|After 6 years of collecting preference points, finally I was able to draw a type 1 Antelope tag for area 32 of Wyoming. It is getting very difficult to get tags in the area I like to hunt. At last, here we are. We set up camp in our fifth wheel camper a few days before the season opener. We almost had the campground to ourselves for a few days, with just a few other campers coming in and out during the week.||
Drought has been tough on Wyoming for several years, as it has on all the western states. The North Platte was low, but still had a good flow. We watched a steady stream of fly fishermen floating or wading past our camp. Our Labrador "Mandy" was eager to greet everyone. I think she was considering swimming out to a boat to say hello, but didn't get up the courage, happily for me.
We had beautiful sunny weather, with high temps of around 84°F. Nights down in the low 40's, and even 39° as I drove away from camp on opening morning. That's correct, a 40° temperature swing!
On opening morning of the hunt I was able to get a shot on this nice Antelope buck. The shot was 183 yards, range finder confirmed. My first shot did not seem to have much affect on him and he didn't go down. I chambered another round, but my rest was solid and I was pretty sure I had a good hit on him, so I held off and watched. He sprinted a few yards, then walked a few more. He could not keep up with the rest of the herd as they ran away, and soon he was on wobbly legs and then went down, then laid his head down. That's a typical reaction to a lung shot (suffocating on blood), so I felt I should wait him out for a few minutes before following up. But a couple of minutes later he raised his head again, and then he stood up! Still had some fight in him. Time to end this, so I slipped another bullet in him which anchored him. Pretty sure he was done for after the first shot, but best to end it with minimal suffering.
The weapon today was a Remington BDL 700 short action, chambered in .257 Roberts Ackley Improved. My handload was a 100 grain Barnes TSX, with 50 grains of 4350, good for about 3200 FPS. My first shot was perfect, right behind his shoulder, as you can see in the pic below. The performance of that bullet was disappointing.
I do not usually do my own skinning, because the processor does a very efficient and inexpensive job of it. But I had some time to kill and was curious to take a closer look at the shot placement. The first shot was about as perfect as you would want, right behind that shoulder, but I think it zipped right through. Caught the lungs, but did not do the damage needed to fill the lungs with blood quickly. I did not find any spent bullet in the carcass.
A few words about the meat processing - the butcher in Casper that I have used for 3 decades, over 3 different owners, no longer offers wild game processing. So making inquires, two company names were recommended. Pat's Meat in Mills, and Dan's in Evansville. I chose Pat's and overall I am happy with their work. They are a little disorganized in the office, and they did not offer dry ice. I think pandemic employee issues had something to do with both of those issues. But they vacuum seal the packages and label them nicely, and it was well boxed for delivery. Turns out that Walmart sells dry ice, at a price which is better than a butcher shop would be, and they had plenty of it. Just meant a separate stop in town. I bought 14 lbs which kept our meat rock solid over the 48 hours from butcher to freezer. Cost for dry ice - $23.