Wyoming Antelope

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Mountain Man
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Wyoming Antelope

Postby Mountain Man » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:09 pm

A friend and I were in eastern Wyoming last week for an antelope hunt. We only hunted public land (state land or BLM) or walk in areas (private land that the state pays land owners to open their land to hunting). I’ve now hunted this unit 3 times in the last 4 years and know where the better spots are on public land and WIAs. In this unit a 12”-13” buck on public land/WIA is a shooter. Anything bigger is a bonus.

Here are two smaller bucks (~9” horns) we saw while scouting/driving around the unit.

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The night before the opener we located 2 nice bucks on opposite sides of a road. We went to the spot real early but waited in the truck until about 20 minutes before shooting light to start getting ready to go after the bucks. A lot of other hunters were driving by and luckily none of them stopped where we were. In the darkness, I could see guys with headlamps heading out onto the prairie about 1 mile away.

I took my pack and rifle and crossed the barbed wired fence along the road. Since it was still too dark to see much, I just hunkered down and waited for shooting light so I could see where I was going better and use the terrain to try and get close to where the buck was the night before.

Here is the sunrise on opening morning.

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When it was light enough for me to see where I was going, I moved about 100 yards in from the road and I looked through my binoculars and I could see black horn tips sticking up just over the prairie grass. The buck was a few hundred yards away but in a low spot. I could see his horns but he could not see me. I crawled 100 yards and decided to drop my pack because I thought I could get to about 200 yards (where I wouldn’t need a range finder) and also because while crawling my pack wouldn’t be sticking up over my back where the buck might see it as I got closer. This was a bit of a mistake. I keep my range finder and GPS tied to my pack so I don’t lose them (will need to change that in the future).

I crawled to about 150 yards from where I last saw the buck. I slowly rose up on my knees to scan for the buck with my binoculars. I saw his horns again and now he was slowly moving to the left. If he kept going that direction he would give me about a 150 yard broadside shot. I got ready to shoot and waited. No buck. About 1/2 mile to the right there was another hunter waiting near a fence post like a deer hunter. He could see me and I could see him, but I was fairly sure he couldn’t see the buck.

After a while, the buck did not appear like I thought he would. He had to be in front of me out of sight in the depression because no matter which way he decided to go, I would be able to see him leave the depression and have a shot. Finally, after about ½ hour, I saw him off to the right at what I estimated was 400 yards. He kept walking toward the other hunter (who I know couldn’t see the buck because the buck was still in the depression). Now I was kicking myself for not having my range finder that I had dropped with my pack. I had a Bog Pog tripod with me but I didn’t want to shoot that far off of the Bog Pog at a distance I wasn’t sure of. As I sat there thinking about what to do next, the buck picked me off and stopped and stared at me. I estimated he was now at about 475 yards and I thought about shooting but didn’t. Then I took a gamble. I stood up and walked back to get my pack and range finder. When I got back to my spot, the buck was still standing at the same location watching me. I ranged the buck at 480, then checked again and the range finder read 474. I dialed my scope for 475 yards. When I looked up again he had moved farther away but stopped again and was looking at me. The hunter to the right could still not see the buck yet but if the buck keep going away from me, he would eventually be visible to the other hunter.

From the prone position, with my 7 mm Rem. Mag. on my pack, I dialed the scope for 500 yards. There was a very minimal cross wind (maybe 1-2 mph). I put the cross hairs on the buck and fired. After the shot, I quickly grabbed my binoculars. The buck was piled up right where he had been standing. I looked again to confirm, and there was just a brown bump in a sea of short grass prairie with some sage.

I quickly gathered my gear and stuffed it in my pack. I picked up my rifle and started walking toward the buck. At about 40 yards I put all my gear down except for my rifle and got ready to shoot again in case he wasn’t quite done yet. As I got closer I could see he wasn’t going anywhere.

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I put my camera on the Bog Pog and took some photos. Then I got to work doing the gutless method. I put the four quarters, backstraps, and tenderloins in a contractor’s garbage bag, and the head in another garbage bag and strapped those to my pack. I had to sit down on the ground to get the pack on. At first I couldn’t get up. Then after a few tries to stand up I made it. I had about a ½ mile trek back to the truck. My pack with the antelope probably weighed about 80 lbs.

Back at the truck we had 2 coolers that we had filled with ice the night before. I put the meat and head in the coolers.

The horns were 12” long. A respectable and representative buck for the unit I was hunting.

It’s always a fun time hunting antelope in Wyoming. If you haven’t done it before you should give it a try sometime.


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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby SRWbowhunter » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:15 pm

Nice buck sounds like a fun hunt! An antelope is on my bucket list so someday I’m gonna have to get out there and give it a shot.
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby Dewey » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:23 pm

Congrats Mountain Man. :clap:

One of these years I wanna head out there and bowhunt pronghorn in August before bowhunting opens here. Hard to believe but it’s been 10 years since I hunted out west. :o
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby dan » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:31 pm

:clap: :dance:
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby Edcyclopedia » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:10 am

Spectacular! :clap:
Expect the Unexpected when you least Expect it...
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby Boo » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:57 pm

Congrats!!
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby Bucky » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:28 pm

How many pref pts did you have? I currently have 2
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Mountain Man
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby Mountain Man » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:16 am

Thanks everyone.

Bucky wrote:How many pref pts did you have? I currently have 2

I had one. I hunt one of the *difficult access units (it's really not that bad if you do some homework, but there isn't a ton of public or walk in areas). Those units can be drawn with 0 points but some will not draw with 0 points. I buy a point when possible (off years I don't hunt there) to guarantee I draw the next year - helps me with planning hunts as I like to know for sure (at least based on the most recent drawing results) where I am hunting the next year. Or I apply as a group with a friend who has one point and I have 0, the PPs are averaged for the group so really any fraction of PPs over 0 will get a tag in most of the eastern difficult access units.

At this time I don't plan to build any antelope points beyond 1 (maybe 2) as I want to hunt there about every other year.

Once you get 2+ points you should be able to get into some good units. Deer and antelope tag prices go up next year so some guys might have used their points this year and will drop out of the PP game. Some good units might be had next year for less points than this year but I could be wrong about that.
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Jackson Marsh
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby Jackson Marsh » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:50 am

Congrats mountain man!!
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby Bucky » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:48 am

Congrats! Thx for reply
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby Octang » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:37 pm

Congrats! That was a great read. I leave for my Wy antelope trip on Tuesday.
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby jwilkstn » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:48 pm

Congratulations! I was out there for the opener also, beautiful country!
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby hunter_mike » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:54 pm

:clap: congrats! Great buck
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby strutnrut716 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:57 pm

Congrats ! Nice shot ! :clap: :clap:
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Re: Wyoming Antelope

Postby seazofcheeze » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Congrats, sounds like a blast!

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