The Chinati Mountains in West Texas are the very definition of hardscrabble. The ragged rocky heights, interspersed with thorny yucca, honey mesquite, cactus, and rolling hills covered in dry, brittle grass, make for tough going. One transplant to this high-desert terrain that has thrived, however, is the aoudad. Also known as Barbary sheep, this rugged animal is native to the arid mountains of North Africa, and it took to this region of the Southwest without missing a beat.
Because they are plentiful, and hunting them doesn’t involve the astronomical costs associated with bighorns and other high-dollar mountain game, aoudads are often referred to as the poor man’s sheep. However, as anyone who has hunted them can attest, the experience of stalking them is anything but poor. You have to come prepared to hike for miles up and down boot-shredding ground in order to get close to these wary creatures. If your legs and lungs aren’t in shape beforehand—to quote the ski instructor from Southpark—you’re gonna have a bad time.
For this working man’s hunt, I chose a consummate workingman’s rifle—the Mossberg Patriot Predator. With an MSRP of just $441, it is an affordable bolt gun with several useful features that increase its utility without jacking up the price. It’s also built to take the kind of beating an aoudad hunt is going to dish out.