Ibex Hunting for the Uninitiated

The ibex hunting info you’ve been looking for is right here.

The Nubian Ibex is considered to be an endangered animal in its native environs of northeastern Africa and the Arabian mountains. There are thought to be approximately 1,200 free ranging Nubian Ibex left in the wild.

Nubian Ibex are a species of wild goat, and are especially adapted to hot, arid and mountainous regions. They inhabit mountainous areas with outcroppings and gorges where vegetation is sparse. They are a high country goat, comfortable at elevations from sea level to 3,000 feet, and frequent some of the most remote and steep cliffs in the country.

Fortunately for sportsmen, Ox Ranch has imported Nubian Ibex to Texas, where the animals have thrived and spread, as they range freely in areas of the ranch’s 18,000 acres.

As they are an animal designated as an exotic in Texas, hunting them is allowable at any time of the year. All you need is a hunting license.

It is often declared that hunters must get in ‘sheep shape’ to effectively hunt these critters, as the terrain and elevation are some of the most physically demanding a hunter can experience.
Nubian Ibex are a relatively small creature, though people have risked hunting them for thousands of years. They stand around two-and-a-half feet in shoulder height and are around four feet in length. The average weight of the males is between 125 to 140 pounds.

Coloration is a more or less uniform tan, which tends to mimic much of their environment, with a cream colored underbelly and lower legs. It is thought that the sheen of their coats helps to reflect the sunlight and heat during the hottest and driest months of the year.

During the rut the males undergo a color change, where they become dark brown to almost black. Mature males, and sometimes females, also display a beard under their lower jaw.

While both males and females have horns for fighting, it is the males that grow the large, sweeping, inverted C-shaped headgear. They are magnificent and can grow so high and long that they extend nearly to the center of the animal’s back.

The horns have knobby protrusions, like rings, on the forward facing part of the curve, which space progressively closer to one another as they near the tips of the horns. The Ibex’s horns can reach approximately 48 inches in total growth, and if straightened could be as long as the animal itself.

The horns can grow four to eight inches a year during the animal’s first five or six years of life and then an inch or two per year after that. Female horns average only around a foot in length at maturity. Horn size in males is an important determiner of physical desirability and sexual selection during the rut. Males battle one another during the breeding season by pushing against each other and butting heads.
The goats divide themselves into small herds of 10 to 20 animals according to sex, although male Ibex groups are usually much smaller than those of the females. Billies will invade the female or nanny herds come breeding time, and fight for dominance.

Their primary diet consists of shrubs, tree foliage, buds, weeds and grasses. They tend to feed at lower elevations and return to the higher areas to rest and remove themselves from any potential predators. They have extremely keen eyesight and a powerful sense of smell, and they have a habit of posting sentries while resting at elevation. Getting close to them is very difficult.

Glassing and spot and stalk is the usual method of hunting for Nubian Ibex. A hunter must choose his camo wisely and make use of every available bit of cover in planning his stalk. Wind at elevation is also a tricky thing to predict, but is necessary for success.

To get within shooting range, especially with a bow, is a monumental feat. Also, knowing when to shoot is vitally important, as a shot at the wrong time, when a goat is in a precarious position on a mountain, can result in a lost or damaged trophy.

The team of Ox Ranch hunting guides can be an invaluable partner in this endeavor, as hunting these goats is almost a two man job if you want to be successful.

Early 20th century big game hunter and writer C.H. Stockley once penned, “The finest test of nerve, endurance and physical fitness is surely to be found in the pursuit of wild goats of the crags and precipices, and they must be accorded the highest honors of the stalking world.”

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