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Chasing Speed Goats in Wyoming

by Neal McCullough 30. August 2011 15:46
Neal McCullough

A few weeks ago Grant Jacobs and I had a great time hunting with fellow pro-staffers Dustin DeCroo, Dan Schafer and John Herrmann in Wyoming.  Grant and I left Minnesota bright (or not so bright) and early on a Tuesday morning at three o’clock and after a 10 hour drive, we arrived in a small Wyoming town just in time for an afternoon waterhole hunt.  As we walked out to our stand, we were greeted with the sight of 30 goats staged directly above what would quickly become our new honey hole.  After setting up our blind we waited with high hopes of spotting a good buck.  While we certainly glimpsed plenty of does and fawns that first afternoon and evening, day one left us looking for a good shooter buck.  Nevertheless, we went into day two with high hopes. 


Grant Jacobs waiting patiently with his Mathews Z9 ready.

On Wednesday, we sat the entire day at the waterhole with action on and off throughout much of the afternoon. The clear highlight of our second day in Wyoming was when a good buck sauntered straight in for a shot at 40 yards.  I was filming and Grant had the buck in his sights.  Unfortunately, a combination of warm temperatures and a long distance (especially for a Midwestern hunter) coupled with inexperience and resulting nerves on both our parts, Grant shot just over the back of that buck and missed him, what an awesome opportunity! 


This shooter buck watered at 30 yards... check back to "Bowhunt or Die" to see all the action.

It wasn’t until day four of the hunt (our final day) that we decided to take a doe if the opportunity presented itself.  Having spent the three prior days waiting for shooter bucks to come along, we agreed that a mature doe would be worth taking as opposed to taking nothing at all.  It took all day, but around four in the afternoon, a big group of does and fawns came to water and with the camera rolling, Grant made a great 20 yard shot on a mature doe.


Grant and I with our last day Antelope Doe

Getting the doe down was definitely the highlight of our Wyoming hunt; it was truly the culmination of a whole load of new and exciting hunting experiences.  Throughout our weeklong hunt, we saw plenty of other wildlife, picked up on some distinctively Western hunting strategies and techniques and were challenged daily with the new terrain, weather and game. 


We had all kinds of visitors at the watering hole including this Badger.

Overall Wyoming was an incredible experience for Grant and me and we have Dustin DeCroo to thank for most of it.  He set us on great spots and we had unbelievable encounters and chances.  Western hunting is not easy: long shots, tough terrain, hot temperatures, and goats with excellent vision definitely made for a challenging hunt.  I have a newfound respect for Western hunters; the experience was humbling and I feel grateful just to have been able to spend a little time with the pronghorns of the sage dotted plains of Wyoming. 

 See you in the woods,
Neal McCullough

2010 Archery Success in Wyoming

by Dustin DeCroo 23. August 2010 11:56
Dustin DeCroo

The first morning of my 2010 archery season was anything but what I had intended.  The archery antelope season had been open for almost a week before I was able to escape to the public land and sage flats of Northeastern Wyoming.  I woke early to complete a few minor tasks prior to the hunt, the first of which was to screw-in three brand new N.A.P BloodRunner Broadheads.  After looking through the one tote and the one bag that I had taken on the weekend trip, it was apparent that my broadheads were at home.  Rather than get too fired up about it, I went back to sleep for two hours knowing the local sporting goods store opened at 8am.  Arriving at the store, I found the broadhead selection very limited and opted for a four-pack of N.A.P Spitfire mechanicals.


This guy needs another year, but he has potential!



My shooter buck standards were fairly low, knowing that my September schedule is already packed with other hunts.  The first day provided several shooter bucks but between the cows, bordering property owners and an errant arrow… I went home with an empty truck bed.  Thankfully, the next morning would prove to have a different outcome.


A bachelor group of Wyoming Pronghorns in difficult stalking terrain


I drove nine miles South of town to a section of state land where I had seen a nice buck the previous day.  I drove to the back of the property only to find that buck on private land in an adjacent pasture.  On the way out I spotted a decent looking buck bedded with two does, they were bedded just off of a sage flat where it falls down to a dry creek bed.  Unfortunately, the only way I had to stalk the buck was from upwind.  I decided to test my luck and began the sneak.  When I got to about 50 yards from the edge of the sage flat, I knelt down, knocked an arrow and tried to fine tune my plan.  I knew that I was within 60 yards of the goats and that my scent had to be dangerously close to giving me away so I pressed on...  Seconds later I saw horns and ears jump up and run parallel to me and hoping they would stop to see what smelled, I immediately came to full draw on my knees.  The buck did just that and with no time for my Leupold RX-1000 to tell me how far he was, I made a quick judgment.  I placed my bottom pin slightly below the top of his back, my arrow made a quick flight before I heard the “thump” and watched my fletchings disappear.  The buck spun around in a circle several times before coming to rest only five yards from where he was shot.  I raised both hands and my Allegiance to the sky and said, “Thank you.”  The Spitfire did an excellent job on the quartering away animal.


