First of all I want to say thank you very much for all the help…
Well I put in for a muzzleloader antelope tag down around Beatys Butte. I knew this hunt would be crazy hard being it was muzzleloader and it’s after rifle season if I even drew it.
I was at work helping dig and lay storm drain when my foreman got super excited and started yelling that he drew his dream hunt. Well of course I had to check my draw results. Holy smokes I drew my lope tag. Throughout the day I checked 4 or 5 times and each time the website said I drew it. So that night I started studying google maps and started researching field judging and just all sorts of things. I get a hold of Frank not knowing who he was and I picked his brain. Told him I was buying onX HUNT Oregon and pairing it up with a Garmin 64s.
Weekend before 4th of July (my anniversary weekend) we make the 9 hour trek to scout around some areas Frank gave me. We see a few goats but they were few and far between. A couple of decent bucks were spotted.
A month later after studying a ton on onX HUNT I decided to go look at an area that was behind some private property that had a few water holes. I see a ton of Antelope and 3 really good shooters.
I head down the day before season and meet up with a buddy named Jeff. We get camp all setup and we decided to take the Razor out for a cruise to scout. We see a few antelope nothing to spectacular but I’m in good spirits seeing some.
Next morning we head out before daylight out to where we see some goats the night before. Right at daylight we decided to give 2 smaller bucks a pass and we kept on heading out. We glass a few decent lopes that may have been shooters but they were so far away and we really didn’t have a good advantage point to get a real good idea if they were shooters or not.
We decided to head back towards where we see the smaller bucks. We look 600 yards in front of us and we see a bunch of Mulie does and one loner Lope together. We see he had good cutters and good mass and it was game on. We close within 120 or so yards take a look and liked his mass and cutters. Took the shot and down he goes I’m tagged out by 0715.
We take a few pics get him to the Razor and ride 6 or 7 miles back to camp. I get him caped out and put in the coolers. We tear down camp as fast as we can load up the Razor and I get to Sewell’s Taxidermy as fast as I could. Seeing a ton of Antelope on the way out with a huge smile on my face. I get to Sewell’s and they were very impressed with this buck being my first lope ever and with a muzzleloader at that. Well they tell me that he looks like he might be a book buck. He tapes it for a green score real quick and green he came out 74 inches.
I would have gone in 100 percent blind if it wasn’t for frank helping me out with some waypoints. Yes I branched out and found my own little honey hole, but I would have went out to a couple of those spots if my morning hunt was a bust. Great guy and very knowledgeable. Thank you again!!!
Thanks a lot for directions that you sent me. I scouted from Wednesday to Friday and cover more than 200+ miles. Majority of the scouting was in my Ford truck in 4wd low range. I found a dandy buck on Tuesday morning on the south side of the Mahogany’s running off three other bucks from his 6 doe harem, between water and the bedding area. This I know, because I had spotted him and the doe’s the day before just as they entered the brush at 10AM. I camped in my Ford FX4 truck high above them that night and would hunt down in the morning.
The next morning I worked myself out on the bluff I figured I could find him. I found him, ranged him in at 350 yards with my Bushnell rangefinder and made the 1 shot kill with my Browning A-Bolt in a 7mm Remington Mag, topped with a Leupold V-3 4.5×14 50MM Gold Ring scope. Other items in my bag to make the hunt successful were my Garmin GPS with onXmaps HUNT Oregon chip and GIS hunt map.
The following story is one of the best that I have read on an Oregon Pronghorn Hunt. As you can see Ken is a man of detail and the results show! Thanks Ken!
I would like to share my hunt experience with you since that’s the condition you gave me when you helped me with advice, locations and mapping.”
