Antelope success in WY. Pic heavy

pre6422hornet

Handloader
Jan 24, 2012
974
1
Well it has been a few days and I am set up in Albuquerque, we sold our house in Missouri ( keep fingers crossed until closing), and we bought a house in Rio Rancho NM. Oh year I spent three days in WY hunting antelope, prairie dogs, and coyotes. Not bad for a week.

Left KC on Tuesday at 9am and pulled into Laramie WY around 9:30 pm. Decent trip hauling the fifth wheel, bucked a good headwind completely across the small state of Nebraska. Parked the camper in Walmarts parking lot for the night and went inside to buy some groceries and my conservation stamp.

Couldn't sleep. Woke up at 5:30, made some coffee, rubbed some Obenaufs onto my boots, checked email, did some work, FINALLY the sun came up so I filled up the truck and headed north to Medicine Bow. Almost instantly there were antelope everywhere. And I mean everywhere.



Stopped by the ranchers house and grabbed a map of the ranch and a permission slip, then drove north into remoteness. Pulled off the asphalt and proceeded to take the 14000 pound fifthwheel 8 miles off the road through pastures, gully's, and finally setting up camp next to a creek.



Set up camp, zeroed the rifles. 1949 .270 was dead on at 200 yards with the 4x scope so I clicked one click up and shot... perfect. Classic stainless .270 was 3 inches high at 200 so I left her alone.

Drove back to town to fill up on gas, sit at The Virginian hotel and bar and do some work and answer emails and phone ( cell service was bad on ranch). I went back around 2:30 and decided to grab my 35mm SLR with zoom lens, my spotter, and the 1949 and go for a walk east from camp. There was a nice hill about 3/4 of a mile away that had a bowl behind it. About 3/4 of the way up the hill I spotted some antelope coming over the crest. I sat down, pulled out the spotter and took a look.



They eventually fed down behind another hill so it was game on. I was able to sneak up to within 200 yards of them, bellycrawling the last 20 feet or so. I pulled the pack up, grabbed my rifle and took a peak over the rim... BUSTED. The were all at full alert and within 2 or 3 seconds they took off. I watched them go down to the creek bottom and begin to feed. I decided to head down the backside of the ridge and parallel the creek ( 3/4 mile away) as I remembered a basin at the end of the ridge. As I eased my head over the ridgeline with the sun at my back the binos revealed a basin covered with antelope. I quickly looked at the surrounding coulees, ditches, etc and discovered a 4 foot deep ditch that ran down the side of the last hill. I could duck walk down it without exposing myself and I should be able to come out within 300-400 yards of the closest band of antelopes, all feeding.

I got to my destination, eased over the rim, and they were still there. I backed off, set up the spotter and looked over the basin. A couple nice bucks and alot of does and fawn. These were the ones in my line of fire.



It was 4:00. I had a few hours till sunset. The waiting game begins. Every 5 minutes or so I would peek over the ridge and check on em. This shot is all set up from my ambush point. 35mm SLR with 200 zoom lens.



Ambush spot. 1949 ready for quick action:



They finally got up around 5-515 and started feeding down toward the creek. They were feeding in a way that eventually they would start getting farther away. This was my no turning back spot. I had left my rangefinder in the camper so I started to SWAG the yardage by using a lifetime of golfing and how the antelope sized up to the 4x reticle. I guessed 325. A wise antelope hunter told me NOT to hold over no matter what.... but for some reason I forgot that part. I held a sliver of daylight over one of the biggest does back, took a few breaths, squeezed.............and missed. The bullet impacted exactly where the crosshairs were. Windage was perfect. I flat out homer simpsoned the yardage. They took off running and I watched her run for a good 2 miles before they slowed down and started feeding again.

The sun was getting really close to the horizon and I had a one mile walk down to a two track through leg breaking gopher holes, then 1.5 miles to camp. Dejection stinks when all you have is yourself to talk to.

Anyway that night Mike made it to camp and we were excited to get at it the next morning.

As soon as we loaded up the truck, drove across the creek, we were into antelope. We spooked a few very early, and we ended up stopping the truck a good 2 miles from where we wanted to due to antelope being in front of us.

We left the truck and dropped down into a ditch that would cover us for a distance and marked the location of the antelopes with the windmills on the horizon. After walking the ditch until it ended ( about 3/4 mile) we found the antelope feeding away from us. With no cover going forward we backed up the 3/4 mile and went down a dry creek bed. This time we were able to use the terrain to get set up on some antelope. Mike called out the range at 338 yards. Carrying the 1949 again with a 4x scope my mind was racing at holdover. Wind was full value at 30mph so a shot at that range was playing on me. I really was hesitating. I had a few shots but couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger. AFter sitting there for 8 or 9 minutes, Mike grabs my leg and whispers " goats coming up from the creek and they are alot closer". I blocked everything out. I started tracking a big doe as she came up out of the draw. They were alot closer than the shot the night before. She was hard quartering away. Not even thinking of the full value wind, I put the crosshairs on the middle of her last rib, holding for off shoulder and squeezed. WHAP! DRT! The antelope peeled out of there, minus one doe. We walked up and while the shot was perfect up and down, the wind had blown the BT 5 inches left and into the base of her neck. It was then that we wondered how far the shot was. We went back and paced it off at 188 yards.



The old girl did a nice job.



Got her cleaned out as Mike walked a mile or two back to the truck and I sat there mesmerized by not only the beautiful creature before me, but the landscape, vastness, and remoteness. I went down to the creek and washed my hands and knife and wondered how many times someone had washed their hands in the creek after harvesting a buffalo, elk, mule deer, mammoth, etc... Humbling.

We spent the rest of the morning exploring the ranch and seeing well over 200 antelope. Lots of nice bucks and prairie dogs. The rancher asked us not to shoot alot of dogs as his grandkids liked to shoot them so we only shot sparingly. Here is Mikes .308 next to a guard shack way out in the middle of nowhere.



On the way back to camp we spotted a really nice herd of antelope almost in the same spot where I had missed the night before. I wanted redemption. We decided to head back up the ridge as long as they were still there. We went back to camp, hung the antelope up, skinned her out and met the rancher who was out wrangling the cows for separating. He was a great guy and told us his 12 year old granddaughter was coming out on Friday and Saturday to Buck hunt on her first big game hunt. He told us of two "cow elk" he saw over the ridge, and upon Mike and I investigating, those "cow elk" were actually two 5x5 bulls!!

We left camp around 3:30 and again drove through the first gate and pretty much stopped. Those antelope had already begun to head toward the creek so we dumped the truck, and dropped down into the creek bed. We would walk 200 yards and pop up for a look see. Each time the antelope would be a little closer to the creek, headed in the right direction. We ran out of cover in a small depression in the bank that was littered in droppings and tracks. This is where they were heading to water. On the other side was a good spot to set up so we quickly walked the 300 yards through the opening hunched over and slowly got up to the crest of the bluff. Mike took a look and very matter of fact said " they are a long way off". I eased up and yep they were way out of my range.. His rangefinder wouldn't even register them. As we sat there, out of nowhere ( which is the beauty of this type of hunting) mother natures landscape had been hiding "our" herd right in front of us. They started coming out from behind a small hill one by one. I eased up the pack, found my cheek weld, and started the process. "256" is the only thing I heard from Mike. My rifle is dead on at 275 so I was good to go. One of the does had us pegged as well. They all were beginning to stare and Mike said " there getting spooky, which one". I called out " lone doe next to the buck on the right". She was facing directly at me. Wind was blowing again 30-35mph at our backs at a 1/4 value, taking the bullet from left to right. That meant nothing to me as this midwesterner never has to worry about the wind. Again I did not adjust for wind. I don't know why other than the fact of I have never had to worry about it before. I centered the crosshairs on her sternum and sent a 130gr BT on its way. WHOOMP!. She was down. Then she was up.... running. You could see her left front leg was broken and the whole left side of her has covered with blood and her entire rib cage was exposed. I got up on my knees and shot again ( just burned her back). We watched her run and I could hear Mike say over and over " go down honey, go down". Finally she stopped and flopped, but her head was up. I grapped my pack and started running, all the while threading two more rounds into the magazine ( I only load 3). When I got to within 200 yards of her, she stood up and started running again dead away. By this time all I wanted to do was stop her suffering and I went to a knee, wrapped in the sling and put the crosshairs on her tail. BOOM! She went down. I grabbed my pack again and started walking. At 100 yards out she again raised up her head and started crawling away. A lung shot finished her. I walked up and couldn't believe the wound on her left side.



The bullet had drifted three inches right and entered on the second rib from the sternum. The BT shattered Ribs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and then exited the body, burning a trail down her hide. The bone fragments destroyed her left lung. It was totally my fault. My inexperience with the wind caused this and you can be rest assured this will never happen again.

She ended up being a nice big doe, with 4 inch horns! Pretty cool.



We went to camp and made a gambrel out of some wood and wire we found on the prairie. That gambrel came home with me and will be hung in my new office at our new house.



We got up the next morning and went searching for coyotes. Mike did all the calling.



The yotes didn't cooperate, but we found some more cool stuff.

Indian burial site at the top of a butte used to locate buffalo in years gone by.



The 73 year old .22hornet even got in on the action and "hornet flopped" a few prairie dogs!

All in all a great hunt and one I will never forget. Thanks Mike for being my resident yardage caddie!!
 

HOGWILD338-378

Handloader
Aug 22, 2012
1,219
0
Congrat's on the hunt guy's and reading the wind is tuff but you got it done and did not realize how far off the road you were! No wonder Ya seen so many and that BT did some real damage and it's amazing how bad those guys wanta live as I hear 1 story after another from people out here that they are known for soaking up lead! Great memories for sure and not a tree to be seen! Hard to get used to that as we have a few next to the Rio Grande and some really old Cotton Woods around here! Lotta great hunting to be had around here as well and sure you will be gettin a few of them Winchester's bloody and the Bow as well with Colorado only a short day drive away! Gila Wilderness only about a 3 hour drive south! Best of luck with closings and if Ya need anything hit me up as I need to show Ya a few well kept secrets as in gun shops and reloading supply places that not many people know about! Yes green chili may be in the cards as well :) or Red :) welcome to NM and safe travels in getting situated, and enjoyed our visit and glad to finally meet ya! Later
 

HTDUCK

Handloader
Apr 18, 2009
955
0
Congrats Pat !
Looks like a heckuva trip and a great hunt.

And you're right, wind is the devil .
Just another excuse to shoot more often :mrgreen:
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
34,804
947
What an exciting and rewarding hunt! Congratulations, Pat. I am greatly impressed by the devastation of that Ballistic Tip on the doe. Wow! Just wow!
 

.280 Remington

Handloader
Jan 17, 2012
646
0
My face was too ugly for the camera, didn't want to break that nice SLR or Pat's only communication device with the world on my ugly mug!
 

Hegland

Handloader
Jun 1, 2006
866
0
Congrats on your successful hunt, and once again, great job on that stock! That rifle looks pretty much perfect laid over a pronghorn.

If I may ask, what is your digiscoping setup? Curious as to scope, camera and attachment?
 

pre6422hornet

Handloader
Jan 24, 2012
974
1
Thanks everyone! We had a ball. That type of hunting was absolutely fantastic. The adrenaline of the stalk, slowing down at the crest, the anticipation of looking over the top not knowing if they are still there, trying to slow down your breathing... all awesome.

I didn't use any digiscoping equipment. I just held the phone up to the eyepiece. Iphone 5s, old crappy Burris 14x45x60 landmark spotting scope.

Terry it was a pleasure meeting you as well. We will definitely have to go out and wring the rifles out once we get settled!
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,564
639
Pat and Mike,

Congratulations on your successful hunt.

JD338
 

Elkman

Handloader
Apr 4, 2010
4,551
1
A great hunt congratulations. I cannot believe that doe kept going like she did. They are typically not that hard to put down. Thanks for the write up. !!!!
 

Woodycreek

Handloader
Aug 2, 2007
2,240
0
You guys had way too much fun. One of these days we will get together for more than just dinner and beers.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,254
419
Great pictures, awesome hunt, 270's and Noslers!

Does it get any better! Awesome stuff!
 

rodell

Handloader
Dec 23, 2013
267
0
Looks like a great hunt and you'll get the wind in no time. It helps to be able to practice in it.

I'm curious how you found the ranch? I'm always interested in how people do these things.
 
Top