Father and Son Antelope Hunt a Huge Experience - 2

After my short fishing break I went out and located the buck with his herd again. However, like earlier in the day I could never get close enough for a shot. The day ended with me hiking back to my pickup in the rain after another fruitless stalk. Despite the great fishing I was feeling a lot like Eeyore the donkey with my own little personal rain cloud.

The next day I couldn't hunt for them as I had church obligations, Monday I couldn't find them, but found a tiny buck. He had about 4" horns. I got within 70 yards of him, but couldn't talk myself into pulling the trigger. Plus my son was at football practice and not with me. Tuesday and Wednesday were a repeat of Monday. I was starting to worry the herd had vacated the area completely. I had Thursday off from work and my son didn't have to go to school that day either. So I asked him if he wanted to go look for the antelope. He readily agreed to go. I personally was feeling a little worn down after having spent the better part of a week fruitlessly looking for the buck, and, like many of you, I obsessed over that “miss” the whole time. I didn't know if it was just going to be a waste of time or not, but I knew we had to go, and that persistence usually pays off.

We got to the ranch and I couldn't believe it when I spotted the herd and they were only about a 1/4 mile from where I'd seen them opening morning. We again planned our stalk. However, the antelope kept wandering further and further ahead of us. What should have been a short stalk turned into a 1 1/2 mile hike up and down in some fairly steep hills. I know I was getting tired of all the up and down, well at least all the “up”. My son stayed by my side the whole way never complaining once. Finally the antelope dropped into a low spot and we made our move. We hustled to close the distance. They were headed northwest and when we crested the hill I was looking that direction.

All of the sudden my son says, “right there!” The dirty buggers had doubled back and were actually to our northeast and walking away. We recalculated our stalk, dropped out of sight, ran ahead, then crawled the last 100 yards trying to cut them off. A doe and fawn caught us crawling, but they were way ahead of the rest of the herd so I took a chance and moved forward quickly so I could see the rest of the herd before they got out of range. It was tricky because in order to get in a position to shoot I was exposed and many of the does had spotted me and were getting nervous. However, the buck didn't see me and was too busy posturing and raking his horns on some brush to notice me. I ranged him at 280 yards. This time I really took my time with the shot. I let my 30.06 bark, and dropped the buck in his tracks with a double lung shot.

We commenced to celebrating. I finally got a little redemption for that missed shot as well. My son got to experience the stalk, the shot, and now the gutting and dragging the animal out. He was fascinated by the whole experience. He actually really enjoyed the gutting process and had many questions. I let him hold the heart and explained what each organ was and its purpose.

After loading the buck in the back of the truck we worked our way down the little two track and back to the county road. When we reached the county road and were greeted by this spectacular sunset for our trip home.

My son looks out at the sunset, then at me and says; "Dad I really enjoyed all of that. I want to do this a lot more." He then reached over with his fist for a knuckle bump, which I gladly obliged. Being a dad is one of the toughest things we can ever do as men. However, in that moment when he made his comment about the hunt, I felt like that maybe I had done something right that day. I hope all you fathers can feel that same feeling with your kids. This is far from the biggest antelope buck I've ever killed. In fact, it is one of the smallest, but the size of the overall experience with my son was HUGE! From here on out, every time I look at this buck's horns, I will remember what a great day I had with my youngest son. That means more to me than any trophy set of horns.


An avid big game hunter, Troy Adams has been hunting big game for nearly 30 years. Combining hunting and photography has helped him preserve many great memories. When not hunting, photographing, writing, or spending time with his family, Troy is usually found working on his wildlife art drawings.
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