This month was my first time ever hunting... Ever.

Doozy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2017
Messages
83
Location
Colorado Springs
I grew up in the Los Angeles area and never had a hunting upbringing. I'm 41 now and for the first time ever, went hunting. I went all by myself.

I'm very interested in emergency and survival preparedness, hence my interest now. I wanted to try hunting, at least once for the learning experience it would be.

Got a doe tag for Pronghorn in East-Central Colorado. I had to do the hunter safety course 100% online because the state stopped allowing in-person training and they allowed purely online training. I have a lot of coworkers who hunt and I gleaned a bunch of info off of them, including borrowing a DVD set about how to debone in the field (which was very helpful).

I won a NRA sweepstakes a year and a bit ago, so I sold most of the guns and built a 300 PRC rifle. I wanted a hybrid hunting and long range rifle. I knew this was far more power than was needed for Pronghorn, but I figured I'd have to shoot them from 400 yrds plus, so I figured it'd do. I don't have a lot of money with four little boys and wife wholly depending on my pay check.

I bought a pack from Bass Pro. I also splurged and got the Sig 3000 rangefinding binoculars and an accompanying Garmin Foretrex Applied Ballistics version. After practice and zeroing, I was ready to shoot long range. (This site was invaluable for building that rifle.)

On the first day of my late rifle hunt (1 Dec) I went out on a cold very windy day. I packed too heavy and struggled hiking the 7 or so miles. Never saw a Pronghorn. The worst part was my eyes were shredded by the constant blowing dust.

A few day later, I tried a different spot and immediately spotted a herd. I knew they had good eyesight but I figured I'd be able to get within 400 yards of them. Boy was I wrong! They wanted to maintain 1000 to 1100 yards at all times. I wasn't stupid enough to just keep pushing them (I knew being by myself that would never work) so I tried other strategies. One of my tries I circled about a mile around them down in a ravine they couldn't see. I emerged and had to keep very low to get to a ridge to see them. I hunched-walked without my pack 75 yards and literally crawled another 175 yards (it took forever!)... with my rifle draped across my forearms in a low crawl at times. When I emerged over the ridge, I saw all of the herd was bedded down except one doe which was a bit over 600 yards away. I was taking my time however, and very shortly that doe bed down and was out of sight from the low grass there. I could still see a lot of the other herd's heads popped up on alert, though they weren't standing, and farther at 700+ yards. I figured I'd try to shoot one of their heads. But it was a long shot, I didn't know where their brain cavity was, and I was having a hard time with the shadows telling if I was looking at a doe or buck. I was just unexperienced. About 20 minutes into this they all stood up! I looked for a good doe, but I didn't realize I would only have a few seconds to shoot. They all started running off before I was ready.... Lesson learned: when they stand like that I may only have seconds to shoot! Turns out they hadn't seen me, but rather saw another hunter hundreds of yards behind me walking by. That hunter probably had no idea they were even there. So that was discouraging. I hiked and crawled exactly 11 miles that day, according to my GPS. While hiking back to the truck I had passed by a Pronghorn skull and so I inspected it and learned the brain was a bit behind and at the bottom of the eye socket. This knowledge would prove valuable the next time I went out.

Days later I went out again, arriving to the parking spot with an hour before sunrise (with hopes I could hike the 2.5 miles or so to get into position where I figured later hunters would push the animals toward me.) The sun had come up about 10 minutes before and I wasn't really on alert while walking to my spot when I suddenly saw heads popped up right in front of me at a VERY close distance...close enough where I knew I didn't need to bother with ranging and dialing in my scope. I smoothly got down and loaded a cartridge. They were now all standing and starting into a quick walk (like they hadn't yet decided they wanted to run). I had read somewhere that often the matriarch leader of a herd will be large and take the lead when there was danger. I set my scope on a lead doe and because of what I read, the fact that she looked very large, and since I figured I only had seconds left to fire, I didn't bother looking at any other animals. She was walking right-to-left and I led my scope and waited for her to walk into it. (It was here that I could see she had a tracking collar on and it crossed my mind that I wasn't 100% sure I could kill a collared animal; I had a dozen arguments go through my head in a second and all seemed to say it would be okay.) I wasn't nervous, just methodically hurrying to shoot.

