Saturday, September 8, 2018

Dad's Pronghorn

In our family, pronghorn antelope hunting is a relatively new thing. We've hunted deer and elk for longer than any of us have been alive, but until Weston drew an antelope tag last year in Wyoming none of us had hunted them. The Wyoming hunt was an interesting one, where Weston had his choice of bucks and took one the first morning. Jeff's son Luke walked up to the buck once it was on the ground and said, "Cool, we gonna keep it?" Of course this has become a standing  joke whenever we get an animal on the ground. 

Dad had it in his mind that Nevada would be about the same as the Wyoming hunt and was convinced that he'd be able to harvest a buck the first morning and then we could do some fishing. While I had my doubts, I still bought a Nevada license and brought along a fly rod just in case. Because Jeff and I live a couple of hours south of Dad and Weston we drove up the night before and spent a short night at Weston's house before heading out in the very early morning. Once we arrived in Dad's hunting area we found some antelope, and while the first group didn't have a buck we were all encouraged. Constantly looking for deer is just something our family does, so it was no surprise to find a few on the road.

It took us a minute to realize that there were some pronghorn only a couple hundred yards away while we were looking at the deer. This group had a buck, but not one that Dad wanted to put his tag on. It was an early decision that we'd come to question as we spent the rest of the morning trying to locate another buck that wasn't on a Federal Preserve (no hunting) or private property. On one hand, it's really nice to be seeing animals throughout the hunt, but on the other, it's super frustrating not being able to pursue them.

Finished out the day watching some antelope that were off limits and taking landscape pictures. I guess that's par for the course, as the hunting excitement wanes I always seem to take more pictures of nothing in particular. It's not that I don't notice it while the hunting or fishing is good, I'm just more likely to take the time to snap some pictures if I'm not trying to make something happen. 

I did get to cast the fly rod a few times as the light faded, but no fish came to play. A crappy hotel provided a place to sleep after a long day with many hours in the truck. Sharing a bed with my brother Jeff is always a little weird, but it definitely got weirder when in the middle of the night he put his hand on my arm and said, "Hey, you're not Lindsay!" in a voice that sounded like a Patrick Star imitation.

The next morning started out the same way that much of the previous day had, looking at bucks that we couldn't hunt. You know that the hunt isn't going so well when talk of a return trip starts up and you make plans for the next weekend. Rather than make the long drive home early, we tried a hail-mary and took the pass to the other side of the mountain range. After a couple of hours of not seeing any pronghorn I was shocked to spot a lone buck from the truck. Spirits had gotten so low that no one else even jumped out with me to check out the buck, maybe they thought I was full of it? I thought he was a decent buck and definitely one that deserved our consideration so I ran back to get a second opinion. Weston agreed that this was a shooter so we told Dad to get out of the truck. Dad walked over like he was late for a meeting and shot at the buck without much discussion. He missed as the buck was working straight away from us, but the shot did manage to turn the buck. Second shot Dad rushed and shot over the buck. Third shot he settled in, got in front of the running buck and made a great shot dropping it mid-stride. We all walked down the hill to find the buck, fanning out to where we all though he had fallen and I was lucky enough to walk straight to it. I loved watching as my Dad came over to his first buck pronghorn antelope. 

After a few pics we moved the buck to a place where we could work on it in the shade. Dad asked that we take a picture with all of us, similar to the picture he has of his Dad and Brothers. So we set up the camera to take a picture, only wishing that all of my brothers and sister were there. Hopefully we get a chance to get that picture soon.

Weston made quick work of the buck and we got the meat on ice pretty quickly. Typical of Big-Game Hunting it wasn't good until it was, then it was over. This is definitely a trip that I will remember for a long time and memories that I will treasure forever. 

Hope you're as lucky,

PS. I should be posting a video of this trip as soon as I can get it put together and edited, so watch for it on our YouTube channel HERE 

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