Tag Archives: Oregon Hunts – Pronghorn

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Oregon Coyotes in numbers

Let us not forget about the resilient Coyote that roams all of North American. Ever thought about asking a chicken or duck farmer to hunt the Coy Dogs that will lay in wait free roaming egg layers…

Having recently talked with a ODFW Bio, the news is out that the Coyotes are eating well! There is an over abundance of Rodents and Rabbits in S.E. Oregon. Time for hunters to get out reduce the Coyote numbers if they want Pronghorn and Deer fawn survival in the future!
Keeping this short with an ending comment!
“If you can’t call in a Coy  Dog, you don’t know how to call” (CF)

If you want to find the big boys you need to take out the Coy Dogs!

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – You just have to ask!

 

Just asking you might gain access…

Getting permission to hunt a parcel of land is just like being a salesperson. If you don't ask for the sale, most customers don't think you care…   You won't get the Sale!

2017 is know ahead for all of us to hunt.  The 2nd Amendment is safe.  Most states have the 2017 Hunting Regulations out.  Doing your research early, before having to put your applications can lead to success.  Scouting prior to application deadline and or long before your chosen hunt unit is critical for success.   I write and talk about onXmaps HUNT all the time about being one of the great keys to un-lock hunting success.  It is all true!  To be one of the 10% that take 90% of the game, then you have to absorb the positive and proven tips that are given to to by the successful 10%…

I want you to think about this scenario, you have been driving by a ranch, vineyard, farm, tree farm or just some private harvested timber land.  There are No Trespassing Signs and No Hunting posted on fence posts and trees, with game animals abounding and you notice a number of Coyotes working the area.  The signs have no phone numbers or names.  What to do you ask yourself, there is no way I am gaining access to hunt…  

There are many ways to get it done and as great salesperson you can make it happen in many cases.  First off I would purchased  onXmaps HUNT and have it on your Smart phone,  I suggest to have a Garmin GPS (colored screen-micro SD chip slot) also.

Working the different parcels of privately own properties your interested in, you will know the land owner's name/names and in some cases the Trustee because you have onXmaps HUNT.   Now via Whitepages, and other public knowledge websites, you can get the phone number.  Relax, take a breath and be sure you have a smile on your face when talk on the phone…

So many times over the course of life, I meet people while in the field, so asking who owns the land when you see a neighbor, should be no big deal.  Even going so far asking the neighbor how can I get a hold of the landowner is not out of the question.  Many times in the remote area, there might b an old cafe or gas station.  Another great way to gather information.

For many years I drove by a large piece of rural land that was growing wild radishes.  I thought they were weeds. I would see a couple of B&C and many P&Y Willamette Blacktails.  Finally when I got my first sample of HUNTINGGPSMAPS (onXmaps HUNT) from the company, I was able to dial in the future vineyard owner's name.  I did a little background on the owner to make sure I had the correct person.  I called and told the owner that I drove by his place almost everyday.  That I would love to be able to take pictures of the deer on the property.  I asked permission to be able to photograph first.  It was early May, within  couple of months noticing the Coyotes and that he had chickens and geese free ranging, I called him again, I told him I could help reduce the Coyote population.  Finally in early August I asked for permission to bow for the deer.  I was informed by Michael (owner) that he intended to raise grapes.  In the State of Oregon to have venue events, you need a vineyard…  The following year with a rifle tag and bow tag, I asked if I could hunt deer with a rifle.  That privilege was also granted.  It also help to have a common bond.  Micheal was a Combat Engineer in Nam and I was a Navy Spook attached to the Marines in Nam. Brothers…

You have to remember that not all ranchers, farmers, and landowners are in it monetary when it comes to hunting.  I would bet that if a landowner is approached in the proper mindset, permission would be granted more times than rejected. 

Over the years, hunters that I have met and talked to about the subject, give me back positive feedback.  Yes sometimes  they mend fences, bring a bottle, bring Salmon, ride a fence line, give a knife, buy dinner in town, but that is from the heart to a new friend.  Myself, I have hunted more ranches and farms than I can count. Many have border public land that I primarily hunt or fish during my lifespan! I have never paid cash for access, yet at certain times of the year, they might have something on their doorstep…

Use onXmaps HUNT products to gain the knowledge to gain access to private land.  It also will be the tool to know the landowners that border public land and vice versa.

IF YOU DON'T ASK, YOU'LL NEVER KNOW!

Frank Biggs aka Bwana Bubba

 

 

Scott’s 2016 Juniper Pronghorn Hunt

Juniper is one of the premier Oregon Pronghorn Hunts

“I am also a long time subscriber to onXmaps and use it religiously.”