The first phase of my hunt was preparation. I had 12 points and decided it was time to quit doing point savers and get into the hunt. I prepared an antelope worksheet, which I have attached. My criteria were significant public land, a projected draw range around 12 points, and a high harvest percentage. The Warner Unit second season looked like a good possibility. Next I searched the internet for hours looking for any information on Warner. I didn’t find much, but nothing negative and the general consensus was a good number of bucks, although maybe not the next B&C record. Then I found the Bwana Bubba website and made contact. You sent GPS waypoints and I managed to get them into my Magellan GPS and Topo! software. Also at your recommendation I bought the Oregon Hunting Maps premier subscription from onXmaps HUNT for my iPad. No cell service but I had pre-cached the maps and the iPad GPS worked like a charm. Excellent suggestion and worth the price. I also called and spoke with your friend Craig, the ODFW Bio for the area. He was very helpful and I had enough information to decide to put in for the tag, which I drew. After drawing I drove down and visited Craig in Lakeview. We went through the maps I’d printed and we strategized the four main areas to hunt in order of preference. The #1 area based on water and animal count this year was from about Luce Lake north to just above Colvin Lake. There were also some springs still running in Coyote Hills that made that #1A. The northernmost section of the unit was so dry this year the antelope had moved down to the area I hoped to hunt. I spent the rest of that day driving around the unit to get the lay of the land and headed home.
The next phase of my hunt was learning about Antelope hunting first hand. I borrowed my friend’s Rhino and trailered it into my chosen hunt area late the night before season. I slept in my rig and was up early for opening day. It took a couple hours to find the goats but as I got within a few miles of water they started appearing. The main area I hunted was around Colvin Lake and north and east to Cement Springs in the Coyote Hills. As I was driving down a road (road means you drive on the same big rocks as everywhere else but the grass is shorter) I came across a hunter packing out a beautiful antelope – the consensus of guys who later saw it was 82-83 – and gave him a ride several miles back to his camp past Colvin. I tried to put the sneak on a group I saw heading into water at Colvin but hunters were already set up there so the shooting began before I got there. I headed out to other areas and saw bucks other guys had taken and chatted with the State Troopers cruising through the unit. Late that afternoon I travelled back in towards where the guy with the big goat had been and sneaked into a lake about half a mile long north and east of Colvin (see google earth picture attached). Throughout the day I had seen just one buck on the hoof but I spent time practicing sneaking in on the does to see what worked and practice my skills. Now down at the water I watched as one, two, three and then four herds came to water. I noted the time they showed up and the locations, as well as their behavior. This was my first antelope hunt and I needed all the intel I could get. I checked out a fair number of antelope through binos but observed no bucks. After some time the herd furthest away (about half mile) showed some activity and in the binos I saw some chasing going on. Interesting. Then I noticed one of the lopes had a prominent black cheek patch. “Hey – that’s a buck! And I can see horns at half a mile!”
The final phase of my hunt was the stalk. Because there were some junipers and pines along my side of the lake I eased back to their outer edge and started heading down towards where the buck and does were. Covering distance on that terrain is not quick and I needed to be careful so as not to be spotted. By the time I got down to the opposite end of the lake all I could find were big-eyed cows staring up at me. I couldn’t find the herd but as I looked into the distance across the sage there was a nice buck. I hit the ground and kept watching in the binos as he was a quarter mile out, alternatively grabbing a bite of sage and trotting away. He was nervous but could not see me as I had the setting sun to my back. I watched him over the horizon and consoled myself with the thought he’d be back tomorrow at the same time so I’ll come an hour earlier. I headed back to put glass on the other herds, by now moving away from the water. It was at that point I thought I should at least walk the country the buck had gone into so I was familiar with it in case I needed to go in there the next day. As I walked out across the sage, I saw him coming back towards the lake. Again I hit the ground. He cut the distance between us, moving from my right to my left heading towards the lake.