I shot and immediately looked up from above my rifle. While all others started in a run, my doe had its rump on the ground and was perched up with its front legs. I knew I had hit it, but not in the heart-lung area that I intended. My immediate thought was I needed to shoot it again to stop its suffering. I quickly loaded another round, and this time took five seconds to range its head... 165 yards. The correction is instantly displayed in my binos (it communicates with the Garmin via bloothtooth) and so I made the 0.1mil correction on the scope. I aimed for the brain cavity and about 30 seconds after I had shot the first round, I pulled the trigger again. I looked up and the animal was out of sight; I knew it had fallen. I was pleased I remembered to put my rifle on safe before moving again (Something I figured would be easy to forget and so I really wanted to ensure I got that little detail down.)

Upon inspection, and while cleaning and deboning, I learned that for whatever reason, my first round had hit and destroyed the spine about 2/3 of the way back. It also ripped open a large, 1 foot tear in the hide. It had bled a large pool down its side. Unfortunately, this made a good portion of the backstrap and tenderloins unrecoverable. The second shot was perfectly placed and I felt contented that I was able to swiftly end its life. But the scene was grisly! It still had its snout, but there was no "face" to the animal left. The 300 PRC blew away all brain, eyes and skull. It was just a cavity. Because of this, I'm not sure if I should post pictures or not; it was my best to be humane, but like I said, it is very grisly.

So that was my first time hunting. I learned a lot and reverently harvested the meat...not even a month ago. I don't know if cleaning and beboning it immediately helped, but I was pleased there was no prominent taste to the meat... All very mild. The first thing I did when I got home was to read about collared animals. I learned it is fine to shoot them but Colorado Parks & Wildlife prefers you remove the collar and bring it to them. I didn't have a socket wrench or pliers and didn't know this anyway, so I had left it, marking the exact spot with my GPS. I called them up and fortunately, they were fine with me just telling them the location.

After grinding and processing the meat, I ended up with 29 lbs.

I doubt this post will be of much interest to anyone else, but I just felt I should record my experience... If nothing else, for myself. Currently I am leaning towards hunting again next year.
 
Last edited:

Ranger Rick

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2019
Messages
488
Location
Idaho
I grew up in the Los Angeles area and never had a hunting upbringing. I'm 41 now and for the first time ever, went hunting. I went all by myself.

I'm very interested in emergency and survival preparedness, hence my interest now. I wanted to try hunting, at least once for the learning experience it would be.

Got a doe tag for Pronghorn in East-Central Colorado. I had to do the hunter safety course 100% online because the state stopped allowing in-person training and they allowed purely online training. I have a lot of coworkers who hunt and I gleaned a bunch of info off of them, including borrowing a DVD set about how to debone in the field (which was very helpful).I won a NRA sweepstakes a year and a bit ago, so I sold most of the guns and built a 300 PRC rifle. I wanted a hybrid hunting and long range rifle. I knew this was far more power than was needed for Pronghorn, but I figured I'd have to shoot them from 400 yrds plus, so I figured it'd do. I don't have a lot of money with four little boys and wife wholly depending on my pay check.

I bought a pack from Bass Pro. I also splurged and got the Sig 3000 rangefinding binoculars and an accompanying Garmin Foretrex Applied Ballistics version. I was ready to shoot long range.

On the first day of my late rifle hunt (1 Dec) I went out on a cold very windy day. I packed too heavy and struggled hiking the 7 or so miles. Never saw a Pronghorn. The worst part was my eyes were shredded by the constant blowing dust.

