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View Full Version : Bittersweet Antelope success in Wyoming.



Musket Man
10-11-2013, 01:48 PM
This hunt really started over a year ago. I was planning on hunting this unit last year as my 2nd choice when I drew my first choice out of nowhere! When I stopped at the Lander field office last year to buy my conservation stamp I made a last minute decision to buy a left over doe tag for this unit and do some scouting. After filling my 1st choice tag on a very nice buck I headed to this unit with my doe tag. The unit has a decent amount of BLM but it was a lot harder to figure out what was BLM then I expected and I was really kicking myself for not planning better but it turned out to be the best mistake I ever made. I pulled into a ranch to verify what was BLM and after talking for a while the owner offered to let me harvest a doe on his ranch! I got a doe in no time and by the time I was ready to leave I had been invited to come back and hunt next year!
I stopped by the ranch to visit in June when I was in the area. While I was there the owner Ken showed me his very impressive collection of old guns. That got me thinking I wanted to do something different on this hunt. I went through my safe and chose the oldest gun I own, a model 1894 Winchester 30-30 made in 1896. It has a 26'' octagon barrel and Marbles peep sights and is in very nice shape for its age. I had bought this gun the same day I got my orders to deploy to Iraq and hadn't shot it very much. I sighted it in at 150 yards with 170 grain Remington core-lokts. The old gun shot very nice groups and with a little practice I was confident to 200 yards and set that as my limit. I thought about taking my trusty .270 Win along too but when I left the only gun in my truck was my old lever action. I was going to do this with the old 30-30 or not at all!
The season opened 10/1 and I want to get there a couple days early to do some scouting but we had to finish planting winter wheat before I could leave and it would not stop raining so I didn't get to leave until the 5th. I got to the ranch early afternoon the next day and there is only 1 word to describe things, MUD. They had got snow a few days before and it had warmed up and was melting fast. My plan was to just do some glassing for the rest of the day and figure out where I wanted to be the next morning. I saw a bunch of antelope but nothing very big and none were in a place I could make a stalk close enough for the gun I was shooting. I knew I would have to be patient and wait for the right opportunity. I returned to a big draw I had briefly glassed earlier to do some more glassing and spotted a lone antelope bedded in the other end of it nearly a mile away. I put the spotting scope on him. He was a decent buck and he was in a good place to make a stalk! There was a big ditch going up toward him with a stock tank on the edge of it that I estimated would give me a 150 yard shot and the wind was in my face! I made good time up the ditch and when I thought I was getting close I crawled up the bank to look things over. I was close to the stock tank and the buck was still bedded. When I got behind the stock tank I chambered a round and set the hammer down to half cock. When I got part way up the bank I decided to back out and come up about 25 yards from the tank in a place that would give me a better place to shoot from and had some small sage brush for cover. I crawled up the bank in mud and melting snow. Right when I got to the spot I wanted to be I'm not sure if the buck spotted me or not but he knew something wasn't right and started to get nervous. I quickly ranged him at 155 yards and for lack of anything better I took my binoculars off and rested the gun on them. Right about this time he stood up. I pulled the hammer back, settled the bead behind his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. The old Winchester fired and I herd the bullet hit! He took a few steps and stood there. I chambered another round and laid there with the bead on him just in case he tried to take off but pretty soon his legs started to buckle and he went down!! The pack out was pretty level except for 1 big muddy ditch I had to cross. I really didn't want to skin and quarter him in the mud so I ended up packing him out whole on my shoulders. When I was almost back to my truck I was met by a very nice game warden that helped me load him up and validated my tag.
When I got back to the ranch I pulled my gun out and asked the owner if he liked my antelope gun and told him how his gun collection had inspired me to hunt with it this year. He was very excited I had used it to kill an antelope on his ranch and commented several times how neat it was! After looking it all over he told me what a nice old gun it was which I took as quite a compliment considering all the guns he has that are much older then mine. Then Ken and his brother look at my antelope and told me it was the nicest antelope killed on the ranch recently.
The next morning I filled my doe tag and after she cooled out I packed both of them up and headed out. On the way out I stopped on the gravel road. I walked around behind my truck and when I looked down I had nearly stepped on a small rattle snake. Without even thinking about it I jumped up on my bumper, grabbed a shovel in back of my truck and killed it.
I felt a sense of accomplishment on this hunt I have never felt before. There is something about limiting yourself with the equipment you choose to use when you could use anything you wanted that makes success that much sweeter when it comes. I now understand why guys choose to use a bow or muzzle loader on an any weapon hunt. I never truly understood that before. I'm not saying I'm going to hunt exclusively with my 30-30 from now on but I sure wouldn't hesitate to take it on any hunt I went on.
Sadly the ranch owner is in very poor health and is expected to pass any day. When I was there in June he was having some problems. They have gotten much worse since and there is nothing the doctors can do. Ken was a sniper in the Korean war, a rancher and the nicest, kindest, most interesting person I have ever known. I did not know him for very long but I am truly grateful I got to meet him and for what time I did get to spend with him. It wasn't easy leaving his ranch knowing I will not see him again. I have decided to mount this antelope not because it is big but because of the ranch I got him on, the gun I used, and I would like to look at him in years to come and remember Ken and the great times I had at his ranch. Knowing all this I am even happier I chose to use my old Winchester on what I didn't know at the time would be my last hunt on his ranch. It was a great hunt I will never forget. This ones for you Ken!

I wish I had got better pics where I killed him but in my excitement to stalk him I forgot to take my camera.

I have to share this because I thought it was pretty funny. There were some guys hunting there that just could not believe that anyone would walk that far to get an antelope and pack it out. I got the feeling I was not very popular with some of them since they had all been there a few days with nothing to show for it and I had a nice antelope on the ground in a few hours. Its up to them if they don't want to walk but wasn't expecting them to hold it against me. 1 of them even went as far as mentioning this to the owners brother. I guess he didnt think much of that because later when myself and everyone else hunting was there he said "quite a few guys hunting here but only 1 spilled blood yet, the 1 that got out and walked".

Musket Man
10-11-2013, 02:12 PM
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jjenness
10-11-2013, 02:16 PM
Very nice Musket Man, got to love those old school, kind hearted ranchers that re-instill your confidence in humanity.

CoHiCntry
10-11-2013, 02:26 PM
Great story and goat! I loves that last pic with the gun & the goat. Great memories...

Musket Man
10-11-2013, 02:37 PM
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Work2hunt
10-11-2013, 05:55 PM
Awesome story and nice gun choice.

Ikeepitcold
10-11-2013, 06:03 PM
Great story. Congrats on a great buck too.

buckbull
10-11-2013, 07:11 PM
Congrats on the pronghorn! Great job on that darn rattlesnake.

Colorado Cowboy
10-11-2013, 07:24 PM
Wonderful story MM. I have a 1873 Winchester (replica) in .45 Colt that I use in my competition cowboy shooting. I plan on using it for deer hunting next year....with black powder too.

sneakypete
10-11-2013, 11:10 PM
Awesome story and great looking gun! But most of all Thank you for serving our country!

humbletaxi
10-12-2013, 09:55 AM
Thanks for the story, I really enjoyed reading it. Cool hunt.

ivorytip
10-12-2013, 10:24 AM
musket man, what you wanna sell that gun to me for????:cool: pm me

Musket Man
10-12-2013, 11:47 AM
Thanks everyone:) I gotta say I have never had a hunt come together so perfectly before. The place he was in, cover to it, wind, everything it could not have been any better, he even stood up at exactly the right time!
I do have 1 thing Im trying to figure out that I never seen before and makes no sense to me, not that it matters Im just curious if anyone has seen this before. The bullet hit a few inches behind his shoulder, he was quartering toward me slightly and it passed clear through and exited in his ribs about 4-6 inches farther back then it entered. Where it went in it cut about a 4'' x 1'' slot in his hide. I cant figure out why it made the slot. The hole entering his ribs was normal size. You can see it in pic 3.

CC I will be looking forward to hearing about your hunt with the 1873! One of these days I want to get a replica of an 1873 and 1860 Henry!

Ivory I wish you luck on that one! I have seen lots of old Winchesters I wanted to buy but I have never seen one I wanted to sell;)

ivorytip
10-12-2013, 02:15 PM
those remington core lockts are amazing bullets, very very very underrated. ive tried the rest but keep going back to those core lockts. best part about it is they are the cheapest ones out there!!! ive never had animals drop so hard and so fast as they do with those puppies loaded up, they just shoot better.... out of an old winchester ofcourse;) onlything i can think of why it made that big cut/slit is those speed goats have pretty tight skin as it is and when the bullet made contact maybe ur antelope was strectching or flexing or something to cause it to be extra tight?????? idk, ive never seen that either. exit wound on the other hand is allways fun.

Musket Man
10-12-2013, 07:02 PM
I thought it could be something to do with the 30-30 being much slower then say a .270 but that dont make much sense either. Core-lokt surely is a great bullet that is very under rated these days. I havent used anything else in years other then I use Hornady v-max on yotes in my 22-250. They have always got the job done for me so why change. Not like I could of tried something else if I wanted to since cant seem to find a 30-30 around here these days to save your life. Was a good thing I had some on hand! The Hornady Leverevolutions crossed my mind but I wanted to do this hunt old school and the core-lokts were perfect!

Colorado Cowboy
10-12-2013, 08:45 PM
CC I will be looking forward to hearing about your hunt with the 1873! One of these days I want to get a replica of an 1873 and 1860 Henry!

;)

MM,

I you ever are interested in buying one of the 73's or 66's let me know. I shoot with a lot of cowboy shooters every month and every once in awhile one of them sells a gun or 2. A friend of mine sold a really nice Uberti (Italian clone) 73 with a 24" barrel in .45 Colt for $750.00. Unfortunately they only make them in pistol calibers. I have 2 , my main match gun and a backup. Both are really accurate and shoot really good out to 2oo yds with lead bullets. Probably would do better with jacketed bullets. I am sure i could kill a deer or antelope, no problem.

Musket Man
10-12-2013, 09:14 PM
MM,

I you ever are interested in buying one of the 73's or 66's let me know. I shoot with a lot of cowboy shooters every month and every once in awhile one of them sells a gun or 2. A friend of mine sold a really nice Uberti (Italian clone) 73 with a 24" barrel in .45 Colt for $750.00. Unfortunately they only make them in pistol calibers. I have 2 , my main match gun and a backup. Both are really accurate and shoot really good out to 2oo yds with lead bullets. Probably would do better with jacketed bullets. I am sure i could kill a deer or antelope, no problem.

Im always interested. It would mostly depend on the price and if I had the money to spare at the time. they come in .45 colt and 44-40 dont they? Im not sure what the originals were but I think alot were 44-40? Im sure they would kill a deer, antelope or even an elk easily and Im sure alot of all 3 and buffalo too were killed with them back in their day!

dhershberger
10-13-2013, 01:00 AM
sweet! Love the iron sights on that lever action!

Colorado Cowboy
10-13-2013, 06:21 AM
Im always interested. It would mostly depend on the price and if I had the money to spare at the time. they come in .45 colt and 44-40 dont they? Im not sure what the originals were but I think alot were 44-40? Im sure they would kill a deer, antelope or even an elk easily and Im sure alot of all 3 and buffalo too were killed with them back in their day!

Yes they do come in 44-40 which is very good with black powder. Of course that what it was designed for. I would be using this caliber except that when I started shooting cowboy action, I bought a couple of used Ruger Vaqueros (old model) in .45 Colt. Still use that caliber.

Musket Man
10-13-2013, 09:18 AM
Yes they do come in 44-40 which is very good with black powder. Of course that what it was designed for. I would be using this caliber except that when I started shooting cowboy action, I bought a couple of used Ruger Vaqueros (old model) in .45 Colt. Still use that caliber.

The replicas are made to shoot smokeless powder too arent they?

Colorado Cowboy
10-13-2013, 10:20 AM
Yep...thats all I shoot in them.:cool:

Lots of original Winchester around, BUT they are really too valuable to shoot a lot. Ones in good condition bring over 3 grand. Hell the 94 your shooting is worth at least $1500, maybe more.

Musket Man
10-13-2013, 10:45 AM
I was just looking at an original 1873 at cabelas for $3200. It was in decent shape but nothing special. I paid $1200 for my 1894 in 2004. I have seen them priced at $1500 or more that were not near as nice as mine is.

Cjmunday
10-13-2013, 04:58 PM
Great story. I hope your wrong about Ken, but if your not I am glad you got a chance to share a piece of his life with us. Nice goat as well

Fink
10-14-2013, 07:11 AM
What a neat gun, and a great story, I really enjoyed reading it.

HuntWYODon
10-15-2013, 05:05 PM
Congrats Musket Man ! Great story and I'm impressed done with an 1873 ! Dam !

Musket Man
10-16-2013, 08:00 PM
Congrats Musket Man ! Great story and I'm impressed done with an 1873 ! Dam !

Thanks:) Dont give me too much credit though, I was using the more modern 1894 Winchester. LOL

Umpqua Hunter
10-16-2013, 08:55 PM
Nice job MM! Man I wish I was in Wyoming!

marcusvdk
10-16-2013, 10:04 PM
That was a Great story thank you so much for sharing. Definitely very cool to do it with an older gun like that and a great sense of accomplishment. Sorry to hear about that rancher he seemed like he would be a cool guy to sit down with and talk for hours about all the stories he had.

mcseal2
10-18-2013, 10:27 AM
Great story and experience. Thanks for sharing and sorry to hear about your friend. Some of those old ranchers leave a big hole in the world when they pass on, he will be missed.

270whiz
12-06-2013, 10:28 AM
I have to say, What a WONDERFUL STORY ! You will have those memories for the rest of your life.
After its all said and done, and we can't run over hill and dale and the guns are in the safe We can atleast look back on the special times in our lives and the people we shared them with. Thank you for sharing this story with all of us.,

6mm Remington
12-07-2013, 07:20 AM
What an awesome story! I have a feeling that you touched that rancher's year with heartfelt memories just as he left those same impressions in yours. Sometimes by just being a kind and genuine person and treating people with respect, both get more out of it than they could ever imagine!!

David

Allnighter
12-31-2013, 01:13 AM
Thanks for sharing such a cool story.