EOD Diver

Dec 30, 2011
Howdy Guys!

Well, the stars have aligned for our family and things are really coming together. The last 3.5 years have been really busy and I haven't had the opportunity to post as much as I would like. We've returned back to the U.S. from our previous station in Germany and been blessed by drawing some tags for our home state of New Mexico. While Germany is great, it was frustrating because people are not allowed to handle firearms until the age of 18. My son and daughter drew youth tags for antelope so we headed east to the plains. I didn't have time to figure out a load for the kids' .243 rifles, but mom was more than happy to let them hunt with her Kimber 84M in .257 Roberts. We did a quick stop at the NRA's Whittington Center, right outside of Raton, and let the children get reacquainted with mom's rifle. We received significant moisture this fall and the range grasses were tall so we practiced a bunch shooting from the sit and perching the rifle on top of a backpack. My daughter also drew a deer tag this year so she allowed her brother to get first dibs on antelope. On the opener, we located a group of four feeding on a knoll. Mom dropped off the boy and I who managed to use the topography close the distance. The antelope knew something was up and were fixated on our approach, but couldn't make us out through the grass. I saw a doe starting to move to the left and quickly got the boy into a seated position with the rifle over the pack. He removed the safety and I reminded him to take up the trigger slowly and let the shot surprise him when the sudden report of the rifle cut me off about mid sentence! He hit the doe square in the shoulder, killing her instantly. The boy obviously does not need dear ol' dad to remind him of his shooting fundamentals anymore.

We had no sooner managed to dress out the antelope and drive a mile before seeing another herd in a valley. This stalk was going to be tough. The antelope below us would be able to see just about anything approaching them and there was very little in the way of cover to conceal us. We decided to low crawl a ways to a big yucca. When we made it there and lifted our heads ever so cautiously we could tell they were still out of range. There was a little yucca another 70 yards away that would get us closer to the herd and so we repeated the process. We waited behind this yucca for over 110 minutes in hopes of their coming our way a bit more, but it just wasn't to be. With light running out and our backs killing us from being in the seated firing position for close to two hours, I finally managed to get a range on them at 533 yards. This equated to 1.7 mils of drop. She placed the second dot at the base of the antelope's body and squeezed ever so gently. I couldn't help but let out a howl when she hit it! She was overcome with emotion with the duration of the stalk, the difficulty of the shot, and the taking of her first big game animal. Her mom and brother were able to watch it all happen from afar and were a welcome sight to see when we were dressing out the animal.

To be at the side of my children as they both took their first big game animals while shooting their mom's rifle is a blessing and privilege like no other! This is the culmination of everything I dreamed of while we were away in Europe and as I watched them grow up. As great as this is, I'm excited to report that the fun is not over yet. Mom's deer hunt starts this Saturday and I've been covering a lot of country with my nephew looking for bucks. We're also fortunate enough to be hunting again in November, as my daughter will have the opportunity to hunt deer for the first time. She is excited to use her own rifle this time around; an old pre-64 Model 70 in .243. You can imagine that it's music to my ears when I hear her say, "I love my .243, daddy." Keep your fingers crossed and more to follow as our season unfolds!


Good to see your post, Joe. And what a great account of the first big game animals for your children. They did the hard work and tagged out. You have every reason to be proud of them.🤩
Congratulations to each and everyone. Great story and more so as getting to be with family. Hope your wife tags out as well. Welcome home. Dan.
Congratulations to all, great hunt and fine shooting. Thanks for taking us along, good write up. Good luck to the family on the upcoming hunts.

Welcome back and congratulations to you and your kids on a successful Antelope hunt.

Most excellent! Congratulations all around for some fine stalking and shooting. Thanks for sharing your story. Dan

Thank you for the kind words! It is great to be back! While we were gone, I managed to stash away some 90 grain Accubonds for the children's .243 rifles. I just ordered 100 Lapua cases, have a good supply of primers, and a little RL26. My plan is to try to work up a load that will work in both rifles to facilitate things and keep life a bit more simple.
I did a little load work with mom's .257 Roberts the other day with RL26 and 110 Accubonds. Time has not allowed me to shoot for accuracy, but I found a pretty decent node with good speed so I'm hopeful that things will work out. For this deer hunt that we find ourselves in right now, we're sticking to the factory Nosler ammo. It's not quite as fast as I'd hoped it would be, but seems to shoot well and I know the antelope sure didn't care for it much last week. Speaking of the deer hunt, I'm here to tell you that the pre-rut for mule deer is tough! We've covered a lot of country, seen a ton of elk, bear, and does, but absolutely no bucks! We're getting some snow today and I'm hopeful the change in weather will get them moving a bit more. Keep your fingers crossed and more to follow as things unfold.


Fingers crossed for you Joe. Best of luck to you.

We're all pulling for you, Joe. Hopefully, you'll see some bucks that merit your close attention.
Thanks again, guys! Things worked out pretty well, alright. I had an opportunity to go out with my daughter today for coyotes with her .243. The dogs didn't cooperate, but it sure was nice to visit, discuss her upcoming hunt, and take in an amazing sunset.