First off..  Thank you Frank for the tips…  As many know the Juniper unit antelope hunt is an incredible opportunity.  I was fortunate to have unexpectedly drawn the coveted tag with only a single preference point.  The news came as a great surprise and the time to scout was severely limited with my prior commitments.  This lead me to some online research and the discovery of the Bwana Bubba Adventurers.  Upon contact with Frank, he sent me some places to look in search of antelope.  This being my 5th Oregon antelope tag, I had set my sights on killing a high caliber animal.  This is my story…..

Scott and son checking out a herd of Pronghorn in the Juniper Unit in Oregon
Scott and son checking out a herd of Pronghorn in the Juniper Unit in Oregon

On to the hunt…  Due to previous commitments with my oldest son, I was unable to make the season opener and did not arrive in the unit until Monday afternoon.  My son and I quickly setup camp, made a sandwich and headed out in search of our quarry.  We immediately headed for a spot Frank had pinpointed for us.  We weren’t 15 minutes from the trailer when I had spotted an animal apparently fleeing a waterhole that someone was driving into.  It was immediately evident the animal was a billie antelope and we fought to get into a better position to see.  We caught up with him 4-5 different times, but every time he was 750+ yards away and we just couldn’t make a good determination what caliber animal he was.  Based on the glances of occasional clarity, he appeared to be a really solid billie with good height and prong length.  This guy’s worth a second look…   The adventure continued into the sage and a few hours passed before any antelope were spotted in some nearby fields.  There were a few billies, but nothing worth watching to see if an exit from private was going to be a probability.  The evening found us trekking across what seemed to be an endless plateau of sage in search of the billie we had encountered earlier in the day.  As we hiked in search of our prey, the probability of killing an animal in 4-5’ tall sagebrush seemed a monumental task.  As darkness overcame us, the billie had gave us the slip and was securely hidden in his native territory.

Day 2 – We awoke early and headed to another location marked by Frank that allowed us to glass in a Westerly direction.  As the light slowly illuminated the desert floor, we patiently glassed a large bowl full of tall sage.  We found one good representative billie in the 13” range with decent prongs managing a small group of nannies a little over 500 yards from our position.   This was an easy pass and we moved on.  The next few hours we drove, hiked and glassed numerous locations to only find a few nannies and two very young billies.  Upon exiting the area we stopped to speak with another hunter whom was struggling to find any antelope in the area.  With this information and what we had also encountered it was determined to mark this spot off the list of places to revisit.  It was decided to head a little further South and explore during the heat of the day.  The road that separates N. Juniper and S. Juniper seemed like a good choice.  After a dusty 4 hour ride in the truck, we determined our choice was less than stellar…  Not a single antelope had been found upon the stretch of road.  We came out few miles North of the Narrows and made the decision to head further South.  After traveling another hour South we made the turn back into the unit again.  The next 10-12 miles were bumpy and dusty, but our hopes were high despite not locating any animals.  Then, all of a sudden we located several animals.  As we continued to glass, more and more of the tan and white creatures appeared scattered amongst the cattle in the area.  The next several hours were spent locating and investigating billies.  By the time the sun had set we had passed on 10-12 billies ranging in size from 8-13” all within a 3 mile radius.  The drive back to camp was long and filled with discussion around our discovery and future prospects.

