Go West Young Man

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I am a transplant in Kansas from the East Coast.  I hunted strictly with a bow in my home state of Maryland because there were few areas that you could use a rifle.  Firearms season was limited to shot guns and I just don’t enjoy using a shotgun so I stuck with the bow.
 
This changed when I moved to Kansas.  After being here for a while I struck up a friendship with some hunters who traveled to Wyoming each year to antelope hunt.  They suggested that I join them and I quickly agreed.  Only one problem, I didn’t have a rifle.
 
I quickly did research and settled on a Remington .30-06 and selected Remington Core-Lok 150 grain bullets.  Now I had the rifle, but I had to find somewhere to shoot it. Lucky for me there was a gun club not far from my home so I joined and soon was practicing my shooting skills.
 
I equipped my rifle with a Harris bipod and after sighting in the rifle started practicing with the bipods.  They offered a more stable hunting position than just sitting, but less stable than the bench.  I kept at it because I knew there would be no benches in the field.
 
Greg took the lead on the hunt and for those that know Greg, knows that he doesn’t do anything small.  For this trip he decided we should camp.  Camping sounded good to me, but I didn’t realize that for Greg, it meant that he would go out a buy a wall tent and wood stove for the trip.  Bless him for doing it because it is the way to go when you’re camping.  The stove was used for warmth and cooking and the tent was big enough for our cots plus a table to play cards at.


 
I have to admit I was nervous about shooting at long distances.  It was a long time ago that I shot a rifle before buying this one and I didn’t want to miss.  The only thing I could do was practice and practice some more.
 
The time for the trip came and we left at night driving through the night.  We arrived in Saratoga Wyoming late the next morning and found a spot to set up camp on BLM land. It was a perfect spot near a creek and at the base of a large hill.  Elevation was about 7500 feet and I could tell it lacked the oxygen I was used to.
 
By the time camp was set up there really was only time to do a little scouting.  The next day we decided that Greg and Randall would hunt together and I would hunt with Dewey.  Dewey asked who would get the first shot and I told him it didn’t matter to me, but he was intent on doing it fairly.  He found a pointed rock and flipped it.  Whoever it pointed to would get the first shot.  My lucky day as it pointed to me.
 
After a little discussion we decided that since this was our first time hunting speed goats, neither one of us really knew what we were doing, but we pushed on.  I recalled the antelope hunts I watched on television and tried to imitate those hunts.
 
We spotted a buck with some does about a half-mile away and planned a stalk using draws and ravines.  Using the contour of the land got us close, but not close enough.  We would have to belly crawl the last 500 yards using sage brush for cover.  Dewey and I picked a sage brush near the top of the ridge as the point that we needed to get to so I would have a shot. 
 
We crawled and we crawled and I decided that cacti were the nastiest most worthless plants on the face of the earth.   We hadn’t reached the sage brush when we got to a point where we thought we should be able to see the buck.  He wasn’t there and I was discouraged and ready to call it a blown stalk, but Dewey reminded me of our original plan and said let’s do it.  So we belly crawled for another hundred yards and there he was.  The buck had bedded down with two does.
 
Taking a position behind the sage brush for cover I set up for the shot.  Dewey was impatient and said, “Shoot him.”  I told him that sage brush was covering his vitals and I was going to wait for him to stand. 
 
I waited and he finally stood.  I squeezed the trigger, heard the boom, but the goat didn’t go down.  I exclaimed, “I missed.”  Dewey informed me that I didn’t miss and in a few seconds the buck dropped.  I had taken my first antelope and my first big game animal. 
 
It was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment to go west and do a do-it-yourself hunt with a group of friends who, by the way, were all successful.  Since then, I’ve been back three more times and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.

Comments

nmmuledeerhunter's picture

Antelope

Congrats! I think camping does indeed add something to the experience and really like your antelope camp. Cots, a wood stove, bacon frying at 5:00 a.m. all part of the experience IMO. Again, congrats! PS What unit did you hunt in?

ecubackpacker's picture

Thanks for writing the story

Thanks for writing the story and posting the pics. It gets me in the mood to go speed goat hunting. I say that because I never really had an interest in hunting antelope before. But seeing the pics and hearing the adventure really gets me thinking about the possiblities of hunting antelope.

