As I eagerly await this year’s antelope season, I can’t help but think back on the past few seasons of hunting prairie speedsters. For me, trophy antelope hunting has become my obsession. I know others are addicted to big deer and elk, but for me it’s all about antelope. When my new Eastmans’ magazine arrives, I enthusiastically check for a big, beautiful antelope on the cover, and then flip through the pages to read the antelope hunting stories first. I’d like to share with you a bit of my experience and some highlights from some unforgettable antelope hunts shared with my family.
July is a great month. As a family, we get to celebrate our independence, the birthday of our youngest son, Hunter, and find out if any antelope tags have been drawn in our home state of Wyoming. With tags confirmed, the days behind a spotting scope begin. Scouting is the start of a successful trophy antelope hunt, because you can’t shoot a big one if you don’t know where they live.
During our scouting trips a couple of seasons ago, we found several nice bucks, with names like High Tower, Criss Cross, Hooks, The Man, Hill Buck, Lefty, Ivory Tips, and Narrows given to some of the better bucks. These bucks were spread across miles of sage-covered prairie, which I’ve grown to love. I knew I couldn’t hunt all of them, so I chose to devote my hunting efforts on The Man.
The night before opening day of rifle season, I was on a high vantage point with him in my spotting scope. He was feeding in the distance and occasionally working his horns in the sagebrush. I loved the look of his horns - the shape, the prongs, and length. I watched him until sunset, and then drove home with immense anticipation.
My brother-in-law, Archie, joined me early the next morning before sunrise and we drove to a predetermined twotrack road I felt would lead us to where we could intercept him. With shooting light upon us, we set off on foot into the basin where I had watched him. To my surprise, after only walking a few hundred yards, we spotted him on a hill within 100 yards of my glassing point from the previous evening. We were busted out in the open, and I knew it was now or never. I quickly dropped down, ranged him, and set up my trusty .300 on its bipod. I touched the trigger with confidence. He didn’t make it 50 yards.
For a full account of Jared's adventure, go to page 28 in the October/November 2009 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.