Ok, so the background on this is that for as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to hunt a big ram. Growing up in Kansas, we just don’t have that kind of game to hunt, so I guess it was one of those fascinations or whatever. So after years of just thinking and dreaming I decided to do something about it. I started researching ram hunts and realized that a Big Horn sheep was just out of the question for a 23 year old married guy, just too expensive and a lot of travel and regulations. So that got me to looking into others rams and what not. After weeks and maybe even months of research I stumbled upon “Thompson Temple” and his discount ram hunts.
First let me start by saying that I am in no way associated to Thompson Temple other than a satisfied customer!
After finding his website from Google, I saw that he had 6 species of rams one could hunt and the prices varied from $190 up. The 6 species of rams on the website were: Corsican, Mouflon, White Texas Dall, Black Hawaiian, Rambo (Merino) and New Zealand Goat. I wanted a full curl ram, not a cork-screw wide trophy but a full curl big horn sheep looking ram. That meant from the photos that I was probably going to go after a Mouflon ram, but would shoot whatever as long as it had the look I wanted.
Turns out that after discussing this with my Dad, Bill, he was game to go as well. As a turn of luck, my mom decided that for my birthday and for his birthday/fathers day that they paid for both of us to go shoot a ram each! Now my dad is 52 and has hunted his entire life. He had never hunted an exotic species and never on a ranch, so this was new to both of us. We booked our hunt for the first weekend in October, booked a rental car to make the drive from Kansas to near Barksdale, TX, and got the gear ready! After a 13 1/2 hour drive south we arrived at the ranch.
The ranch is set in the mountains of Texas and when I heard mountains I thought maybe hills….but no, this is mountain country! From basecamp to the peak on the ranch was at least 1000 feet if nor more. Thompson had us stay in the “Cowboy Casa” rather than the “Colorado Casa” as shown on the website. The Cowboy was a single wide trailer that wasnt at all in good shape. Holes in the floor, badly working toilet, just all around run down. But it beat staying in a tent or in a hotel. As we pulled into the ranch we encountered a green tagged white Dall ram with a messed up foot. We passed another hunted headed towards it while we unpacked and got settled. As we were unpacking the car we heard a shot and figured someone had put that dall down. But it turns out that another hunter on the ranch had just shot a $650 New Zealand Catalina goat. Never seeing one in real life, it was a trophy! They smelled to the high heavens, but one could get over that for a trophy like that! As we walked around the camp, we encountered a number of Merino’s and a red tagged Dall that could care less what we did. Since the Merino’s have a good cork-screw style horn and somewhat look like a barnyard animal, I wasnt after that. Dad was disappointed by the lodging and made a comment like “lets just shoot one of these and get out of there” but we didnt. A big red tagged Mouflon ram was also hanging around camp as well, but since we had payed in advance for a $190 ram, we wouldnt be shooting a tagged ram. Turns out that each colored tag meant a different price. Red was $270, cant remember what color was was $360, blue was $500, green was $650! As we got settled and it was getting dark, we did see one no tag mouflon or corsican and dad thought about busting it, but decided we would wait until the morning.
The next morning we got up, ate, and got around with the other hunters in camp. The two other guys that stayed in the cowboy with us were from Texas and were after black hawaiians. One had his bow, one had his rifle. We got dropped off at a blind after passing by 4 merinos and the red tagged dall. After sitting for a couple hours, we noticed a smell in the air, turned around and found the herd of Merino’s within 25 yards. They were watching us in the blind and could care less it seemed. Since we both weren’t looking to get one of those, we let them walk on.
After getting picked up, we talked to Thompson and found out nobody shot one that morning. He decided to take us atop the mountain to go safari-style hunt. We loaded up, went up the mountain on a road I would barely consider a trail, and kept looking for any ram. We didnt see anything atop the mountain other than a great view. The entire we were on the ranch we only saw the east and part of the south fence….we never saw the north or west fence and we didnt remember how much land Thompson has. As we got back down, the two guys from TX and one of the guys from the Colorado Casa were seated at the blind/bench that overlooked the creek and the “Trophy pen”. The “Pen” as we called it was a 60 acre high fenced portion of the ranch that Thompson had a large amount of tagged rams in. There was no tags as well, but most had tags. He also had 3 red deer he had just bought and 2-3 large whitetail bucks in the pen with the rams. Since we lucked out before lunch and after we fed Thompson lunch, he decided to guide us in the “Pen” to get our two no tags.
