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October 2008 Public Land Wyoming Antelope Hunt
January 23, 2009.
Elk hunting can be frustrating, sheep hunting can grind you down, deer hunting can be too damn cold. But antelope hunting in Wyoming is one of the most consistently fun hunts you can do each year.
These antelope were all taken on public land in Wyoming in areas where it's easy to draw tags for both bucks and does. This party of 5 Colorado do-it-yourself hunters took 3 bucks (100% success) and 3 does (60% success) — not bad results, especially considering none of them had hunted antelope more than once before.
Virgil's First Buck Antelope
As told by Virgil Mathias of Parker, CO:
We left Denver and went up to Wyoming early on Wednesday to avoid the weekend road hunters and to get ahead of some cold snowy weather that was expected during the weekend. The weather was great when we arrived, clear skies and 70 degrees.
As we arrived into the area we spotted a small herd and decided to stalk them before setting up camp. Myself and David had buck tags, so we flipped for first shot. I won. They ended up getting spooked and took off, but on the way back to the trucks we spotted a lonely buck walking toward the trucks about 500 yards away.
He was on the other side of a paved road, so we needed to cross the road to get a shot. We expected him to take off as we approached, but he didn’t.
When we arrived at the trucks he was 300 yards away. We did a quick stalk and closed the distance to 200 yards.
I set up to shoot, but he was facing away from me and all I had was a Texas heart shot. I kept the crosshairs of my new Leupold VX-L 4.5-14x scope on him for about 15 minutes. He finally turned, and I took him at 1:00pm with my Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in .270.
Nick's First Big Game Animal
Later that afternoon we split up and I partnered with Nick Roberts, a first-time big game hunter. Nick and I both had doe tags, but Nick had first shot since I’d already gotten my buck.
We pretty quickly found a herd of about 50 antelope and started a mile long stalk. They got spooked by something (not us) and went over the ridge. We got up on them at about 400 yards, watched them for a while and then decided to try and get closer. We got around the side of a hill and in perfect position for a 140-yard shot.
As Nick got them in his sights, I said "take one." I said "take one" several times, but then they spotted us and were gone. Nick hadn't been able to get settled in for a clean shot — “Antelope Fever” had struck.
When we got back to camp that night we found out Justin and David had each missed. Nick got a lot of grief for his missed opportunity, but he was determined it wouldn’t happen again.
I slept in the back of the Suburban and the three of them were in the pop-up tent camper. Night time temperatures dropped to freezing.
The next morning we got kind of a late start around 8:00am. About 9:00am, Nick and I spotted a small herd of about 15 and started an hour-long 3-mile stalk to get up on them. We belly crawled the last 50 feet over a small rise.
The range finder indicated a 140-yard shot.
Nick got in position, picked out a nice doe and took her with one shot from his Remington 700 CDL in .30-06. This was Nick's first-ever big game animal.
The rest of the antelope turned and ran, but stopped. I quickly picked one out and took it at about 10:30am, filling my doe tag.
Nick and I quartered both out and then started a 2-hour hike out with 50 pounds of antelope meat. It turned out to be quite a short 36-hour hunt, but quite successful.
Dave's First Buck
As told by David Baumgartner of Parker, CO:
About 2 years ago, my buddy Justin and I started talking about learning to hunt so that we could someday teach our boys how to hunt … you know, a “pass on the tradition” kind of thing. So we started talking to some guys at work who go hunting every year and began the year-long journey of getting ready for the first hunt. That first year yielded two doe antelope and a cow elk for each of us.
During this trip, the first trip of my 2nd year of hunting, I filled my doe tag on the second day, the same day that Virgil and Nick got their does. Justin, who I hunted with, had no luck in filling either of his two doe tags.
I had a shot on a buck both the first day and the second day, but missed on both shots!! I could not believe it (and the first one was a very nice buck). We had to leave a little early because of some weather that was moving into the area (quite a bit of snow hit, so it was a good decision).
However, that left me without a buck. So, I went back the next weekend to give it one more try.
Another guy from our party, Brett Vasten of Highlands Ranch, CO, was up there as well. He had not been able to make it up for the first part of the hunt.
I hunted alone in the morning with no luck and met up with Brett about noon. The previous day, Brett had taken a very nice 14-inch buck with one of the new Remington 700s in .257 Weatherby. Although a Colorado native and life-long hunter, this was Brett's first time hunting buck antelope.
I had time left for one more stalk before I had to head home, so I headed out while Brett packed up his camp.
Long story short … after a 2-hour solo stalk on a huge herd of 75 antelope I finally got my first buck ever, taken with my Remington 700 Mountain Rifle LSS in .30-06 with 165-grain Nosler Partitions from Federal Premium.
The pack-out was brutal, but in the end it’s always worth it. I didn’t have a camera with me in the field (couldn’t find it before I left) so here are some shots from home (not the greatest, but you get the idea).
All of these antelope are back from the butcher and in the freezer, and the 3 bucks all went to the taxidermist. Antelope meat is excellent, and buck antelope are beautiful trophies.
The application deadline for the 2009 season is March 15th. Buck tags are $286, doe tags are $48.