Phil had killed a doe at 450 and a very impressive buck at 600 yards and wanted to try his hand at longer range with his last doe tag. We drove back to where Cynthia had shot her buck and parked the truck out of sight and got out the 7AM. The land is a wide valley with a small stream in it. With the water and green grass, it holds a lot of antelope. Phil didnít believe he needed a spotter so Cynthia was back at the truck and I had the video camera. Phil did not say how far he wanted to shoot and it didnít occur to me to ask. I just assumed it would be about 700 to 800 yards- my mistake.
Phil got to the top of the ridge that overlooks the valley and began glassing the antelope that were there. I set up the camera and watched him. He ranged out some antelope and I got the ones I believed would be about 750 yards away on the screen but he was going after the one at 910 yards. He measured the wind and it was about 5 mph down the valley. He got the Nightforce 8-32 X 56mm dialed up and lay there a while waiting for an angle he liked. When he got what he liked, he fired and the 200 grain HP RBBT landed way out of the kill zone in the hind quarters. The doe made it about 50 yards and stopped and Phil fired again. The second bullet was high because the doe had moved nearer. Seeing that he was having trouble, I then went up to help get him back on target and told him to fire one more time which he did and I saw the bullet just clear the back of the doe. After that shot the doe went about another 50 yards and lay down. So I got the Swaro LRF and ranged her again and got the new reading and got the correct drop dialed in and he waited until he got the same wind as for the first shot and with the new drop and holding off more for the wind the bullet landed perfectly. At about 900 yards the 200 gr Wildcat will do the same thing to an antelope that it will do to a bull elk.
Obviously, there was more wind out in the valley than low along the sage brush on the ridge and when Phil had measured it he did not consider wind changes all the way to the target. I guess we all learn that in Wyoming the valley winds are always higher. Nonetheless, the reason we were using the 7 AM instead of my normal choice of 240 Wby is that you have a huge safety factor on a marginal hit with the larger caliber at higher velocity. I would not have stayed on the camera and let him shoot without a spotter if I had understood he was going to shoot that far and that was my mistake.
Here is a piece of the video and you can see the three antelope in the upper part of the frame that he was going to shoot at 910 yards, while I was focused on the ones in the lower part of the frame at 700 yards. I have edited it down to just a short piece being as the target doe is not in the video when he shoots so there is little to watch. 200809260849551short21.flv - Video - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting