First off I have known Randy, who lives in Washington for a number of years. He once drew an Oregon Pronghorn Tag and got a hold of me. He used Garmin and onXmaps HUNT back then and even found his own honey hole….
‘Yes Frank , We did use onX Maps. That’s how we found the honey hole when Travis had his tag a few years back. Just couldn’t find a mature one there this year. Have yet to see another hunter in that spot. I’m sure come rut time a big one will show. We have a friend in 033 now, looking for something mid 80’s. I’ll let you know how he does.”
Just got back from Nevada and thought I’d better share my story with you. Travis my son and I arrived in Mountain City on Sunday afternoon. Right away we wanted to check out an area we knew held numbers of antelope west of town. After locating several groups of animals that evening and the next morning we were not seeing much for mature bucks.
We decided to check out the unit to the east and look over some new country. After few miles it started looking like lope country. Soon I glassed up a few does a mile away . We drove a bit closer and snuck in to get a better look. Three or four soon materialized into 27 with one good-looking buck. We marked the location on the Garmin and pressed on. By now it was pushing late afternoon and in the upper 80’s we arrived in a massive area that looked like prime antelope habitat with several good water sources. Cruising and stopping to glass, I spotted the buck I knew was my #1 target.
I attached a picture we took with a phone scope. We left him alone and found a camp site a couple of miles away. This area was getting a lot of traffic and other hunters out scouting. Seeing this I figured we’d have competition in the morning.
We struck a plan and went to bed thinking about the big guy all night. Up at 5:00 and on the road by 5:15 we planned to hike up a ridge to a good vantage point. Sitting in the dark for 45 minutes we were finally able to pick things apart.
Soon I spotted 5 antelope high up the mountain on a sage flat. Getting the spotter on them I thought it was the big one. We made a plan and the stalk was on. It was a steep and noisy climb trying to use the lay of the terrain as cover. After and good hour we closed the distance to 500 yards.
Not feeling comfortable at that distance we moved to a pile of rocks and shorted it to 380 yards. Not pulling the spotter out again I readied for the shot. As I got settled in I told Travis I wasn’t sure it’s our buck. They were about to feed over the ridge top when I said I like him anyway. At the shot they all grouped up and I knew I had missed . They fled over the top not offering a follow-up shot. I figured we’d better go check, just to be sure it was a clean miss.
At this point we were nearly 7000 ft in elevation. Reaching the top Travis picked them up 3 – 400 yards out grouped in tall cover. They saw us and busted out of site. Since we were up there we decided to continue along glassing the vastness below. After another 45 min. of side hilling. Travis shouts “buck”! I looked directly downhill and 120 yards away was the buck I just missed staring at us. All I could see was his neck and head. I threw up my .280 and squeezed off a shot. He immediately flipped over backwards and disappeared.
Off went the Does crashing down the mountain stopping a 1000 yards away waiting for the buck. Getting down to him I very was thrilled with his symmetry and the nice backwards hook to his horns. After a few photos and tagging him I dressed him and down the mountain we went.
At the road we both knew we were a bit turned around the road and surroundings did not look familiar. Looking at the Garmin and onX HUNT we realized the truck was 3.5 miles away as the crow fly’s. Travis took off and I began boning out the buck and putting it into game bags.
After 1.5 hrs I was getting a bit worried when I seen a dust cloud in the distance and my grey Tacoma coming my way. He ended up climbing a high ridge and spotted a rig parked glassing. Meeting up with 2 older fellows from Reno they had seen our truck and gave him a ride to it. Still not sure where I was since he’d not marked my location. He looked at the map and thought I might be on the road heading south of our camp which we had not explored yet. Sure enough he guessed right and we got the meat iced up good and went back and broke camp.
Overall we had a great trip and was very happy with the buck I took. I feel very lucky to be able to still get out and enjoy what I love and to share it with my son.