First MT Loper!

thecrittergitter

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The annual antelope trip to eastern Montana was great as always! This year was a little more special because Braden and Dustin got to bring Tate with us. Tate’s dad Zach had planned on joining us on this trip but he drew a very coveted Montana moose permit which we all agreed would take precedence over any hunt we do this year. I told Zach to go look for moose and I would take Tate antelope hunting with us. Tate had his first antelope tag in his pocket and was super excited to hang it on his first Montana antelope. This story will more pictures than words as they tell the story better than I can. Although my buddy Brian and I both had antelope tags as well, we were really just planning on focusing on Tate getting his. We covered a ton of country the first day and looked over a number of antelope bucks.
 

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thecrittergitter

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We had a great time picking on Tate! We saw some nice antelope bucks and kept telling him that we would look all over the first day and then come back the second day. Tried explaining that if he shot the first ones he saw, he would never know if there was a better one out there someplace else. At the end of the day after seeing about a dozen bucks that Tate would have shot, we were asking him why in the world he would pass on some of those bucks…hahaha
 

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thecrittergitter

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I watched as Dustin completely filled his pockets with rocks in the spotter?? Kids are fun to watch when they don’t know anyone is watchingLOL This is your future class clown……
 

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thecrittergitter

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The kids had a great time, looking for antelope, and putting a big hurt on the prairie dogs and Rabbits. It was great watching Tate and Braden as they took turns spotting and shooting prairie dogs. Man they made some crazy good shots too!
 

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thecrittergitter

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When Day 2 rolled around, we asked Tate if he was ready to shoot one yet, the look on his face was priceless. He was as ready as a kid can be to hammer a goat! We had two bucks in particular from the previous day we wanted to target so we headed out at daylight to locate them. Sure enough about ½ mile from where he was the day before was our number 1 goat. We looked him over in the spotter and looked as if he had about 5 does with him and was in a great place for a stalk.
 

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thecrittergitter

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As we were making a play on this buck, the wind started picking up. By the time we crested the ridge we wanted to shoot from, the wind was blowing so hard that I knew we couldn’t shoot. Normally, 350 yards would be a shot that this .243 would have no trouble with but in winds like this, there was no way we could get a good shot. As we were making a plan to get closer, the antelope got spooked by some cattle and ran over the hill. We followed them to see if we could make another play on them. As we crested the next hill we spotted them making a loop back around. We backed off and ran down the backside of the ridge to cut them off. Soon as we thought we were getting close to where we needed to be, I saw a doe come over the hill. No time to get where we wanted, it was go time! Tate got down and chambered a round. I ranged her at 200. Braden jumped in behind Tate to help him get eyes on it when it came out.
 

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thecrittergitter

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I told him the buck would be coming and to get ready. The buck crested and stopped. It’s not very often to have a tree branch block your view when antelope hunting but Tate said he couldn’t get a clear shot. We hurried and crawled about 20 feet. Tate lined up again and another tree blocked the view! Dang, the buck started trotting away. I ran about 20 yards and saw a doe come out from behind the knoll. Told Tate to get down and get ready as that buck was sure to follow them. He got set and I hit the range of 152 yards. Sure enough the buck ran out and I told Tate to wait, he would stop. Sure enough the buck stopped and looked back. Boom! I watched as the tuft of hair flew off behind the shoulder. Told him the shot was perfect. The buck ran about 50 yards and stopped. Tate chambered another round but it wasn’t needed. The buck tipped over and was done! Three happy boys walked over to the prize and Tate had his first Montana antelope!
 

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thecrittergitter

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What a beautiful first antelope and great times had by all!
 

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thecrittergitter

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Even the little guy got some shooting in:)

Apparently the boys were tired after a fun trip!
 

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levibowler

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I think 'ol uncle Levi needs to take a few lessons in game management strategies from you Tater.... You're doing a dang fine job of fillin' your tags buddy!
 

1_pointer

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Great story and pics! Super job by the boys. Not too bad by the adults either... ;) The enthusiasm boys at that age have for the hunt is very contagious and refreshing. Just awesome.
 

thecrittergitter

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You don't get this stuff in video games, or Ipods, Ipads, whatever else crap there is out there.......the more of this and less of that stuff, the better off these kids are
 

1_pointer

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Agreed! Though since we are pretty much confined to hunting from stands here for deer, the iPad gets him to sit longer...

I will be doing quite a bit of research this winter on youth hunts all over the west. He'll be hunting somewhere in the West in the next few years.
 

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