How to Hunt Antelope at long Range

Discussion in 'How To Hunt Big Game' started by Buffalobob, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    This pertains to public land. You should understand that I am no great expert on antelope hunting but I am the only one who will actually tell you how to do it so you are pretty much stuck with what I happen to know. I know enough to be able to kill them which is no great feat of skill.

    Antelope are like people. There are dumb ones and really dumb ones and then a few really smart ones. The really dumb ones will all have small horns and the dumb ones will have small to medium horn. Only smart antelope have big horns.

    So what you will need is a good fast rifle and some high BC bullets. Unless you pay the Voodoo lady the wind will blow at about 15-25 mph everyday. You will need a wind meter. You will need a good pair of binoculars and a good laser rangefinder. Ranging antelope in flat open sagebrush is a true test of a rangefinder. Some days on some places you cannot range even 500 yards with a Bushnell 1500. You will need a four wheel drive vehicle. You will need to order the BLM maps or the Wyoming Atlas and Gazetteer so you know where the public land is. You should go up on the Wy F& G website and try to find the “walk in areas” for your unit. Walk in areas are a mixture of public and private land where you are granted access to the private land. There is sometimes a WMA and you might need to download a permission slip for it. There is all manner of sticky prickly stuff that grows in Wyoming so you will need boots that will withstand cactus spines.

    A buck antelope will have horns and it will also have a black ear patch kind of below the ear and down on the jawbone to throat area. Its snout and face will be dark. Some does will have small horns a few inches long. If you are interested in a trophy sized antelope you are out of luck because I am not knowledgeable about that. Generally speaking, if the fork of the horn is two or three inches above the tip of its ear it will look nice in a picture. If it is five or so inches up then you need to shoot before somebody else kills it. During the rut the buck will often stand alone about 25 yards from the herd. The herd is lead by a doe. Does come in three varieties, the very old, scrawny and tough ones, the medium age decent shape ones, and the fawns.

    Hunting usually consists of driving down dirt roads and jeep trails and glassing for a herd. Contrary to what people have led you to believe, antelope actually like to drink water and eat fresh green grass. You will find them where you find water and tender grass. Now an antelope will not hesitate to reach down and take a big bite of cactus as a little snack. Once a herd is spotted then you drive to a place where the truck is hidden and park and get out and get your gear. Antelope have extremely good vision and can see you from a mile away. They also have pretty big ears and can hear you for a long ways. A big buck is not going to stand around while you set up in plain sight of him. Remember he didn’t get big by being stupid. Some people resort to knee pads gloves and elbow pads and crawl into position for the shot. You will need to plan your approach to the place you wish to shoot from so that you are not seen nor heard. A bipod is advisable and some kind of rear bag. A decent shot is about 500 yards in windy conditions. To go much beyond that you need for the winds to abate.

    Now if you wish to set up and just wait for a shot you can do that also. I do it, but then I am retired and I am just looking for a certain shot. Once again, you will want water and green grass and there needs to be some antelope using it. You should set up on some high ground and have your truck hidden somewhere. You will need to be hidden and still yourself. Antelope move around a good bit and you should not have much trouble getting a shot that you want. I sat for three days with 50 – 75 antelope always in front of me waiting on the wind to die down. Antelope came and went but there were constantly a lot there.

    After you shoot the antelope you can do one of three things. You can just gut it out and take it to a butcher. You can gut and skin and quarter it and put it in a cooler. Of you can skin one side and bone it down then roll it over and skin at the other side and bone it down. Boning it out in the field does not take much time. I carry 1 mil plastic tarps so the meat doesn’t get dirty and gritty.

    If some of the people who actually know a lot about antelope hunting want to add some stuff that is fine with me. I just write this thread because a lot of people have asked me for help in where to go because they have never hunted antelope before.
     
  2. Dan B

    Dan B Well-Known Member

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    Bob...thanks for the overview! That's what an eastern whitetail hunter like myself needed. I'd like to do Antelope this fall...next fall at the latest....and likely in WY. Stop along Rt 70 on your way west and I'll bale in with my gear!
     

  3. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    Bob, this is just great... and perfect timing. I am going on my first antelope hunt this fall.

    Glad you mentioned the knee pads. I remember a mule deer hunt one year when I got some cactus spines in my knee that were there months later.

    With all the sage brush and when executing a stalk, is hard to find a prone, bipod spot where the shot will clear the brush?
     
  4. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    It can be impossible to find a place to get a shot because of the sage and grass. When I was hunting the Oregon trail the antelope that made it to the rim and was finally skylighted in the story - I had to move and re-set up three times in order to clear the brush with the bullet path.

    The same thing happened frequently in Bates Hole. Those antelope were really spooky and would run if they saw you. Frequently, I would need to move around a lot to find a shooting lane through the sage brush and they would see me and leave. Realize, that I never ever set up on an animal under 1000 yards so that should give you an idea of how touchy they were and how good their eyes are. But it is not hard to find a route to a high point that will keep you out of sight so the stalk is not overly difficult except for the last little bit.

    The sucker bait in Wyoming is that the large clear spots in the sage brush are inhabited by ants so just be prepared to set up in a colony of ants.

    On private land, the antelope are much more used to humans and hunted much less and you can stop the truck, get out and shoot off the hood at 300 yards and kill antelope all day long. Private land animals are just not so spooky.
     
