|In September of 2010, my brother Ron and I along with our wives hunted the Casper area for Pronghorn Antelope. As in past years, we hunted private ranch property in Wyoming area 32. We began our hunt on day two of the season, having used the opening day for traveling. The weather was unseasonably hot, reaching the low 90's during our hunt. Very unusual for the last week of September, but the region has had a mild winter, followed by a good spring and water and grass was abundant everywhere. Excellent conditions for the wildlife, and we had no problem seeing plenty of Antelope.||I began my morning by
hunting into an area where I had taken a nice Antelope buck in 2006.
The terrain provides an excellent view of a mile or more in 3 directions,
and I knew it would allow me to glass a huge amount of land with a good
chance of spotting good bucks. I was able to locate a very good buck
and group of does toward the West, but they were barely over the fence on
neighboring land where we could not hunt. I spent a good portion of
the morning watching this herd, but finally had to admit that they were not
going to cooperate when they started grazing away from me. I took a
good walk down into the valley to glass some terrain previously hidden
behind hills, but came up empty. As I returned to the truck, I got the
message from my wife, Carol, that Ron had his Antelope down. He didn't
mention retrieval, but it was likely that he could use some help with that
chore, so we jumped in the truck and drove the several miles around to his
location to help him with the last few yards of his drag. We already
knew where he was because we could glass his Dodge across the several miles
of valley where he had parked on top of the rimrock.
After sending Ron and Sandy on their way to the butcher, and having a quick benchseat lunch, we moved into another section of property to look for our own buck. Driving along one of the deeper two-track roads into the property, I spotted a good group of Antelope in the distance. It was going to be a long walk before I could evaluate the quality of any buck, if even present, so I strapped up and headed out. Later the GPS told me that it was right at 3/4 of a mile between the truck and where the Antelope were grazing.
Unfortunately, as often happens, the Antelope had moved. At about 1/2 mile from the truck, a good buck and one doe appeared off to my right. I should have been watching my flank better as I worked my stalk. I spotted them at the same time they spotted me. I put the laser range finder on the buck and he stood right at 320 yards out. Now, I can take that shot, but it has to be done right and it takes some time to set up. Just about the time I had my rifle on a rest and prepared to squeeze, the buck had had enough and lost his nerve. A quick bound and he was gone, heading back toward where I had just come from. Not knowing if this was the same group which I had been stalking, I continued on my way toward where the herd was last seen. As you can guess by now, when I eased up to where my Antelope should have been, they were no longer there. Situations like this call for more glassing, and a short nap never hurts either, before starting the long trek back to my bride in the truck.
It had been a long morning, and I was bushed when I finally reached the pickup. As I walked up, I gave one last sweep with the binocs, and right there from the truck I spotted a nice buck! I now believe this was the same buck that I had nearly got a shot at before. He had continued on his way, and then bedded down at about 400 yards from our truck, but he could not see the truck from his position. I motioned to Carol with the shusssh signal and pointed toward the animal. She could not see him from inside the truck, but standing at the very rear of the truck bed I could just barely see him over the hillside.
The problem now was how to approach him for a shot. I needed to close the distance a bit, but I am fairly sure he has seen my head by now. He is staying in his bed, and is probably becoming complacent with my presence since he has escaped without harm once already. I was able to close the range to about 300 yards by using the hillside, but that is as close as possible without totally exposing myself. I am hoping to try a prone shot, but the grass is tall and that isn't going to work. My new monopod shooting stick will have to do. I took a sitting position next to a sticker bush, and using the monopod I had a very steady hold.
I am far from being hidden from view of the buck, but he has shown great patience with me and I am grateful. But enough is enough and just as I am thinking about whether I should shoot him in his bed, he decided to casually stand up and turn quartering away. I am sighted in 2" low at 300 yards, so I held on his chest and about 6" into the stiff Wyoming wind. The shot placement was perfect, just behind the shoulder and took out the shoulder blade on the far side. He went down, but jumped back up dragging his front leg and headed over into a dry creek bed. It was 3:15 in the afternoon.
Not knowing just how hard he was hit, I gave him 15 minutes to harden up while glassing for any possible escape routes. But when I reached his bed it was clear from the blood trail that he could not have gone far, and sure enough I found him just over the edge of the dry wash. Since we had been parked on a road, it was a short drive and a 200 yard drag to get him recovered.
I took this buck with my .338 Win Mag Mauser. The load was a Sierra 250 grain Boattail Gameking, backed up with 70 grains of IMR 4350.
We had separate vehicles for this trip, so Ron and I split up and hunted from opposite sides of a large section of property. He entered from the North, while I entered from the South. I am pictured above with my Antelope buck.
Ron writes about his hunt...
We traveled along on this trail, stopping occasionally to use our binoculars
to look for any sign of pronghorn on the distant plains. It has often struck
me how easily pronghorn are spotted along the highways when you are not
hunting them, but how scarce they can be when you actually have a tag and
rifle in hand. Anyway, at one point Sandy and I had stopped to do some
glassing of a likely area. Moving along, there was a slight rise to our
left, with the rises lifting themselves to a couple of hundred feet above
our elevation. Unbeknownst to us, the opposite side of this rise was rim
rock rising a good 300-400 feet above the accompanying valley floor. As we
moved along generally towards the west, there was a break in the ridge of
about 300 yards or so. Through this break, we spotted antelope that appeared
to be about 3/4 of a mile or so distant. At the same time, we spotted a
rutted trail that led to the top of the ridge. Seeing an opportunity to get
a better look at the goats that we previously spotted, we headed up the
trail to the top of the ridge, parking a little below the crest and hoofing
it up the rest of the way to the top. Once positioned, we spotted five (as
memory serves) does in a herd browsing in the sage. Although they were aware
that we were there, they were not particularly interested, considering we
were still a good half mile or more away. It was a pretty sight, but I was
not particularly interested, seeing there were only does present.