Day 3 – Again an early rise took us in search of the billie we saw that first day.  Finding a decent vantage point, we set up and glassed the sea of sage in search of the elusive animal.  As the sun rose and the temperature quickly climbed we decided our search was futile.  No animals to be found….  While departing a billie was located off the side of the road seemingly careless of our presence.  Luckily for him, we again were not interested in what he had to offer and we both moved on our separate ways.  Arriving back at camp, we packed a healthy amount of supplies to ensure lunch and dinner were covered and pointed the truck South again.  Arriving at our location early afternoon we quickly located several groups of antelope.  One group had a dominant billie that was definitely coming into the rut and spent all his time head down checking the nannies.  With the heat waves in full effect, it was quite challenging to judge him at over a mile but we again passed feeling he didn’t meet our standards.  A couple miles further down the road another group was spotted over a mile away and we began closing the gap.  Once within 900 yards we took another look from atop a small rise.  It appeared there was a group of billies and one worth taking a closer look at.  We geared up back at the vehicle and prepared to sneak in for a closer look.  Due to the lack of terrain, we struggled to get within 600 yards of the group.  Finally, by crawling on our hands and knees we closed the gap to 470 yards.  This was when we were able to determine with confidence there was a billie in this group worth our precious tag.  Unable to get into a prone position I was far from comfortable taking a shot at that distance.  A small bunch of taller sage was 70 yards ahead and I felt I could get the needed elevation to setup for an ethical shot.  As we crawled toward the sage two additional billies began running in from the East and gained the attention of the target group.  This gave us the opportunity to quickly close the remaining gap and approach our target.  I quickly began setting up for the shot on the bedded billie.  Before I was able to settle in, the other two billies came into the targeted group and put them into alert.  Before I could react the group had quickly traveled away and was now acting very nervous at 800+ yards away.  A quick assessment found that we could access some tall sage and attempt to move close enough for a shot.  As we progressed thru the tall sage the group again became anxious and didn’t let us get within 600 yards before moving off to a ridgeline where they again met up with yet another group of antelope.  Our cover was good and were able to again move toward the group leveraging the tall sage.  The antelope went over the rise and we picked up the pace.  Looking up a single billie had turned back and was now staring us down at 300 yards.  A quick assessment put him at about 13” so we waited for him to move off and we proceeded toward where the group had went.  Just after cresting the ridgeline a group of antelope materialized on the opposing hillside.  I snuck up to a shooting position and quickly picked out the largest billie.  As the billie chases a few nannies It just didn’t look right to me.  At 450 yards the billie just didn’t look right…  I hesitated long enough for the billie to move out of range.  Just as I sat up to scratch my head and figure out what happened, my other billie came out from under us.  He had been over the roll of the hill and just out of site from our position.  He and the others that were traveling with him now joined the other group that now totaled about 50 animals.  The group seemed to be settling down and we backed off in attempt to parallel their position to get closer.  When we felt we were close to parallel we eased to the edge using sage for cover.  Our silhouettes didn’t even break the ridgeline before the large group began moving away again.  We sat and glassed them as they traveled over the next rise…  Quickly deliberating about our next move we noticed another single billie traveling in our direction.  A quick assessment found him to be too small and we decided to give the group one more chance.  The sun had set and light was quickly leaving as we pushed the half mile to the next vantage point.  We crested the top to see them already 800+ yards away and still moving.  We were unable to get within a ½ mile of them.  Aborting the mission we would come back Thursday and try again….  It was a couple miles back to the truck in the dark and a couple hour drive back to camp that night..  It was decided while traveling back we would move camp in the morning in attempt to be closer to our quarry.

Day 4 – We woke early and immediately worked on breaking camp.  On the road by 9:00 we headed to the Narrows.  A quick check-in at the Narrows campground had us headed for our hunting grounds before lunch.  We again saw a few groups of lopes on the way in and decided the billies were not what we were searching for.  Pulling into the drainage we left the big billie in the night before we parked the truck, gathered our gear and went afoot.  After cresting a rise just out of site of the truck we were immediately pinned by some nannies.   The range was 300 yards as we squatted in the open terrain.  Wouldn’t you know it, they were in curious mode and wanted to check us out.  Not knowing what may be behind them we stayed put.  The nannies came to 64 yards before deciding to lose interest in us.  Unfortunately when they did spook, they went the same direction we were traveling.  We rose up and went about 75 yards when we saw the original group of 8 billies from the day before standing 450 yards away.  I saw the one billie that was noticeably larger than the other 7 and knew this was our group.  I needed a better shooting position and found a mound of dirt 50 yards ahead.  The nannies had now joined the group of billies and they were becoming increasingly anxious.  I quickly got into a shooting position on the mound and my son began calling yardages.  350, 375, 400, 375….  The group was unsure on what direction to depart, I had to shoot quick.  I identified the large billie thru the 95 degree heat shimmer and followed him until he momentarily stopped.  At the report of the rifle the lope immediately dropped in his tracks.  I rolled over and gave some high fives to my son as the remaining group galloped away in a dust storm.  Gathering up our gear we headed over to claim our trophy.  Approaching the billie, there was something wrong….  This was not the billie we had hunted the previous day.  In my haste, after chasing him miles the day before and not being able to get within 800 yards of him, I had taken the wrong animal.  The heat shimmer and my haste had resulted in harvesting the wrong animal.  Although saddened by my actions, we were also very happy with having harvested a beautiful animal that is proving to be excellent table fare.  

Success after a long hunt of checking out many on the run. Great looking Oregon Lope
Success after a long hunt of checking out many on the run. Great looking Oregon Lope

Thanks again Frank for your aid in making this a fantastic trip!

