The only thing better than hunting antelope is eating it. So this past year, when I learned from my guide, Mike Judd that I could acquire a doe tag for a mere $34 dollars, I had Kristi Judd purchase a doe tag for me. After all, my biggest complaint about an antelope is that they are not very large, but even a doe is worth an extra $34 based on the undeniable quality of antelope meat. Once my hunt began, I filled my buck tag on the second day of my hunt clearing the way to harvest the first doe antelope of my hunting career. In the stand shortly after daylight, I began the task of locating the animals that were scattered in that pastures around me. I choose the particular blind I was hunting in because the hunter that had taken his antelope there earlier in the week, had informed me that he had cell reception. As far as we were out of Douglas, cell reception was difficult, especially on my cheap phone. Reception was a positive, but the view was a negative. I had a lot of blind spots where I was unable to see what would be coming to water until it got right on top of me.
So I just closed down most of the windows in the blind leaving small cracks from which to check for critters. The waterhole at the front of the blind was the important spot and I had a wide window there to take care of business should an opportunity present itself. After glassing the surrounding pastures for a while to locate the visible goats, I dug out my cell phone called my mom and dad in Florida. Dad was running an errand so mom and I began to solve the world’s toughest problems like the true experts that we have become from years or diligent practice. As I talked, I glanced to the east and saw antelope silhouetted against the morning sun, running towards the windmill. I rapidly explained to my mother what was happening and excused myself. Her last words were, “Go get `em, son!”
I tucked the phone away, grabbed the bow and waited for the arrival of my guests. The small group consisted of a doe and two fawns and a yearling buck. I had not wanted to take a wet doe, but since the fawns were both good sized and they had a chaperon, I was in a hurry to hit the road, so taking this doe would allow me time to skin and quarter, check out of the hotel and be in Longmont, Colorado by 5 pm. Decision made, I clicked the bow off safe and waited for a broadside shot.
I was able to range the doe at 18 yards, before the animal turned broadside giving me a perfect shot as it scanned the horizon to the west for danger. Placing the zero on its heart, I slowly squeezed the trigger until the snap of the bow’s limbs startled me. The antelope exploded into a blur of action, but for the doe, it was too late…She was a goner! The doomed doe ran directly away from me I watched her life-fluids gushing out of both sides of her body. As I watched the antelope collapse, I never did see which way the other three disappear. They were just gone when I looked around. The doe had gone down in a matter of seconds, not even covering forty yards before succumbing to its wound.
I dug the phone out and hit redial and my mother answered on the very first ring. “Well?” she inquired. When she learned that I had bagged my doe and she just giggled like a teenage and congratulated me. We talked for a few more minutes and then I told her I had to get to work. Hanging up, I called Mike right away and told him I was done. He said he would be there shortly so I ventured out to collect the photographs I needed to wrap up my mission.
When Mike arrived he took some shots of me with the goat and then I field dressed it. The heart had a hole in it, bringing me a great deal of satisfaction. If one is going to hunt an animal, he should try to make a shot that will dispense it as quickly and humanely as possible. Nothing is more effective at doing than a broadhead-tipped arrow through the heart. It had been a compassionate and merciful end for creature and for that I was so very thankful.
We hauled the animal back to the Kimbal HQ where I skinned and quartered it, placed it on ice and then packed my hunting gear. After bidding farewell to Mike, I drove to Douglas, checked out of the hotel and headed for Colorado.
This was my first doe antelope and I was convinced, especially after noting how easily the hide pulled away from the carcass, that there could possibly be no finer eating that what Karen and I were going to experience from the flesh of this doe. The antelope is the first thing to disappear from our freezer and for the next year, we would have a little extra of it to be blessed at our table. I can’t thank George LeBar enough for his kind hospitality and sharing the family ranch; the same heartfelt gratitude is also offered to Mike and Kristi Judd.