For the past ten or so years I've hunted Antelope in Eastern Montana with several of the guys that I used to work with. This year due to large winter die-offs the last two years, FWP cut the number of Area 700 tags from 13,000 down to 3,000. My prior years partners did not draw tags this year so as I was on my own, I talked my girlfriend into coming with me.
We hunted a Block Management/BLM area that I had hunted a couple of years ago. First thing opening morning I spotted a dozen or so antelope about a half mile off the road a few miles from where we camped. While we were watching these antelope at a distance, another pickup drove up and spooked the herd across the road and into the hills. We then watched the two camo pumpkins leave their pickup and head the direction where the herd ran.
I knew of an open farm road that was about 4 miles on the other side of those hills, so we drove around the hills to it. My plan was to walk 3 miles back from that road to the top of the hills and see if we could find the spooked herd of antelope.
My girlfriend likes to walk so 1 1/2 hours later we crested the hill from the other side, and I spotted 43 antelope scattered on the far side of a big open valley. We had to do about a mile detour around the head of the valley, and I was able to crawl over the ridge to get into position for a clear shot at one of the closest bucks, which I lasered at 342 yds.
The 115 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet from my .257 Ackley dropped the buck in his tracks, and since I stayed prone in the grass and sagebrush (and didn't do any of the stupid whooping and hollering like many of the idiots on the TV hunting shows), the other antelope were not spooked and continued to graze. It wasn't until we both crossed the ridge and were walking down to my fallen buck that the rest of the herd ran off.
We took a few pictures and I dressed out my buck and we headed back to our pickup. The buck fell only a mile and a half from the road where we first saw the antelope, so we drove around to about our original starting point, got my 2-wheeled game carrier and packed him back down to the road.
When I checked my Antelope at a FWP Hunter check station, the biologist told me that the SE Montana Antelope herds are beginning to recover and hopefully they will make a full recovery in a few years.
Here's a couple of pics of the buck that I shot this year on opening morning in SE Montana. The first picture is looking back from where my Antelope fell to my girlfriend walking down to me and the arrow points to where I was when I shot.