4 Reasons to Hunt Barbary Sheep in New Mexico

Published March 16th, 2023 by Justin Basch

The opportunity to hunt Barbary sheep among free-range, wild herds is something uniquely available in in New Mexico. These are bar-none some of the best hunting experiences that New Mexico has to offer.

Here are a few of the top reasons why we love hunting Barbary sheep:

1. A Sheep Hunt Without the Barriers to Entry

 First, we love to hunt Barbary sheep (also known as aoudad) because it offers the experience of a sheep hunt without the typical obstacles – namely, the price tag or the difficulty of drawing tags.

A bighorn sheep license is perhaps one of the most difficult tags to draw anywhere in the western United States. On the other hand, Barbary sheep tags have much higher draw odds in New Mexico. And like most other species in New Mexico, applying with an outfitter will greatly increase your odds.

Barbary sheep hunts are also available at a fraction of the price of most other sheep hunts. Planning a bighorn sheep hunt or Dall sheep hunt in Canada or Alaska will easily cost upwards of $20,000. A desert sheep hunt or Stone sheep hunt will be even far more than that.

Here in New Mexico on the other hand, we offer fully guided Barbary sheep hunts at a far more palatable price point. Get the experience of a sheep hunt without the cost – or without waiting decades to draw a tag.

2. Excellent Season Dates

Another reason we love hunting aoudad is because the season dates allow us to hunt them during the “off seasons”. Many of us enjoy hunting for other species like deer, elk or pronghorn during the fall. When you hunt Barbary sheep, it won’t interfere with those dates.

Most Barbary sheep hunts take place during December, January and February. This is a great time to plan a hunt when there’s usually nothing else on the calendar. It’s a great way to extend your hunting season. What’s more, it’s is a great time to come down and hunt in the desert!

3. Beautiful Landscapes

Speaking of hunting in the desert…Barbary sheep inhabit some spectacular landscapes in southeastern New Mexico. This can be a pretty physically demanding hunt, with all different types of terrain. Hunters may experience anything from rolling shale hills to steep canyon walls, shear cliffs and juniper covered mountains. Again, this is truly an awesome sheep hunting experience – just without the price tag or steep draw odds of most sheep hunts. 

4. Barbary Sheep are Drought Tolerant

Barbary sheep are not nearly as sensitive to drought as other big game species. Unlike deer and elk which can vary in horn growth based on the available moisture, Barbary sheep will continue excellent horn growth in pretty much any conditions.

They are a beautiful animal and will make a great addition to any trophy room with their long chaps and long swooped-back horns. Mature rams are around 8-10 years of age or older.

What to Expect when You Hunt Barbary Sheep with LOH:

The typical Barbary sheep seasons in New Mexico are as follows:

  • 5-day Rut Season in October
  • 14-day Season in December
  • 14-day Season in Late January
  • 14-day Season in Mid-February

Our Barbary sheep hunts are 5-day, fully guided trips. This is your classic, spot-and-stalk adventure. You can expect to spend a lot of time behind the glass and a lot of miles hiking to find a mature ram. Barbary sheep typically like the warmer weather. So unlike deer or elk, which tend to bed soon after sun up, Barbary sheep move all day. This allows us to hunt all day long.

Shot distances typically range from 200 to 500 yards. Like any hunt, we highly recommend that hunters spend lots of time practicing before the hunt. It’s important to practice shooting from multiple positions to be ready for the hunt.

New Mexico issues either-sex tags for Barbary sheep. This means you don’t have to wait for any specific age class of ram. It all depends on your personal goals.

A good pair of boots with good ankle support is a must-have for this type of hunting. Also plan to bring a daypack big enough to carry water, snacks and extra layers.

If you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to call or text us at 575-517-6083. We’d be happy to answer your questions about Barbary sheep hunting in New Mexico. You can also visit our Barbary sheep hunting page for pricing and other details.

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