The sun was now quite low and every time he went behind any sort of bush or tall scrub I bent as low as I could and cut whatever distance I could. I kept my shadow pointing at him as he moved so the sun was always in his eyes. He just ambled obliviously towards the lake. I figured in all the excitement he forgot to get a drink of water and was heading back. When he went behind some scrub trees near the lake I moved as far forward as possible and figured I was at 150 yards from having ranged things earlier. Then I saw why he went back – there were three does heading toward him from the lake. Now I was in trouble, though, because there were a lot more eyes and they had a better angle on me. As I reached forward to flip out the bipod on my rifle in preparation for a potential shot, all three does busted me. They took off running from my left to my right across the sage. The buck took off running behind them in the same direction. I knew there were no people the direction I was shooting and had no time to do anything but take an off-hand shot at a running antelope. So I pulled up standing and located a small juniper tree ahead of the does, putting my cross-hairs on its right side. As soon as the does ran behind it and came out the other side I counted running antelope through the scope, “One, two, three…” and timed the movement of my rifle so I was already swinging to the right just as the buck came into the crosshairs. I squeezed off one shot and watched as the antelope hunched, staggered several steps, and fell to the ground. The shot felt good, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I was surprised. The 180 grain .300 Win Mag went through both lungs, and I couldn’t be more excited. I had just enough sunlight to get some pictures before the work began.
The bottom line is this: Thank you for the great help – the hunt would not have been the success it was without it!
Ken Dixon – Professionals Pursuing the Perfect Project
I would love to say I have stories to go with the following pictures, but I do not have stories. Yes I gave out waypoints for the hunters and I am told the were killed with in 1 miles of on of my waypoints. My understanding that Holly T had chances for two (2) bucks over water and harvested her buck with one arrow in 2012. The other two bucks were harvested in 2013 a couple of days apart by Mark and Jim. I will have to see if I can attach a link to the video’s they made of the hunt in the Warner Unit of Oregon. John Mark does work for an bow manufacturer (Bowtech) in Oregon. He lives by the bow and is a most successful hunter.
John Mark, plus his family and friends do shoot Bowtech!
If you would like to get a hold of their video you can find it on the following site:
As you can see the Warner Unit which has not been devastated by Coyote predication on the Antelope fawns, has lead to a great herd in this unit! I do believe that if we add up the rifle hunters and bow hunters, my hunters are at 100% harvest in the Warner Unit!
This is an interesting hunt that turned out to be a successful hunt for Ace who was hunting with his father. This is not the first time I have had similar accounts on hunting Lopes. Lopes can be crafty and escape a great stalk. A hunter can misjudge the distance as Antelope – Pronghorns are smaller than deer, so it can be difficult to judge the distance. WELL DONE ACE!
Dear – Frank
We got there on Friday and scouted til dark. We made the big loop and only saw 5 animals. Got up the next morning just before light and went out. It was too dark to see when we left camp so we waited on one of the roads leading to a water hole. I looked over and saw two bucks about 400 yards to our left and Ace shot at one that had a good size rack. Ace missed with 3 shots and they ran off.
The GPS was a Magellan and I couldn’t figure out the software or the unit and so I don’t have the coordinates and we ended up using the BLM maps we got in Burns on Friday. I have always used Garmin’s but a friend lent me this Magellan. The range finder was kind of useless because laying on your belly it gave bad readings and if you stand up the antelope can see you for a long ways.
We went down the road a ways more and saw some of to the right. He crawled out to get a shot and got a shot in a sitting position but also missed. He thinks he was shooting under the animals because the range finder was not accurate in the sagebrush. Then we saw at least one hundred (100) Antelope come over the ridge, but saw three (3) hunters and away they went from us.
As Ace was coming back to the rig we saw one male and six does about eight hundred (800) yards out but no way to get to them. We drove out the main road and headed North we went out another road and saw two groups out on a ridge. Ace crawled out to the gully and come down into it till he thought he was under them. I was watching at the rig with the spotting scope and he came up right under them with my guidance (hand signals). When he got to the top of the ridge they spooked and he got of a shot but missed again.
He decided that he needed to fire his gun when he was in the prone position because offhand and sitting he shook too much. We went out to the main road again and headed North and took a road East. He saw some out at a distance and crawled out to a point where he could get a shot and not be seen by the antelope. He took a shot and dropped this antelope. I drove out in the sagebrush to where the buck dropped, about 3/4 mile from the road. We field dressed it and quarterd it out right there and put the meat in the huge cooler on ice.
A few things we learned. Its hard to sneak up on Antelope on flat ground. Range finders are useless in flat ground with sagebrush. Knee pads are essential for crawling up on Antelope on your belly. You need to be able to cool the meat down fast. Walkie talkies are a great thing to have for communication. Its hard work to get a good shot at an Antelope. Thanks for the GPS points but we hunted on the west side of the unit and your points were for the east side mostly.
We appreciate your thoughtfulness. – Dennis and Ace Clark
Another Technical Hunter Scores in the S. Wagontire Unit
This is the third (3rd) hunter to hunt in the S. Wagontire Unit in Oregon for Antelope that has written a great story about the hunt in manner of being technical. It is put in this post as I received it and a well done piece by: Brandon. Pictures will be placed at the end of the article!
I hadn’t been applying for the South Wagontire Pronghorn tag for very long. This spring when my brother Derek and I applied as a party we averaged 4 points. We know some people who apply for the same tag and watch the numbers so we know it takes about thirteen Preference Points for a resident to get a tag. So as you can imagine, the last thing I expected was for my brother to call and rouse me out of bed for something “very important” and inform me of the luck we’d both just received. Two Pronghorn tags after only four years of applying; we could only hope for such wonderful luck when it came to killing bucks come August. How could this be? Oregon uses a percentage of the total allotted tags for a hunt to give all applicants a chance at a tag before they draw numbers for those with Preference Points. I for one am glad they do.
As you can imagine we had some work cut out for ourselves if we were going to be ready for this hunt as we didn’t expect tags for at least eight more years. We needed to figure out our options for rifles and loads, transportation, camping arrangements, transport of game, and many other smaller but no less important aspects of this exciting hunt. I read all the books I could find on the animals and spent some time looking at photo and video of Antelope bucks in order to familiarize myself with a “shooter.”
If you think you might want to shoot a Pronghorn, you are going to need to do some homework. You will want to have some hunting experience and you will need to be patient, prepared, and flexible. It helps to know some people who know some people and remember to make friends as you go. I owe a debt of gratitude to several people for their contributions to my hastily prepared, surprise Pronghorn hunt.
The first step was to start asking around. We had never even been on an Antelope hunt before. I personally had never even seen one. I work in the Sporting Goods department at a major Northwest membership store and was able to glean a lot of information from some of my more experienced customers. My brother and I both had good conversations with Craig Foster, a Wildlife Biologist in the Lakeview office. He gave us some good information in regards to herd density in specific areas of the unit as well as what class of bucks we might expect in those areas. He did let us know the overall population in the unit was a little lower than he had hoped for but not significantly so. In a later conversation he told us the major contributing factor to the low populations is due to poor fawn recruitment. If you’ve ever been to this unit this would come as no surprise as the leading predator of Pronghorn fawns, the coyote, are as thick as flies around a sorghum mill. As an aside we have plans to return with dog guns and a FoxPro to give the coyotes a dose of hell for what they’ve done to the young Pronghorns in the area. Overall Foster supplied us with a good understanding of what is going on in the unit.
Being members of an Oregon hunting forum my brother started a thread asking for some help. We got a lot of responses on the thread and after sorting through all the information we had a couple of pieces of good information. The best advice we got on the forum was to try and get ahold of Bwanabubba. Now Bwanabubba isn’t his given name and Cobra isn’t either. I contacted him via email through his site Bwana Bubba and learned he is a fine gentleman known to his friends as Frank. Frank was a big help to me and my brother. He gave us sound information to get our heads wrapped around Pronghorn hunting in South Wagontire. He even sent us GPS waypoints to good areas to look into when we scouted the area and eventually hunted it. One thing Frank did which was a great help to us, was to put us in contact with David K who had hunted the unit two years previous and killed a nice buck. You can read David’s story on the Bwanabubba site too; look for “The Average Joe.” If you have read Franks Guide to Successful Big Game Hunts you know that a successful hunter “listen[s] to people that have been successful in hunting.” That is exactly what I did. I had a real nice conversation with David on the phone and we exchanged several follow up emails. David was able to make time for us and actually came out to scout for us and show us around the unit some on opening day. David gave very generously of his time and even lent me some equipment that I don’t own. I like to think we have made a new friend in David and look forward to spending some more days in the field with him.
