Caribou Gear

Lessons Learned on the 2015 Antelope Hunt: Instant Replay

Joined
Oct 7, 2014
Messages
572
The last few years I’ve been struggling with self filming hunts. Realistically it has been complicated quite a bit by hunting almost all public land whether that was Wyoming Antelope, Nebraska turkeys or Illinois Whitetails. Basically every day is a struggle whether the cameras go along or if they just get left at home and whether the priority is hunting or video and hunting

In the fall of 2015 I took my second Wyoming Antelope trip. 2014 had been a successful trip, but very much a learning experience for myself and my main hunting partner (Here http://onyourownadventures.com/hunttalk/showthread.php?t=261086 ). In 2015 I was much better prepared, but I complicated things by adding a relatively new hunter to the mix. The added benefit of having another person was that filming was much easier I and I was able to get footage of roughly 2/3rds of our hunt. The hunt itself didn’t turn out pretty and involved a lot of blown stalks and shots, but the benefit was being able to watch the mistakes and pick apart the details of what went wrong each time.


The Video is here https://youtu.be/yfg6Fig5e78


Stalk #1 takes place opening morning 20 minutes after shooting time, the 3 of us are still together and we saw an antelope in a fold ahead of us. At that point we were already within shooting range and the antelope was calm, but it was over a lip so getting a steady shot was an issue. We forgot the taller bogpod at the truck somehow and only had the sitting height one so we sent my friend back to loop around up to get down the draw from the buck with the sun and wind in his favor while I just cranked the camera up on the tripod while the other 2 of us waited laying out of sight. Eventually my friend decide to take shot at around 175 yards, but he couldn’t get steady off the bogpod because I was unaware how little he had shot from a sitting position and this was his first time shooting off a bogpod. While this was taking quite a while (15 minutes not shown on video) I had sent our other hunter forward to try to get a shot (you can see me pan by him after the missed shot) but because of the height of the cover and the nature of the terrain he didn’t get a chance for a shot before first guy shot. The shot was clean miss and we ended up splitting up from their to chase 2 different groups of antelope because 3 people hunting together was seeming unmanageable and inefficient as a way to fill 6 antelope tags. Also don’t forget the shooting sticks

6cDUddAl.jpg


Stalk #2 (2:28) never really materialized because we didn’t get good reference points of where the antelope were and we popped up too far away instead of diligently stalking closer which would have involved a lot of nasty crawling. The other hunter waved shooting to me because it was past 300 yards, but the buck trotted off before we made that decision.

n6TIzwKl.jpg


Stalk #3 (3:20) was an exercise not being ready to shoot quickly from field positions and worrying about ranging animals that were at 100 yards or less. I will admit I wasn’t helping matters by pushing our inexperienced hunter rather than trying to calm him. What really was beginning to happen was I was building up pressure on him that wasn’t helping.

Stalk #4 (4:22) was very much the opposite of stalk #3 as the antelope more or less came to us while we were glassing and trying to get a game plan. You can really hear the frustration in my voice and feel the pressure and the lack of confidence based on the previous events of the day. Everything about this opportunity was slow and deliberate. Our hunter was prone, we were patient and in the end the shot was blown just barely.

Stalk #5 (6:05) was redemption for us. The other guy waved a 300 yard shot to me and a put a nice antelope down. We are pretty sure it was actually the buck missed during stalk #1.

pTeOYExl.jpg


Z8Bwj03l.jpg


Stalk #6 (6:49) was really cool from the perspective of a pretty good stalk that took a while and was well executed with very minimal cover. The problem was the shooter wasn’t comfortable at 275 yards with a significant crosswind where he was essentially out of cover and called off the stalk. This was probably a very mature decision rather than shooting outside of his comfort zone. The only thing we really could have done differently would have been to wait the antelope out, but it was late afternoon and we were 3 miles from the truck on foot and were going to walk back through a lot of good ground so it seemed reasonable to abandon.

A lot of the issues we had in this area was the grass was very short ground or scalped by prairie dog towns. Having hunted the same unit the year before we definitely had taller grass at least in places. Really when you look back on the hunt reliably being able shoot to 300 yards all but insured you wouldn’t lose opportunities because of range specifically. I’ve seen antelope taken from 40 yards to 450 yards, but 200-300 seemed to be our common range given terrain.

Stalk #7 (9:23) wasn’t really much more than bumping into a group of antelope at 500 yards on the way back to camp. We were stuck in jail and decided to wait an hour until around sunset when the light might let us get in closer on the antelope. They ended up giving us the slip, but I’m glad we at last tried that move instead of just crawling until we got busted. The only thing thinking back now was that we could have worked around to get the setting sun more in our favor.

In conclusion, if you haven’t figure out anything from the video it’s that shooting from field positions out west isn’t quite the same as a treestand with a shooting rail with a maximum visibility of 75 yards. Remember to calm inexperienced hunters rather than push them (this is really easier said than done) and to shoot within your limits.

In the end everyone in our group got their antelope, but the second day’s filming didn’t happen since we were hunting in a downpour. All of this happened DIY on leftover tags all on public land after scouting the year before and the day before the season opened to find good concentrations of antelope not right off the road. The value of video isn’t limited to just reliving memories and bragging to your friends, but it’s a really good tool to evaluate what you did wrong on your hunts.

SFkWEYU.jpg
 
Top