Pronghorn from a previous hunt in Oregon

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Derek’s 2016 Steens Pronghorn Hunt

A new predator in the hood has taken a liking to

Pronghorns the Steens Mountains

Derek's hard earned Pronghorn from the Steens Mountains in Oregon
Derek’s hard earned Pronghorn from the Steens Mountains in Oregon

The most frustrating hunt I have ever had!   Left early Friday morning and after shredding a drive belt on the truck in Madras, Oregon made it to The Narrows south of Burns by 11:00 to start scouting.  The plan was to ask landowners to hunt the pivots in Princeton.   After talking to 3 owners I was informed that they had seen very few antelope this year, in the past there where 100’s and were considered pest.

They rack up the missing antelope to cougar problems.  So that said went to 2nd spot Dry Lake just south.  The lake was half full and had multiple camps around it.   Talk to a few campers/hunters and said they too had seen only a few antelope in the area.  My son and I only saw 1 herd of Lopes that were staying around the Round Barn in Diamond on private land with only a very small buck in the herd.

The week before I had talk to O.D.F.W. & B.L.M., Burns, Oregon and all had said the same thing, very good water year and the antelope were spread out everywhere making them difficult to find.

We moved south to New Moon Rd.  Check out the waypoints I was given from Bwana Bubba based on using onXmaps HUNT and my Garmin GPS and did stop at all overlooks and canyons to spot.  Saw nothing, 3 hours later we were at the end of the road at Fish Lake.  Went to the top of Kiger Gorge and talked with a few camps that we set up on the road leaving the view point.  Again no one had seen Antelope.  Frustrated we headed back down and to the HHH road, above Fish Lake to get away from the main road.    Had a very hard time finding a place to set a tent, thought we might have to set it on the edge of the road at one point.   Found a meadow on a spring head right above Fish Lake on edge of private ground.      With the lots of batches of Aspen trees were surprise at the lack of any animal signs.  The Steens seems to be a dead zone with very little wildlife left…

Started opening morning glassing the open basins to no a fail, only a lonely doe across the Blitzen Canyon.  Decide to break camp around 10:30, and headed back to main road.  Came around the last corner and 20ft in front of the truck are 2 doe Lopes and seconds later 40 more crest the ridge in front of use.   I jump out of the truck and go to the back of the truck and the Lopes all cross in front of use at 50ft away; there was 1 very nice buck in the middle of the herd.  They see a fence in front of them and panic and turn around and pass us again, yet the buck is buried in the middle of the group.  As they crest over the ridge he almost gives me a parting shot, but gone.   We run up the road only to see they are circling the ridge above us heading back towards Fish Lake.  We run up the road and rush to the ridge line were I get an open shot at 150yds, but cannot take it as I knew they were on the wrong side of the  fence on private land.   We watch the herds for over 10 minutes, traveling miles to the top of Kiger Gorge where they were fired on by the hunters camping on top.

Frustrated we went for gas in Frenchglen.  Talking to other hunters, all had the same story can’t find Lopes.  Decided to skip going back to New Moon Rd and opted to head to the South Loop Rd south of Frenchglen.  Drove and glassed for a couple hours.  Lots of water holes and all were still wet.  Saw A few other hunters driving and glassing.  After only seeing herds of horses and cattle heading back towards highway 207, our goal was to find small spur round to get off on our own.  At a junction I saw a rancher unloading his quad and hay bales.  Stop and talked to him and was informed he had seen a small group of Lopes every day for the past week right above us working the area.  He suggested a hunt strategy and told us about water holes up the old road he was using.   We did the hunt the spot, saw no Lopes only horses so decided to make camp in the area.  The area was more deer country with juniper trees and draws with open plains in between.

Next morning were up glassing before daylight on the plains above camp looking out towards Hart Mtn.   Saw nothing, around 7:30 I get a buzz from my son who has locate the group in a draw find a mile above camp.   20 mins later I’m in the same area hugger under a Juniper tree watching the group in the draw.  Saw 2 does and 4 yearlings mixed through the Juniper trees at 400yds, after 5 min I see a buck moving in the trees.   My son decided he would move down the draw cross it and get to the other side.  I was afraid they would see him and move up the draw out of range.  The buck was now at 375yds. I decided I better make the shot as I probably will not see him again.   I was getting ready to make the shot when I saw the does; they were closing their distance, walking right towards me up the old road.  Told my son to stay put and turned the radios off.  The does and yearlings passed to my right just 40yds away the buck was trailing, so ended up taking the shot at 60yds, dropping him in his tracks.   There was 10 minutes of per thrill as he closed the distance to me on the road, thought for sure something would go wrong or the does would see me.   Took care of the Lope and broke camp, was on the road by 11:00AM with the Lope in the rear seat of the truck and A/C on high.

