The first evening of my archery antelope hunt we immediately saw a buck and two does. We headed out and put a stalk on them. We never did get anywhere close enough to take a shot with a bow. However, we were excited to have been on the move after those speed goats.
We hunted the remainder of the evening and located another BIG buck! It was too close to dark to put a stalk. We decided we would come back in the morning to try to find HIM.
New and old lessons learned on a 2-1/2 day archery antelope hunt
- Don’t rush the hunt.
- Never say “never”, especially when someone says they shanked a shot.
- It really is possible to get within archery range of a speed goat.
- Even the dry prairie has amazing things to discover.
The next morning we stalked to within 150 yards of the big buck before he turned his head. There were about 20 does in the opposite direction and he sauntered off toward them. We needed to figure out a way to get close enough to HIM for a shot with my bow.
We set up the blind and I began my sit. I sat and I sat. Anyone who has hunted from a blind knows how tiresome it can become. This was not only tiresome, but a HOT 98 degree. I was scanning and glassing across the prairie when BAM! Two does! Right in front of my blind! They stood at a point I had ranged earlier at 20 yards.
They were dead to rights, right?!
Nope. My heart raced as I looked everywhere for HIM. My eyes scanned for the buck, and the two does casually walked out of sight. I sat there, staring at nothing and began wishing I had drawn on one of them.
“AAAH!” Haha! Hunting is too much fun!
I moved my blind near a waterhole in hopes of an evening shot at HIM. Hank joined me and as we waited, we spotted a couple of coyotes. Next six deer jumped and splashed in the pond. We knew we were getting close to the end of our day when BAM! It was HIM! He was on his way, right in front of my blind.
I picked up my bow, drew and tracked him in my sight. He moved quickly, then paused for a moment and I touched the trigger. I was sure I had him. As my arrow left the string, it made a horrible sound. I wasn’t sure what it was. I saw HIM jump. He stopped and trotted about forty yards away then walked away, up the hill.
Confused, I asked “Did I hit him?!” Hank looked at him through his binos saying “I don’t see a single drop of blood. You didn’t even hit him.”
That is when we saw the most horrific thing. As I had moved from one window to another, the levels had changed and you know it…. I shot the blind. AAAAHHHH!!!!
I missed!!! A MONSTER! He was at 30 yards and I hit the side of the blind!!!!! GRRRR! (Never say never)
I made my way back to camp and figured I would have nightmares about my evening. The next day would be the last of the hunt for me. I worried that I would never see HIM again.
I woke up and hoped to be blessed with another chance. I set up and low and behold one was coming. It was HIM – again! He was about 100 yards away when I heard a sound just outside of the blind.
“WHAT?!” I thought. Could there be another antelope coming in from the side?
Suddenly a hornet zipped inside my blind. It flew wildly and smacked the sides of the blind. With my bow up and ready to draw, I tried to ignore the bluish black insect. I held steady waiting for HIM. Then the hornet flew at me. I ducked and dodged, and….. You know it… made movement and scared HIM away.
My heart sank as I watched, what I knew was going to be my last chance, walk away. He made his way to the other side of the pond, stuck his tongue out at me and took a drink.
That day it was 105 degrees outside of the blind. I stuck it out hoping for a doe before dark. We saw a bear, turkeys, five coyotes and no antelope.
Overall, I deem this first hunt a success, but we’ll be having tag soup instead of antelope jerky. It was an exhilarating experience. We got so close, and saw so many cool things. What are the chances of getting so close and having four opportunities and having a hornet befriend you in the blind?! It’s always an adventure!
Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast.
Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.
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