The anticipation of an upcoming hunting trip can seem to slow down the hands of time. Your mind starts to wander; you have a hard time concentrating on everyday tasks. All you can think about is the game you will be chasing. You picture your trophy standing there, you’re at full draw, hearts racing and you settle your pin. As you’re about to release your arrow, you smell smoke. Smoke? You’re burning the steaks, your wife is yelling at you and you snap back to reality. Actually, this was me this evening!
I’m having an extremely hard time concentrating just to write this. All I can think about as I sit here is endless skies, the prairie and the animal we will be chasing in less than one week, antelope.
Concentrating on everyday tasks has been tough lately. My mind continues to wander as I daydeam of my first antelope hunt.
This trip is a very special one for me, as I’ve never had the opportunity to hunt antelope before. What makes this trip even better is that I’ll be making it with my good friend, and fellow antelope rookie, John Herrmann. John and I will be making the 900-mile trip from Wisconsin to Wyoming to meet up with another great friend, our guide and fellow Bowhunting.com staff member, Dustin “The Nomad” DeCroo. To top it off, two days after our arrival, we’ll have the privilege of spending our first hunting camp with another couple Bowhunting.com staff members, Neal McCullough and Grant Jacobs.
Preparing for this trip has been unlike any whitetail trip I have been on. The biggest difference has been in my shooting routine. When practicing for whitetail hunting here in the Midwest, I rarely shoot past 40 yards. For this antelope hunt, I was doing more shooting with my NAP Spitfire Maxx at 50 and 60 yards than I was under 40. Though it is very unlikely that I will attempt a shot over 50, the shooting at 60 yards has given me the confidence that I can extend my effective range, if the conditions are right.
Shooting groups like this at 50 and 60 yards will give me the confidence I need when the moment of truth arrives.
The NAP Spitfire Maxx will be my head of choice for Antelope.
One reason that I have been practicing at longer ranges is because we are going to try our hand at spotting and stalking them. Though it will be too early to decoy rutting bucks, Dustin has assured us that we should still be able to get into bow range. One new product that we will be using on our stalks is the Hide-A-Bow. The Hide-A-Bow screws into the front of your bow where your stabilizer would normally be and allows you to shoot through the opening on the attached blind without having to expose yourself to the sides or above. The Hide-A-Bow comes in Lost Camo as well as photo realistic animal blinds, including an antelope, which will give us a bit of an edge on sneaking in close.
The Lost Camo Hide-A-Bow will help to conceal movement when drawing and shooting.
The antelope Hide-A-Bow should give us extra time to shoot. Though we're not hunting the rut, this would be a blast when the bucks start decoying.
Being physically prepared is another thing a lot of guys overlook on a trip like this. No, there are no big mountains that we will be climbing, but crawling on your hands and knees, as well as belly crawling, can be physically tiring. I’m not ready to chase any mountain goats right now, but my light workouts will help make the physical aspect of the stalk much easier.
Honestly, my mind is wandering back to Wyoming again. Time to get the last few things packed; throw the Mathews Z7 Extreme in the truck and get ready to head down west. To see how our hunt turns out, be sure to look for it on a future episode of Bowhunt Or Die right here on Bowhunting.com.