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"Teflon Don"....Lives On

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After not drawing an AZ antelope tag for the 23rd year in a row, I got fed up and got a NM landowner tag.  Big thanks to Zeke-BE for getting me in touch with the right guy late in the game.  And his knowledge of the hunting area for a starting point.


I got my wife Regina and Taylor to go along for the trip to keep me company.  We left Saturday morning @ 3:45am to try and get to the unit to get some scouting in.  My hunt started on Sunday, and with absolutely zero knowledge, I was nervous.  Hooked up with Brandon, saw his buck and heard about a couple good bucks from him.  Got out to the unit by about 3:30pm, and saw another pickup stopped in the road, and 3 bucks off the road about 250 yards.  Guy got out, and got off the road.  Antelope ran over a hill, so I pulled up next to him to offer my rangefinder use of he needed it.  Really nice guy, NM resident named John.  Well, I let him lead, and he didn't get more than 200 yards down the road while I stayed put, and he got back out.  Next thing I see, is him take a shot....then another....then another.  He waved me up, and I saw 2 bucks off in the distance.  That was a good sign.  John had shot the bigger of the 3.  So I walked out with him to give him a hand retrieving his buck.  I am really glad I did, because I thought his buck had looked pretty big from a distance.  Well, it gave me a quick education on antelope.  We dragged it back to 50 yards from the road, I wished his wife good luck on her tag, and we set off to find some speedgoats of our own.  

I glassed up antelope after antelope, and saw what I would consider two or three shooters.  Now, I had hopes of a mid-70" buck, not expecting anything big.  Also, not knowing really what a mid-70" buck really looked like.  The weather on Saturday was moving in with cold rain, lots of lightning, and roads that turned into snot on a glass doorknob slick.  We saw some beautiful country and got some nice scenery photos.  Saw a big heavy, wide 4x4 muley way out in the antelope flats too.  I would have never guessed it.  Saw 113 antelope on Saturday afternoon in about 4.5 hours.  We got to the hotel about 9:30pm, grabbed some nasty McDonalds for dinner, and hit the rack by 11:00PM.







Sunday morning, up @ 4:00am, and got out to the unit by 5:30am, 20 minutes before legal light.  

I glassed up antelope within 10 minutes.  4 does and a small buck.  Nothing worth going after though.


I checked the spots where I had seen the two possible shooters the day before, but could not locate the bucks.  I did see a lot of antelope, but most were 2-5 miles out.  Saw a badger about 50 yards off too.  Biggest one I have seem.  I thought it was a javalina at first glance as it was waddling across the hillside.

As the morning went on, I saw another shooter buck, at 880 yards, but he was having none of my peeping-tom antics, and hauled over a hill and down into some shallow cuts and disappeared. 

Saw some more beautiful country, saw some other hunters trying for a decent buck about 3 miles away.  


About 9:00am, I was glassing a huge grass flat when I picked out a bunch of antelope does.....and the buck I would name "Teflon Don". 1.5 miles.out, in an area as flat as a table top, with no cover bigger than a Gatorade bottle.  I put Taylor set up on my spotter, and designed a plan to try and get close enough for a shot opportunity.  I dropped down behind the truck and got in the only small draw around and cut the distance to 1300 yards.  The antelope bedded down in the calf-high grass.  Then to 1000 by duckwalking.  Then, on hands and knees and cut the distance to 771 to the very last piece of cover, 3 small yuccas.  The wind was ripping, and I had left my Kestrel in the stupid truck.  So I got set up and waited for the wind to die down.....and waited....and waited.  After 30 minutes, the wind was actually picking up.  So, with not much to lose, I left my 15s by the yuccas, and stood up with my rifle in one hand, and my tripod in the other, already set at height for a seated shot.  The 13 antelope had me pegged the moment I stood up.  So I started walking directly at them.  750, 700, 650, 600, 550....still bedded.  I thought, "If I get to 500, I am going to sit down and wait for that buck to stand up." 525, still bedded...521.....crap, they stood up in unison.  I dropped to a seated position and got the buck in my scope right as a doe walked in front of him.  Dialed the 6.5SS to 1.5MIL, tried to figure wind was probably 15mph? Meaning a 14" drift.  Then, they all turned and booked.  They did stop and give me a big "Eff you" @ 992.......then poof....gone.  I continued to watch the 360 view I had for them to show up a mile or three away, but they never reappeared.  A 1.3 mile stalk over 2.5 hours....down the drain.

Back to the truck 3+ hours later, we ran and grabbed a quick lunch "in town" (a truck stop diner). 

I figured the only place they could have gone and not been seen was to actually circle about 150° to the west, as there was a slight low dip that ran along the same direction I had last seen them.  On the way back, I saw another shooter buck, not as big as Don, but still a decent buck.  One of the 3 I had seen the afternoon before, but again, at 1000+, he was hightailing it for the draws when he saw my truck.  So much for him again.

By 3:30, we had driven around and found a two track that would get us closer to where I thought the antelope might have headed to.  Low and behold, I stopped to glass...there is Don with his harem of 12 lovely ladies again....1300 yards out.  And they are bedded again.

