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

30calyooper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
116
Location
Michigan
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.
Welcome to the brotherhood! Sounds like you have an appreciation for both safety and ethics, and that will take you far. There are many more opportunities to explore in the world of hunting, and wish you success and happiness in all. I grew up in a state where deer hunting is a revered and hallowed pastime, so its been a part of my life for more years than you have walked this planet...and I still enjoy it as much as I did that first cold November morning. Always remember - even a tough day of hunting is time well-spent. It definitely beats a good day at work!
 

Carlos88

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2020
Messages
685
Location
Benbrook TX 76126
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.
 

Carlos88

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2020
Messages
685
Location
Benbrook TX 76126
Welcome to the brotherhood! Sounds like you have an appreciation for both safety and ethics, and that will take you far. There are many more opportunities to explore in the world of hunting, and wish you success and happiness in all. I grew up in a state where deer hunting is a revered and hallowed pastime, so its been a part of my life for more years than you have walked this planet...and I still enjoy it as much as I did that first cold November morning. Always remember - even a tough day of hunting is time well-spent. It definitely beats a good day at work!
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.
Congratulations. You did a fine job and I'm very happy for you. Sharing the hunt with others is another great way to learn.
 

7fan1967

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Messages
72
Location
utah
I enjoyed your write up. I don’t know that I could have made that head shot, after my adrenaline gets going I need a good size target.
Great hunt story . I’m impressed with your learning process. A lot of first timers just go and wing it . Hoping for the best . I’ve been hunting for more than 40 years and try to learn something new on every hunt . I personally like head shots . No run , no adrenaline splash , no ruined meat . Good job on harvesting all of the meat . Allot of newby’s don’t do that . Just take what’s easy and move . I hope the hunting bug has dug deep in your soul and can’t to do it again . Now bring along a buddy and spread the experience.👍
 

Ga6570

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Messages
255
Location
SW Montana - Bozeman Area
Congrats!! Good job! and welcome to hunting!!!
Even after many years of hunting I’m still learning things. I will say, don’t worry about small areas or things you may have considered a mistake, those are learning opportunities and rarely do any of us have everything go like we would have liked.
As for headshots, in your case where it was a finishing shot. (My opinion) you are completely correct to have done that. It doesn’t damage any more meat and quickly ends any suffering the animal may be experiencing. I prefer to put one in the high neck base of the skull area if I need a final shot. It gives more room for error IMO.

thanks for sharing and keep up the target practice, that’s one thing what will help leaps and bounds when different shot opportunities present themselves.
 

Ben Gallardy

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
49
Location
Gods Country, Pennsylvania
The only part of your story that I did not agree with was this quote “I doubt this post will be of much interest to anyone else”. Your story was great! And very interesting. 99% of the stories I hear are from people that have hunted forever, and all things you describe are second nature. Hearing from an adult perspective for the first time is very interesting. Congrats on the antelope and double congrats on all the effort you put into it! Thanks for sharing and welcome to the hunting ranks.
 

Firewurx

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
63
Location
Greenville, PA
Congratulations on your kill! Great story, well written. You prepared well in my opinion. Yes, I’d love to see your photos and I think most others would too. You sound like you’re hooked now too; considering the amount of effort you put into this hunt.

I’m 40 and have been hunting and hand-loading with my father since I was 9. I couldn’t sleep the night before any big game opener then and still can’t now. You’d think one may get burnt out after doing the same activities for so long, but this lifestyle keeps me going.

The skills you gain and information you learn along the way are invaluable for you and your family’s survival in this world. You may not have to use these skills in a real “life-or-death” manner, but better to have them if the situation arises. Just because we’re a “civilized” species and live in what we would call a “modern society” doesn’t mean it can’t fall apart tomorrow.

Imagine what a lot of civilians felt at the beginning of every war anywhere in the world in the last 150 years... I bet some thought survival skills would never be necessary or need to be put to use in their lifetime too.

Pass the skills and information onto your children also; don’t force it if they don’t want to, but see if you can get a spark of interest in them. Let that fire get started in them and it should burn for years. I’m glad my dad took me hunting and passed on a lot of his knowledge to me. Now I can pass it onto my children.

In my opinion, this lifestyle can build character, responsibility, teaches an individual to become ethical, practice restraint, and maintain a high morality.
 
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