Derek D.

Kenneth’s 2016 Owyhee Pronghorn Hunt

Scouting more than 200 miles for Pronghorn

The bluff above my Pronghorn
The bluff above my Pronghorn

Hi Frank
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.

My great camp site with my trusty Ford
My great camp site with my trusty Ford

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 bedding area!
The bedding area!

 

My Oregon Pronghorn
My Oregon Pronghorn

Thanks Bubba

Kenneth D

Oregon – Sleeper State – Pronghorn Hunting

Through time in the field, knowledge comes to all!

None us come out knowing everything.  So over the years I have absorbed a great deal of knowledge about hunting Pronghorn – Antelope that roam the high plains and arid lands of the United States. Pronghorns are one of the most magnificent mammals that has survived since the Ice Age.  It is one of the few living links to the Ice Age.  They are an ancient species dating back about 20 million years and are the lone survivors of a family of hoofed mammals found only in North America (Antilocapridae)  A little history class for hunters!

A nice heavy buck, maybe next year!
A nice heavy buck, maybe next year!

Oregon truly is a sleeper state for hunting Pronghorn – Antelope – Lope or Dinosaurs!  Problem is getting a tag for resident or even non-resident.   Many non-resident hunters put in for many states, with the hope of drawing.  As for those of use that live in Oregon, getting a tag runs from 8 to 25 years for a rifle tag and 1 to 3 years for archery.   Sometimes you might be lucky and draw a tag based on the hold back tags put in random draw.  As a biologist friend of mine once told me Oregon’s Pronghorn units all hold Boone & Crockett warrantable bucks. Biggest problem is holding out for the big buck, judging bucks, know the whereabouts and what unit has the best possible chance for a trophy buck.

This archery buck scored 78" 13 1/2" with 6 1/2" Prongs.
This archery buck scored 78″ 13 1/2″ with 6 1/2″ Prongs.

When I first started out with my first tag for an Oregon Pronghorn, I had help from a Naval Officer that I knew while on active duty in the Navy, he had great deal of knowledge, plus his friend a young BLM summer help student that knew the area.  His name was Rod Briece, who later became my Commanding Officer and was a long time hunting friend.

We did not go blindly into the hunt unit, as there was a game plan to check out many different areas of the unit in a short period of time.  We did get into the unit prior to the hunt by one full day to scout.   We had about 4 game plans with the A, B, C, and D plan changing with the sighting of bucks.  The final plan of the day became a A plan for the opening morning.   I was successful on my first Pronghorn hunt to get a buck that scored 85″.   He and his does had come into the same waterhole that we had seen them at, the evening before.  At about 0715 the buck came to the waterhole.  The rest is history at 250 yards from the rocks! Point being prepared and having options on the hunt.

This buck scored 85" after be on the fireplace mantel for a year. He is 16 5/8" with 6" Prongs. Prongs are high on the horn, a key element.
This buck scored 85″ after be on the fireplace mantel for a year. He is 16 5/8″ with 6″ Prongs. Prongs are high on the horn, a key element.

Over the following years in this particular unit it put out many trophy Pronghorns.  This does not include the ones that a few missed during the hunts and the hunter came up empty handed…

One of the greatest lessons that I learned with hunting Pronghorns is the use of the binoculars and patience. Finding vantage points and glassing over massive areas.   Pronghorns have always been the animal, you don’t see me now, but wait long enough I will be standing there.  Amazing creature that has intrigued me for many decades.  Even on that first hunt, we glassed from afar and it paid off.  I always look for mass from a side profile of the head.  If warranted, I have a spotting scope to do a better judgement of the buck.   Many times the heat waves in the high desert are so bad that there seems to be an illusion of what you see.  So seeing the side profile is most important.  Length is not always as important as mass and the high of the prongs (cutters) on the horn.

Mapping is very important for hunters, whether it is Pronghorn hunting or any other movement in the outdoors. I find it is almost as important as the optics and the weapon of choice.

