November/December 2011 EBJ (Issue 68) - I flew into Salt Lake City late Saturday night before the opener. My dad/ hunting buddy informed me that I was actually two hours later than I originally planned due to my negligence of time zone adjustments! We ripped out of Salt Lake and into Wyoming without wasting a second. I had been anxiously awaiting this archery antelope hunt in Wyoming since results were posted and seeing the Wasatch Mountains blow by finally confirmed the season was here!
My taxidermist and good friend, Dirk Bawden of Big Stuff Taxidermy in Erda, UT, had not only recommended the unit it took 4 years for us to draw, but he also assisted with scouting and setting up ground blinds for us. After catching up with Dirk and my friend, Scott (who also had a tag), we got into the area and spent a few hours checking the water for tracks and getting oriented for the next day.
At 5:00 a.m. my dad and I were up and hopping into the blind. We sat and chatted all morning but had nothing but does and a few small bucks come into water. My dad’s knees were killing him so around 1:00 p.m. we decided to get out of the blind and drive around and get acquainted with the unit. As I climbed out, I turned around only to see a heavy old buck staring at us from a ridge at 400 yards. The buck was on his way to the water, but we were absolutely busted. I realized then that to kill a good buck, leaving the blind was not an option - I had to wait one out.
We scouted the unit all afternoon and saw hundreds of antelope, as well as some great bucks. I attempted a few stalks, but was quickly humbled. My dad and Dirk had to leave that night, so Scott and I made the plans for the next day.
We awoke to a crazy thunderstorm the next morning the lighting was hitting all around our camp and we were more than concerned. The rain was nonstop until about 8:00 a.m., so we decided to do some more scouting. At around 10 o’clock we found two good bucks feeding about 200 yards from the road. I hopped out of the truck and made the move on the bucks for ten minutes using the contour of the badlands to hide my stalk.
Once I was inside of 60 yards, I was able to set up, take a breath and draw on the better buck. I lined up his shoulder crease, breathed out and let it sail. The arrow looked perfect but I quickly realized the shot was low. I watched him bust out of the flat we were in and I realized I had just missed a massive buck with great cutters and near perfect symmetry. There was no blood on the arrow and I watched him for a few minutes to make sure he wasn’t wounded.
For a full account of Zac's adventure, go to page 44 in the November/December 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.