First time Pronghorn Hunt

Discussion in 'Hunting Forum' started by locnload, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. locnload

    locnload Member

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    I am an experienced hunter, mule and whitetail deer, elk, and various small game. But after 8 years of trying I finally drew a male pronghorn tag for North Eastern Colorado. I'll be hunting mostly on National Grasslands and will certainly have a few other hunters in the area, although Colorado does not issue very many tags for that area. There are a lot of two track roads in the area, but many are restricted so driving and glassing may not be a good option. I plan to drive to the edge of the area, then walk the prarie and watch. If I see grazing or resting pronghorns, I am prepared to do a long slow stalk, crawling if nessesary, to get in good shooting position. I have a bi-pod and a good scope on my 243 Weatherby and expect to spend a lot of time laying prone. I can use some good tips on how to pursue those little rascals in wide open country. Less than two weeks away, I can't wait. :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  2. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    I have hunted "Prairie Goats" for ever. It is very difficult to stalk them in open country. They have vision equal to a 10X scope and they use it. They live in very open country and often low Sage no trees.

    If you are in the foot hills covered with brush check it out from a high point. The mature bucks will often head to the brush when the shooting starts. The smaller bucks will stay low and make targets.



    You should scout the area for arroyos small canyons. Water holes stock tanks are always a good start. If you cannot drive and spot your game you will have to find places where you can make a stand way before day light and not move about.

    Sight your rifle for 300 yds and use a 6X power or better scope. If you are hunting horns learn to gauge the horns by the length of the nose and ears of the male. Understand the Black patches on the Bucks face will often make the horns appear larger than they are.They also Puff up the hair making them look larger than they are.

    Field dressing an Antelope is very important. The animal has 5 strong scent glands in the rear end. They will often expell the scent when shot. When you skin the animal the oil gets to the meat and you dog will not eat it.

    Use a pair of rubber gloves when skining being careful to keep the hair side away from the flesh. Wash or change gloves before handling the flesh side. I wash the skinned animal with soap and water spray the body cavity with 7-up to kill any scent they may have been missed.

    Antelope is very good but many hunters do not know how to handle the field dressing. The weather is often very warm another problem. The Goat has a very high body Temp and spoils pronto. Check Colorado law if possible bone the animal as soon as possible put the meat in a cooler. A cooler of cold water and baking soda will wash the blood out in a few hours. You can add fresh water drain ice and then pack for your trip home.

    Last thought. The Prairie Rattlers are very active in late Sept. The males are returning to the dens. Be very careful when crawling around the Sage Brush. Any questions PM me. Good Luck.:)
     

  3. Flat Tire

    Flat Tire New Member

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    Go out and shoot your rifle at longer distances than you might normally shoot. Shoot paper at 4 and 5 hundred yards. Get a small piece of camo netting that matches the grass.
     
  4. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    Using camo in the flat open western country is not a good idea. Bright orange vest can save your life. There are other people out there shooting at long ranges often in poor light. It is very difficult for any hunter to tell what kind of head he is looking at even over 300 yards. I doubt anyone can tell a nice heavy base 16" goat from a medium 14" at 500 yards. The kill area of 18" on buck Antelope can be very small at 500 yards as well. Try chasing a gut shot Goat across Colorado.:(
     
  5. Old_Crow

    Old_Crow New Member

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    I would try to find a guide. TX has a drawing for pronghorn tags in certain areas. Some people have tried for years to get a tag with no luck. My brother is charmed he gets a tag every few years. He knows each trip might be his last so he hires a guide to ensure he gets a shot. He doesn't spend a lot of money on the guide and he gets his quarry every trip.
     
  6. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    Yes, if a hunter wants that once in a life time trophy to hang on the wall a guide may be the answer. It often takes weeks of scouting before a hunt to locate a nice head.:)
     
  7. 25-5

    25-5 New Member

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    Many guides have knowledge of trophy animals. For extra $$$$, they know just where to take you.
     
  8. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    You should also find a watering hole that they use,that can help your chances of getting one.
     
  9. tri70

    tri70 New Member

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    Years ago you could buy pronghorn tags over the counter in Montana. They are curious animals and have great eyesight.
     
  10. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    The OTC Goat tags are often sold in the Northern Plaines. Problem is OTC tags are left overs. When buying OTC tags make sure you understand the conditions of hunting in that area. OTC tags are more often in walk in only or on private lands.

    The old yarns about Antelope being so curious is some what over used. I can assure you they are also very hunter shy when the season opens. Watching bands of Antelope flee at the very sight of hunters is more the norm. Big Buck Antelope 16" or better never got that big being curious.

    Hunting water holes makes great hunting drama. The facts are in the high desert water holes are very rare. Water on open range is almost always on deeded lands and protected by the owner. Getting a trophy goat just takes a lot of hunting skills and a very accurate rifle.:)
     
  11. Montanacowboy

    Montanacowboy New Member

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    One thing I've learned about hunting Lopers is when you shoot and don't hit your loper don't stand up and watch them run away thinking that " Well I blew it " I've seen folks do this and they shouldn't. What happens (not always) is the lopers will run and often run quite far only to turn and run right back to where you shot from. By not standing up you may get another shot and possibly even closer than the first shot.
    I've taken well over 30 antelope and every hunt is just as exciting as the first. MC
     
  12. locnload

    locnload Member

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    Thanks for the input and advice guys. Just thought I'd give an update, the season is over and my tag is unfilled but I had a great time and learned a lot. I enjoyed the sights and sounds of the prarrie the challenge of trying to get close to the critters.
    First off, I didn't think there would be many hunters out there, wrong, the place was crawling with them the first two days. But many had to go home after the weekend so I got part of Monday and all day Friday,to hunt in relative peace and quiet. Seems that no matter how many yards of cactus you crawl through, they are still 400 yards away, or they materialize fifty yards from you when you're busy glassing a distant hill.
    At any rate, I'm hooked and I have to go again, maybe I can get a Wyoming doe tag next year. :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
  13. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    Locnload, that is the life of an Antelope hunter. Hunting Goats looks easy before the season. The Prairie Goat has evaded hunters 2 legged and 4 legged for a million years. It is great that you have learned something about goat hunting and you are ready to go again.:)

    As you know Wyoming Antelope NR tags for does can be bought OTC. Just watch the G&F Web page after the drawing. Good luck.;)
     
  14. tri70

    tri70 New Member

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    Glad you had a great time! It sounds like a similar experience I had while hunting with a couple buddies, one was trying to get a shot at 400 or 500 yds away and one of them ran right up behind us about 50 yds! He blazed by our buddy trying to shoot, he was 25 yds in front of us crawling, we tried to get his attention by calling name but not too loud. He couldn't hear us and was wondering why we didn't tell him. It a great hunt also, I am ready to do it again!