Until recently, lets say 1998, most of us would have B.L.M. maps or other maps to find places to hunt.  The GPS came along and it was ok, to know where you were, but not much good to know where to go.  A few software companies tried back then, but were crude and not very accurate.  Along comes onXmaps HUNT (2008) and what a success story for the company and the people that use their products. It is a lot of fun to have knowledge of places to hunt (landmarks), take them and mark them in the mapping software on the computer and then move them to the GPS.   A great way to share information that is accurate.   Like having a snapshot of a hillside that you have seen, but now you get to remember where it is.  Better yet, at times when using the software and Google Earth via the laptop to Garmin GPS, it like watching TV…  Remember by using this software, you might even be able to find a rancher or farmer that dislike Dinosaurs and will give you permission.  For DIY you’ll find that you just might not need a guide for out of state hunts.  Many got it figured out how to hunt public land for Pronghorns!
        onXmaps HUNT

BLM and the Private Food Plot via Google Earth and onXmaps HUNT
BLM and the Private Food Plot via Google Earth and onXmaps HUNT
You figure it out how you want to hunt. Find legal land and game! From onXmaps HUNT Viewer
You figure it out how you want to hunt. Find legal land and game! From onXmaps HUNT Viewer
onXmaps HUNT mapping from the computer.
onXmaps HUNT mapping from the computer.

 

We all have options on what caliber to hunt with for Pronghorns and my thoughts are no different.  Having many calibers to choose from, I am a firm believer to go big on this medium size mammal.   It is not the fact that a 243 Win, or 257 Weatherby won’t get the job done, but I don’t remember to many times that the wind was not howling after the sun comes up.   My favorite light caliber is the 257 Weatherby, but if I get one chance to get a tag in 15 years and I have to make that 500 yard shot due to not being able to crawl within 250 yards, I will take my 30cal to get the job done.  Shrugging your shoulders with that comment, just think about not getting there with the shot… There are many great calibers and my first was taken with a 7mm Remington Mag.  Overkill, ya it might be, but still a 30 cal 180 grain that is going to make a hole in and out most likely.   I do know I will have a kill shot and and not have to track the buck very far in most cases.   One has to be comfortable with the rifle and trust what it will do or what you can do.

This archery buck score 86" 14 1/2" with 8" Prongs. Very heavy mass.
This archery buck score 86″ 14 1/2″ with 8″ Prongs. Very heavy mass.

This brings up another subject:   Making sure you have great shot placement and anchor the Pronghorn down.  Tracking for trying to find a Pronghorn in the sagebrush after a hit from afar, might just lead to not finding it.  Years ago one of my hunters that I gave waypoints to shot a monster lope in a large sagebrush flat.  It was late and darkness was fast approaching.  He decide to wait for morning!  A great mistake as one loses focus of what he or she might have seen with the shot.  With a Pronghorn left overnight, the coyotes have already taken are of it. You might be lucky to find the horns, but in many cases the horns have been taken care of also.  Anchor the animal as with any animal in it’s tracks or close proximity.

In my time I have done a great deal of scouting and researching of Pronghorn or Antelope as most call this great animal from the past in Oregon and the rest of the Western States, where they roam in huntable numbers.  For archery hunters in many of the Western States you have a chance to hunt every year for Antelope.  Whereas with a rifle you might have to wait some 8-25 years to draw a tag, at least in the Oregon.  I have hunters in Oregon that are now hunting almost every year with the bow.   A  great challenge to hunt with the bow, but what a rush and accomplishment to harvest up close and personal.  You’ll find hunting with the bow for Antelope a great sport that you won’t be able to stop doing.   I have been told by my hunters that they have had the best experience hunting Antelope over anything else they have hunted in North America.  It could be that they see a lot of Antelope while hunting them.   Since competition for tags is so great, some of use will wait the whatever years to get the rifle tag, get it done and the following years put in for a bow tag.   Not many years ago in Oregon and I am sure in other states, you put in for a rifle tag and make your second choice a bow tag.   I do believe that I did this at least 10 times over the years.   Very fortunate to have harvest a number of great bucks with the arrow.   Now I find that many are taking great bucks with the arrow in many hunt units in many states.

This is a great buck, worthy of any wall! Didn’t have a tag, but hunting season was upon us. 100 foot photo op!

I one thing I have learned after all these years and not even being in some of my old haunts for many years, is that Pronghorn are animals of habit from generation to generation.   They cover the same ground and do the same things from one generation to another.  Most of the land in which they live never changes.   There was one buck that my friends & hunters chased for about three years and never got.  I really wanted him for myself is what all thought.  He would be located in the same spot within a 1/4 mile and escape basically the same way.  His escape route was not one you could cover and he knew it.  Now if we ambushed him in his normal spot he could have been taken.  He was one of the biggest Antelope I ever hunted.  I did get one hunter on him at very close range with a standing broadside at 250 yards.  He missed the buck and the hunt was over for him!  The hunter who I knew well told me he had been a Marine Sniper…  A few years back I went back to a spot which I hunted and guided about 20 years ago.  The only thing that had changed is the B.L.M. put a solar power water pump on a water hole in one of my favorite spots.   Even the old ranchers sign was still there and he had been gone for a long time.  The sign had stated in so many words that you were crossing into his lands.  This happen to be B.L.M. that he leased, but did not own.  Now you know one of the reasons to have a mapping and gps system that lets you know your legal.  Many times my hunters tell me, “WOW”, you were right on the money for Lopes being there…

This is a great buck taken in Oregon also in a 2 season unit.
This is a great buck taken in Oregon also in a 2 season unit.

