Species / International Ovis

Red Sheep

Ovis gmelini gmelini x Ovis vignei arkal


North-central Iran; at present the borders are recognized as the central Alborz (or Elburz) Mountains, near Tehran. The reserves northwest of the city of Qazvin and west of Qom are considered to have Armenian mouflons. The southern border of the red sheep is the reserves north of the city of Kashan and west of the cities of Semnan and Sari. A small free-ranging herd is presently found in West Texas on the Clayton Williams Ranch outfitted by Rowdy McBride Hunting Services.


Shoulder height 20-32 inches. Weight averages 110 pounds, sometimes as much as 150 pounds. The red sheep is believed to be a hybrid between the Armenian mouflon and the Transcaspian urial. As a hybrid, its characteristics will vary. Saddle patch and bib may be present or not, and neck ruff and horn configuration are variable. In the western part of its range, where it blends with the pure Armenian mouflon, the horns are predominantly supracervical, curving above and behind the neck, and there is usually a saddle patch but no bib. In the east, where it blends with the Transcaspian urial, the horns tend to be homonymous and there usually is a white bib but no saddle patch. In central parts of its range both homonymous and supracervical horns can be seen, as well as intermediate types. General color is light brown or tan, with individuals varying from very light grayish-brown to light reddish-brown. (The “red” in its common name is misleading, because other types of sheep may actually have redder coats.) Under parts are white.


In the last two decades, hunting in Iran for this species has been sporadic, depending on the political climate of Iran. Most of the hunting for the red sheep occurs on the Clayton Williams Ranch in West Texas. These red sheep are accepted toward the Ovis World Slam.

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