SAGE, CACTUS, AND DECOYS
Since the mid 70’s I’ve tried to make sure I travel to the prairies of the Eastern Slope of the Big Shining “Rocky Mountains” to crawl around in the sage, cactus and other obstacles to bow hunt for Prairie Goats, Speed Goats, Goats, or Antelope whatever you prefer to call them. This is a great way to start your fall hunting in late summer months of August and September.
This year (2012) I took my Hēlim bow to historical Branson, Colorado. Where Non Resident Antelope Archery Tags are an over the counter purchase, and where most ranchers and farmers are receptive to Bow hunters. Just be sure you check with the Colorado Parks & Wildlife or phone 1-800-244-5613 to speak with a License Agent.
On this trip I was hunting with Big Bone Outfitters, Phil Sharp and Cole Mock who have leased huge tracts of land and do they ever have the antelope. I mean thousands of acres on different ranches where you can and will see large numbers of Antelope. On this trip I wanted to try Spot and Stalk an Antelope using a Montana Decoy as a diversion. Well let me tell you when you have three (3) people guide, hunter and cameraman all crawling around in some areas that a mole would have a hard time hiding it was an exercise in futility!
The first day was a real treat to watch everyone to have that first day of hunting excitement of let’s go gettum boys. Well, after eight (8) hours of crawling around in 90 plus degrees, cactus, sage and always one eye on the ground for some creepy crawler we was glad to see the camp house and ready for one of “Buddha’s” our camp chef’s great meals. Green Chili Chicken Enchilada’s, Spanish rice, Refried beans and Indian fry bread! My lord, great food but Carb city! But who cares I’m on a Bowhunting trip and I want to take a Colorado Antelope with my bow.
Day three (3) thru Day five (5) was pretty much the same, up at daylight and out in the prairie spotting Buck Antelope and then crawling around trying to get close enough for a quality shot! Some things you need to take with you if you’re going to spot and stalk, make sure you have a great pair of soft leather gloves, and a pair of knee pads like those that the carpenter layers use as the cactus is murder on your hands and knees. Secondly make sure you have a very light weight decoy like the Montana Decoy and one for each person that is with you. I highly recommend the Timber hawk Spike pack for this type of work lightweight, has a hydration system, binocular straps attached to the Spike pack, and enough room for your lunch, knife, Brunton Get Back GPS, rubber gloves for field dressing your game, extra grim reaper / Mathew edition broadheads, rubbing alcohol in a small bottle, for cuts& scrapes, eye tweezers, to pluck out cactus spines these items will make your hunt go a little easier.
Finally, after many blown stalks and non corporative Buck Antelope, I gave up and decided to go to the windmill and a ground blind. I think it would have been easier if the rut was on but that was still another 3 or 4 weeks away. We had several different options for productive water holes and after sitting up on two (2) different windmills and checking our SpyPoint Game Scout Cameras each night, we finally moved to a windmill that had some really nice bucks coming to the water tank.
The last afternoon I had to hunt, I watched a mature buck chase every buck out of the pasture we were in and we had a heck of a Storm to blow thru and at one time I thought we was going to loose our Carbon Express Mathews Ground blind but we had tied the blind to a fence post and was covered in a bunch of wild sunflowers. I’m always amazed how you can hunt for days and then it’s so simple. We had a doe and fawn to walk across the pasture coming to the waterhole and that dominate buck followed her right into the waterhole then the buck walked right in for a drink. The buck was facing me dead on and I knew he was in trouble! The buck did not hesitate to put his head down and start drinking water, I drew my helium back locked my 25 yard pin on the buck which was 33 yards from me and when the pin settled on the buck’s chest, the wicked victory VAP “lost Camo” shaft was a blur as the Grim Reaper / Mathews edition 3 blade expandable entered the chest and exited on the off side right behind the rib cage, the buck ran 40 yards reared up and fell over backwards.
I knew I had a great trophy and some excellent eating, as I reflect on this hunt I know with a little planning or contact the folks over at Big Bone Outfitters you too can put a record book buck Antelope on the ground next august.
Buena Caceria / Good Hunting:
Jim Miller / Host @ Tex Mex Outdoors