Pronghorn Antelope live in wide open spaces on the desert plains of Oregon so it is a good idea to leave the 45-70 at home and bring your flat shooter that chisels bullet holes one after the other. Derek opted to bring a Remington 25-06 borrowed from a friend and I brought my Remington chambered in 280 Remington. One aspect of this hunt I had been looking forward to was the chance to develop a 120 grain load that was hopefully accurate as well as fast. I knew I wanted to use a 120 grain because of the potential for speed. So I looked at the available bullets and compared them across the board from ballistic coefficients to projectile integrity once inside the game. I narrowed it down to either the Nosler Ballistic Tip hunting or the Barnes Tipped Triple Shock X bullet. Both of these bullets are known for their devastating effects on game. I want to eat as much of the meat as possible when I kill a game animal. I have known the Ballistic Tip Hunting bullet to over fragment in game and leave too much behind so I chose the Barnes. The Barnes bullets are a bit more money but if I have to wait 13 years for my next South Wagontire Antelope tag I am not going to worry about a few more cents per round this season. Bullets being chosen It was time to settle on a powder. My rifle likes IMR 4831, a lot. Shooting the 140 grain Accubonds I have gotten groups just a touch under a half inch at 100 yards. They weren’t particularly speedy compared to the Hornady Light Magnum stuff but they shot pretty well. I chose Remington cases because they have always been the most consistent brass in my collection. Barnes says their TTSX bullets like to be set .030-.070 inches off the rifling so I loaded a few groups of increasing grains of 4831 with the TTSX set .050 off the rifling. The next week Derek and I were able to get out and do a little shooting. Derek sighted in the Hornady Superformance loads first and, after a little trouble with the Bi-pod affecting his zero, was eventually able to get a satisfactory group shooting off my sand bag. The first group I shot had 58 grains of powder and was pretty respectable at barely over one minute of angle. The next group was a little tighter just under an inch with 59 grains. The third group was the winner though. At 60 grains the case was completely filled with powder and one grain under maximum. It shot like a dream ¾ of an inch including one that I knew I had pulled. I loaded up a box worth of this load in the next few days and headed off to the range with my chronograph to see just what I had exactly. The results of the range work? Three hole group in 0.323 inches with an average velocity of 3240 feet per second. If that isn’t an antelope load I don’t know what is. Happy with my load and optimistic with the info I had gotten from several fine gentleman it was time to scout the country and see what a Pronghorn looked like in person.
Since we are both working men with families we didn’t have much time to scout so we had to do it in a single day, no overnight, and two young sons in tow. Now since my boys were coming along we also couldn’t go in the truck and actually went scouting in a Dodge Neon. I know, I know, we must be crazy. That may be true but it was go in the car or don’t go at all. From the conversation I had with David I was expecting to see quite a few Antelope and a good portion of bucks. This didn’t happen for us because we couldn’t cover very much ground in the car. Going was slow and careful. The only Antelope we saw in the interior of the unit were so far off they were barely discernible. We did see some wild horses though and eventually saw an antelope buck on the way out. I hoofed it to a waterhole David had suggested and found it rather full of water but unfortunately it also had a rotting cow lying out in the middle of it. It was disappointing not to see very many Pronghorns but we weren’t discouraged. We saw plenty of tracks and got a good idea of what the country was like and most importantly we now knew just what a Speed Goat in the wild looks like.
When it came time to head east for the hunt we would be going in my brothers Ford Ranger and we would be packing light and camping wherever we found a spot in the unit. That little Ranger was stuffed to the gills. We brought a couple of Coleman extreme coolers for our victuals and to bring Antelope back in once successful. Derek devised a handy rack to hold the coolers off the bed of the truck giving us more room for camping essentials. We used a 5 gallon beverage cooler in the truck for our drinking water and occasionally refilled it with ice to keep it cool. We would get our fuel at the Chewaucan garage while we were there and the friendly folks there would allow us use of their hose to re-up our supply off drinking water. While refueling there during the scouting trip we learned of a local resident who operates a walk-in during the season and hangs your meat for a reasonable fee. That took care of the question of what to do once we had one killed.