The terrain is all rocky with no undergrowth, with small shrub style trees. You have to hike, then bend down to look under the trees to see the rams uphill. We hiked for 5 minutes of so, stopping to check through binoculars the rams we kept seeing. We encountered a bunch of rams, but all had tags. Finally Thompson saw one without a tag and had me get up to shoot. It was a Corsican full curl! We got in position, waited for the right shot, and BOOM! He stood up on his hind legs, did half a circle and fell over dead! The Mossberg 100 ATR in 30-06 did the job completely! We went over to check him out, excited and happy. Not sure who was happier about that ram: Me, Dad, or Thompson! We set off after that to go get Dad’s ram and took much longer. We kept seeing his herd of Aoudad’s, all had the $50o tags and Dad thought they would be awesome to get next time. We finally kept on a herd of rams and found one that didnt have a tag. Turns out it was an older Mouflon that should have been a $270 tag but was older and had horn damage from fighting. The guy with the bow actually was trying to shoot that ram as well as a Hawaiian, but didnt see it when he had a shot. Dad pulled out his .44 Lone Eagle pistol and fired, hitting the ram but it ran off. We tracked and tracked the ram and the herd, hoping to find Dad’s ram bedding down, limping, or piled up. Thompson had the other 3 guys come into the pen with us and we all stalked rams together, since each wanted a different ram. After 45 minutes or so we finally caught up to Dads ram and he used my rifle to finish him off. While we were dragging his and my ram out, the archer shot a nice $270 black hawaiian with his bow. The last two guys were both after green tagged black Hawaiians, but there were only two in the pen. After half an hour or more, one of them decided that a blue tagged Hawaiian was big enough and busted it. The last guy who was still hunting with Thompson finally got the green tagged black hawaiian in sight, pulled up and fired. Unfortunately at the last second a big Jacobs 4-horn ram ran directing in front of the Hawaiian, getting shot in the face through a curl in his bottom right horn. A funny story since the hunter had been making fun of 4 horn rams all day.
We all got our rams down and took the pictures of all 5 rams! They all smelled strong, but those with the kinky-furry style fur had more odor than most. We got loaded up while Thompson skinned and quartered both rams. We decided rather than stay that night and possible shoot hogs for free, we would head back home to sleep in our own beds. I must say, it was well worth the $20 to have Thompson skin and quarter our rams for us. We got the heads put in bags so we could European mount them when we got home and loaded up the meat. Turns out most guys didnt care to take their meat with them. So since we were taking ours to eat and try, Thompson sent a half a dall that someone else hadnt taken with them.
We finally got home and worked the meat up. While they smelled a little still, by soaking the meat in milk and garlic overnight it pulled the game flavor out completely. We ground part of the meat and it tastes pretty much the same as any other ground game.
As of today, the heads are still in our fish box in the river getting cleaned off. We have to finish by boiled the remaining meat off the skull, paint and sealing them up, and mounting it to a wooden display.
To review Thompson Temple: For the price you cant beat him, plain and simple! $190 for a full curl Corsican or Mouflon is great. Most other places charge way more for less and also you have to pay a guide fee. While the lodging at the Cowboy Casa wasnt that good, it beats sleeping in a tent or paying for a hotel miles away from the ranch. Thompson is truly a great guy who went way out of his way to get us both the rams we wanted and in the price range we paid.
I am already planning another trip down to Thompson Temple, so that should show how satisfied I was. My goal is to go back and hopefully get a 4-horn ram, while also shooting a Merino with my bow. The merino’s have such big and wide horns that a European mount would be awesome. They also were always around the camp and let us get easily within bow range all the time, making it an easier shot for me. On his website Thompson doesn’t list that he has 4-horns, Aoudads, or painted deserts. My guess is that he doesnt get them in as great of quantity as the other 6. Dad said that he would like to shoot an Aoudad so maybe we can make another trip down. Ill get my 4-horn and Merino, he can get his Aoudad or 4-horn since he liked both. I will say that we will be requesting to stay in the Colorado Casa. After seeing the inside, it was a world different. It was a colorado style a-frame cabin that was just awesome.
All in all, a great experience and I would recommend to anyone who wants to bag a ram!