Ok, kid that works for me called at Thurs morning at 8:00 and asked me IF I was ready as he was heading my way. He arrived and we loaded up and headed north. When we arrived the owner of the property was sitting along side the road visiting with a relative. He makes the introductions and all and got the permission and we all shook hands and off we went with the Intel that there was a heard of about 80 Antelope out in the middle of this 6000 acres. :o I asked Matt how we were going to hunt it. His comment was "You'll see" So we drive all the trails through the 6000 acres until we spot a herd of about 80 animals at about 3/4 a mile. Matt stops the truck over the next rise and shuts it off. He says "OK, we walk from here" :o Now you have to remember I have a bad ankle that locks up on me and a bad knee that gives out on me and heel spurs and planters faciatis (SP) ???? so walking isn't my forte. Plus I'm 60.
We take off up this first hill which is about 600 yds to the top and by the time we get close to the top I am wheezing like a steam engine. :o Matt stops and looks at me like he thinks I am dying or something. I just said "Hell do you know how long its been since I walked on something that wasn't flat or concrete" He started laughing. I made him promise to not gut me if he had to drag me out of there. >:( The wife might frown on that one.
This is turning out to be a long story so if you get bored you have my permission to go read another thead. ;D
So after a couple minutes I get my breathing under control enough that the Antelope won't hear me from a 1/2 mile away. Well we topped the hill and peeked over the top and dam, no Antelope. So we sit down and look the area over and see that the lopes have spotted us or the truck and headed over about another 3/4 mile away. :'(
So down the hill and around another and then another long stalk. We get almost within a half mile of them and there are two groups. and the one to the west has spotted us and they head east to the rest of the heard across the valley which is just about straight north of us. Well Matt knows where they are going as he knows the area and he says I will go around the hill to the west and up the ridge and you go straight and when you hit the draw go up that till you get to the top. This is another 3/4 mile hike. I have already gone almost 1.5 miles which Matt comments that I have quit wheezing and sound almost normal. :
Ain't going to let him gut me, nope nadda, I might be easier to drag that way but there ain't no coming back from that one that I know of. So I sneak up to the fence and crawl through it and begin my stalk up the draw. I'm moving along real slow and looking all around me and I see a white spot up the draw about 600 yds. There is a big round bail in the bottom of the draw as they had mowed it and rolled it up and hadn't removed them yet. I get behind this one and start looking this white spot over. I am using a Leupold 6.5X20X40 LR scope with the varmint reticule in it and left my bino's in the truck to save weight. Like as if it would of mattered. :
What appeared to be a white spot ended up being an antelope lying in some knee high grass and she had spotted me. What was worse there was another one about 15 yds higher up the draw that also had me pegged. The both were just sitting there watching me like I was nothing to worry about as I could not move without them seeing what I was going to do. So what I did was start playing a little game I play when I am out in area's like that. I call it How Far Is It so I started guessing how far it was to another hay bale Ok its about 100 yds. Ok how far to that bush? well its about 250. Believe me I am usually within low double digits out to about 800 or 900 yds. Tough to do when your out in open country with nothing to use to help with like tree's or anything. So I started using bales of hay. I had noticed that there was about 40 yds between me and the next one and it looked pretty uniform in distance between them all so I started to add up how many bales between me and the Antelope. I ran this out about 4 or 5 times and by my best guess it was close to 550 yds between me and the goat. Ok how do I close that distance. I'm looking around and man I am out in the open at the bottom of a long draw with a goat looking me over and there is no place to go except where I am at. Well I always said, or someone did one time anyway, ;) if your handed lemons make lemonade. I got my cross hairs on the goat and lined up on the front shoulder. Started figuring which line of the Varmint reticule would add up to 500 yds and dropped down a bit more. Winds blowing straight out of the north and I am shooting just a bit more west than north. Adjust for the wind which is blowing about 25 mph and hold still dammit. Then I slowly squeeze the trigger. At the shot I loose sight of the doe in the cross hair's so I look up to see what happened and I see an Antelope running over the hill. :'( Well hell, must of missed. I think, I might as well go up there and look anyway just in case there is blood although if there is it will probably die in the next county. :
Matt will make me walk there to get it. Oh well. So I head up the draw and half way there I see a white spot in the grass. I stop and look at it and think hmm looks like a white sheet of plastic. OH well go look. Its about 40 yds further up than where the goat was lying so I head up in that direction. The closer I get the more it looks like an Antelope. 8-) So I get there and I go crap. Its got horns. This is bad as I have a 3 any doe/fawn tag. The horns are about 3"s long. Hmm small for a buck. I roll the goat over and sure enough its a doe. Whew. Well this is my first real Antelope kill as I am a deer hunter and have just moved to the area so rather than just gutting it out I wait for Matt. He is over the ridge to the west of me in the direction the second antelope had ran. After about 10 minutes I spot him coming. I wait for him and when he walks up he starts making over my antelope about how I'm going to have to get it mounted as he has never seen one with horns that long. He then states "Man that doe has to be 200 years old" :o I go OH CRAP ain't no good eating then huh. He says oh hell no, big old dry doe like that will be great eating. Ok, so I did good for the first time out. He said I did dam good so I guess I am happy although it was kind of anti climatic as I have only fired one shot and there seemed like there should be more to it than that. That one shot by the way hit exactly where I had hoped to hit and the Berger 115 grain VLD Match bullet had entered making a small hole and nothing coming out. Good performance from what I could tell. Ended up it went in and took out the lungs and clipped the heart. Nice.
