• Advertisement

Paint the Prairie Red

Talk about Elk

Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:00 pm

This trip was 5 years in the making, sort of. I'm always buying points in Wyoming for antelope. It makes a good "fall back" plan for me when I don't have any other plans for a western hunt for the year. I'd been busy hunting other species for the first 3 years, but didn't have any trips planned last year. I did a ton of research, talked with biologists, game wardens, and taxidermists all over the state. I finally had an area I wanted to draw and applied. Well, wouldn't you know it, I was the only person with 4 points to not draw. No western hunt for me in 2018.

2019 rolls around. I'd made plans to bowhunt coues with some TNDeer members, but that wouldn't happen until Jan 2020, so I wasn't about to let all my research go to waste. I only had to make a single phone call to do all the research I needed.

BB "How's the roads in _______ _____ ________ _________?"
BLM Manager "They're in good shape"
BB "Seeing any antelope?"
BLM "More than ever and some nice bucks at that."

I went ahead and applied for the unit I wanted to hunt the year before. Wyoming had received a bunch of rain this year and I'd been hearing that some of the BLM roads around the state were washed out and impassible. The area I was hunting had a bunch of oil and gas mining going on so expected the roads to be good, but I wanted to make sure. It was just a bonus that the guy I was talking to was also a hunter. He gave me some great info. I drew my tag.

This summer was crazy. I normally shoot one of my bows everyday. It's therapy. This summer my wife and I decided to pack-up and move half way across the state. We struggled to find a house we wanted to buy. Then our house sold in the first 20 minutes it was on the market. Several moves, a few weeks living in various basements and we had our place. First thing I did was get a target set-up and start shooting again.

Image

Cont........

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Advertisement

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:54 pm

The break from shooting must have been good for me, because my shooting was the best its ever been. I only had 2 weeks from when we closed on our new house until I had to fly out for my hunt. My last antelope hunt was 5 years ago and it was with a rifle. I flew out 2 days early, found a goat I wanted to shoot and shot it off the hood of my rental truck while wearing flip-flops the first morning of my hunt. I felt cheated and wanted this to be a "real" hunt. Antelope rut in late September. One of the things that appealed to me was that the area I applied for was archery only through September. Rifle season doesn't start until October for this unit.

My plan was to head out for the last full week of September. I booked a ticket to fly to Denver, rent an AWD car, drive around the unit, hunting, and camping wherever I ended up at the end of the day.

Image

Locked and loaded. I was shooting Rage Hypodermics for this trip. It was one broadhead that I'd never shot an animal with and I was wanting to give it a test drive. I've been anti-Rage for a long time for no real reason at all. It was time to give them a test.

Image

I had everything laid out and ready to go. I always pack a complete set of clean clothes in a freezer bag and refuse to break it open until the morning I fly home. Even if I haven't had a shower for 10 days, I want to have on clean clothes when my wife picks me up at the airport.

Image

Packed and ready for an early morning flight.

Cont.......



Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:25 pm

I landed in Denver and headed to Alamo to get my car. They had a whole line of cars to choose from. While everyone else was looking at the options and testing the driver's seat, I was folding down backseats and seeing which one I could lay down in comfortably for a night's sleep. I prefer to sleep in a tent, but sometimes at the end of the day, I just want to go to bed as fast as possible.

I drove up I-25 into Wyoming, only stopping at a Wally-world to buy a cooler, ice, groceries, and some stove fuel. Once I got into WY it started raining. I'd planned on driving straight to my unit, doing some exploring, then starting my hunt at daylight. The closer to my unit I got, the more it was storming. The roads in WY turn to pure gumbo when wet. I opted to get a hotel room for the night, get up early and head out.

Image

Well, that was a good thought. The day before had been a long day of traveling and I was whooped. I woke up well after sunrise. I ate a big breakfast knowing that this could be my last "real" food for a week, gassed up, and headed out. I had to drive thru a mining town just before getting to my area. There was a doe and two small, rutting bucks following her, right in town. Things were looking up.

Cont.....

