Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sidney, NE
When I drew the tag in June or July, I knew there was a good chance that my son would draw on his black powder antelope tag. This is a great hunt for us as the critters are plentiful, close to home, and access is easy because the farmers don't like them.
We had access to several places and had spotted several shooter goats during the summer. It's easy to drive around and find them and we looked for them every week since my boys mow an old gentleman's lawn out in the country- we get the better deal since we get to talk to him and listen to his stories after we mow. He's a great old guy and gives the boys $100 tips sometimes because he can.
The good thing with antelope here is that they are pretty predictable and terrritorial. They'll ususally be within a mile or so of where we last saw them.
One of the issues with the elk hunt was the timing with the antelope hunt. The archery season started Sept 1 and then the gun season starts on 9/21- today. The antelope hunt runs from 9/19-9/30. I knew that I wouldn't be able to hunt elk as I needed to help my son get his goat. It would be his first big game critter with a firearm. He shot a nice deer a while back with a crossbow, and we've been putting in for antelope every year and he finally drew. I'd been fortunate enough to shoot a cow elk every year so we didn't need more meat so we haven't focused as much on big game- pheasants and geese and ice fishing take up a good portion of the fall/winter for us. Momma doesn't really love it so adding more may not be the best strategic move.
Anyway, we shot the gun several times and he was mostly used to it. It was sighted in and we left it be for a few weeks. The recoil with 110 grains of Black Horn is a little more than he was used to on his shotgun. He's not a small kid, but he's skinny- a cross country runnner. So I wanted to shoot sparingly so he didn't develop a flinch anticipating recoil. Friday night, we went to a friend's house to shoot at his range. The first shot was high/left. It was on a clean barrel so we shot again. High left again. Then way o the right. CRAP! I looked at the gun to see what was going on. The scope mounts and loosened a little.
I had the decision to make, do I tear it down and tighten things up or do I gamble and hope that is stays where I want it. One thing that's important is confidence in the gun you're shooting. If you know it hits where you're aiming, then you can focus on the shot and not worrying about the gun. I tore it down, but didn't have the right size allen wrench with me but had one close. I tightened it down and shot, a little low. SHot again, bullseye at 100 yards. Leave it right there.
On the way home, there was a truck that had pulled over on the exit over I-80 by my house. I stopped to see if they needed any help. They were on their way from Kansas City to Boise to drop a daughter and husband off. You sing it's a small world because I was wearing a shirt that mentioned "Trek" from last year and walking 30 miles across Wyoming with kids. She asked if what church I was from and I said. She said, I knew I should have called, but I didn't and here you are. Moral of the story, listen to hunches, and help people. They got on their way and ate at a local restaurant I recommended.
Friday night, we cleaned the gun and got stuff ready. I checked the scope again, and sure enough, the mounts had come loose again- because I didn't have the right allen wrench. I didn't hestitate. I tightened them up corretly this time. However, I didn't notice that the rear bracket for the scope mount had stuck to the front one. I tore the room apart looking for that stupid thing. I looked and sure enough, it was there. I put everything back together, cleaned the gun, measured more powder out, and we went to bed at 10:30. Later than I wanted. Alarm went off at 6:15 and I wasn't quite ready to get up. I waited a little bit and the boys came up dressed and ready.
My plan was to go back out to my friend's house and shoot again if he wasn't home. I didn't want to text him that late or early to shoot. I drove by and sure enough, he wasn't home so we pulled in, shot once and couldn't find it (clean barrel shot). We shot again, and it was 3" low but good left right. I moved the scope up and he shot again. 2" high at 100 yards. Money.
At 200 yards, there is about 10" of drop for that load so I knew that high at 100 yard you could hold at the top of the back and put it ont he money. I don't want to shoot further than 200 yards anyway.
Well, Time was 7:53 and I declared antelop hunt 2020 is now started. We drove around and didn't see the ones we'd previously spooted. But, I'd seen several around our friend's house where we dove hunt. Not as big, but respectable. We drove by the house and the next road to the east I saw one across the road. It was a decent goat standing in the dirt fallow field. It will be winter wheat soon. I saw another goat laying down in a stubble field, and it was a really good one I'd seen earlier. I turned right to look down another road. There was another goat, smaller, but close right off the road, like 10 yards. We made a plan to try to get the bigger of the 3. I turned around drove by, slowed down, and hit it with the range finder. 200 yards and right out from a telephone pole. They don't mow around the poles, so my son could sneak through the grass and shoot it.
There was only my son, my 12 year old son, and me. I needed another driver to really pull this off. I told my son what to do, and dropped him off on the other side of the road and told him to crawl across the road, set up the shooting bag, and shoot it when it stood up. I dropped him off and he did just that. I drove down about 70 yards and stopped. I looked back to see the goat stand up. But I also saw a farm truck coming down the road. It drove past me, and the antelop jumped a little bit and ran about 20 yards east. It stayed right at 200 yards. I was waiting for a bang. Didn't happen. Then it decided to run across the road to visit the other one. One was at 140 yards and the other about 160 yards, now in the dirt field. I watched my son try to sneak across the road, but got hung up. I drove by and told him yardage. No shot. Then they ran off further and past range.
I picked him up and he looked dejected. "What happened? Why didn't you shoot?"
"I couldn't stop shaking and it kept moving. I didn't want to take a bad shot."
I can't fault him for wanting to make a good shot and not a bad shot. Those goats headed north to the middle of a section and it would make it tougher to sneak on them. I asked, do you want to go look at that other one down the road?
"Do you want to shoot it?"
"Ok, let's go get it."
I drove by and the goat had crossed the road into a dirt fallow field about 40 yards off the road. I had to drive past, and turn around. I dropped my son off so it could get out of the passenger side and lay down. He did and laid down. I pulled forward and the goat jumped about 5 yards and watched me. My son laid down and the bang went off. The goat fell down and started kicking. Goat down. 8:58. 1 Hour and 4 minutes. The goat was actually bigger than I thought. The horns curled back further. The cutters weren't that great, but above the ears. A fine first goat for a kid. I'd rather have a successful experience for a kid than put pressure to shoot a trophy the first go.
We went out and drug it back to the truck, loaded it up, and went to the friends' house for pictures and to tell them thanks.
Cleaned, cut up, and in the freezer. My Commercial grade vacuum sealer isn't working. Grrr. Bagged up for now, but will fix the vacuum sealer and do it properly. Antelope out here is delicious. Didn't run, had it on ice, and cut up within a couple of hours.
Time spent hunting and fishing can't be deducted from my life, my wife's budget, or my salary.