A few day later I tried a different spot and immediately spotted a herd. I knew they had good eyesight but I figured I'd be able to get within 400 yards of them. Boy was I wrong! They wanted to maintain 1000 to 1100 yards at all times. I wasn't stupid enough to just keep pushing them (I knew being by myself that would never work) so I tried other strategies. One of my tries I circled about a mile around them down in a ravine they couldn't see. I emerged and had to keep very low to get to a ridge to see them. I hunched-walked without my pack 75 yards and literally crawled another 175 yards (it took forever!)... with my rifle draped across my forearms in a low crawl at times. When I emerged over the ridge, I saw all but one of the herd was bedded down except one doe which was a bit over 600 yards away. I was taking my time however, and very shortly that dow bed down and was out of sight from the low grass there. I could still see a lot of their heads popped up on alert, though they weren't standing. I figured I'd try to shoot one of their heads. But it was a long shot, I didn't know where their brain cavity was, and I was having a hard time with the shadows telling if I was looking at a doe or buck. I was just unexperienced. About 20 minutes into this they all stood up! I looked for a good doe, but I didn't realize I would only have a few seconds to shoot. They all started running off before I was ready.... Lesson learned: when they stand like that I may only have seconds to shoot! Turns out they hadn't seen mee but rather saw another hunter hundreds of yards behind me walking by. That hunter probably had no idea they were even there. I hiked and crawled exactly 11 miles that day, according to my GPS. While hiking back to the truck I had passed by a Pronghorn skull and so I inspected it and learned the brain was a bit behind and at the bottom of the eye socket. This knowledge would prove valuable the next time I went out.

Days later I went out again, arriving to the parking spot with an hour before sunrise (with hopes I could hike the 2.5 miles or so to get into position where I figured later hunters would push the animals toward me.) The sun had come up about 10 minutes before and I wasn't really on alert while walking to my spot when I suddenly saw heads popped up right in front of me at a VERY close distance... Close enough where I knew I didn't need to bother with ranging and dialing in my scope. I smoothly got down and loaded a cartridge. They were now all standing and starting in a quick walk (like they hadn't yet decided they wanted to run). I had read somewhere that often the matriarch leader of a herd will be large and take the lead when there was danger. I set my scope on a lead doe and because of what I read, the fact that she looked very large, and since I figured I only had seconds left to fire, I didn't bother looking at any other animals. She was walking right to left and I led my scope and waited for her to walk into it. (It was here that I could see she had a tracking collar on and it crossed my mind that I wasn't 100% sure I could kill a collared animal; I had a dozen arguments go through my head in a second and all seemed to say it would be okay.) I wasn't nervous, just methodically hurrying to shoot.

I shot and immediately looked up from above my rifle. While all others started in a run, my doe had its rump on the ground and was perched up with its front legs. I knew I had hit it, but not in the heart-lung area that I intended. My immediate thought was I needed to shoot it again to stop its suffering. I quickly loaded another round, and this time took five seconds to range its head... 165 yards. The correction is instantly displayed in my binos (it communicates with the Garmin via bloothtooth) and so I made the 0.1mil correction on the scope. I aimed for the brain cavity and about 30 seconds after I had shot the first round, I pulled the trigger again. I looked up and the animal was out of sight; I knew it had fallen. I was pleased I remembered to but my rifle on safe before moving again (Something I figured would be easy to forget and so I really wanted to ensure I got that little detail down.)

Upon inspection, and while cleaning and deboning, I learned that for whatever reason, my first round had hit and destroyed the spine about 2/3 of the way back. It also ripped open a large, 1 foot tear in the hide. It had bled a large pool down its side. Unfortunately, this made a good portion of the backstrap and tenderloins unrecoverable. The second shot was perfectly placed and I felt contented that I was able to swiftly end its life. But the scene was grisly! It still had its snout, but there was no "face" to the animal left. The 300 PRC blew away all brain, eyes and skull. It was just a cavity. Because of this, I'm not sure if I should post pictures or not; it was my best to be humane, but like I said, it is very grisly.

So that was my first time hunting. I learned a lot and reverently harvested the meat...not even a month ago. I don't know if cleaning and beboning it immediately helped, but I was pleased there was no prominent taste to the meat... All very mild. The first thing I did when I got home was to read about collared animals. I learned it is fine to shoot them but Colorado wildlife & parks prefers you remove the collar and bring it to them. I didn't have a socket wrench or pliers and didn't know this anyway, so I had left it, marking the exact spot with my GPS. I called them up and fortunately, they were fine with me just telling them the location.

After grinding and processing the meat, I ended up with 29 lbs.

