March/April 2013 EBJ (Issue 76) - Whoever coined the phrase, "Third time’s the charm,” never spot andstalked public land pronghorn with a bow! My first year hunting speedgoats was 2011, and they very quickly humbled me as an archer. Luck, more than skill, led to my arrow connecting with a buck that fall. By the time the 2012 season rolled around, I’d become a savvier stalker, and my success ratio for closing the distance on any animal had greatly improved.
A couple days into the pronghorn season, I thought I had my tag filled. On my knees, I patiently waited for a bedded buck to stand up from below the curve of the hill so I could sneak an arrow in. Just as I planned, he eventually stood up from his bed at 45 yards, and I sent my arrow on its way. Unfortunately, he ducked and spun ninety degrees before it even reached him. Later that morning, I had another buck duck my arrow at 35 yards.
Days later, buck number three stood staring through me, broadside, at 40 yards away. He was the biggest pronghorn I’d ever seen: a gray colored hog with heavy horns, and a massive mule deer shaped body. Thinking I had the game figured out, I aimed right below his chest, anticipating he would duck and drop right into the arrow. I was devastated when he didn’t flinch until my arrow sailed directly below his chest and shattered on a rock behind him.
The early morning hours of Friday, August 31 found me restlessly tossing and turning, wishing my brain would slow down and succumb to sleep. Rising to the surface above the many thoughts was the reality that my time for bowhunting pronghorn had run out. September’s focus would be on elk, and I tried to reflect positively on the great encounters I’d already had. I’d seen a lot of animals, made many stalks, and even photographed a group of fifteen bighorn yews and lambs. Unfortunately, the reflection was marred by the three tagfilling opportunities I’d successfully blown!
Rain pounded the evening before, and it was a clear, full moon night. I knew the conditions were going to be prime for the pronghorn herds to be feeding on the BLM slopes up to the surrounding private ground at sunrise. By the time my alarm went off, I’d made up my mind to hunt once more, and to do it before work started!
My wife thought I was insane as I pulled on camo and tossed my teaching clothes in the backseat of my pickup. Disgruntled, I recalled I was almost out of gas and the gas station was closed...so I tossed my gas can for the lawn mower in the back. Halfway to my hunting area, I had to pull over and pour the three or four gallons from the can into my pickup.
It was after 6 a.m. and into shooting light as I crept out of the first aspen patch on the hillside. I was surprised to see a group of does to my right within bow range.! They didn’t spook, and I watched them file up over the hill. Quickly moving out of sight below, I followed the hill’s base until I approached a spot where I thought I’d intercept the group.
For a full account of Jordan's adventure, go to page 30 in the March/April 2013 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.