During the heat of the day they can be found bedded down, resting which is often when a hunter can get quite close.
These sheep will often remain in a particular area especially if everything they require with regards to their feeding habits and social structure is present within an area. Not to be mistaken that of they are bothered they will clear mountain tops and hillside in no time and will soon be in another time zone.
Get your wind in your favour, and make a stealthy approach after spotting a good male. Often the mountainous terrain will help a hunter get in quite close if the stalk is done right.
Choose a calibre and rifle which you are comfortable with and one that is not too heavy. Hunting these guys takes patience and a fair amount of walking so you don’t want your rifle to be weighing you down. Shots range from 100 yards to 400 yards depending on where you run into the sheep. Shot placement is the same as most sheep hunting and even many antelope. Square on the shoulder at broadside or behind the should at a quartering away angle.
7mm rem mag and a 300 win mag or any calibre in this range is your go to calibre choice. Any smaller calibre is not recommended as these guys needs to be hit hard from the get go. A wounded Barbary may keep you busy for hours and even days. They tend to have a die-hard mentality and will not go down very easily. As with majority of the African species, the first shot counts most, and with good shot placement you will have a successful hunt!
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