I doubt this post will be of much interest to anyone else, but I just felt I should record my experience... If nothing else, for myself. Currently I am leaning towards hunting again next year.
Congratulations! As Methuselah once said, “It’s never too late to start.” I recommend getting a friend to hunt with and observe. I started at 10 years old with a friend because my Dad was messed up from the seven battle stars he earned in the Pacific during WWII. Plus, use foam lined glasses or even goggles if wind with grit is present. Over time, you will refine. 🥂 for 2021 hunting.
 

Bucklowery

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
747
Location
northwest florida
Great experience and post. It is all about experience. Experience has taught me even though there is lot of mention of head shot and right between the eyes, they are not that great unless you are at pistol range finish shot. I have shot deer like you that almost removed their head but flopped bellowed for minutes slinging blood everywhere. Very gruesome. I have found the neck to be much better and higher percentage shot for no meat loss and quick kill. These are all from a very comfortable no rush secure rest at a range I feel I can complete the shot in my sleep. Deer are almost always moving their head unless eating or poised on something. Cool that your first experience went well and you like all of us have learned a lot. Join up for a hunt with some co workers it will speed up on your learning curve.

Thanks

Buck
 

TRnCO

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
78
Location
Elizabeth, CO
congrats on your first hunt. You got to experience a lot, in a short amount of time. You got to enjoy the fruits of your labor, the meat. My guess is, that you'll be back for more. Each hunt you'll find learning moments, no matter how long you do it.
With antelope under your belt, it's time to set your sights on an elk for next season.
 

manitou1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
235
Location
Missouri
I try not to risk head shots. I have found deer post season suffering horribly with their jaws shot off, noses shot off. Just to small of a target. Besides, it is very messy.
Good on you for learning about hunting and going after it, even butchering. That is quite an accomplishment!
It will get easier, but no less exciting.
 

Lapuatom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2011
Messages
117
Location
sw Pa
I grew up in the Los Angeles area and never had a hunting upbringing. I'm 41 now and for the first time ever, went hunting. I went all by myself.

I'm very interested in emergency and survival preparedness, hence my interest now. I wanted to try hunting, at least once for the learning experience it would be.

Got a doe tag for Pronghorn in East-Central Colorado. I had to do the hunter safety course 100% online because the state stopped allowing in-person training and they allowed purely online training. I have a lot of coworkers who hunt and I gleaned a bunch of info off of them, including borrowing a DVD set about how to debone in the field (which was very helpful).

I won a NRA sweepstakes a year and a bit ago, so I sold most of the guns and built a 300 PRC rifle. I wanted a hybrid hunting and long range rifle. I knew this was far more power than was needed for Pronghorn, but I figured I'd have to shoot them from 400 yrds plus, so I figured it'd do. I don't have a lot of money with four little boys and wife wholly depending on my pay check.

I bought a pack from Bass Pro. I also splurged and got the Sig 3000 rangefinding binoculars and an accompanying Garmin Foretrex Applied Ballistics version. After practice and zeroing, I was ready to shoot long range. (This site was invaluable for building that rifle.)

On the first day of my late rifle hunt (1 Dec) I went out on a cold very windy day. I packed too heavy and struggled hiking the 7 or so miles. Never saw a Pronghorn. The worst part was my eyes were shredded by the constant blowing dust.