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:05 pm

Many of the units in WY area defined by roadways. The unit I drew had a roadway on 3 sides and a river on the south side. The north side of the unit was interspersed with public and private land from a mining company. As I drove it, I saw tons of goats. I'd pull over and check my maps. Some were on public, some were on private. The south end of the unit was mostly public land so I was eager to get down to it and check it out. If I'm going to use 5 points on a unit, I'd prefer to not worry about land ownership.

Image

I turned off the main dirt road onto a secondary dirt road and came to an intersection. Left took me along the main drag. Right was marked "Road closed in 3 miles from a landslide". I went right looking for a good place to camp.

Image

I like to find a place to stay right away. That allows me to hunt all day without worrying about where I'm going to stay. I drove as far as I felt comfortable in a rental car and stopped. Wide open prairie. There may have been a dozen trees in the whole unit.

Image

They're here. Although it looks like there's nothing but flat land in the pictures, there are little ditches and creek bottoms a hunter can hide in.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:54 pm

I'd driven as far as I dare in a rental and decided to take a look around around. I hiked a short ways to a basin and took a peek. At the bottom was a an antelope buck trying to herd a doe. There was a fenceline (BLM land) at the bottom and she just didn't want to cross it. I hopped over the ridge and headed straight towards to the top of the ridge and the fence. I figured if I could get between them, she may lead him right into bow range. It was actually a game of cat and mouse for awhile. She saw me and DIDN'T want to come through, but he had one thing on his mind, and that's the way he wanted to heard her. Well, this would be a short report if it'd worked out. It didn't. But left me pulling cactus spines out of my ankle.

Image

I'd gotten here around 10 AM and decided to eat lunch after this first stalk. My lunch was interrupted by bucks cutting through my canyon on at least 2 different occasions. I figured that if I'm spotting and stalking antelope with a bow, I need to maximize my opportunities and gave everyone of these a shot. There's a good chance it may take me all week just to get a shot.

Image

3 o'clock rolled around and I'd had 8 reasonable stalks. The first one was money, but didn't work out. The sixth or seventh was a nice buck that bed just over the ridge of a creek bottom. I dropped down, slipped into 100 yards and there were 7 cows in the bottom. they literally ran straight up, into where the goat was. When I stuck my head over the edge, he was 150 yards away looking straight at me. The rest of the stalks were mainly seeing a nice buck and figuring out a route to it. When I got there, it was gone. Who knows where, just gone.

Cont.....

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:11 pm

I'd had 8 stalks in less than 5 hours and hadn't even explored half of the unit. I headed out to see if I was missing anything.

Image

Where the heck did they come from. We're miles from what someone would consider elk country. I actually saw lots of elk on my hunt. This unit takes a ton of points to draw an elk tag, I can see why, because it's super easy to hike country (relative) but there wasn't a single big bull that I saw.

Image

That night, I was sitting in camp reading a book and looked along the skyline.

Image

I had a visitor. Things are looking good!!

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Bucket » Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:56 pm

Eagerly waiting!
Last edited by Bucket on Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Bucket
6 Point
 
Posts: 995
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2003 12:00 pm
Location: Cookeville, TN

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:10 am

The next morning, I'm up early. It had cooled off overnight and when I crawled out of the tent, I noticed a heavy frost on the windshield. A good morning for a hot cup of coffee. The only problem is that my stove won't stay lit. I unscrewed the fuel canister and crawled back into my sleeping bag with it. I was just hoping that it needed warmed up to get going. No dice. I grabbed an apple and a couple pieces of cheese for breakfast. I headed back to where I'd hunted the day before.

Image

They were up and waiting on me. I'd brought a decoy and had seen bucks running each other around the day before. For my first stalk of the day, I'd slipped inside 100 yards of a decent buck and pulled out the decoy. Fail. It wanted nothing to do with it.

