A few months back Todd and I decided we should go on a bowhunting trip this year. Most of our bowhunting time is spent chasing whitetails in Illinois or Wisconsin and we figured it would be good to get out and experience something new. After all, life is short and if you don't do it now who knows if you'll ever be able to. So with that said, we settled on an antelope hunt with our friends Scott & Angie Denny at Table Mountain Outfitters.
The next few weeks we got our flights booked, rental car reserved, and tags ordered. All that was left to do was wait for August to come and make sure our bowhunting gear was ready to go. When August 26th finally showed up we were Wyoming-bound.
After a full body scan at O'Hare we boarded our plane and headed for Salt Lake City. Unfortunately a mechanical failure with our connecting flight to Casper caused a 12 hour delay in our trip, but we managed to pass the time by working out at the local Hyatt hotel, watching a movie on Pay Per View, and of course getting in a nice relaxing nap. We finally flew out of Utah at 10 pm and landed in Casper, Wyoming at around 11:30.
Our good friend and Bowhunting.com Pro Staff member Dustin Decroo was nice enough to pick us up from the airport and drive us up to camp. Being a Wyoming resident Dustin had already filled his antelope tag earlier that week and volunteered to run the video camera for me during my hunt.
Six a.m. came all too quickly the next morning, and after a cup of coffee and making sure our bows were sighted in we headed into town to get our archery licenses. By 9:15 our guide, Mr. Scuba Steve, was dropping us off in our blind which was located roughly in the middle of nowhere. So Dustin and I packed our gear into the blind, got set up, and began our wait.
The terrain in Wyoming in quite different than Illinois! Beautiful country though, I love it.
Within 2 hours we had our first visitors of the day as a group of 3 mule deer does paid us a visit. This was my first hunt out of ground blind and with these deer at eye level a mere 15 yards away I thought for sure we would get busted. But low and behold they never knew we were there, even as I snapped photos with my Nikon DSLR. Eventually they moved off into the vast expanse of sage brush and cactus.
Our view from the ground blind. Exciting, I know!
Dustin ready for some action with our new Sony HDR-AX2000 that we picked up from Campbell Cameras.
Our first visitors of the day.
Yours truly, watching for goats to show up.
Awhile later another mule deer doe approached with a fawn in toe, also looking for some a drink of water. Around this time Dustin spotted a group of 5 antelope bucks on the horizon about 1,000 yards behind the blind. Over the course of the next hour the bucks made their way slowly toward us as we munched on some cookies, drank some Ginger Ale and relaxed with our boots off.
Eventually the 5 antelope made their way directly into the water hole and started drinking. The biggest of the bucks, an easy P&Y contender, offered up a perfect broadside shot but I couldn't take it as another buck came in and stood shoulder to shoulder with him. I was afraid a pass through shot would take out both bucks, so after being at full draw from a minute or so I had to let down.
A few seconds later the biggest buck moved off the water hole and I came to full draw again. Unfortunately the buck turned quartering into me just as I settled my pin on him and once again I couldn't take the shot. At this point I started getting nervous that they were going to leave, so I told Dustin to swing the camera onto the 2nd biggest buck who was still drinking.
When Dustin confirmed that he was on the buck I touched off my release and sent an NAP Nitron tipped Gold Tip straight through the buck's vitals. He ran a mere 30 yards before tipping over on film - he never knew what hit him!
After a brief celebration in the blind Dustin and I put our boots back on and set out to recover my goat. I picked up my arrow, which had passed cleanly through the buck, and headed over to where he fell.
My first-ever antelope - taken a mere 3 hours into our hunt.
For my first antelope ever, he's a great buck. Certainly not the monster that many people hope for, but plenty big for this goat hunter! To say I was excited was an understatement. Less than 3 hours into my Wyoming antelope hunt and I was already tagged out. I'll take that any day of the week!
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO OF OUR ENTIRE WYOMING ANTELOPE HUNT - NOW IN HD!
Dustin and I with our trophy. A big thanks to my cameraman for coming out and spending some time in the blind with me. We'll have to do it again soon!
First kill for the Bowhunting.com Edition Quikfletch. "James Westfall" did his job well.
Once our guide came to pick us up and we headed back to camp Dustin and I took the opportunity to ride around the area and glass for other animals. We saw and incredible amount of game including TONS of mule deer, antelope and even a few nice whitetails down in the river bottoms. Wyoming truly is a hunter's paradise, and Table Mountain Outfitters certainly has an abundance of trophy animals. During our time in camp we got to hang out with Vicki Cianciarulo from Archer's Choice Media, Brenda Potts, and Joel Maxfield from Mathews who all tagged out on nice antelope as well. What a blast!
Some WY scenery.
This was a great way to start off our season and I'm really looking forward to October when I can get out and start chasing whitetails. For now, my antelope high will carry me through the next month! A big, big THANK YOU to Todd Graf for allowing me to tag along on this trip and to Scott and Angie Denny with Table Mountain Outfitters. These guys put on some of the best hunts in Wyoming, and I wouldn't hesitate to go back hunting with them.
Gear used on this trip:
(Click the red links to buy any of these products from the Bowhunting.com store)
NAP Nitron Broadheads - fly like darts and tough as nails. A very underrated broadhead in my opinion. I've been shooting them since 2006 and they've never let me down. Just be careful with the blades, they're scary sharp!
Gold Tip Velocity Pro 400 Arrows - lightweight, fast, and strong. My first animal harvested with these new shafts and they worked great. All washed up and ready for the next animal!
NAP Apache rest - you may have read my review of this rest earlier. It's pretty much bulletproof and deadly accurate. A great hunting arrow rest.
Bowhunting.com Edition Quikfletch - by far the coolest rendition of the popular Quikfletch products.
Axcel Armortech Sight - much like the NAP rest this thing is pretty well bulletproof and very reliable. I can't say enough good things about this particular sight. I'm shooting the 4 pin .019 "HS" (high speed) model.
ScentBlocker S3 Silverback Loose Fit Shirt - a super comfortable base layer that is breathable and kept me cool despite the 90 degree temps. I'll definitely be wearing this as a base layer come October.