October 13, 2014 |
This year I drew an antelope tag in Montana and a mule deer tag in Utah. These two animals are so fun to hunt because we see a lot of them and they are somewhat of a challenge to hunt. I have a few years of hunting under my belt. I started when I was twelve and have hunted for five years now. In my hunting experience, I have found that I need to be confident in my shooting ability, but luck plays a very big part in going home with a trophy or empty-handed.
The drive to Montana for the hunt was a long and a hard trip to make – especially when you are super excited to put on boots and go hunting. We left really early in the morning so that we could hunt that day. It’s about 10 am when we stop to put our boots on and go on the look-out for a good buck. The first pod of antelope that we see has a good buck in it. We decide to get closer to them for a more comfortable shooting range. In Montana there are a lot of small rolling hills with little canyons. This makes it easy to spot the goats from far away but it’s difficult to stalk them because the land looks the same. We had a good idea where the goats were, so we started the drive closer to them. We saw the goats at a mile and a half away. These antelope have been hunted pretty hard so when they saw us at 300 yards, they took off. They stopped at 600 yards, but I wasn’t comfortable taking a shot that far. There was no way for us to close in on the herd without spooking them, so we decided to leave them and look elsewhere. Not thirty minutes after we got back onto the road we found another good group and set off. It was not my day because once again, they were out of range. Who says hunting antelope is easy? This was the pattern all day. I felt frustrated, but excited to head out the next day. After a good dinner at the diner and a good night’s sleep at a hotel, we were ready to set-off again.
We got up before dawn and finished our breakfast just as the sun came out. The very first pod of goats that we saw had a good buck in it. So we stopped the car and started our walk. My Uncle would stop occasionally and walk perpendicular to the antelope and I could not figure out why. I later found out that he was putting the sun at our backs so that the antelope couldn’t see us coming. The plan worked out great and we got within 400 yards of the goats. It took a bit longer to get my heart to slow down so I would not miss. It worked and I dropped the goat. When we reached the buck, he was much bigger than either of us expected and my mouth dropped. The antelope that I killed was a great trophy with a lot of mass and big cutters. When we got back to the car after all of the pictures and the cleaning, my uncle suggested that we could still make it to where we would hunt deer before the light was gone and I said, with the biggest smile on my face, “let’s do it”.
We had about an hour of good light when we pulled up to “the nob” (a good hunting spot) and started our hike. After twenty minutes of working a trail, my Uncle slowed way down and took a lot of time to cover a small distance and I knew that this could mean only one thing… he saw a shooter buck. After a couple of steps, I saw the buck and he was a shooter! We got to a good point where I could lay down to get the best shot. My uncle put down his backpack and I laid down and waited until the buck worked his way to the meadow. He had reached the middle of the meadow when the crack of my 270 Winchester Short Mag. went off and he dropped. When we got closer, his horns seemed to grow like my antelope’s did.
I could not have been happier! I scored a trophy class antelope in Montana and a trophy class mule deer in Utah, all in the same day. Two totally different landscapes and two totally different animals. This would be a day of hunting I would never forget. This single day is why I love to hunt: being with family, being outside, and being lucky!