As I wandered back to the car to grab another snack, I saw another buck bedded in a very stalkable position. All I had to do was drop down into a wash and circle around to its backside. It would put me around 40 yards from the antelope that would be facing the other direction. I dropped into the wash and circled around. When I looked over the edge, the goat was not where it previously was. I looked up the wash and it was on it's feet headed away from me. I'd probably walked right by it on my way over. I dropped back into the wash and ran up, trying to cut it off.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:37 am

There was a small rise at the far end of the wash. I figured that if I could get the the backside of it, I could climb up and just wait on the goat. In the ideal situation, he would crest the rise and be within 100 yards of me and I would have a significantly shorter stalk. Or, he would just walk right to me. My plan worked out. Sort of. He crested the rise and angled towards me. Then he noticed something off in the distance and froze. One of the things I noticed about antelope bucks during the rut is that when they see another buck in the distance, they'll stand stalk still and just stare at them for long periods of time. That's what this antelope was doing. Just standing there staring. I figured him to be about 60 yards away and was plotting my moves to cut the distance. I then decided to range where I thought I needed to be and then range him to see if I'd be in range. He was 106 yards away!!! Did I mention that the wide open grasslands make things appear much closer than they are.

I was going to have to get a lot closer than I originally thought. Well, the day was early and there would be plenty more opportunities. Wyoming has tons of antelope. Sage brush that was no larger than basketballs was all I had to hide behind. I worked my way from one bush to the next. I finally got to a range I was comfortable taking a shot from. The antelope was still in its frozen stare but would certainly see me when I rise to my knees and draw my bow, but I was out of other options. I rose up, drew, and was amazed that the goat was still frozen in its stare. I was on autopilot by this point and don't really remember executing the shot. I do remember the "twang" of my bow and how loud it seemed.

Image

Then I heard the sound of my arrow striking a pumpkin.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:50 am

There was blood. There was lots of blood. I could see it pumping out of him before he even reacted to being shot.

Image

He took off on a run but the way he was bleeding I knew it'd be short. Sure enough, he went down in sight. Probably 60 yards from where he was standing.

Image

Tag notched and time for some pics. Then break it down and pack it back to the car.

Image

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:00 am

Image

Did I mention that Wyoming has lots of antelope?

Image

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:10 am

I'm 2 days into a 9 day hunt. I hadn't really planned on what I'd do with any extra time in case I killed one early. I luckily had thrown a flyrod and a box of flies in my case before leaving.

Image

It was time to find a shaded campsite.

Image

Then it's off to do some fishing

Image

and hiking.

Image

Maybe get lucky and see a moose. Or two.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby Buzzard Breath » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:11 am

End of story

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
User avatar
Buzzard Breath
10 Point
 
Posts: 4273
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:00 pm
Location: Middle

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby cbhunter » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:18 am

Congrats on a great hunt! I enjoyed the story and success


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
User avatar
cbhunter
14 Point
 
Posts: 9491
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:44 pm
Location: Carroll County

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby monjorrow » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:20 am

Congrats! I can't wait to get out west and hunt. Hopefully next year...
User avatar
monjorrow
4 Point
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:22 pm

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby AT Hiker » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:55 am

Most excellent write up and equally awesome pictures! Congrats on a archery Antelope...hopefully your bow luck carries over to those little Coues deer

What about the temperatures, appeared to be nice camping weather.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
User avatar
AT Hiker
14 Point
 
Posts: 8267
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:03 am
Location: Clarksville, Tennessee

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby PickettSFHunter » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:17 pm

Great story. Crazy how much blood there was. Congrats!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
User avatar
PickettSFHunter
16 Point
 
Posts: 19558
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2004 1:00 pm
Location: Northern Plateau

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby TN Song Dog » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:58 pm

Great story and awesome write up. thanks for taking the time to share the details with us.
User avatar
TN Song Dog
8 Point
 
Posts: 1571
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2015 6:46 am
Location: Middle TN

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby BULL MOOSE » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:25 pm

Awesome! That blood trail is unreal...I’ve never seen a photo like that !
BULL MOOSE
10 Point
 
Posts: 4290
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 1999 12:00 pm
Location: 38468

Re: Paint the Prairie Red

Postby tn24 » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:15 pm

Congratulations. Really liked the story and pics. Were you satisfied with the Rage broadhead?
tn24
6 Point
 
Posts: 609
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:44 pm

Next

Return to Hunting - other than deer

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests