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AZ 4B rifle antelope success

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I drew my first AZ antelope tag this year with 17 points (15 pts + HS +loyalty). I still feel very fortunate to have drawn with 17 and personally know of others who didn’t with more. 
I started preparing immediately.  I spoke with some of last years tag holders, AZGFD officials, guide friends and internet searched all I could. I purchased maps, OnX hunt chip and the premium membership and drove the unit marking areas. I became a member of the Arizona Antelope foundation and attended their online webinar. I even sweet talked the wife into some new NL 12x42’s. I was all in, putting everything I could into this hunt. Who knows if/when I could draw again.  I spent over 33 days scouting and put 6,500+ miles on my truck, not to mention 2 new sets of tires. 
 I’ve hunted Wyoming a few times  for antelope and have looked over plenty, but judging them is still tough for me, especially from a distance. Anyhow, I made a list of the best bucks I saw and named a few. Some of them I had patterned well and saw them often, some I only saw 2-3 times. My biggest hurdle would be finding one on public land during the hunt. 
I arrived on Tuesday before the Friday opener and camped on a piece of BLM 6 miles from Holbrook. Not wanting to mess up any archery hunters I glassed from camp, the highway and once from Denny’s when it was raining, Hee Hee. I did manage to find one of my top 5 bucks on Wednesday but never saw him again. Thursday afternoon I spoke to an archery hunter headed home. After talking and looking at a few pictures I found out the best 2 bucks were taken during the archery hunt. 
   Opening day-  I’m in my target area but only see some small goat bucks and a few muley bucks. I head to another area for the afternoon hunt and spot a tall and wide but thin buck I had on my list. I watched him until dark and headed back to camp. I had several friends come up Friday night to lend a hand glassing or to deplete my supplies. We had a quick dinner, a few spirits and went to bed. 
Saturday- Two buddies and I are looking for the buck from the night before. We see a small buck chasing two does. We move to a little knoll an spot him glowing in the morning sunlight almost a mile away. I check with OnX and we are both on state land. We watch him feeding for a few minutes until he beds. I make a plan and we go over some signals. I head off west with the sun at my back and the wind in my face. I’m at a brisk walk while below a small rise trying to make up time. I stop occasionally to look at my buddies for instruction and to look at OnX for location. Before the last knoll I turn for last direction. They indicate the buck is walking towards me. I creep up towards the top of the knoll, lay down and  start crawling forward to a bush. After a minute or so I see the buck through the brush feeding towards me at around 600 yards. I decide to crawl another 30 yards to a rock outcropping for a better shooting platform. After reaching it, I see the antelope feeding to me around 500 yards. I get set up to shoot, ranging several trees and bushes along his path direction. He should walk within 300 yards or closer. Naturally, at 445yards he beds down looking in my direction. I decide I will wait until he stands back up. I check my ballistic calculator and decide on 34” of hold over. After 15 antagonizing minutes and several trains horns later I feel the wind start changing direction. I afraid he may not stand but instead bolt from his bed. I decide to set up on the gun, blow a call and hope for the best. With a great rest I blow the call and watch him stand up broadside facing to my right. I find my hold over, settle in and the recoil surprises me. As I’m cycling the bolt I hear the impact and watch the goat run from left to right FAST !!!
I watch him pile up in a cloud of dust and rocks. He must have slid 12’ or more and broke off a prong that we never found. I collected my brass and walked back to the top of the knoll. I flagged my buddies, sat down in the shade of a juniper and started shaking. I dug out my tag and some water from my Fanny pack and texted my wife and kids. Soon my buddies arrived. We hugged, high five and shook hands. I tagged my buck and took some pictures then we headed back to camp. We skinned/processed the buck and got the meat cooled. Soon we started celebrating and with Holbrook being so close, everyone got dilly bars from DQ. 

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Nice write up and better photos. Congratulations!

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Thanks for all your kind words of congrats. It sure was bittersweet to be tagged out so quickly into the hunt but awesome I got a respectable buck. 2 things that I will take on all my hot weather hunts from now on is a bug-a-salt gun and a bucket misting fan. Made it fun and cool. 

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