It looks to be comfortable in that big tent with the stove and cots. You're right, everything tastes better when cooked outdoors.

It might be nice to stay in town too if it isn't too far. We'll see.

CVC's picture

We also stay in town and it

We also stay in town and it isn't far from where we hunt...thirty minutes atthe most and you all a hot shower, nice restaurants, cable tv and a warm soft bed.  So each has their perks. 

gatorfan's picture

Cool story! I really think I

Cool story!

I really think I am going to put myself and my boys in for the draw for a hunt next season!

My only antelope hunt was also in Wyoming but we didn't exactly "rough" it like you guys; we were your stereotypical "California" hunters.  Our tent was the Casper Hilton and our hunting vehicle was a white Dodge Dynasty!  (Insert picture of guy with bag over head)

Thanks for sharing and congratulations on a successful hunt by all four of you!

 

CVC's picture

Out of the four times I've

Out of the four times I've been to WY that is the only time we camped.  The other three were spent in a motel and it is not roughing it, but it is fun in a different way.  You get to go into town and eat at the local restaurants, stop at a local night spot and have a beer so while different they are both fun.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Great story..thanks for all

Great story..thanks for all the pics.  I especially like the one of the four nice bycks on the ground.  I too have a Alakanak tent and love that thing.

CVC's picture

Yeah the tent was great.  We

Yeah the tent was great.  We were living the good life with that tent.  I hope to use it again for another hunting trip.  It was a blast.

jim boyd's picture

Great story

Great story and that appears to be a very successful hunt!

I am not sure what the norm is but if there were four of you and you took four bucks - it sounds like everyone scored!

I have long wished to get in on one of those hunts - all I have ever taken was whitetails and hogs in the south... gotta get something put together.

The camp looks great too - that tent looks like the way to go....

Amazing, however, how much preparation and stocking up is required to make a hunt like that go off smoothly...we have done many hunting camp type trips over the years and if you do not make a list... you will end up forgetting many of the things you wished you brought!

Good story, love the photos also...

Jim

CVC's picture

If you're able to shoot at

If you're able to shoot at 200 yards or better and willing to take a representative and not necessarily a trophy pronghorn antelope, you should be able to fill your tag relatively easy.  The antelope are a challenge to hunt, but because of the sheer numbers of them, most people fill their tag within a day or two.

The toughest part of bringing stuff was hauling firewood for the stove.  It took up a lot of room.  We brought plenty of food, our cots and sleeping bags.  Definitely took some planning Staying in a motel is a bit easier and offers some amenities camping doesn't, but camping is fun and gets you right into the heart of things.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Nice story.  Love the stories

Nice story.  Love the stories about camps.  Something about being out there, not returning to your hotel or house each night, but starting your morning right in the field.

Great goat you got.  He's got a heck of a curve on the tops of those horns.  Nice bunch with the other ones too.  Congrats!

CVC's picture

The wall tent with the wood

The wall tent with the wood stove was just as good as a hotel room and had a lot more of ambience than a hotel.  It was great to get up and be in your hunting area.  Plus, doesn't food just taste better when you're outdoors and it's cooked on a grill or wood stove?  Fry up some bacon and then cook the eggs in the same pan adds lots of flavor and the great outdoors works up an appetitite.

Something I learned from that hunt is that the goats didn't spook when you drove the truck on the two tracks, but they bolted when you drove an ATV on the same roads. 

jaybe's picture

Nice Goats!

Say, that's a nice looking bunch of Speed Goats there!

Glad your buddy kept you to the original plan, eh?

I'm going on my first out west trip next year.

We'll be pulling 5th wheel trailers for the comfort of the wives (honest).

It will take us 3 days out and 3 days back from Michigan.

If it was just us two guys, we'd probably make it in 2 days.

Can't wait!

 Thanks for the story.

 

CVC's picture

Where will you be hunting out

Where will you be hunting out west?  I am sure you'll enjoy the fifth wheel too, but I hear you abut the wives slowing you down.  It seems that wives believe there is a reason to stop other than to get fuel.  When I am driving with the guys that is the only reason we stop - you get fuel, use the bathroom and get something to eat in the truck all at the same place and keep on trucking down the room.  No sight seeing or shopping or multiple stops...you just keep going. My friend and I did the trip to BC Canada in 2 1/2 days.