So again, I got Taylor on my spotter, and I grab my gear.  Rifle, rangefinder, Kestrel (wind was still whipping), bipod.  I head 90° from them and head for a low cut that actually has 3 big trees in it that would get me to within 700 or so yards from them.  Well, a big, ornery black Angus bull is eyeballing me with a bad attitude in the cut.  He was actually pawing the ground as I was talking to him when I passed 30 yards from him, always keeping an eye on him.  Finally got past him, and met his two buddies about 200 yards later, right by the trees I was angling for.  Snotty suspicious bulls that came towards me.  Talking quietly to them too, they let me pass...for now.  Got to the last tree, and noticed one small hill that would get me closer.  So crouching, I make my way through some waist high grass...when....bzzzzzz to my right, about 2-3'? Oh crap.  I can't see him, but he knows I am there and telling me to back off.  I hate rattlers when you can't see them.  So move to my left and now paranoid......20 yardage later....I jump a stinking (literally) skunk!  "PLEASE don't spray me" I plead with him as he scrambles off.  So, I get to the base of the small hill, and would later find out Taylor had no clue I was that close until I showed up in the bottom of the spotter.  The last 100 yards or so, is a belly crawl to the top in 6-10" tall grass.  Get to where I can just peak over, and see one of the does still bedded.  I find Don, bedded on the left side of all the does.  So, again, belly crawl to the top, move 8' very slowly to the left and get set up on a badger tailing pile right next to the abandoned (I hoped) hole.  Cactus in my belly and chest, but the only spot that offers a stable rest, decent cover, and a good spot to wait him out.  Then....I notice the two bulls had decided to come over and make sure I was being a good boy....from about 30 yards off.  So, I ranged Don a out 50 times, 428 yards.  Kestrel telling me winds between 15-21mph.  Dial to 1.0MIL, wind hold will be 9-13". And I wait.  Scope set on 8x for a good FOV, but plenty of magnification for the shot.  And I wait.  And I check the bulls.  And I ranged Don.  Etc.  All the while, saying, "Stand up and turn, Don". About 30 minutes later,  Don stands up, facing direct away from me.  "TURN Don!".....and Don walks straight away from me, as I count his steps "Turn, turn, turn, turn, TURN, TURN, TURN!!!"  And Don walked over the rise and his girls followed suit.  I let them get over the small rise, and I grabbed my stuff and literally ran 350 yards, then approached the rise...to see Don and the dirty dozen about 1.5 miles away and moving.......you got to be kidding me!

Back to the truck, and drive around about 5 miles away, and glass Don back in the middle of the flat.  No way to get to him before dark.  So, tired, dejected, we start a trip towards the highway, glassing along the way.  Glassed up another possible shooter, with about 30 minutes of light left....at well over 1 mile......of course.

Back to the hotel, and in bed by 9:30.

Monday, up at 4:30am, in the truck by 5:00, in the hunting unit by 5:40. Headed to try and find "Teflon Don" again, with 10 minutes until legal shooting light.  We had found a 2-track that might take us to within a mile of Don's last known location.  Well, 10 minutes into legallight, totally unprepared, I spot 6 does.  So I stopped and walked to the back of the truck and grabbed my binos.....yep, 6 does.  Get in the truck, and another antelope stands up.....the shooter buck that always ran off from 1000 yards away! 

So, I eased out of the truck, walk to the back, grab the rifle and chamber a round.  Slowly, SLOWLY, walk 15' off the road, kneel down, BOOM.  Send the 6.5mm 150 SMK @ 3117fps to the buck. 

Let me tell you, the "whop" sound that 150SMK made was impressive.  The way the buck dropped was even more so.  Not even a twitch or a kick. 

The exit was about 2". Insides were liquefied.




Thanks to a hunting buddy and a fantastic daughter for helping me pack him out the 186 yards to the truck, my wife for putting up with my addiction, and to God for the opportunity to e hou my time outdoors with my family and putting these beautiful animals on the planet and on my table in the upcoming weeks. 



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Congratulations Lance. That is a nice one. Good story as always. 

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Always fun when they give you a run for your money like that. Congrats on great time spent with your daughter!

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Outstanding, Lance!!!!  Love the pics and story!

If you got the info from Zeke-BE, you might have been hunting the same place that I will be with my son this weekend.  My oldest son killed a nice one there last year, now it's his little brother's turn. ;)  (Stopping by Southwest Wildlife Taxidermy to pick-up last year's buck today!)

BTW, last year was our first pronghorn hunt ever, so I had never tasted the meat before.  We found it to be VERY good!  Super mild and tasty!  Enjoy that!



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That’s awesome man ! 


Always fun  hunting with family 

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Sounds like you had some challenges but I think you got off pretty easy. Maybe thats because two of my last three New Mexico hunts put me in the emergency room. I've never so much as had to see a doctor because of an Arizona hunt. New Mexico seems to have an appetite for me. Sounds like you had a good hunt and congratulations on the buck.

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