We’re fresh to the antelope hunting game. This was our second year but we both were able to fill our tags with a bow. It wasn’t easy but is definitely achievable for the everyday hunter. Rather then tell you my story of my hunt I figured I’d write down my advice, tips, and insight on what we’ve learned about antelope hunting. Much of it is common sense but hopefully you might be able to learn something that will help you be successful if you choose to go after antelope with a bow. Nothing is absolute in hunting so take these with a grain of salt and as always experience is the best teacher.
1. In case you forgot antelope can see extremely well. This seems to be their #1 defense from predators.
2. If an antelope sees you once, your chances of getting to within bow range are slim to none.
3. Stalking an antelope in your socks is the most silent and generally best method to close the gap.
4. In rolling open country your much better off cover lots of country in your truck and trying to locate them from afar. Hiking around is preferable if you know there are goats around but often you can cover many many miles without a sighting and hiking in 80-90 degree heat will drain you physically and mentally very quick.
5. Your truck is easily picked up by antelope from very long distances. If they see your truck they will be more alert and your chances of getting close diminish. Strategically using your truck to get to new areas and then using your feet to move into good positions to glass lots of country is key.
6. In our experience, antelope on public ground generally have no pattern.
7. Antelope are small targets and are easily missed. Practice with your bow daily while on your hunt.
8. Wind is almost always a factor and can and will limit your effective shooting distance to very close ranges on many days.
9. Stalking bedded bucks, especially solo bucks is a great method for getting close.
10. Bucks don’t stay bedded in one spot for long. When you locate one try to make a sound game plan and act quickly. This is where instinct comes into play. Trust it and go.
11. Hunting a blind will give you the best chance at getting a good shot and filling your tag.
12. Don’t expect antelope to regularly hit the same water hole unless it’s THE only water for the surrounding 5+ miles. This scenario seems to be quite rare.
13. Antelope don’t like blinds.
14. You can put up a blind and immediately hunt it with success but having it up well ahead of time will increase your chances of bagging a buck.
15. Bring lots of arrows and broadheads. Nothing kills a hunt like running low on either one of these.
16. Practice shooting from a blind and chair before hunting your blind. You don’t shoot the same as you do from your feet and having confidence to make any seated shot will help you convert your opportunities into notched tags and meat in the freezer.
17. Set your blind in a spot where the prevailing wind is in your favor and where you will get a good broadside shot. Good blind placement is key.
18. Take lots of reading materials to your blind and having multiple games on your phone makes the time pass easier.
19. Don’t overlook the use of a decoy. Early in the season a well placed decoy can draw in a buck from a long ways away. It’s best to get as close as you can and then put up your decoy in a spot where you can get a shot if the buck heads your way. Use the terrain to your advantage and try to get them to take a pre-defined path to the decoy that presents you with a good shot from some type of cover.
20. Being able to discern land ownership is very helpful. Hunting GPS Maps makes a great line of products that make this very easy, and I actually shot my buck on land that I was able to access using their Montana chip.
21. Have fun. This is key to any hunt.
Hopefully one of the above will help you in your next hunt. If you have any advice you’d like to add please leave a comment below and we hope your next hunt is a success!