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My 1998 Antelope HuntANTELOPT.gif (29744 bytes)

Well I made it back from my initial attempt at bagging a wily pronghorn.  The area I drew in the tag lottery consists of about 5,000 square mile of largely unpopulated, mountainous desert terrain located in south central Nevada (see map). You also may notice that there are NO towns within the boundaries of this area. So it was quite the solitary experience.  Most days while traveling the back roads I would encounter only one vehicle (always a truck).

Lots of driving, stopping, and "glassing" with binoculars. Nearly all time spent in units 132 & 133. It was during one of these innumerable stops that I had a rattlesnake encounter.   I've seen rattlers before, but almost always when I was looking for them.  This time was a surprise.

It took four days for me to locate an antelope.  When I did, I discovered a "bachelor" herd of eight bucks.  I found their watering spot.

I took a LONG shot from 330 yards (confirmed by GPS). I took another.  Both missed.  The herd trotted off over the hill.  My weapon was a Ruger Mini-Thirty (7.62 X39), with a 6X42 scope (I knew I was under-gunned going into this).

I was waiting for them at the same spot for the next two days.  All day.   Brutal.  Hot, 100+ degrees, no shade anywhere.  Went through a lot of water.  The herd did show, right before sunset, and about 400 yards uphill from my slightly concealed position in a dry portion of a stream bed.  Tried to maneuver, but darkness was approaching, and there was no cover.  The "head" antelope was definitely aware of my presence, and would watch me whenever I moved (antelopes have large eyes and excellent eyesight).

In the end, it had been quite exhausting.

Hunt Statistics:

Total Miles Driven: 2,413
Total  hunting (active search) miles: about 1,400 miles.
Miles of "unimproved" road driven: about 1,000
Antelopes sighted 8 (bucks)
Times my car got stuck: 2
Rabbits runover by my car: 2 (inadvertently)
Shots taken on antelope: 2 (330 yards) - both missed
Shots taken on 55 gallon drums: 2 (50 yards) - both hit

Results: No antelope taken

Lessons learned:

    1.   Have a big enough gun/scope combination for the long shots.
    2.  A truck is required to get into a good position without miles of hiking.
    3.  Concentrate on finding the antelopes' water sources.

So, even though I didn't harvest a buck, I learned a lot.

Upcoming: Fall 1998 Mule Deer Hunt.

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