Chasing antelope with a rifle has become one of my favorite hunts. Not because its a rifle hunt, but rather the change in landscape and pace after charging hard in the mountains all of September. Its nice to be able to see as far as the next horizon and look over a lot of animals.
I was fortunate to have drawn a rifle tag in 2016 and I was relieved to know I would have the chance to put meat in an empty freezer. I brought my shotgun as well, hoping to add a little upland bird meat to the menu.
The trusty 870.
After filling the truck and a couple hours on the road, I was in the heart of antelope country. The recent downpour of rain had left most two-tracks closed and gumbo was in full force. This was actually a good thing, because the road hunters had to stay on main roads and couldn’t access some land that they may be able to if the roads were in better condition.
Gets ya stuck real quick.
I scanned and glassed vast amounts of country, looking for a buck that caught my eye. I peered deep into the horizon through my spotter, instantly seeing what looked to be an army of white butts. One of the largest groups of antelope I had seen while hunting was feeding deep in an untouched zone. I decided to drive a large loop around the group and approach from a direction that I felt would provide more cover.
Searching for ‘the one’.
I finally spotted the group of speedgoats 900yds out and bedded. Out of the 6 antelope I could see currently, there appeared to be one particular buck with great prongs. I decided to get closer, but with no other options I had to get dirty and army crawl. It was one of the longest army crawls I have had to do and in no way was it joyous trying to avoid cactus. A few sharp needles found a new home in my soft knees. At this point I had crawled to within range, and decided the buck I had my eye on was going to be worthy of a shot. A couple discharges of the rifle later and I had successfully filled my tag.
Its all hair.
The best part was that the hunt was not over. I spent the next 24hrs attempting to jump shoot birds with my good friends Tyler and Cole. We took Charley the supposed ‘bird dog’ along. What you need to know about Charley is he is not the best bird dog. To be honest Charley is a horrible bird dog. Charles is the dog that flushes all the birds 100-150yds in front of you and the moment a shotgun goes off he hides behind your heels. After Charley had his fun for the day, he went back on the leash.
Charley sad about his bird dog performance.
After getting Charley under control, we had a very successful day shooting pheasant, partridge, and sharptail grouse. The recoil of the shotgun and the flush of birds is definitely addicting. I felt like a fire was re-lit for upland birds and hopefully I will be loading the shotgun with more 2 3/4″ shells soon.
Roosters in full force.
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