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I got a great mouflon but is it really a Pure European Mouflon?
So you want to hunt European Mouflon? You've seen hundreds of pictures of sheep that are called mouflon but look completely different from each other. Is there really that many differences in one species, you ask? Surely just like many other species there is a set genetic make-up of characteristics shared by one pure species? The answer to your questions is in fact, yes. Pure European Mouflon only have certain characteristics and although some of the slight crosses and mixed breeds can have enormous horns and an awesome look to them for decent prices, if you are trying to ensure that you are harvesting a representative of the pure species, here are the characteristics you need to look for. Keep in mind as well, this is not my opinion as an outfitter. The info below is simply scientific facts of the true characteristics of the European Mouflon.
Where Do European Mouflon originate from?
Pure European Mouflon have a blood line that traces back to the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. I've heard many of stories told of them being from one of the "stans", Austria, Hungary, etc. Corsica or Sardinia is the correct answer when wondering the origin of pure European Mouflon.
What is the Body Size and Weight of a Pure European Mouflon?
Size is an important characteristic of Pure European Mouflon. Although here in Texas is can vary slightly due to the amount of supplemental feeding, the curve will not be blown off the charts as some example photos claiming to be pure show. The normal height of a male will be 27 to 35 inches tall at the back and he should weight in the range of 90 to 120 pounds. As stated above, the weight may vary slightly but a Pure European Mouflon is not an animal that will withstand a weight of 200lbs like we have seen in some examples before. A ram with the structure to hold that amount of weight would more than likely be crossed with another breed of sheep in order to allow for more size growth.
What are the Colors of a Pure European Mouflon?
Colors can vary slightly from ram to ram however the important details to remember is that it should be in the reddish-brown to mahogany color depending on if it's summer or winter. The ram should display a distinct white saddle patch from midway to 3/4 of the way back on his body, and if a beard is present, the beard should be black in color.
What do the Horns on a Pure European Mouflon Look Like?
A Pure European Mouflon ram should have horns that begin upwards and curve back down towards the cheek area creating a heart shaped look. In the case of larger rams, the horns may begin to tip up instead of growing into the face however, the horns should not tip out past the origin of the base. Horns that continue curling out past the base are indicative of cross breeding. The horns should also not have a sharp flat back nor make a motion towards the animals back/shoulder area. This is indicative of what we call armenian mouflon or other breeds of urial sheep or urial crosses, displaying sharply angled horn cores.
Pure European Mouflon horn lengths generally range from 20 to 29 inches with exceptional rams hitting the 30 to 33 inch mark. The bases of a Pure European Mouflon will generally measure 8 to 10 inches with a few outstanding trophy rams reaching the 11 inch mark.
What About the Ears of a Pure European Mouflon?
A Pure European Mouflon should have ears that grow and sit at a slightly upwards angle. They are generally around 3 to 4 inches in size and should come to a gradual point at the end. Larger ears combined with a drooping/sagging look are a great indicator that the ram is not pure but crossbred with another species.
Is There a Dead Giveaway on a Pure European Mouflon?
Believe it or not there is a part of the Mouflon that is an extremely good indicator as to the pureness of being full blooded European Mouflon or not. The tail! When looking at a Pure European Mouflon you should notice a tail that is flat in appearance, not round, and has a length that is usually no greater than 4 inches.
Are we saying not to shoot sheep that do not have these characteristics? Heck no! Shoot whatever makes you happy. Shoot the best deal you can find and proudly display that joker in your trophy room and enjoy the fantastic meat that they so graciously supply. However, if you are a purest and will not be happy unless you feel confident that the animal you harvested was a Pure European Mouflon, this is a great guideline to go by and are the proper question to ask your outfitter before booking your hunt. When attempting to be certain on a subject, science is always a better ruler than opinion.
Once again I hope you enjoyed this article and that we have helped clear up any questions you might have had about Pure European Mouflon. As always, if we can help in anyway, give us a shout!
Owner and Lead Guide of Black Water Guide Service. Sky has lead thousands of hunters through some of the most amazing experiences of there lives. Read Pro Hunting Tips from an experienced Texas guide who's been through it all.