I have seen mature bucks standing in the middle of a back country road in B.L.M., marking the road.  No, not by scratching but by urinating in the middle of road.   Once someone knows some of the peculiar habits of Antelope, you can use it to your advantage.   Such is the case a couple of years ago when I spot a group of Antelope in a 5 tag unit.  I wanted the picture of the buck and just knew he would go around the mountain and want to get back into the hole.  He did just that and my son asked how did you know?

Not a big buck in a 5 tag unit, but it was nice to be able to read his mind! He cut my path at about 75 yards, trying to double back to the basin!

 

I have taken a great deal of Antelope with the bow and all but a rifle kill has been from stalking.   A great deal of the bow hunters I know do wait on water, but you have to have patience.  One of my GPS Hunters – Bowhunters sat for two (2) days for more than 12 hours.  He as been successful two (2) years in a row on the same waterhole.   I do love to stalk them and arrow them before they know I am there.  Antelope do lay in the sagebrush flats and with a lot of glassing from a vantage point you can find them and stalk within bow range easily.

Which one is the shooter in this crowd?

Note:  Then there is the issue with sunglasses, I will always wear sunglasses (favorite are Ray-Ban Wayfarer-easy to lift with bino’s with no bind) 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 even easier once spotted.  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!

Most experience hunters have their ways to hunt game, whether it is from stalking, waiting, ambush or just being lucky and walking into a shoot-able animal.  It is whatever works for you, that makes the hunt!

You also have to be patient and let the smaller bucks (“VILLAGE IDIOTS”) go by, so you can harvest the trophy buck.

Just a short little video of a nice buck ( we had him set for the following year) in the Grizzly Hunt Unit in Oregon:  Pronghorn in the Big Muddy!

Bwana Bubba

 

Mick’s Silvies #2 Antelope Hunt

 One of Oregon’s Premier Pronghorn – Antelope Spots

Riley Lope 01
A very common sight around Riley, Oregon. The gateway to the Silvies and N. Wagontire Unit. Plenty of circles and the Pronghorns hang close.

Mick’s hunt did not go as planned, can happen to anyone!

Disaster! My help all bailed. I went Tuesday before the opener, camped at store. Highway noise negated sleep. It was 94 degrees and dryer than I’ve ever seen it there but road hunted on Wednesday. Quad was leaking gas so I was afraid to take it out.

Saw a small group later in the day where you had marked them by water. Several people were staking them out. Thursday much of the same! Met a farmer around 4pm, Hoot Raley! Great guy! Took me right to his farm, glassed a herd on his alfalfa field, and spotted a DANDY walking towards field. Snuck down to a spot he knew this lope would cross to, got into position, waited, guessed at about 300 yards, and took shot, missed 6″ high. Circled around to rest of herd, spotted a smaller buck and they spooked. Gave him Salmon hoping to try again on Friday, Hoot never showed.

Saturday took the Quad and followed your map markings to the “T” jumped a doe on the quad, pulled up rifle, scoped a buck on her tail, and took shot even though it was on a dead run, missed 6″ high. Spent the rest of the day on quad, help arrived at end of the day and he got drunk and didn’t show Saturday. Packed up and headed home.

Devastated, broke, dirty and tired. Your directions were spot on and much appreciated. I still wake up almost nightly wishing I could have either shot over again. Still pretty bummed but Sunday morning took a nice little buck here locally as I had to cancel my Malheur trip due to finances.

My dog became sick while Antelope hunting and had emergency surgery when I got back on his foot. Likely has cancer as his health is worse and new lumps on chest and hip have arrived.

But the conditions over there were brutal. To make matters worse the guy camped next to me took a beautiful buck in the same spot I scoped and it was at or near the spot you marked with an “X” to signal the old scruffy buck about 2 miles from the store. But the experience was good. To have shot and missed is better than most. I was surprised at the number of hunters out road hunting but I guess there was a cow bow hunt going on at the same time. I didn’t see any elk but saw several deer daily. I am confident that had I stayed or if the quad wasn’t freaking me out leaking gas, weather cooler any of these things I probably could have tagged one.