Well in the meantime I asked him what he had shot at as I had heard him shoot. Well he took me over to the fence line and points across the valley to the next ridge and there is another antelope lying there. He said he shot twice but thinks he missed on the first shot. We are standing there looking at his antelope and I look to the south and here is another antelope running west but it looked funny. I flopped down and unfolded the Harris bi pod and got the scope on it and here is an antelope running with a back leg flopping. Its about 800 yds out and going pretty good so with the wind like it was and the speed of the goat I decide to not shoot. Just a bit more than I want to try. So Matt and I head after it. Seems he thought he missed his first shot and didn't lead the goat enough and took out the back leg. Well off we went and made a big loop of about 2 miles and never did find the goat. When we got back to the truck we headed up and gutted my goat out and then drove back to where we could get the closest to Matts which was about a 600 yd drag. OH Matt has a Lica Range finder and ranged from where the goat I shot had been lying back to the bail I was behind when I shot and it ended up giving him a 550 yd reading. Guess my guessing game paid off.
Meanwhile we get back where we can get as close as possible to Matts goat and we get out and I again spot the goat with the broken back leg running up the very same ridge. :o We had missed it someplace back in that next section. Matt says you go see if you can get that one and I will get this one drug back to the truck. Well I headed out across the valley and up the ridge again for another 2 mile walk. When I get to the top I can see Northwest for a couple miles and I can see South West for another mile. To the Southeast and below me is a draw that goes down to a dam. ??? I see nothing anywhere. So I say a little prayer to the Antelope god asking that he let me put this poor antelope out of its misery and start heading South east down the draw towards the dam. Well I get just to where the little trickle of a creek goes into the dam and I spot the antelope running along the fence below the dike. I get the scope on here and line up the cross hairs and touch one off. I hear the whop of the hit but see no reaction. I jack in another one and again touch it off but this one is hurried and I know I miss. The antelope turns and heads back south along the fence away from me and I can see only the top of its head over the dike. I hold on it and again touch it off. Believe me guys, A .25-06 Ackley Improved with a 115 grain VLD Match bullet moving out about 3200 is not the thing to hit an antelope in the back of the head with. That antelope did a bang flop and was down. Now comes the rest of the story. This antelope was shot at about 95 yards and at that distance the bullet is quite explosive. I get over there and look at this doe and the only thing holding her head on is about a 6" strip of hide. But what really surprised me was on the first shot she was out in the open enough that I had a chest shot on her and when I pulled the trigger I did not notice any reaction except that she turned and ran back around below the dam trying to get out of sight of me. She did this on two legs. One front and one back. Matt had broken the rear leg to the point that when she ran it was flopping all over the place. Nothing left holding it but some hide. Well when I shot I hit right where I was aiming but she was running and her front leg was to the rear when I hit. Yup I hit the front leg just about 2"s above the front knee. Broke it into more pieces than you can imagine. She was still running and I could tell no difference in how she ran. The bullet had gone in and broke the front leg, expanded and made a 1" hole going into its chest and did not go out the other side but did take the lungs and part of the heart out. Good thing was, we recovered a wounded animal. The only real meat damage is in the front shoulder. Bad news was, "Man did she stink" Got her home and all washed out and hosed off and she still don't smell any better.
Other good things, I got an Antelope, walked about 7 miles and got some real good exercise and really cleaned out my lungs. I was able to do that without wheezing after the first 6-700 yds. I had an awesome time. Found out that my .25-06 AI has what it takes and more and found that the Berger Match bullet will do a job on an Antelope in a pinch. What more can I say. It was a great day. OH and the wife is letting me get my Antelope mounted. ;D