Most of my friends that have hunted with me over the years, know that I have little patience to sit and wait, though in more recent years I have found that I have grown to be more patient. Thus they know that I love to glass, find and stalk the Mulies and Lopes.
This story is about chasing Antelope in the Grizzly Hunt Unit in Oregon during Archery Antelope Season some years back. In the past one would put in for the premier rifle areas for Antelope and make the second choice for archery, knowing you would get an archery tag. I drew the Gerber Reservoir tag for many years and had a blast chasing and harvesting Lopes in the Sycan area.
Then the Grizzly Hunt Unit became a choice for Archery Antelope and the first couple of years it was easy to get the tag as a second choice. Having hunted for elk and deer in the Grizzly Unit since the early eights and seeing pretty good numbers of Antelope – Pronghorns, it was a great choice to hunt.
There were a great number of areas to hunt Lopes in the Grizzly Unit for public lands in the Grizzly Unit carried Lopes with some numbers. The National Grasslands was a great place, along with the BLM both in the Northern Sector and near Ashwood, Oregon.
Many of friends think I am off the wall with some of my mannerisms when it comes to hunting. First off I would never relieve myself in an area that I hunt and I am going to have a wide stance so none of my sense is getting on my boots or pants.
Then there is the issue with sunglasses, I would always wear sunglasses during the day and “Photo Grays” for the evening hunts. I felt if the game, especially Antelope can’t see my eyes or movement then I could close the gap on them. I always wore a hat and a backpack with the spotting scope & tripod sticking out of the top. It is what it is with habits and wearing the same pants on every hunt! Terrible that it may be I wore blue jeans as my basic pants! It has never been about hiding from animals, only other humans.
Let’s get onto the Antelope hunt in the Grizzly Unit this time frame in my life! Realizing that story is based on a hunt in the 80’s, things have not changed other than I might hunt more waterholes now as I grow older.
My equipment in those years was P.S.E. Mach Flite 4 Bow 70# 29″ Draw, Easton Arrows, P.S.E. Brute 3 125gr. Broadhead, Stanislawski Sight (Globe), Stanislawski Overdraw Rest (Mel Built for me) and Stanislawski Superb Rest (attached to the overdraw). The length of the arrows are 25 ½’ with a speed of 340 fps!
The weather was great and was able to find Antelope in the numbers in the area around Haystack Reservoir and Grays Butte. This was going to be a usual weekend hunt only as I could be make it their in about 1 ½ hours from my home in east Portland. On Saturday I made a number of stalks after spotting lone bucks to within 100 yards. Funny how that distance is workable with Antelope. There were not many does around to mess up my stalks. What I needed was to find Bucks that would be in areas with more cover. The area that I hunted had little water and the Lopes would range into the private for water. Saturday ended with no success, but I would make the most of the following day.
The following day I would work the area on just south of Grizzly Mountain, which was always a great area to find Antelope and Mule deer. It was a time that the road in was not gated off and one could work a lot of area. Now it is gated off, yet it is only because about 100 yards of the road touches private. If one wants to hunt it present day they will have to come around from the west and do a great deal of walking.
I found a lone buck at about 1000 yards while glassing an area that I could find Antelope at any given time. The stalk was on and I was able to move quickly, even run as there were bulldozer cuts in the land for fire lines. Settling down I was within 80 yards of the buck, which I figured to be about 14″ with decent mass making him a shooter on this weekend hunt. The wind was blowing off the mountain as it was getting late into the day. His attention was to the direction of the mountain and with the wind (heavy) I was able to move in on him to 45 yards. It was still a time that I used fingers and as I came up from the crotch position I was a full draw. I aim at this chest and released the shaft, he made no movement as the wind was making a lot of noise and his head was turned away from me. I missed the mark and hit him in the shoulder and the arrow did not pass through him, but yet looked deep enough that he would not go far.