Have Bow, Will Travel

By Jason Yates
Colorado, Wyoming, 2009, DIY, Public Land
Have Bow, Will TravelJuly/August 2011 EBJ (Issue 66) - If you’re anything like me, you’re not very effective at work the day before a hunt, and this particular Friday afternoon was no different. It was a beautiful September day and I couldn’t wait to get back out to Colorado.

I watched the minutes tick by and rushed home to pick up Dallin, my six-year-old son. We quickly loaded up, told my wife and other kids goodbye, and headed out the door - it was 7 p.m. when we left our home in Lehi, Utah.

We arrived in our unit in Colorado at midnight. Dallin was already asleep, so I went ahead and set up our antelope blind in the dark. We’d found this waterhole the previous week and knew that some good bucks were using it. We also knew that these antelope were quite leery of blinds, so I made sure to brush it in very well.

When I finished all the preparations for our blind, I got in the truck and drove 500 yards away and parked in a little gully, where the truck would be out of view the next morning. By this time it was around 1:30 a.m., so I quickly set up our tent, carried Dallin from the truck, and put him in his sleeping bag. It didn’t take long and it was lights out for me as well.

A few hours later the alarm clock on my cell phone began its familiar ring. It felt like I had just gone to sleep. For a second I thought to myself, "Are you crazy?” Lucky for us, I already knew the answer.

I went ahead and crawled out of my sleeping bag. I wanted to be in the blind before light, because I knew there were lots of antelope hanging around this area and I didn’t want to risk spooking anything. I softly shook Dallin and said, "Time to get up!”

Now the average six-year-old would not be happy to have to wake up so early to walk out to a blind with his dad, but I was not dealing with an average sixyear- old. This little guy loves hunting. He loves to shoot bows, go hunting with his dad and grandpa, and he talks about hunting with everyone he meets. Even his teacher in school has learned a lot about hunting through stories he has written. He is constantly drawing pictures of wildlife and often surprises people when he shares information about musk ox, Stone’s sheep, brown bears, etc. Needless to say, he hopped right out of his bag, we gathered our things and headed for the blind.

When the sun came up, we immediately started spotting antelope. It wasn’t long before these nervous animals slowly made their way to water. By 8 a.m. I had already passed on four bucks and had several does near the blind.

For those who haven’t hunted antelope out of a blind, this is an awesome experience. Watching these animals from the seclusion of a ground blind is incredible. Seeing their natural responses to each other and to their environment from just 20 or 30 yards away is a unique opportunity. The coolest part is that they have no idea you’re there. Sure, they are cautious around the blind, but they don’t quite know why. Dallin and I enjoyed watching them approach and we discussed the size of bucks that came in.

I love to video my hunts and Dallin got his first experience as a cameraman on this trip. I got the camera set up on a tripod and he had a great time videoing all the antelope, squirrels, and birds. I had him practice filming animals and he did an amazing job of smoothly following them as they came in - I could tell he really liked being dad’s cameraman.

Jason Yates

For a full account of Jason's adventure, go to page 30 in the July/August 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.