Hey guys, long time "member" here but new to posting stuff. With application season here and hunts over it has me thinking about this past season and thought I'd share my NM archery antelope hunt. I still remember getting the email from game and fish last spring, and screaming with excitement of drawing my first antelope tag (I still have a long time before I get an AZ tag). I got to work scouting soon after, and ended up spending almost every free weekend in my unit trying to take inventory of all the bucks and putting together an attack plan. Over the course of the summer I was able to locate several nice bucks (in my opinion).
I was quick to pick out a few favorites though, with this guy being #1 on my hitlist
The "tips" buck, we loved the way his tops curved and almost touched.
The hunt finally came around, and I felt like a kid going to disneyland. I was able to take the entire hunt off of work, and with all the preparation I put into scouting I felt like I had a solid chance at killing my first speed goat with a bow. Me and my dad arrived at our hunting spot the afternoon before the opener, and instead of setting up camp, we scouted the last few hours of daylight and saw multiple groups of antelope. We set up camp in the dark that night, and I'm honestly not sure I slept at all. Before long the alarms were going off, and we set off for the spot I knew we were going to find some bucks to chase. Sure enough, the first antelope we located was my #1 buck with 5 does. Unfortunately they saw us before we saw them, so I sprinted towards a small drainage that I knew they would pass through. My instinct was right, but I wasn't quite fast enough as they pushed through at 120 yards. At this point, the buck had seen my decoy and stopped, curious I'm sure. He then started closing the distance, and the adrenaline really started pumping. He got to 100 yards and stopped again, as I was ranging everything I could. I practice regularly with my bow out to those distances, but avoid long shots if I can help it. I thought for sure he was going to come closer, but in an instant he turned and rejoined his group of does, heading straight for private ground. I wasn't bummed in the least bit, my first encounter with an antelope had almost presented a shot opportunity and it was only opening morning.
Me and my dad regrouped at the truck, and decided to leave those antelope for the afternoon, as to not push them onto the private land. We decided to head down to another area where we had seen several nice bucks before, including the "tips" buck. Just as we were pulling up, my dad slams on the brakes and says "Antelope!" Sure enough, without even glassing, there stands a nice buck and a doe. Without having time to grab my camera or even my cell phone, I head after them. I was able to drop down into a small ditch that allowed me to gain a lot of ground without being seen, but as I got to about 120 yards I ran out of cover. By this time the doe knew something was up, so deciding to take a risk, I put a giant yucca between me and her and cut the distance as quickly as I could. I knew the buck wouldn't leave her side, so as long as she didn't spook I might get a shot. I slid into 70 yards on my knees, the buck
causally glancing at my bow mounted decoy every once in a while, but totally locked onto his doe. Knowing my luck would run out eventually, I ranged him one last time, dialed my pins, and slowly drew back. He was slightly quartering away at the shot, but I heard the unmistakable 'thwack' and watched in awe as he ran to my right, blood pouring down his side. He let out a loud groan, and piled up shortly after that. I couldn't believe it, opening morning of my antelope hunt and I had just killed a buck with my bow. The best part was my dad was able to watch the whole thing go down from the spotting scope. I still don't think it was quite real until I put my hands on him. I like big animals as much as the next guy, but for me character is king. I loved the way his horns are, and was surprised at his cutters and mass. Were there bigger antelope in the unit? Yep. But I wouldn't trade this hunt with my dad for anything.
As we walked up to him we couldn't contain our excitement. Phone calls, texts, and tons of pictures later we finally got him cut up and into our ice chests, and we were home by that afternoon. I had heard antelope were good eating, so we were careful to save every last bit of meat and I'm glad we did, because it didn't last a month here we ate him so fast!
Here's the small video I put together for my Youtube channel, even though I dropped the ball when it came to trying to film this hunt!
If you made it this far, thanks for reading! I can't wait until I draw another antelope tag, although that might be awhile if I only apply for AZ and NM. It might be time to burn some WY points here pretty soon!