Monday, October 3, 2011

Wyoming Antelope Opener

After an early morning two hour drive we arrived at our Wildlife Management Area west of Laramie, Wyoming, I was hunting Ed Nowalk. After going over our game plan for the morning we were off. Wyoming has a great system in place where they reward ranchers and businesses for allowing hunters on their property, and after this visit I will say it is going great. Essentially we had the run of the property from 7:30-9:00a.m.

As we drove around and scouted the property, we had a number of close encounters with a couple of young bucks and some small doe/fawns. At one point I considered popping a doe from that was about 20 yards away, but since it was my first antelope hunt I wanted to put in a bit more time before tripping the trigger.

As we worked our way to one of the windmills we noticed three large groups of antelope grazing and getting the rut started. After watching their movement through the binos for a couple of minutes we put a plan together to sneak up on them. We drove around the herds to a small depression about a 1/2 mile from the main herd. We parked the rig and got our gear together for the stalk. Luckily for us the land allowed for some easy movement for the first part of the sneak, we made up a lot of ground while the herd continued their morning business. To our surprise though a couple of does and big buck were bedded between us and the main group. After they popped up we were forced to take cover in the wide open, which wasn't easy. One of the does was pretty concerned about us, but after 3-4 minutes of not moving and cramping up they slowly started working away from us. After picking out the biggest of the does I set up the new Primos Shooting Sticks (thanks Scott) and settled in for the shot. She was quartering towards us and presented no angle for several minutes, finally she turned and the .300 ultra mag barked. Ol' girl was down for the count, I hit her slightly back but still caught the vitals. I had my first antelope on the dirt!

It was a great hunt and we should have finished the day with two goats, but as the temps rose into the mid 80's Ed had enough and we headed into Laramie to butcher up the meat.

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