Last year I was reading the forum post of an individual that hunted a lot and seemed to be successful.
I quickly determined that I wanted to hunt with this individual as I felt he had a lot I could learn if he was willing to share. Figuring that the worst he could say was, “No” I asked if I could hunt antelope with him in Wyoming. Neither of us lives in Wyoming but I quickly learned that he, and his family of hunters had been making the trip, five hour or so drive for them, every year for the past seven years and had a fair bit of success.
Through the year we formulated a plan and he took care of entering us in the draw. Denied our first choice I did manage to garner an “Either Sex” tag in one of the adjoining units. We then waited for the OTC tags to go on sale and he acquired four “Doe Fawn” tags for me to fill my freezer.
After my twenty hour drive we were in Wyoming! Unbeknownst to us the week we planned to hunt was the week that our little corner of Heaven would be having “Extreme Weather Advisory” due to the wind. I knew Wyoming would be windy and I went to my local range as much as I could to get used to shooting in the wind but nothing really much prepared me for this.
After a couple of missed shots at less than 100 Yards I was really beginning to doubt my abilities. Then things seemed to gel in to place. I filled two of my “Doe Fawn” tags and regained my confidence.
The next day Wade, my hunting partner, filled his “Either Sex” tag with a nice 400 Yard shot with a headwind. In all our seeking game we saw no representative size bucks and a lot of fawns without does. His antelope was a buck that probably measured in the eight inch range. Later that same day I found a buck bedded at 300 Yards. From a sitting position I missed at 300 Yards with Wade telling me my bullet went just over his back. The wind was blowing so hard I doubt he heard the rifle’s report. He got up and walked off a couple of hundred yards and bedded down again.
Getting in the truck we proceeded to drive behind a hill where he could’t see us and dragging my pack and rifle I crawled to the top of the hill. Setting up in what I thought was a good location, rifle on my pack with me lying prone, I found this buck in my Minox Z3 3-9 x 42 scope and pressed the trigger in a steady rearward direction after gaugeing the dastardly wind. No reaction from the speedgoat of the plains. I chambered another round, assessed the wind, and proceeded to fire another round. After four rounds I felt Wade slapping me on the ankle. I looked at him and he said, “You’re not clearing the hill.” Not wanting to be seen by this speed demon of the plains and blow my only opportunity at a buck being that the two we ended up taking were the only bucks we saw over four days of solid hunting, I had neglected to factor in the height of the scope in relation to the barrel.
“Great I’m out of bullets and my spares are back in camp.” Wade brought me his 270 WSM and I belly crawled five feet to my right. Knowing that Wade would be using a 270 WSM, as opposed to my 25/06, I studied some ballistic tables of the round just in case.
Fortune smiled on me and while my Wyoming antelope may not be a “trophy” in the true sense of the word he is my trophy. I worked for him and took him under less than optimal conditions. As for Wyoming, I will be back. Never before have I seen so much game. All within sight of camp I saw antelope, whitetail deer, mule deer, and eagles. That and the cementing of what I hope is a long and enjoyable friendship makes Wyoming a special place for me, wind or no wind.
Wade said the wind was the most extreme he had ever seen and he had his doubts about camping as he usually hotel camps when hunting antelope but I convinced him to go for the Full Monte. I just hope he enjoyed my cooking.
Thanks guys, Vince and I had a great time. The wind was breaking 40mph nearly every day and made for a very tough hunt. The bucks we saw were in fact the only 2 we saw. Very unusual but that's the way it went. I didn't think we would get all the tags filled but pulled it off on our last evening there. 2 bucks and 5 does total. Hunting with Vince was great and hope to have more hunts in the near future. We will do Wyoming again for sure.
Hunting is not usually a pursuit where instant gratification abounds. It takes a lot of time, practice, resources and patience to be a successful hunter. So when someone decides that an area they hunted only once without taking an animal is worthless and devoid of game, I don't quite understand it. These people usually jump from game management unit to game management unit; trying a new one every year.
Now don't get me wrong, there are people that just enjoy scouting and hunting...