The farm incident was frustrating as hell, but a great guy. I should have gotten his number but the fact that he didn’t return told me he didn’t want to share another try. Plus, had he returned and I missed again I would truly be a wreck. The rifle is still sighted in but I know my judgment of distance is off.  The deer I figured at 225 and I shattered its back about 6″ too high.

If one ask they can get permission to hunt near the circles.  Ranchers or farmers do not like Pronghorn as they like to lay in the Alfalfa!
If one ask they can get permission to hunt near the circles. Ranchers or farmers do not like Pronghorn as they like to lay in the Alfalfa!

So I need a range finder, should have sighted in if for no other reason than to be used to the shot. I hadn’t fired it for over a year and might have been jerking the trigger in anticipation of its fury. But as usual in a like situation I didn’t feel or barely hear the shot. I am also confident of the area now but will likely not ever get the chance again. That tag took 15 years and if I get lucky I know exactly where to go.

Thanks again for your wisdom and sorry to let you down but your knowledge was spot on and appreciated. Thanks again.  Mick!

Jeff’s 2014 Antelope Hunt Maupin-W. Biggs Hunt Units

This is another great story from a Pronghorn Hunter who waited the years to get a great tag!
Frank, here is my story and pics, the buck was taken on private land in the Maupin unit!

This year I was one of the lucky ones to draw an antelope tag for a unit close to my home. Since living in the area my entire life I knew the better antelope areas would be on private ground and would require gaining access to those areas, so the homework began. Having friends that own ranches in both units made access fairly easy, but finding a descent buck to take was not such an easy task.

What great Mass this Pronghorn!  It is all about the Mass!
What great Mass this Pronghorn! It is all about the Mass!

Since I had to work opening weekend I could only dream of chasing big ole lope bucks, and this was not easy. Monday and Tuesday I focused on a few agricultural areas that always held a few antelope, and while I saw a few descent bucks I knew the area held some bigger bucks and continued to hold out for that special buck I had waited 12 years for. Wednesday I changed gears and hunted close to home, with a tip from a rancher about a dandy buck he had seen a week earlier. Excited and ready to seal the deal I got an early start and headed out to the area that the rancher had seen the buck previously. The weather was fairly cool in the morning with a strong breeze blowing from the South, and rain clouds threatening to pour some much needed moisture on the dry ground, wow I thought to myself this feels like deer season. As I proceed through the gate I see 12 doe and fawn antelope running down the road in the direction I’m heading, I was thinking to myself that this is already looking good. Feeling motivated and ready to see a good buck antelope I park the pickup and head in the direction of some newly planted fields that the big buck was spotted last. I stopped at a fence-line that overlooked the fields, and glassed down the draw towards the fields and saw a few antelope milling around. Being close to 1000 yards away I made my way down the draw for a closer inspection. As I got closer I could tell there was an exceptional buck antelope lying down among the others, and knew this is the one I had waited 12 years for. As I made a plan to crawl and hide my way closer to the buck I wished I would of brought my knee pads, but had so much adrenaline pumping through my body I really didn’t feel a thing.

As you can see there is little Public Land (BLM).  It is best to get yourself lined up with a rancher.  This mapping would help to find someone!
As you can see there is little Public Land (BLM). It is best to get yourself lined up with a rancher. This mapping would help to find someone! The MAUPIN unit for sure lacks, the West BIGGS unit has some huntable Antelope BLM.

As I was working my way closer to the buck I realized he had gotten up and was chasing the other bucks around and feeding in between sparring matches. I was running out of cover and came to a slight rise in the terrain that allowed me to get a perfect rest and range the buck at 305 yards. I decided that this was as close as I was going to get, and set up for the shot. I placed the cross hairs on the buck’s front shoulder and squeezed the trigger. As the recoil of my 257 Weatherby came back the old buck dropped in this tracks. I took a moment and thanked GOD for such a fantastic opportunity, and taking such a great buck. As I walked up to the buck I couldn’t believe the mass of his horns and that this beautiful animal was mine. I spent a quiet moment with the great antelope buck just admiring him and taking in the moment.

The hunter with his great trophy.  Doing the research, brings rewards!
The hunter with his great trophy. Doing the research, brings rewards!

The bucks horns measured 14 1/2″ Long, with 6″ Prongs, and a little over 7″ Bases. The buck holds his mass all the way to his 3rd quarter and has lots of character. I couldn’t have asked for a better antelope hunt and realize how lucky I was to experience this rare opportunity to hunt pronghorn in Oregon.   This buck is very close to being able to make Boone & Crockett!  Depends on the 90 day drying period! Jeff H.