A Pronghorn Story - A ReelCamoGirl Guest Blog
A Pronghorn Story - Written by ReelCamoGirl guest contributor Sherri Usselman. Road trips are one of my favorite things to do especially when you’re with a group of good friends, the weather is great, and the final destination is “Trophy Ridge Outfitters” near Carlile, Wyoming. This was my September of 2014.
The Pronghorn Antelope season at home in Saskatchewan has been closed the last few years due to low populations in some areas, so we haven’t been able to put in for the big game draw. However, we could hunt antelope in Wyoming with an outfitter tag. So we packed our bags, and made the 12 hour trek across the border. We arrived at the cabins well after dark, so we shot our practice arrows via the headlights of the truck. An early morning followed and we were up and on our way out to find some antelope.
Our guide dropped us all off at separate locations. Mine was at a blind which set up in a clearing of cat tails, about ten yards away from a slough with a thirty yard span across it. A few antelope came in during the day, but they were all does. Finally, around 4 PM; after sitting in a blind that was comparable to a portable sauna, a buck came over the hill about 350 yards away. I watched him through my binoculars. He was headed right to the water.
Watching antelope during the rut is enough to make you exhausted trying to follow their hurried antics. If a group of females are together, the buck is content. If a doe wanders so much as ten yards away, the buck instantly takes chase and herds her back with the group. This causes the others to scatter, thus creating Mr. Buck a whole new job (in his mind anyway). This is exactly what happened as the buck I was watching was about 3/4 of the way in from when I had first seen him. I had my bow ready, and my binoculars still on him. His need for water changed immediately when he spotted a doe 150 yards to his right. He took off after her, leaving little dust clouds as he ran.
Day 2 seemed to be a bit more promising. We set up a new blind near to a secluded water hole. By noon, there had been much more activity than the day before, including a couple of small bucks. I had my sights on one of them, but wanted to hold out for a bigger one. My guide’s words echoed in my ear “if the prong is level, or above their ear, those are the ones you want to shoot.”
The afternoon sun once again made for an uncomfortably warm sit, which brought in a few groups of does, again with smaller bucks. Watching all the antelope within 25 – 30 yards of me, had me wondering, “Should I take one of these bucks?” ” Maybe these are the biggest ones I’ll see?” Despite having a mental self-argument, I decided to wait.
As the sun started its descent, another group of does came in. They were a bit hesitant of the blind, but still made their way down to the water. I was taking photos when their buck came into view. He was definitely the biggest buck I had seen in the last couple of days. I had already taken down my shooting sticks, so I tried to be quiet and quick at the same time. Once I was set up, I put the cross hairs on him and he took off after a doe. He circled her around and brought her back in but he wouldn’t stand still enough for me to take a good shot. I lost sight of the buck in my scope so I looked up – to see his tail going over a hill after the does. I once again set my cross bow down, and settled back into my chair. I told myself that there was still a full day left to hunt and tried not to let frustration get the best of me.
Another twenty minutes passed and I heard a noise to my right. The whole group of does and the buck had circled around behind me and were coming in from the other side! This time, the buck let a couple of the does down to the water to drink. He was standing fifteen yards away from me, broadside. I moved from the chair down on to one knee, and set up my shooting sticks. I lined up, and took the shot. At first I thought I missed because he was still standing in the same spot! I started getting another arrow ready and re-cocked my bow. I looked out the window of the blind again, and he was gone. I peeked out a gap in the door and there he was. Twenty yards straight out, laying down. Shaking, I undid the blind door and went to check him out. A successful kill zone shot had gotten me my first Pronghorn Antelope!