Wyoming Pronghorn


My 2010 Wyoming Pronghorn scores out at 72 2/8” which will well reach the minimum SCI and Pope & Young minimums after drying time.  This goat won’t be entered, but the memory of an exciting, public land, spot and stalk hunt will tell the story much better than the paper pages of any record book.

Bowhunting a Brawling Buck

by Jessica Edd 19. July 2010 13:48
Jessica Edd

With over one million pronghorn (nicknamed antelope) in the American West, most of which inhabit Wyoming and Montana, one would assume that these animals would be an easy kill. However, thinking like this can have you eating tag soup for years to come. These animals are highly specialized to live in their vast prairie environment. Their incredible eye sight allows them to pick up movement as far as three miles away which the human eye would require at least a 6 power binocular lens to acquire.

Along with its eyes used to spot predators, antelope also have speed on their side to out run them. An adult antelope can reach speeds of up to 60 mph and maintain 30 mph speeds for miles if necessary. Catching one is a near impossibility for most predators unless said predator is a 125 grain bullet. However, when you’re launching arrows at the quick footed antelope, you need to change your approach. There are several different methods to hunt antelope but most people choose to use a blind on a waterhole. Spot and stalk is also popular especially combined with the use of antelope decoys.

Deciding where you’re going to set up your antelope blind is no different than picking a good tree for your deer stand. There are a lot of factors that go into your blind placement including location, wind direction, type of blind and timing.

Finding a good water hole is a must because like every other animal on the planet, speed goats need water and in the high mountain deserts these animals inhabit, sometimes it can be hard to find. Watching the antelope in your area will tell you what time of day they are moving into water and how long they stay there. Because these animals have such a large territory, however, you may never see the same goat twice but you can get a good idea of what’s going on in your hunt area by doing some scouting.

Wind direction is an obvious key factor because as we know all too well, your scent can bust you more than most anything else. The wind in the area I hunt generally comes out of the southwest (and in Wyoming, the wind is always blowing) so it’s usually a good idea to try to set up a blind on the northeastern side of a water hole. Obviously because the wind can change direction at anytime this isn’t fool proof but it can be helpful information to have and deserves a little research.

Choosing what blind you want to hunt from is as personal of a choice as any of the equipment we use but there are definitely some that work better than others. Because there isn’t the advantage of trees when hunting the sage goat, a full blind is much better than a partial blind. A group of antelope can easily come up on your back side which will then require you to hold solid until they are able to get you out of their line of site. The Bone Collector blind from Ameristep is a good design because its venting system allows for a little bit more air movement which can be a lifesaver when enduring mid August temperatures that reach into the 90’s. The blind’s dull finish also reduces the reflection of the sun which is essential when trying to outsmart an animal with such good eyesight.

When you set up your blind is also very important. Because it’s not something that’s going to blend in what so ever as it sits alone alongside the water hole, you want to set it up early. The antelope will notice something new has moved into the neighborhood but if it’s there for several weeks and doesn’t present a threat, they will get used to it and it won’t bother them.

Because not everything needs to be made a beer drinking sport like blind hunting sometimes is, the spot and stalk method will get you on your feet or even your hands and knees and keeps you moving all day. As has already been mentioned, the antelope’s eyes are nothing short of amazing and will most likely spot you long before you know the goat’s location. A good pair of binoculars will give you a much needed edge and is essential to looking out over the plains in hopes to find your big buck. The Leupold Cascades 10x42 binocular have proved in the past to hold up to the winds and dust of the west which are known to be hard on equipment. Sage brush doesn’t lend much coverage so the terrain will fast become your friend. Big bucks who don’t have does in tow will try to get on a higher point or edge of a ridge in order to scope the landscape for predators and threats. No matter how good they can see though, they still don’t have eyes in the back of their head and putting a sneak on their back side while they lay in the sun is a good way to get an advantage. When reaching within the 50-70 yard range, dropping to your knees and sometimes even belly crawling is going to be required in order to stay out of their line of vision.

If crawling through cactus, sage brush, thistles and rocks doesn’t sound like a good time, employing the use of a decoy such as the Carrylite EZ Goat Antelope Decoy can also be useful. If you’re within 60 yards or so the buck will notice the decoy and will start to get uneasy. Throughout most of the year, antelope maintain a peaceful herd but during breeding season, the bucks can get a little wound up. Dominant bucks will have patience for subordinate bucks at water holes and out in the open but they fast lose them if the smaller buck thinks he’s going to move in on the does. Mature antelope bucks will charge a smaller buck in order to get rid of it and when he’s packing 120 pounds behind a 50 mph punch, he can definitely do a lot of damage.

Most antelope decoys come with labels warning people not to stand behind the decoy but I can’t stress the seriousness of this warning. People don’t realize how fast these animals can move and will not necessarily mean to be standing behind the decoy when a buck has charged them. Basically, the best recommendation is to set up and get out of the way which is not only safer but will provide a much better shot.

Whether you choose to wait out the antelope in the hot summer sun or put your body through pain as you crawl over cactus, successful antelope hunting isn’t always easy. Picking the right equipment is important and knowing the land of your hunt area is key, but having patience and a plan is what will get you your goat. 




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