Antelope Hunt Day 2: Calm Before the Storm

Things have turned sour but we’re still hoping to find success. (Photo by Bob Robb)

1:12 p.m.
It's been quite a balmy morning with temperatures in the mid 40s and the sun beating down on the open hillsides at the foot of the Bighorns. The first three hours of our hunt have offered some perfect weather, and at one point it seemed as if we could sling lead all day—not so fast.

The winds have come up, the temperature is tumbling and we are left with a countryside full of spooked pronghorn. Not to mention, roads so muddy that four-wheel drive just doesn't cut it.

We did have one successful hunter in what has turned to be less than ideal conditions. Slaton White of Shot Business knocked down a 13-incher this afternoon with some great character and impressive mass. With a big snow storm expected this evening, we are pressing hard to get on a "buster" buck  and match the efforts of my hunting companion.

3:15 p.m.
The "Calm Before the Storm" buck, as I named him, is lying in the back of the truck, and I couldn't be happier. Our last-gasp effort to knock down a buck paid off big time.

With the coming snow storm white-walled in the distance, we made one last pass through an area where our guides had been successful since the start of the season. This grassy knoll—about 800 yards from the road—was a perfect feeding area that provided cover from the wind and hideaway bedding areas for some of this basin's biggest trophies.

This sweet spot also provided the perfect opportunity for a stalk. We spotted the buck and a group of does, jumped out of the truck, loaded up the Apex and took off. Our guide Corey DeYoung with High Lonesome Outfitter jumped in the lead with Bob Robb and I close behind. We hustled through the ravine that dipped below the field, spooking a group of mule deer as our boots punched into the mud and broken sage.

We stopped at the base of a high-sloped hill that bordered the field—now the show was all mine. I crawled up the hill, slipping and sliding toward a sage bush that I thought would provide enough cover to set up a shot. I raised my head to sneak a peek as I inched forward, and he was right there. The buck was about 80 yards in front of me, facing forward, munching on some grass while keeping an eye on his ladies.

I dipped back down, plopped my pack in the mud and slid my CVA Apex into position. My nerves were starting to boil over, and I knew it would take just one of those eyes to catch my silhouette and it was game over. I didn't think I had time to let him turn so I put the crosshairs on him and gently squeezed the trigger—down he went.

Fist pumps, high fives, "Yeah babys" and sighs of relief followed as we hot-footed it toward my trophy. What a stalk!

"When I saw how close he was, my hands started shaking," DeYoung said. "The hair just went flying."

We're going to get this guy out of here. The snow is coming and things are a muddy, bloody mess. Check back later for more of the story and maybe even a second-hand tale of Robb's antelope hunt.

Continue to the final day.
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1 Response to Antelope Hunt Day 2: Calm Before the Storm

Matt W wrote:
October 11, 2009

Look's like a little luck and persistency paid off for you Ben, great buck!