First Western Hunt

Discussion in 'Hunting Out of State' started by sep0667, Oct 13, 2020.

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  1. sep0667

    sep0667 Land of the Whitetail

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    Had a successful first western hunt. Joined TH and some others out west for a pronghorn hunt. It was a great time and fun to meet a bunch of other hunters who shared the same enthusiasm. Camped overnight a couple of nights which was not to bad. The weather was cool at night for sure, but I was prepared, and the day time highs were probably 70's.

    I met another Iowawhitetailer and we carpooled out together. As we got further west and started seeing pronghorns the anticipation was building. When we rolled into camp all the guys that were already there were out hunting, but we saw the cleaned skulls that a couple guys had got opening morning already. About an hour later everyone that was out hunting rolled into camp and they unloaded another two or three goats. TH wasted no time asking us if we were ready to hunt. We quickly changed and headed out. Curtis was up first and wasted no time and spotted some bedded probably a 1.5 mile from the road while glassing and four of us headed in. As we got closer TH and Curtis made their stalk while me and another guy stayed back and watched it all unfold through our binos, it was like watching a live hunting show! It was a long packout for Curtis using the back pack technique about 2 miles back to the truck. Back at the truck we talked with an old rancher for about an hour that watched us hike out. He told us about a buck that was feeding down the road about a mile so we headed down there. Another hunter was up next, he elected to pass and so did I as the buck looked a bit smaller than what we had all seen in camp and after what Curtis just got. By that point it was dark. It was crazy that Curtis was already tagged out after only being there just a couple hours. A couple of the other guys went out and filled their tag that evening as well on their own.

    Friday morning was cold, but it warmed up quick. Josh got his buck down in the morning pretty quick, but other than that it was a long morning and into the afternoon of checking a lot of public ground and glassing without seeing a lot, well it seemed like we saw a lot, but it also seemed like those pronghorn knew what is public and what is private. We decided to split up later in the day and have two groups go our separate ways. It wasn't long after we split up that the guys in the other group had one down. I had my chance again shortly afterwards. We spotted a goat about 1/2 mile off the road and made a stalk the long way around using a creek bank as cover. We got up within 230 yards and I goofed up and missed high. I have my rifle zeroed for 200 yards. Since the buck was at 230 I guess I let my archery instincts take over and held the crosshairs right at the top of his back (just like you would hold your 20 yard pin high on 30 yard shot) and I had a clean miss. I was feeling pretty down because by this point that was my second opportunity, counting the buck that I passed the evening before, and it was down to just me and one other hunter to fill our tag yet. Well the other hunter was up next since I missed. We drove to another spot that we had seen a nice buck with a huge group of does a few times now, but they were always just off the public on private. This time they were not and the other hunter filled his tag. We used an oil well/thingy as cover to get within range. Unfortunately it was not the big buck that we had been seeing. After that there was only about 30 minutes of light left and that was the day.

    Saturday morning rolled around and I was the only one left in camp with an unfilled tag. I really felt like I'd missed my chances. Even though everyone tagged out so quick, the pronghorn #'s really seemed to be down in the area (a couple of wardens even said #'s were way down) and a lot of the pronghorns seemed to have moved over to private ground. I was beginning to think that I would just fill my tag on a doe as I wanted to at least bring some meat home. Most of our group had already left and another was leaving later in the morning. We had to pick up another hunter that had just got into town the night before and couple more guys were coming yet Sunday so not all was lost, but I felt it was the last minute of the 4th quarter lol. Curtis was basically just waiting on me as he had already filled his tag that Thursday afternoon and we carpooled together. He was having fun shooting prairie dogs though. We checked a couple spots where we had been seeing them, but it was empty. We ended up driving out further into the unit that we had not spent much time. The other guy we picked up had both a pronghorn and deer tag. We came along a creek with trees(a rare sight where we were hunting) and we started glassing. I started seeing mule deer does in the trees etc. Josh said he saw a buck, I didn't see it. Then I noticed some closer to the road and told josh. He quickly exclaimed, "no i'm talking about the pronghorn!" I couldn't believe it. I was looking at the mule deer does just 100-200 yards of the road, but there was a group of pronghorn probably a mile away. I quickly got them in the binos and sure enough there was a buck in the group of about 10 does. We quickly got parked and made a game plan to put on a stalk. We dropped down into the creek bottom and worked our way towards them. We popped up out of the creek bottom a few times to see if they were still in the same spot and how close we were. We worked our way down to about perpendicular with them and slowly crawled up out of the creek bed onto the level ground. Josh ranged them and they were at 228 yards. Basically the same distance as my miss. This time I knew to just keep the crosshairs right on him and no need to hold high or low. Just take it easy and squeeze the trigger. I had to stop and re-extend my bipods all the way out was the grass/sage was to tall. Luckily none of them spotted us or moved to much. I was able to get him in the scope and easily get settled. After waiting a few seconds for some does to clear out I was dead on. A slow squeeze of the trigger and he dropped in his tracks. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face walking the 228 yards up to him. It was fantastic. It was probably about 0930 and it was a nice cool crisp morning. It was a beautiful setting with the creek and trees in the background and it was a great stalk to get up within range from being a mile out.


    2020 pronghorn
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    Home for a few days
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    Camp when we first came in
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    A successful opening day
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    nontyp, fatboy, 4DABUCKS and 7 others like this.
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  3. deerhunter93

    deerhunter93 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a great trip! Congrats!
     
  4. 203ntyp

    203ntyp PMA Member

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    Nice! Can't beat that for your 1st western hunt,
     
  5. Rjack

    Rjack Well-Known Member

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    Congrats. Thanks for sharing the story and pics.
     
  6. meyeri

    meyeri PMA Member

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    Awesome write up, sounds like a blast! I like the term, "iowawhitetailer". Congrats!

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
     
  7. Ishi

    Ishi Go Time!

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    Great tailgate pic of the goats! DIY at it’s finest! Congrats
     
  8. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    Great success, congrats! Thanks for sharing, that sounds like everyone had a great time too.
     
  9. 4DABUCKS

    4DABUCKS Well-Known Member

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    Congrats! Nice job on the write up!
     
  10. Bucksnbears

    Bucksnbears Active Member

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    Enjoyable read.
    Good job.
     
  11. garg10

    garg10 New Member

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    Great read! Sounds like a fun trip for all...congrats!
     

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