Friday evening before the opener my wife was competing in a local pageant to “rain” as the Slug Queen of our home town. Obviously getting to our camp a day early was out of the question so we left early Saturday morning though not too early. We opted to sacrifice a few hours of the season to get a healthy amount of sleep before kicking things off. We met up with David in Paisley and fueled up before heading in country. He had been able to do some scouting for us Friday night and he had some bad news for us. There wasn’t any water anywhere that he had found so it would be difficult to pattern the Antelopes. We were determined to keep our thoughts positive though so we just started trucking in to see what we could come up with. It wasn’t long before we saw Prairie Goats in the numbers we had expected. They were all on private ranch land on that first day but seeing nearly 70 animals was definitely a boon to lift our spirits. We spent the rest of the day trying to spot Lopes while looking for water.
Sunday we decided to head east deeper into the interior checking every spot on the map that looked like a depression that may hold water. We weren’t having much luck when on the way to a potential waterhole we spotted some wild horses in what looked like a very small depression that we couldn’t believe would hold water with everything so dry. We watched the horses for a while then continued up the road suggesting checking for water where the horses were on the way back out. Once we had determined our original destination was as dry as the Sahara we headed back to the little waterhole the horses were at when I spotted Antelope on the slope right by the water hole. We glassed them and determined there was one buck in the band of ten and he looked like a shooter. As we were glassing and racking our brains on how to get close to these animals a small plane flew over very low and spooked the Antelope away. I don’t know who was in that plane but they were definitely not friends of ours. When we checked the hole we found water. Not much of it but it was apparently enough.
It was on the way out of the area that we experienced a flat. I strongly urge airing down out there. Some of the roads leave a lot to be desired; seemingly paved with large rocks and boulders. Passenger tires will not cut it. At least we got a chance to refill our water cooler as the able young gents at the Chewaucan Garage fixed the flat.
Monday morning started in makeshift hides within shooting distance of the little waterhole. Confession time, sitting and waiting for game is not for me. I found it excruciating trying to sit still and stay awake. Then when the coyotes came in I wanted nothing more than to let ‘em have it but I couldn’t risk firing my rifle and spooking any thirsty lopes within hearing distance. After four hours more sitting than we could stand we were off to see if we could find any more water. We encountered thirteen antelope the rest of the day in groups of 1-4 but no bucks.
Tuesday morning was a repeat of Monday morning. Another excruciating wait for nothing, I wondered how long we could keep doing this? For the afternoon we decided to head to a super secret spot Frank had been keeping in his back pocket. It was way further north than the area we were hunting in thus far. We also found that maps can’t be trusted in this country. They suggest roads exist where they don’t, or at least don’t any longer. Considering what passes for a road around there anyway, it sure adds a lot of frustration when it becomes clear the road you were headed for has been returned to boulders and sage. The super secret spot was just one of these places we couldn’t get to because “the road don’t go there no more.”
We weren’t half way to the secret waterhole when appearing out of nowhere two nice bucks that I’d say were 15 inchers are laying tracks in the draw just as fast as you could imagine. They were much too far out and moving too quick to even dream of getting a shot so we watched them to see what they’d do and they slowed down and started to browse about half a mile away. We thought since they stopped we ought to be able to make a stalk so we grabbed the essentials and headed up the back side of the ridge. We got up to where we last saw them and the terrain there was just perfect for one of us to sneak up to the edge and have a shot. It was going to be perfect. One problem though. Those speedy little buggers had gone further up the draw while we were slipping up the back side. I was really starting to get excited so wasn’t about to give up on the opportunity but Derek wasn’t feeling too well so he waited while I went ahead. I went further up the ridge in the direction they’d originally headed to see if they were over the next rise. They were there alright, but they had me pegged. I could only see their heads looking straight at me from about three hundred yards. A three hundred yard headshot on the top of a ridge in 97° heat and a swirling breeze isn’t exactly a slam dunk for me so I backed out a little and set up a flagging decoy I had made to see if it would coax them closer. It didn’t have the magnetic pull I had hoped for. They were only mildly curios until they became nervous enough to vacate the premises completely.
