The Texas Dall, Corsican, Black Hawaiian, Painted Desert, Calico and other similar rams are all just different color phases of the same animal, the simple Corsican sheep. This new "species" was created on the YO ranch by Charley Schreiner, Tommy Thompson, Hal Swigget and crew as a "cheap" exotic for those hunters who wanted to experience the "exotic" hunting world but could not afford an axis deer, sable antelope or eland type of animal. They did this by cross breeding several species of sheep and goats to get the coloration they desired with the big horn sheep look in the horns, ever looked at how impressive a pair of Merino or Rambo sheep horns look? Back then you have to remember that the YO was basically the only place in the country where one could go to hunt "exotic" animals. This was even pre-Thompson Temple, who many consider to be the first real competition for the YO's monoply of the exotic hunting business. The name Corsican came about because Charley's wife had just returned from a visit to the Isle of Corsica in the Med. To hear the old timers tell it , they were sitting around enjoying some much deserved liquid refreshment and looking at the results of their breeding program as they fed across a small pasture when one of them said that they would need an exotic sounding name to sell these "damned land maggots" to hunters with. Something that was reminiscent of far away and mysterious places. Thus the name Corsican was chosen. It is also sort of ironic that those sheep that sell for the highest prices today were considered culls in the beginning. For example Tommy Thompson has stated to me that when they first began the breeding program they would sell off or shoot the black rams, what we call Black Hawaiians today, because they did not think that anything but the burnt orange Corsican would sell well. As time has gone on others have added to the breeding mix and thus we now have Painted Desert sheep and Calicos today in addition to the original 4 variations of Corsican, Texas Dall, Black Hawaiian and Mouflon like. Hope this helps shed a little light on some of this for you.
where did you get the YO ranch story? THat is humorous. Now I have some different info on origins on these sheep. Originally Corsican sheep originated, atleast at one time, in the West Indies, Mouflon Ran, in Greece, Black Hawaiian, in Hawaii, texas Dahl right here in USA, the other color variations and mixed breeds as Denvas said came from the Corsican.
Others, the more exotic deer came from other countries and were introduced into the US by ranchers for hunting purposes. Looks like some breeds are more plentiful here than in their country of origin, and if it weren't for some of these ranchers working to keep the breeds going, they could be considered endangered, atleast in their original countries.
Ok, Axis Deer = India, Fallow Deer = Europe, Sika Deer = Southern Siberia down to Japanese Island of Hokkaido to China and Formosa, Blackbuck Antelope = India, Aoudad = North Africa, Ibex = Asia. Hope that helps.
My source for the origins is Exotics on the Range: A Texas Experiment, what's your guys? SCI has some info. on this too in some of their literature, but I don't have those books. The Records of Exotics plaque for the Texas Slam: Corsican, Mouflon, Texas Dall, Haw.Black lists them as sub-species. I guess that's more accurate as they are crosses for different coloration. The Mouflon is a pure sheep.
So, how did the Corsican's get wild on Corsica? That might be pre-history for all I know.
Thompson spent about $150,000 once trying to cross the fast growing Corsican horns with the larger Rocky Mountain big horns. It wasn't successful enough but he has one mounted and a picture of it is posted at his old website.
I agree 100% when you say that the Mouflon is a pure sheep species. As far as the others go, I called Charlie Seals, the Executive Director of the Exotic Wildlife Association. I figured if anyone should know about these sheep it would be the EWA. It turns out that I was partially right and partially wrong. Charlie, who used to guide on the YO for many years, said that it was the Texas Dall or white Corsicans that were bred specifically on the YO back in the 50s or early 60s. They were developed by crossbreeding merino sheep and Corsican sheep. It was the colored versions of the offspring from this breeding program that were destroyed because they were not pure white and they did not want them to inter-breed and carry on the colored traits. He indicated that the others who claimed to have developed the Corsican species were probably just pulling my leg when they told their tall tales. Charlie also stated that the original Corsicans, which were imported from the Corsican isles, are a distinct species of sheep. However, in the US today there have been so many attempts to improve the herd by breeding for bigger horns that it is questionable if there are very many pure Corsican sheep left. The fact that sheep are indiscriminate breeders and many species will inter-breed with other sheep species without a second thought have also helped to dilute the purity of the herd. That is why those ranchers who have pure Mouflon or one of the varieties of Red sheep work so hard to keep other sheep species out of the pastures with these more expensive animals. I apologize if my earlier post was misleading, after all even an old dog like me can learn new tricks.
this is kinda like the discussions of where hogs came from, russian, feral or what ever hogs.
I admit that most of my info came directly from Thompson Temple. I have found some other sources, but it seems like Denvas is right about mixed bereding and all. One nice ram shot at Rocky Top my friend took to the taxidermist. THe guy told him it was a Mouflon, Corsican mix. Now how can ya tell? After a while they look so much alike. LOL EIther way, a nice Texas Dahl is a beautiful animal. He has or had some really nice sheep on that ranch last time I was there. My black 4 horn is at the taxidermist now. markc
That book, Exotics on the Range, I bought at an Exotic Wildlife Association event. Its written by two PhDs from Texas A&M where much of the research on exotics has been done. Those two are still active in exotics and one of them is the exotic consultant doc. for EWA.
There's some pure looking Mouflon at that page as far as I know. SCI has some strict criteria written somewhere. Here's how I tell.
See the white in the ears and on the nose. See the white underneath and the white saddle patches. See the horns curl in with the tips not the widest points. See the short tail, if you held in in your hand its about as long as your hand is wide. That's a pure mouflon.
The coloring and the horns on a corsican are not like that.
White all along the nose, more brown, white and black mix, no white bottom, horns curl out with points being the widest. Anything like that would make it not a pure mouflon. I really don't know a criteria for a pure Corsican.
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