My First Pronghorn
2009 brought my first opportunity to chase pronghorn; the wary king of the prairie. I was happy to find out that my Grandpa would be accompanying us on the hunt. We got on the road after my brother and I finished classes on Friday. It took us a few hours to make our way up to Wyoming and we had camp set in time to go out on an evening hunt. My brother had won the contest to see who would get to hunt first and he ended up taking a young buck that evening. I accompanied him on the stalk and after he put his buck on the ground, I couldn't wait till morning when I would get my chance at matching wits with this unfamiliar prey.
That night wasn't quite like the sleepless nights that I have experienced before other hunts. Usually it is the vision of huge bucks and bulls that keep you up late into the night. This time it was a great-horned owl that had decided to set up in the top of a cottonwood only 75 yards from the tipi. At one point I got out of my sleeping bag and went out to investigate. There was a heavy fog bank that had rolled in over the river. The full moon illuminating the thick fog made the scene that much more eerie. It was a neat experience but it didn't lend itself to a restful night of sleep.
In the morning we lit a small fire and threw together some breakfast burritos. Rolling out of camp after the sun came up was new to me. It didn't feel right. But after seeing the amount of game that we had the day prior, I wasn't worried about a thing. We set out for an area that one of the guys said had produced antelope in the past. He was spot on! We got out to the ridge where he had marked an X on the map and there was a group of does and fawns bedded about 700 yards away. I dropped down into a shallow ravine and started making my way in their direction. I had covered a little over 200 yards when I decided I needed to pop my head up and take a look at the herd. Luckily I did, because they knew something was up and had gotten ready to bolt. I opened my shooting sticks and pulled out my rangefinder. The closest doe was standing broadside at 428 yards. I placed the crosshairs just over the top of her back and slowly added pressure to the trigger. The rifle went off, all the other pronghorn took off like greased lightning and the doe that I had fired at didn't move an inch. I knew that my hold was good so I repeated the process and let another one fly. She once again acted like nothing had happened. I was getting ready to give it another go when all of a sudden she fell over stone dead. Both shots had hit her square through the lungs. I had been using a controlled expansion bullet however and I'm assuming she acted the way she did because of the lack of violent expansion at that range.
When we got up to her I was jubilated. Not only had I taken my first antelope but my dad and grandpa had been there to witness it. I was amazed at how good the meat was. And with me, my dad and my brother all tagging out, there would be a lot of it to go around.