A rifle shot in the distance called me back to where my brother was resting. I made haste back and found my brother with a little story to tell. He had been feeling a little light headed and actually blacked out for a few seconds. Let this be a warning to those who attempt this country. It is hot here, hotter than it seems. My brother’s problem wasn’t dehydration as you may suspect, he had plenty of water, but rather nutrition. We found we had little appetite in the peaceful comfort of the desert. Luckily that was the only safety concern we had the whole trip because we recognized the problem and remedied it by tucking in the groceries.
Wednesday morning the dread of returning to the hide at the waterhole was of course mixed with the hope of returning Antelope. After three hours of trying to stay awake in the blind, the cold coffee from breakfast was wearing off and I nodded off for a while. When I opened my eyes two does were on the edge or the waterhole. I nudge Derek and whisper “They’re here.”
“They’re here?” he returns.
“They’re here.” I say.
“Who’s here?” asks Derek.
“The antelope!” I nod.
I got into firing position and waited in hopes more would come out of the sage to join these two adventurous does but none ever did. They started coming out of the waterhole. One here, one there. Eight of the ten had slipped in and down to the waterhole without alerting us, the alpha predators that we are. The old pump was really starting to bang when number six walked out sporting headgear. I was steady enough over the bi-pod I’d borrowed from David but that buck wouldn’t stand clear of his ladies. What was I to do? He went back in for another drink. Where will he come up? Will I have a shot? He came back up on the opposite side of the waterhole. Sauntered slowly broadside and took a Barnes bullet like a champ. The whole band ran a few steps at the shot and the buck circled a few yards to the near side of the waterhole and looked back where he had been standing. He apparently didn’t know he’d been shot. Then he started to falter, leaned back, and bicycled his front hooves before settling down for his last rest.
As it turned out the bullet entered between ribs and exited between ribs and left virtually no bloodshot behind. The fact that the bullet passed through so cleanly was probably what kept him from knowing he’d been shot. After a quick field dress we loaded the buck into my brother’s Ranger and made our way straight into town. We had him skinned and in the cooler little more than an hour after loading him up. The gentleman who operates the cooler has a nice electric hoist that makes skinning a breeze. He even let us use some of his tools later when we packed the Lope on ice for the trip back home. I must really stress here that the geniality Paisley showed me and my brother in our short time in their town has never been paralleled.
With my tag filled early enough in the day, we spent the afternoon trying to locate a buck for Derek. We decided it was time to check out the seeding west of Abert. We were lucky enough to run into another small band. Derek tried to make his way closer to them but the lay of the terrain in their vicinity didn’t give him much of a chance. I was able to see them make a very large circle and head down toward the lake and way off to the east.
Having seen a decent group the night before we headed to the Abert seeding again to see if we could make a go of our final day on Thursday. We eventually spotted a couple bucks as they ran away from us at a distance I estimate was in the neighborhood of a mile and a half.
We met a local guide while hunting out there and he told us this was the toughest season he had seen in forty years guiding in that country. That makes me feel good that we were able to make it happen on a nice buck this year. We will come back again when we have the points and try for a trophy. Hunting the desert of Oregon for Pronghorn was a totally new experience for us and for me was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in the field. I am going to make as many trips out there as I can to enjoy it. Coyote hunting, maybe some jackrabbits and squeaks, and I hear the fishing can be great in the local rivers. I’m hooked on desert Antelope.
I would love to tell you where this buck was taken, but I promised that I would not give out the exact location. For two (2) years a couple of the fellows in the circle have taken dandy Antelopes from this area in S.E. Oregon. It is a Pronghorn Archery Hunt Unit that takes about 5-7 preference points to get draw. As my biologist that I have known for more years than I can remember told me recently that Oregon has monster Lopes in every unit, “it is just a matter of having the time and patience to find them”.
I myself have hunted a number of units with the arrow and have been fortunate to harvest some big Antelope Bucks! So I know from scouting in almost all of the units that there dandy bucks everywhere.
Pictures from the 2011 Oregon Archery Antelope – Pronghorn Hunt: