By on in
Posted On
Rifle Season
Hunt Type
Antelope Hunts

My hunt began with my arrival in Hayden/NAPA Valley airport in CO. It was a calm brisk mid October day. After I got checked into my temporary residence near Craig, I was contacted by Joe about my upcoming rifle hunt for Antelope. We were meeting the following morning for a safety briefing and verification of paperwork. Tomorrow couldn't come soon enough.
It was my first big game CO hunt and I was excited to see what type of terrain was ahead of me. Joe was super helpful in preparing me for what was in store for the prairie landscape that was completely new to me. Knee pads for cactus, proper layering techniques for the ever-changing weather, and learning all the proper legal boundaries of the property.
I was actually surprised in the amount of animals we saw during my tour! Lots of antelope and even some Mule deer were all around us. The weather started off sunny and brisk but became kind of cold when the wind picked up and snow started flying. I knew at this point I would be in for the true adventure I had hoped for.
After the tour, we had confirmed all contact info and I was left to start my hunt with some simple words promising me the take I had been looking for if I was patient. Although there were lots of animals around, they moved rapidly and in small heards, and if I waited and stalked, I would find my trophy.
I had set off on my stalking hike on the property full of excitement. Almost 1/4 mile into the property from the gate I got glass on a nice male pronghorn who was escorting 3 females with him. I quickly prepared myself for a shot and watched. But at that moment, Joe's words ran through my head about being patient and I wasn't ready to let my adventure end almost as quickly as it had started.
I was going to pace myself and see what presented itself to me. After about 10 minutes of watching the antelope graze and calmly walk around I had a feeling I was being watched. I turned to my left and sure enough at about 60 yards away was another male staring me down. I froze. Paralyzed and trying to control my heart rate and breathing was a lot harder than I had trained for once the adrenaline kicked in. I eneviteably lost that staring contest and spooked the whole group away from me.
I sprung up, and decided to run to the top of the highest hill on the prairie to see where they have moved to. They were GONE. they had ran so fast that they must have covered 3/4 of a mile out of my sight line as I approached the top of that hill.
I instantly had to rethink my strategy. I knew I couldn't stalk the animals that could see and hear me coming for long distances in this wind and openness. I was goin to have to watch and learn how they moved before I could be successful.
I had spent the rest of the day walking and looking for animal traces around me. I had gotten set up on some small ridges that gave me a good vantage point and found some of the common paths they used along the fence line. I knew I had a chance of I just remained patient. The day ended for me when I knew I had exhausted myself hiking all over the property catching fainting glimpses of the groups of Pronghorn disappearing over the rolling hills as soon as I got close enough to get a good look at them. And I had a ways to hike out.
The next day, I started out with a plan. Work backwards from the way I had come in and catch them as they moved throughout their day grazing. This proved very effective. I had already seen several heards of females walking around and keeping a careful eye out for anything suspicious (like me). As I moved through the property lines back to that highway of activity I had seen the day before, I decided to get to the highest point I could find and sit down a while and watch. There isn't much cover there so I had determined that distance and quietness we're my only allies.
Sure enough after waiting a while and taking a much needed water break, I witnessed 5 females come over the opposing ridge from me. I took a quick rangefinder check and lased them at 270 yards. Since they didn't seem to notice me and I wasn't really ready to move, I decided to sit and watch.
My decision had paid off. A small male just started to make his way over the top of thier ridge to check on his ladies. This was cool. I was excited again. I got myself setup for a shot and took a good look at him. He was obviously young and didn't have the trophy rack I was looking for but I was patient again. This is where it got really exciting. He had perked up and looked over his shoulder at ANOTHER male coming over the ridge. But not just any Pronghorn, he was a big one! I really had to focus now. Check the rangefinder, 250, go back to rifle scope. Breathe. Wait. Be patient.
Then what I witnessed in the next 2 minutes is by far the highlight of the entire trip. I watched the two of them battle for control over the ladies on the hillside. Ultimately the bigger, older male proved his dominance and the young guy took off. I knew this was my trophy. His horns were big, thick and had nice hooks over his head. His neck was distinctly marked with clear rings of color. Time to check the rangefinder. 260. Wait. Be patient. He came down the hill more to see his newly aquired prizes. Calm and proud he stopped and presented himself to me. 242. Back on the rifle. Breathe... breathe.... I see him stop and quarter himself toward me slightly and I squeeze off the shot. Good hit right on top of the heart. He hoped around and walked about 20 ft and then laid down! My heart pounding and mind racing I just realized I had bagged my big trophy of CO! I immediately called Joe to tell him the news and he was going to come meet me. We took some pictures and measurments and estimated him to be a 67" trophy!
Overall, I was thrilled with the experience. Couldn't have asked for a better animal on a great property. Joes help and guidance on that first day was truly the keys to my success and I thank him for that! Can't wait to do it again!


Come prepared. Talk to Joe about all of your concerns with gear and weather. Things change fast out there so be ready!!!


Bring extra socks!

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