I have been wanting to put this story up on here for weeks but have had no pictures. The person with the camera just sent the pictures in the mail so now I can tell the story! I wish the pictures could have been e mailed to me as they are scans of developed photos so I could get them on my computer but at least I have them!
On with the story. I Went to the Clayton NM area on an antelope hunt with some friends back at the end of August. I had been hunting that area for the last seven or eight years, buying landowner tags from several different ranchers in the area. There has always been a good number of goats in that area but we have never really taken a "big" goat or anything out of the low, mid 70's but the permits have always been reasonable and of course hunting Pronghorn is always a blast....for me it is anyway.
We showed up at the ranch around noon on a Sunday and went out to find some goats. It didnt take long to find a better than average goat that looked to be around 14" fairly wide and average cutters. This was a great goat for one of the hunters in our party (jason) that had never taken an antelope before. Jason had flown in from Houston TX for this hunt and planned on borrowing a rifle from one of us for the hunt. I just happend to have brought an extra rifle for no reason other than to bring another rifle!...lol (you always need an extra right?) I loaned Jason my Gordy Gritters built 280 Ackley, topped with a S&B 4-16 PH modified with Hollands ART reticle. I was happy to see this rifle get some hunting time.
After stalking and waiting, stalking and waiting for an hour or so we were within range of this buck. I ranged him at 320 yards. He had a good rest and he said he was comfortable to shoot at this distance. I told him to use the 3 MOA line as the aiming point, and down the buck went. Great Shot!
It was quite warm, I would say low 90's so we took the goat back to the ranch house to hand the meat, skin and cape in the shade. I left Jason there and went back out to look for another nice goat.
I found several goats but nothing special. About two hours before dark I spotted a buck close to 3/4 mile away. The mirage was still bad but I could tell he had big cutters, he didnt look that long but the cutters, from what I could see throught the mirage, looked rediculous. I needed to get a closer look. I went after him. He was in the hills and there were several up and downs between us. When I got to the spot where I though I would be able to see him from, he was no where to be found. I took my time slowly advancing and glassing the entire area constantly. After thirty minutes of creeping along I found his horns above a Yucca plant. He had worked his way down into a bottom area and his horns were all I could see. I eased up to the Yucca in time to see him coming up out of the bottom and headed up the opposite hill. He seemed uneasy and alarmed, he had not seen me but the wind was bad and he had most likely caught my scent.
I quicky ranged him......419 yds. The light was fading and I knew this was the last chance today. I might find him tomorrow or I might not. The rifle I was hunting this Antelope with is a 243 Catbird (270 case necked to 6mm) built on a Stolle Kodiak action, 1-8 twist barrel shooting 105 Bergers. I knew I had him at this distance especially with the wind straight at my back. I dialed in the elevation and down he went!
I never really got an opportunity to judge or really even study the goat at all sbefore I took the shot. I could tell he had great cutters, but didnt look overly long. I knew what kind of goats this area produced and just had a feeling he was better than average and with those cutters a good goat regardless.
This is one of the few times in hunting that "ground shrinkage" has gone the other way for me. As I got closer and closer I was, wow.....Wow....WOW! This goat ended up being the best goat I have ever taken. He curls sharply back which made him look shorter than he actually was.....15 6/8" and 15 4/8" and 6 2/8" prong length on both sides. He green scores 82 7/8".......What a great goat! Thanks for letting me share this hunt with you all!