  5. Stormrider

    Stormrider Well-Known Member

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    Good post, BB!
    That's very close to what I did when I was hunting antelope. I didn't know about the website maps but did get maps from the BLM. I also had permission for some private land. Most of my hunting was done on public land and it was great fun. I always had a ball hunting antelope.
    Next year I'll be a resident hunter!
     
  6. cinch

    cinch Well-Known Member

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    Another thing, antelope will also come in to decoys. Sometimes all you need to do is wear a white t-shirt and they (bucks) will actually charge in on you. The less you run an antelope and the faster you get the hide off it, the better it will taste. Nowadays I would call a 13-14" goat average, with a 15-16" being very nice. 16" and bigger are pretty hard to find anymore, but they are still around in the right areas. I would not try to shoot one running as they can run around 65mph. Another thing about antelope, they scare the hell out of you when you are walking to your truck in the morning to go to work and spook a herd in your front yard. I have live in Wyoming over 30 years and hunted antelope for 20 so if anyone has questions, feel free to ask.
     
  7. weinerdawg

    weinerdawg Member

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    the original fast food, Antelope

    Cinch, you must live on one of the golf courses their in Gillette if youve got goats in your front yard. I came down to your neck of the woods this October & shot one of them 16.5" goats you mentioned but it seemed like most of the goats I seen down there were minus 12". I have lived in Wyoming for 47 years and been punching holes in goats for 37 years so I may be able to help with a question as well.
     
  8. cinch

    cinch Well-Known Member

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    I think we sometimes do not realize how lucky we are to have this many antelope here. There are probably more antelope in Wyoming than everywhere else in the world combined. People travel from all over the world to come to Wyoming to hunt antelope, and alot of people here consider them a nuisance. One other thing about antelope hunting, be very careful with them after the kill if you want a shoulder mount. The hair comes out very easily.
     
  9. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Antelope Horns

    Here are pictures of two antelope bucks and a doe I have killed.

    The first buck is very small and I knew it when I shot. I could see his ears and that the fork was not higher than the ears and knew he was no trophy but the distance was 1K and that was what I wanted. He doesn't really make a nice picture nor will he make a nice trophy.


    The second buck is a decent middle of the road sized buck. His fork is about two inches or so above his ears and it really makes the picture look good. He will look good on your wall.


    The third picture is a doe. You will see she has no horns. Look and see that her snout is light colored. Look and see the dark cheek patch on the bucks and notice that she doesn't have one.

    If someone wants to post a picture of a really big buck that would be great. It will not be insulting to me in the least. You can also explain how you decide that a buck has really B&C horns.


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    Last edited: Dec 16, 2007
  10. weinerdawg

    weinerdawg Member

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    Back Yard Goats

    Here are pictures of the goats my son & I harvested this last October. Note the "lipstick" on my son's forhead, lesson, don't let your scope kiss you! Anyway I don't know what these bucks score the bigger one is 16.5" and the little guy is 14".
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  11. Weda

    Weda Guest

    One thing to remember. if you ride around in a truck all day. You'll miss as many as you see. While employing this techinique works well. Often walking over the next rise 1000 yards away will reveal alot more antelpoe.. as they are the ones who grew tired of the road hunters.

    Remember they can see like they have a 10X binocular strapped to their head. So if you can see them they can without question see you!

    While fast flat shooting rifle make things easy. The 308 can be as sucessful as the 7stw. Know your rifle and shoot it often to the ranges you feel comfortable.

    Hunting with a spotter makes life alot easier but stalking much more challenging.

    if you go without knee and elbow pads you'll regret it 10 min into the first stalk.
    If you wear Knee and Elbow pads you'll only have to pick out the prickly pears from your chest, thighs and stomach.. this will save you about an hour in the evening.

    Antelope are not hard to kill... but if you wound one.. 60 mph will put distance between you and recovery awefully fast.

    DO NOT DRAG your speed goat it will be hairless when you get back to the truck. You need 2 people and a 6' stick or gut it an put it on your shoulders.

    Be prepare they are a Goat.. hence "speedgoat" and they do stink.

    If oyu shoot one while running... the meat might as well be all sausage...

    DO NOT shoot them after they have run or while running. Kill one while they are relaxed and calm. The meat is 100% better. One reason LR is the way to go on a Speedgoat.
     
  12. rangerxp

    rangerxp Member

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    First of all, thank you guys for posting all of this great information. I too have been wanting to hunt some lopes for a while now. I live in N.C. and all I have ever hunted is whitetail. I'm looking for something new to spend what money I don't have on, and the pronghorn looks like a very cool animal to try to hunt. I have one question:
    If I were to travel to Wy. for a week and follow these guidelines as well as reading as much as I can on the subject, would I have a reasonable chance of killing an antelope worthy of the wall? Now I'm not looking for a huge one, just something that would look good on the wall and be a nice reminder of my hunt. Thanks again.
     
  13. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Ranger

    If you spend a week and do not shoot the first one you see but take a little tiime and get used to checking the horns against the ears you should do well. My method of measureing horns was taught to me by a wildlife biologist from Wyoming many years ago. It is not for Boone and Crocket scoring but it is good for wallhangers. That is why I posted the three pictures and then some other memebers posted some good pictures.

    Remember the average wind will be gusting from 10-20 mph and you really need to practice shooting in the wind. Do not shoot at a buck if he is not isolated because the winddrift can put you into another animal and then you have no trophy.
     
  14. TheSollyLama

    TheSollyLama Writers Guild

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    excellent thread. Well written. And thank you for sharing it, I am hoping to get the draw this year in CO for pronghorn.