Spot And Stalk Antelope Tactics

Posted by: Brady Miller on Jul 1, 2013
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My love for chasing antelope began while I was growing up, watching my dad return home from hunting trips out west. I hung by the edge of my seat on each word as my dad would tell the stories about how the hunt unfolded or about the big bucks that got away. These stories were followed by the numerous photos and protein packed dinners we shared as a family. I was lucky enough to tag along on an hunt when I was younger, which just further engrained my fascination with antelope. Right then and there, I knew that someday I wanted to move out west. That dream became a reality when I moved to Montana to attend college right after high school.

SS1

Antelope make the perfect late summer bowhunting opportunity.

Why Antelope
To me, spot and stalk antelope bowhunting is a complete adrenaline rush! Antelope are the perfect game to test your bowhunting skills. They carry eyes that can pick off the slightest movements, which can instantly ruin a long fought stalk in the heat, and they will test your nerves like no other animal. Antelope are also very plentiful animals, meaning that numerous stalk opportunities are available. Plus, one just can’t beat early hunting seasons during the hot August sun. It really doesn’t get much better!!

 SS2

Putting the stalk on an antelope can prove very difficult thanks to their keen eye-sight.

Over the years I have failed plenty of stalk opportunities on great bucks, and the more I think about it, the more I realize I could probably write a book on the different ways I have blown a stalk. That’s the sheer beauty of bowhunting antelope and what drives me out each year onto the sagebrush filled flats with my bow in hand. The time when you successfully harvest your first spot and stalk antelope with a bow will be one of the most rewarding of your bowhunting experiences.

 SS3

Persistence will eventually lead to success on speed goats.

Each failed stalk is another lesson on learning what you can and cannot get away with while pursuing antelope. Frustration can get the best of you, but if you learn to overcome difficulties and turn those blown stalks into positive experiences, then eventually you will get a chance at a great buck. I have been very fortunate to harvest some great antelope bucks over the years, and each season I learn something new about the thrill of spot and stalk bowhunting for antelope. 

Gear Selection
Antelope and summer heat go hand in hand, so avoiding heat exhaustion is paramount to staying focused in the field. Lightweight gear is preferred to ensure you’re not carrying around extra weight that will cause your body to sweat more. When you’re on a long stalk with the sun rays beating down on your back, you will be happy you have a pack with a vented back to allow more air flow, along with a water bladder of at least 70 ounces. Water is key in the summer heat and spot and stalk hunting will cause you to overheat if you’re not properly hydrated.  Since most antelope seasons start in early August, proper clothing will make your bowhunt a lot more comfortable. Layering up is a great idea, as temperatures can dip below freezing in the morning and easily push 100°F by mid afternoon. Also, be sure to choose lightweight clothing that breathes well.

 SS4

In addition to the cactus and various other challenges, rattlesnakes can also be a part of the antelope experience….prepare accordingly.

While crawling around in antelope country, your knees and hands will be faced with numerous challenges such as cactus, yucca, and small sagebrush to name a few. Utilizing knee pads and wearing leather gloves will help protect your body from becoming a pin cushion. Another item I started wearing last year after frequent close calls with rattlesnakes are snake gaiters. These prevent snake bites by using a puncture proof material that will protect you from ankle to knee. I normally place these under my pants since I like to wear a small trail running gaiter as well to keep out small debris and rocks from making their way into my boots.
 
Optics
I routinely carry a spotting scope and a medium sized tripod, which is perfect for cutting through the heat waves from a vantage point while glassing at antelope. I prefer a 60x or higher spotting scope with at least a 65mm objective diameter. This enables me to scan the terrain, and if a buck is spotted, zoom in to see if it’s worth going after.

SS5

Good optics will save time and also make things easier on your eyes and legs.

Also, I have a pair of binoculars (in a carrying case on my chest) that aid in checking out antelope when closing the distance. Binoculars work perfectly for peering through grass so you don’t expose your body to a weary antelope. Even though they are a little heavy, 10x42’s are ideal for dissecting an antelope buck’s horns when you’re getting in close.

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Brady Miller
Filed under: Antelopespot and stalk

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