Raymond Young of West Virginia did not become an avid mountain hunter until he was in his forties. Up until that time, he was building an extremely successful private investigation business and other endeavors associated with law enforcement. Ray was well suited for this career. He was drafted during the height of the Vietnam era in the summer of 1967. It was not long before he was scheduled to go to Vietnam, but at the last minute his orders were changed to South Korea. He completed his military service there as an M.P. His experiences there led to his life’s career.
A couple of other aspects of Ray’s background were his involvement in handgun shooting since the age of sixteen, and extreme physical sports as a track and cross country runner and wrestler. He actually set a new mile run record at Fort Bragg after being drafted. One look at Ray Young lets one realize that he has continued physical training ever since.
So there you have it, as Ray Young was fully prepared for climbing the mountains of the world and doing practically all of that hunting with a handgun. Ray’s first experience at mountain hunting was a trip to New Zealand in 1988. He was able to get a chamois and a tahr there. Besides New Zealand, Ray stayed true to himself and did some of the most difficult hunts first. For example, he took an Anatolian chamois in Turkey and an Alaska mountain goat in 1994. It was in 1995 that Ray got involved with sheep, taking a Stone in BC and a free range Davis Mountains, Texas aoudad. He did it differently from most, as in 1996 he went to Russia to get both a Yakutia and Kamchatka snow sheep.
International hunting got in Ray’s blood, as in 1997 he took a Hangay argali and Gobi ibex in Mongolia. True to form, in 1998 he went to China for a blue sheep and in 1999 to Tajikistan for a Marco Polo and an ibex. However, 1999 also found Ray back in North America’s mountains in both Alaska for a Dall and Alberta for a bighorn.
Ray completed his Grand Slam (#1083) in February 2000, and two of the four were with his handgun. The bighorn and Stone had to be with a rifle since Canada did not allow handgun hunting. Ray got what we might call dead serious during the year 2000, as he took enough rams that year to get him all the way to the Ovis World Slam. Not only that, but at least twelve of his Ovis Slam trophies WERE taken with his handgun. That, of course, meant he was the first person to ever take the Ovis World Slam using a handgun. He also made it to the Ovis Super 20 with a handgun and was the first person to do so. Staying with Ray’s Ovis trophies, he is one of only twelve people to have recorded an Ovis Super 30. Not all of those were with a handgun, but all but a couple were. Truly this man is one of the greatest handgun mountain hunters of all time.
Moving on to the Capra goats, Ray has not neglected those by any stretch of the imagination. By 2004, Ray was up to twelve on the Capra World Slam list to
become the second handgunner to document a Capra Slam. That qualified him as Triple Slammer #55. By 2007, he was all the way up to the Capra Super 20, and those were all by handgun.
You should now be getting a good idea of why Ray Young was in contention for the Ovis. Just mountain hunting alone, however, does not qualify one. Ethics are of major importance, and Ray passed that test easily. Conservation is also imperative for the Ovis. Ray has been heavily involved with the SCI Pittsburgh chapter as well as the national organization. He is a great supporter of the NRA and its programs, has been involved with the Wild Sheep Foundation, and of course has been a constant supporter of Grand Slam Club/Ovis. Frankly, you simply never hear anything but good things said about Ray Young.
To recap, the Ovis goes each year to the top mountain hunter who also qualifies for our ethics and conservation criteria. You have heard most of Ray Young’s stellar credentials. To date, he is approaching nearly forty of the world’s wild sheep and thirty of the world’s wild Capra goats. He has taken the vast majority by the handgun method that has been his choice. Truly this man qualifies as one of the best ever in the world’s mountains.