While on deployment, I was looking for places to hunt antelope. I am stationed in Oklahoma and wanted to try for some game that isn't available to us back home in Georgia. This was to be my first guided hunt and I was pretty nervous about that fact. I called several places but either they were too expensive for what I felt was acceptable or they were not producing many successful hunters (due to drought this year). I finally found Steve Brugman at Brugman Outfitting Service Hunting Guides- Hunt Elk Deer Quail Antelope Oryx Aoudad (Barbary Sheep) Ibex Coyote
. His hunt prices seemed reasonable and close enough for me to be able to go during a 4 day weekend. I called him and he put me into contact with Ricky Pearce at Pearce Trust Ranch in Maljamar. He told me he had a couple tags and that he would be happy to have me hunt on his land.
Originally, the hunt was to be a DIY hunt, but having never hunted antelope and not knowing where to start, called Ricky once again for advice. He offered to take me out on the hunt and help me pick out a nice buck. He even offered for me and my wife to stay on his ranch for the two days of my hunt! I began getting all the licenses and fees as soon as my plane touched down in the good ole US of A. It couldn't have been any simpler. I mailed the check, I received the license, I went online to the NM DNR website and printed out my HIP and license, and I was ready. After a brief stay in Roswell, my wife and I headed to Maljamar.
We arrived late afternoon and met Ricky and his family. As soon as I met with Ricky, I was immediately at ease. His family treated us as family. He took me out and made sure my rifle was sighted in, then drove me around to look at some of the antelope on his property. There were dozens and dozens! I had never even seen a live antelope before. We then sat down to dinner and enjoyed some of the biggest steaks I had ever seen. Then it was off to bed. The next morning, Mrs. Pearce had breakfast waiting for us when we got up around 4:15. We had breakfast and then hopped in the truck to start scouting for antelope. We saw antelope immediately upon leaving the house. I didn't know how to compare antelope and I thought every one had a nice set of antlers. Ricky guided me every step of the way. He would tell me if we could find one with a bigger rack, or darker colored antlers, or more symmetrical, etc. We found one that I believed was perfect, and then the hunt began. Of all the antelope I saw, I think I picked the most beautiful but also most difficult (maybe smartest?)antelope to hunt. We drove, stalked, and waited for over 3 hours and I never could get closer than 300 yards to that animal. Although 300 yards would have been an easy shot with a modern rifle, I was using my Steyr Mannlicher Schoenauer in .243. It had come out of the shop from restoration work only two days prior and I had no time to refamiliarize with it after having been gone for so long. Additonally, since I had never shot an antelope and was on someone else's property, I wanted to be extra sure I made a very clean shot.
The antelope had again walked off when we decided to jump back into the truck and see if we could cut him off again and have him walk to us. A herd of antelope were approaching a water hole and so we stopped there and waited. The lone antelope I had been hunting began to follow them but was very aware of our presence. Finally, either the does or the water were too much of a temptation and the buck finally came within 100 yards of our position. I waited and when he took a split second pause, I took the shot. He ran about 300 yards before collapsing, and man those animals can R U N! My wife had snuck up behind me and got the whole affair on video. This was certainly one of the most memorable hunts I have ever had thus far. Special thanks to Ricky for his hard work and patience in getting me this beautiful buck!