Went to Wyoming on an antelope hunt this last week with my son Brad. We only had three days to hunt and only on limited public land in this unit. We found goats but very few on public land as most had been been pushed off onto private. seems uncanny how they know property boundaries.
anyway, we found a water tank on private property that was about 127 yards from our public hunting. we were able to cross flat ground to a deep cut/ravine that was anywhere from 7-15 feet deep. this was perfect for moving across about 1/4 mile of open country to get close to the tank. Antelope were there when we crested the ridge of the ravine. a really good buck was pushing does around at the tank. OnX maps showed no go by 127 yards. Brad said we have to wait for him to come this way before shooting him. No Go on that as he had a couple teenagers (year and a half old bucks) come too close. he ran them off and then took his does south way out of hope of getting a shot unless he ran back our way. we watched for about 30 minutes and it didnt look like anything was going to test the big buck.
I turned and looked east and a buck and doe was standing 50 yards away looking at the two idiots with handguns perched on the side of the ravine. These two were almost down wind and with the ravine going towards them it looked like the gig was soon to be up. I told Brad there was two goats staring at us. His reply was "Danger Close"?
"Yep" and we were froze for about 30 seconds till the doe decided to get gone into the ravine after getting our wind. when they broke I asked Brad if he was interested in shooting the smaller buck. "Nope, you take him if you want him".
I turned over prone and grabbed the grip of the 7-08 striker and turned it northwest just as the two goats appeared. The doe stopped and then started walking again. this caused the buck to slow and I was already tracking his slow walk when he stopped at 74 yards. I broke the trigger and saw that the buck reacted to the hit. it was 5" behind the shoulder and 2" high of the white side patch. Brad saw his off side when he took off and said he is pouring blood from an exit hole. The buck went about 40 yards and piled up. One down one to Go.
There were still antelope coming towards the water hole and we thought the approaching teenagers would cause the big boy to come chase them off. we decided to give it 15 minutes too see what was going to happen and then get my buck down into the ravine so I could start deboning it while Brad kept hunting.
the teenagers didn't get a response except to move his does further south.
Out of the ravine, grabbed my buck and drug him to the ravine. we got back into our perch to start glassing again to check 360 for any more approaching Goats.
NOPE the ajoining land rancher drives out of his property and right up to us on BLM land gets out with a Kimber Ultra Pro Carry in an appendix holster and asked us where we shot the antelope at. We explained that we used OnX maps and he said he does to and the property line is the fence. he said he watched us drag the antelope to the ravine, which meant he knew we were not on his land. GRRRR! We used all of our charm to keep from getting on the wrong side of the locals even though he was ruining our hunt by the second. Then his Dad shows up coming across the BLM from the other direction in a Polaris Ranger clearing the small block of public hunting of any antelope left. The questions started again, I told his Dad that we could follow the blood back to where the buck dropped if he wanted and pointed to a two inch wide blood smear on the ground. Finally I told them that we passed up the bigger buck at 200 yards because we knew he was on private land and that we were not going to shoot anything on private land without permission.
They seemed to relax but told us that the cattle on the BLM wasn't suppose to be there and they were probably going to move them out of there. that pretty much told us our hunt was over for the day, and the field was barren of goats anyway.
They left and we commence to get some field photos and reduced the Antelope to game bags.
A Quick recon that afternoon before dark showed goats back on public hunting and cows still grazing there. Yep could use the same excuse tomorrow.
We were determined to try it again in the morning with a O'dark thirty walk in to get to the hide before legal light and let them wake up with us already there. I don't know any ranchers that intentionally move cattle in the dark so We figured we were good to go for at least the first couple hours of light.
Day three found us set up by 6am and as the sun came up antelope started moving. the water tank was not active but goats were starting to feed towards it. About 8 o'clock I went to check a low area to our south moving about 40 yards east in the ravine then coming up to the crest. Yep a doe and two bucks were around 300 yards and feeding towards us. I caught Brads attention and motioned for him to come to me quickly. He grabbed his contender and soon we were prepping for a shot on the feeding antelope. Brad is shooting a 7-30 waters with Hornady ammo. this load runs a 120 grain bullet at 2450fps. he told me he didn't want to shoot over 200 yards if he didn't have to. The antelope made the decision for him. The doe started to move fairly quickly towards us, with it being the rut the bucks followed.
she got our wind and she turned north to our left and I got a range call for Brad at 97 yards on the doe when she stopped briefly then took off again. the buck stopped and then started again slightly quartering towards us and at 104 yards he stopped again and Brad shot. The Buck dropped in his tracks. The big cloud of dust made Brad think that he shot the top of the ravine and I told him the buck was down. A short walk to the buck showed that his shot went in high lung and out high liver just under the inside tenderloins. No meat ruined and a second filled tag! Hero photos done, we reduced him to game bags and walked 3/4 mile back to the truck.
even though we only had a short time to hunt, we had some great bonding time and we filled some tags to boot.
This was one of those hunts where we didn't plan on using rifles as a backup on the last day, just stick it out with the handguns or bust.
We didn't bust.
I am going to try to post pics if I can figure it out again.