Do the Homework... Get the Job Done
Dec/Jan 2011 EHJ (Issue 122)
Wyoming, 2009, DIY, Public Land
- I first caught the antelope addiction in 2007 when I was fortunate enough to draw an Arizona Strip antelope tag with only one point. After reading Eastmans’, researching, and watching every video I could get my hands on, I felt competent enough to recognize a solid buck and harvest him. My dad made the trip down and after a five-day rollercoaster ride, we took a great 79-inch buck that sparked my obsession for pronghorn hunting.
I immediately began to look into more antelope tags. My hunting partner and fellow antelope addict, Scott Simons, told me about the MRS section in Eastmans’ Hunting Journal and I began reading and researching for antelope opportunities in other states. We applied based on the information we obtained and a year later, we were in central Wyoming chasing these amazing animals.
I missed a buck on that hunt that would’ve grossed in the mid 80s and I vowed to return and take a trophy from that region. I was fortunate to take a great 75-class buck after a few days and my friend and his dad took great bucks as well. That’s why I love antelope - they are much more about an individual’s “trophy” classification than any scoring system. You will always know your trophy when you see him.
During the next year, I spent countless hours practicing shooting with handloads. We built a cartridge that I felt maximized all ballistic characteristics necessary to accomplish my goal. My .300 RUM was consistent and I was confident that it was going to come together. I also learned you need a high-end rangefinder that can lock onto animals in open country out to 1000 yards, and I invested in some Swarovski SLC 15x56s to help quickly field judge potential bucks. Though I had heard for years the importance of these tools, I now realize that they will not only make your hunt more enjoyable by enhancing your visual perception, but also greatly improve your chances of harvesting a trophy.
We arrived for the October opener, only to be greeted by a blizzard. It was nothing like the 90 degrees we left in Arizona, but the uncomfortable weather had no chance of hindering our success.
On opening morning, we knew where we needed to be. As I videoed and glassed countless good bucks, nothing made my heart jump. Around 10 a.m., Scott glassed a herd of about 20 does. While glassing, a substantially wide buck showed himself, and we determined he was worth a closer look. We both had talked about how cool wide goats were, but had never actually seen one of trophy caliber.
For a full account of Zac's adventure, go to page 34 in the December/January 2011 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.