A few day later, I tried a different spot and immediately spotted a herd. I knew they had good eyesight but I figured I'd be able to get within 400 yards of them. Boy was I wrong! They wanted to maintain 1000 to 1100 yards at all times. I wasn't stupid enough to just keep pushing them (I knew being by myself that would never work) so I tried other strategies. One of my tries I circled about a mile around them down in a ravine they couldn't see. I emerged and had to keep very low to get to a ridge to see them. I hunched-walked without my pack 75 yards and literally crawled another 175 yards (it took forever!)... with my rifle draped across my forearms in a low crawl at times. When I emerged over the ridge, I saw all but one of the herd was bedded down except one doe which was a bit over 600 yards away. I was taking my time however, and very shortly that doe bed down and was out of sight from the low grass there. I could still see a lot of the other herd's heads popped up on alert, though they weren't standing, and farther at 700+ yards. I figured I'd try to shoot one of their heads. But it was a long shot, I didn't know where their brain cavity was, and I was having a hard time with the shadows telling if I was looking at a doe or buck. I was just unexperienced. About 20 minutes into this they all stood up! I looked for a good doe, but I didn't realize I would only have a few seconds to shoot. They all started running off before I was ready.... Lesson learned: when they stand like that I may only have seconds to shoot! Turns out they hadn't seen me, but rather saw another hunter hundreds of yards behind me walking by. That hunter probably had no idea they were even there. So that was discouraging. I hiked and crawled exactly 11 miles that day, according to my GPS. While hiking back to the truck I had passed by a Pronghorn skull and so I inspected it and learned the brain was a bit behind and at the bottom of the eye socket. This knowledge would prove valuable the next time I went out.

Days later I went out again, arriving to the parking spot with an hour before sunrise (with hopes I could hike the 2.5 miles or so to get into position where I figured later hunters would push the animals toward me.) The sun had come up about 10 minutes before and I wasn't really on alert while walking to my spot when I suddenly saw heads popped up right in front of me at a VERY close distance...close enough where I knew I didn't need to bother with ranging and dialing in my scope. I smoothly got down and loaded a cartridge. They were now all standing and starting into a quick walk (like they hadn't yet decided they wanted to run). I had read somewhere that often the matriarch leader of a herd will be large and take the lead when there was danger. I set my scope on a lead doe and because of what I read, the fact that she looked very large, and since I figured I only had seconds left to fire, I didn't bother looking at any other animals. She was walking right-to-left and I led my scope and waited for her to walk into it. (It was here that I could see she had a tracking collar on and it crossed my mind that I wasn't 100% sure I could kill a collared animal; I had a dozen arguments go through my head in a second and all seemed to say it would be okay.) I wasn't nervous, just methodically hurrying to shoot.

I shot and immediately looked up from above my rifle. While all others started in a run, my doe had its rump on the ground and was perched up with its front legs. I knew I had hit it, but not in the heart-lung area that I intended. My immediate thought was I needed to shoot it again to stop its suffering. I quickly loaded another round, and this time took five seconds to range its head... 165 yards. The correction is instantly displayed in my binos (it communicates with the Garmin via bloothtooth) and so I made the 0.1mil correction on the scope. I aimed for the brain cavity and about 30 seconds after I had shot the first round, I pulled the trigger again. I looked up and the animal was out of sight; I knew it had fallen. I was pleased I remembered to put my rifle on safe before moving again (Something I figured would be easy to forget and so I really wanted to ensure I got that little detail down.)

Upon inspection, and while cleaning and deboning, I learned that for whatever reason, my first round had hit and destroyed the spine about 2/3 of the way back. It also ripped open a large, 1 foot tear in the hide. It had bled a large pool down its side. Unfortunately, this made a good portion of the backstrap and tenderloins unrecoverable. The second shot was perfectly placed and I felt contented that I was able to swiftly end its life. But the scene was grisly! It still had its snout, but there was no "face" to the animal left. The 300 PRC blew away all brain, eyes and skull. It was just a cavity. Because of this, I'm not sure if I should post pictures or not; it was my best to be humane, but like I said, it is very grisly.

So that was my first time hunting. I learned a lot and reverently harvested the meat...not even a month ago. I don't know if cleaning and beboning it immediately helped, but I was pleased there was no prominent taste to the meat... All very mild. The first thing I did when I got home was to read about collared animals. I learned it is fine to shoot them but Colorado Parks & Wildlife prefers you remove the collar and bring it to them. I didn't have a socket wrench or pliers and didn't know this anyway, so I had left it, marking the exact spot with my GPS. I called them up and fortunately, they were fine with me just telling them the location.

After grinding and processing the meat, I ended up with 29 lbs.

I doubt this post will be of much interest to anyone else, but I just felt I should record my experience... If nothing else, for myself. Currently I am leaning towards hunting again next year.
great hunting story, and welcome to the hunting world. Lots to learn,enjoy, and appreciate
 

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