November/December 2011 EBJ (Issue 68) - Is this really happening? It was 7:00 a.m. on opening morning of my New Mexico antelope hunt and the screen on my rangefinder just read 36 yards. The big buck I had seen just yesterday was feasting on cholla fruit at 36 yards and he had no idea what lurked behind him.
Unlike most hunting stories, this story didn’t begin with opening the mailbox to a tag from the game and fish department. I had applied in eight different states for nearly thirty different permits and I had nothing to show for it. Though my luck was non-existent, my father was fortunate enough to draw a coveted Arizona archery bull tag and a bull tag on the famed Valles Caldera in New Mexico. The good fortune in the family didn’t stop there because my brother-in-law who had been hunting for only one year drew an early rifle bull tag in a premier unit in Arizona. The one great benefit to Arizona’s draw system is you have a chance to draw every year and he made the most of this chance. Plans were made to help those fortunate enough to draw tags and I would have to settle for an over the counter archery deer tag.
Then the unexpected happened. On July 27th my dad called with some amazing news. Mike Ingram, a family friend and very accomplished hunter, called and offered us two archery antelope tags on his ranch in New Mexico. Was I dreaming, could Christmas come in July? I quickly realized I was not dreaming when I walked out of my house in Phoenix, Arizona that day and it was 110 degrees.
I have had the opportunity to take some nice animals with a bow and rifle but the antelope with the bow is the one always eluded me - I was so pumped I could barely sit still. I religiously started shooting my bow every day until I felt extremely confident in my shooting. I knew the odds of getting close to these animals would be very difficult so I was prepared for a longer shot if necessary.
For a full account of Brian's adventure, go to page 32 in the November/December 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.