Pronghorn season!!


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H&Hhunter
October 7, 2012, 01:45 PM
Big game hunting started off on a good note this year. I took this fine old buck yesterday in central Colorado. Usually Pronghorn season in Colorado is one of those deals where you are wearing a jacket in the early morning and by mid morning you are stripping down to your tee shirt for the heat.

This season was different, it was a cold, icy, misty day with a frigid wind blowing hard out of the north all day long it never got above about 35 deg and in the morning it was hovering around 28 deg with a nasty, icy drizzle that was sticking to everything. We left the ranch house before light and the visibility was less than 200 feet. So we drove down to the pasture where we knew this old timer had been hanging out and sat for about an hour waiting for the visibility to get to where we could actually hunt and not just drive around in the fog scaring stuff. A couple of breakfast burritos and a couple of thermoses of coffee later we were finally starting to get some visibility and were able to hunt.
The view was spectacular, the pronghorn rut is in full swing and there were several large groups of does being attended by willing and aggressive bucks. We watched the show for a while as the fog lifted enough to provide a grey cold morning with decent visibility just beneath a low cloud ceiling.
The buck we were looking for was nick named " Mr. Handle Bars" for his round horns and unusually swept shape. We had seen him several times during our pre season scouting. He was not in attendance with any of the groups of doe that we were able to see so we drove to a new vantage point several miles away. We had just stopped and Todd, my hunting buddy looks to his right and says "He's right here like 100 yards away!" . I am trying to look out his window past him and can't pick him up. I slip out of the truck and the buck bolts, I get down on the bipod but the next time I see him he's stopped on the opposite hillside at over 450 yards I pass on the shot as I'm not comfortable at that range in the wind.
The old buck eventually joins up with a group of about 20 hot doe and proceeds up the valley to North were he gathers them and goes to work trying to get them bred. We formulate a plan, we idle the truck down into a low spot where we'll be out of sight and have the wind in our favor. This puts us in a position to crawl up a small ridge and hopefully be on top of the herd and in position for a shot. Everything works out almost perfectly.
As we top the ridge the antelope are starting up the opposite side and the old buck is taking up the rear of the herd. I can't get prone and see above the grass so I get into a seated position and rest the forend of my M-70 rifle on a tripod this gets me above the grass and clear for a shot. The buck comes into view and Todd calls the range at 337. A long shot for me in a seated position, I get hard onto the rifle resting my support elbow on my right knee I wait for the buck to stop which he does after a short time and perfectly broadside too. I let out my breath and hold it at the bottom I am holding for 300 yards with a bit of elevation for the extra range I have a slight wobble of about 1 MOA which take into account with my then squeeze the trigger letting loose a 140 gr Accubond from my custom .270 Weatherby.

The shot is telling the old buck jumps into the air and comes down on his chest and I am treated to a healthy SHWACK as the bullet hits flesh. I think to myself " it's all over" as I rack another round in and watch him through my scope. Much to my surprise the old buck regains his feet and starts a desperate run up the hill for a about 100 yards before coming to rest and "Locking up" with his rear end directly to me I have no shot but a "Texas heart shot". I've committed the fatal error when antelope hunting. While I was waiting for the buck to stop in my seated position he had moved another 50 yards or so further away putting him at over 380 yards I had held just smidge high for 300 and had now shot low cutting his brisket and taking him in the off leg right at the shoulder joint@! Antelope cover ground at a deceptively fast rate and I did not take it into account with a new range before shooting. Now I am mad at myself for making a bad shot at long range but quickly recover my calm and slip down another couple of hundred yards or so to where I can get prone on my bi pod.
It's important not to spook a standing pronghorn that is on three legs because once they get their wind back they can run for miles as a tri-ped and I do NOT want to try and hit this old buck at over 300 yards on the run. So with that in mind we very carefully slipped down to our new position and I set up on the rifle and wait for the buck to turn so I can shoot him again. I've now got a rock solid rest and a perfect range.

We waited for what seemed an eternity and the old buck stood and was getting wobbly you could see that he was losing a huge amount of blood and I was starting to think that he was going to fall over right there without needing a finisher when suddenly lifted his head, turned broadside and started to walk side hill. I didn't give him the chance to go far, I was already on him and as soon as he took his first step I squeezed the trigger. The bullet took him through the center of the chest directly through the middle of his heart. At the shot the buck made a leap straight down hill landing on his face, rolled over , kicked once and then relaxed he was down for good.

I was thankful to have the old buck and was sorry for the first shot while at the same time glad that he didn't get away wounded. When shooting at range always be sure of your exact range, my shot was a perfect hold for the wrong distance. The windage was perfect but the shot fell about 4 inches low causing a wound instead of an immediate kill.



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Larry Ashcraft
October 7, 2012, 03:53 PM
That's a great looking buck, Greg.

I think pronghorn are the toughest species in North America, pound for pound. I've seen it many times but I'll just relate one.

We were hunting at my cousin's ranch and had come up on a nice buck. I was setting up my bipod to get a shot off when some yahoos came up in a pickup, bailed out and started blazing. One of them hit the buck in the lower jaw so my cousin Terry and I went after the buck, knowing he would be coyote bait before morning. The first shot I was presented was an angling away shot. I put a 120 grain silvertip from my 25-06 into his left rear flank and it drove all the way to the right front shoulder. He went down like a bag of rocks.

Then he GOT BACK UP and ran a couple hundred more yards. He finally went down again and we thought we were finished. As we came up on him, he raised his head up again, and I shot him in the head.

I tagged him since the yahoos in the pickup had disappeared. Needless to say there wasn't much decent meat left on him. Plus his skull was shattered from the head shot.

Pacsd
October 7, 2012, 10:00 PM
Weather was on the cool and damp side also. Got up to the ranch wednesday driving thru alittle spit here and there that turned to sleet and later snow in the evening thru the nite but, didn't amount to much. Rancher didn't want any does taken because of the low population and wants to save the "factories" to get the numbers up. Also didn't want any bucks that would mature into good heads. I took a buck that hardly had any prong at all, almost like a spike. Buddy took a buck that was pretty much like mine. Good thing though is that the few herds we saw had good youngsters numbers. Didn't start seeing much til Friday morning. We filled 45 minutes and 14 miles apart.

Pilot
October 7, 2012, 10:25 PM
Where did you get him? The Buckhorn Exchange? :evil:

Nice buck, seriously, where abouts in CO?

H&Hhunter
October 8, 2012, 12:10 AM
I shot him on a private ground just east of Colorado Springs.

wankerjake
October 8, 2012, 01:10 AM
Cool, looks like a nice buck. I will eventually do an out of state antelope hunt.

Dr.Rob
October 9, 2012, 04:16 PM
Nice old buck, glad he didn't get away.

Andrew Leigh
October 12, 2012, 02:12 PM
Nice write-up and nice buck. Long shots are always rewarding when they come off.

Resist Evil
October 12, 2012, 03:30 PM
That's a good looking animal you have there. Nice job. The doe I collected last Saturday out by Maybell at 250 yds was of a decidedly more modest size than that fine buck of yours. The animal was 46 lbs dressed when I took her to Steve's in Arvada for the jalapeno jerky and jalapeno stix treatment.

Thanks for sharing your success.

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