Antelopin' in South Dakota

Jack O'Conner

New member
Jan 11, 2003
Black Hawk, SD
Opening day dawned bright and clear. The cloudless October sky promised another warm autumn day.

My .243 Remington rifle was sighted in 2 inches high at 100 yards with 80 grain Sierra Pro Hunter bullets. A brand new Simmons AETEC scope was mounted on new Millett sculpted bases with engraved rings. Hey, the old rifle needed a little upgrading.

My partner hunts with a heavy barreled Ruger 77 in 25-06. He has an older Redfield 6X scope with the wide-field feature.

We started seeing 'lopes right after dawn. They were not alarmed by our presence. Its common for antelope to be less cautious until the bullets begin to fly!

A long sneak after a heavy horned herd buck was spoiled when he crossed a fence into the neighboring ranch. We could not cross due to permission issues. We walked to another area where we lay flat on top of a butte which overlooked several square miles of sage dotted prairie. There we saw approx. 100 distant 'lopes in herds drifting and feeding.

I shot at a fine buck but missed four times in a row. Later we stepped it off and discovered it was over 400 yards. Distances can be deceptive on the prairie. But after an hour dozens of 'lopes appeared. They ran in sort of a long oval to return to where I'd missed earlier.

This time I waited and waited for a closer shot. Holding the crosshairs just below his backline at 10X, the trigger was squeezed. The buck's front legs folded but he sort of limped away about 50 feet and toppled over. Moments later a doe came even closer and I held the same sight picture and shot her through the center of the chest. She leaped up on her hind legs like a stallion and toppled over backward.

I walked down off the butte to clean my kills. The buck was hit low in the chest. My bullet had angled down to destroy the front leg artery and damaged the bottom portions of one lung. Distance was 340 long strides.

The doe was hit through the center of both lungs. Innards looked like she swallowed a grenade! Distance was 277 long strides.

This old Remington pump action in .243 is a keeper. Its been in my family since 1967 and always gets the job done if I do my part. I really like the bright optics of this new Simmons scope.

My partner shot a big doe out of a large herd at about 175 yards with his 25-06. It dropped so fast I thought he missed. Hit the doe through both lungs. We've hunted together many times. Most years he hunts 'lopes with a 220 Swift but he recently traded for this Ruger. Seems like a keeper!

I didn't have a digital camera last month to share the photos with you guys. But I have one now, just have to figure out how to post them properly.

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