While driving to Wyoming on August 14th, my hunting partner John Herrmann and I were talking about what we expected from our antelope hunt. In all honesty, it was more about getting away in August to hunt and hang out with our good friend Dustin DeCroo and get to know fellow Bowhunting.com Staff members Neal McCullough and Grant Jacobs. We were just as equally excited about the possibility of fly fishing in the mountains as we were about antelope hunting. With temperatures in the low to mid-90s, it’s hard for a couple of midwestern guys like us to get into the true hunting mood. That all changed after we crossed the border into Wyoming that evening.
It was a welcome sight to see the Welcome to Wyoming sign. Forever West and home of many antelope.
After spotting our first antelope in the sagebrush, we started to forget all about the weather. We started talking about what it was going to be like to hunt these speedsters. If you’ve ever been with a good friend on a hunt you know exactly what I’m talking about. You start envisioning different scenarios and how each one will play out. You even feed off of each other’s energy and begin to get more and more excited. Yeah, we were starting to talk a little bit less about the trout and more about the antelope. Our game faces were starting to come on.
A couple hours later we were at Dustin’s travel trailer, which was parked in Daniel Peak’s yard, just south of Gillette. Unfortunately, Dustin was a couple hours away taking care of some last minute business and John and I felt a little bit like we were intruding in a stranger’s yard. The feeling of trespassing soon faded when we met Daniel. For our 6 days in Wyoming, we couldn’t have asked for a better host.
With a couple hours of daylight left, we called Dustin and he gave us directions to the area we would be hunting. From the time we pulled out of Daniel’s driveway, to scouting the land we would be hunting and back to Daniel’s house, I don’t believe there was more than 2 minutes that went by where we didn’t have antelope in sight! Trout? What trout? By this time, we were in all out Fall hunting mode and couldn’t wait for the morning.
That evening, back at the trailer, our esteemed guide Dustin showed up and our mouths were moving more than an 8th grade girl’s at a slumber party about all the antelope we had seen. After watching the full moon rise and sharing a couple cold drinks, it was time to hit the sleeping bags. The morning of August 15th couldn’t come soon enough.
After waking up, it was decided that John would be up first. To be truthful, having him shoot an antelope on this trip would mean just as much as shooting one myself. It wasn’t long until we spotted our first good buck of the morning that we felt we could put a good stalk on. Then, after a short 1-mile walk and 20 minute blown stalk, it was apparent to these two Wisconsin boys that we were in for a serious challenge. Never having stalked big game in the open sage country, we sounded like a herd of buffalo. Well, at least I did! All we could do is laugh and head back to the truck.
This same scenario played out pretty much the whole first day. Spot, stalk and watch the antelope run away. Repeat. Getting within range of the amazing eyesight these animals have is one thing, but to do it all on film was an extra challenge we were starting to think might be impossible to overcome. After the final blown stalk in the evening, John looked at us and said, “Well, that was number twelve and thirteen is my lucky number!”
The next morning we were able to spot a buck not far from where John had a very close encounter the day before. Without giving away all the details of the hunt before the next episode of Bowhunt or Die comes out, John was able to seal the deal on his first antelope! You guessed it, on lucky stalk number 13!
John Herrmann with his first Antelope! The smile says it all!
Now, unfortunately, I would love to tell you exactly how the rest of the hunt unfolded, but I won’t. I know, you probably hate me right now, but the wait will be worth it for Episode 7 of this season’s Bowhunt or Die webshow that will be released shortly. I can tell you this though; I was able to take my first antelope. The events that unfolded around it still mystify me today. If I weren’t able to put my hands on him, I would have thought he was a mirage.
I was also able to shoot my first antelope. You’ll have to check out the next episode of Bowhunt or Die to see how the hunt unfolded!
Sometimes a hunting trip goes way beyond the animals we chase. To tag out on this trip was great, but can’t compare to the strengthened bond between good friends and meeting new friends. I honestly don’t think I would do half of the things I do if it wasn’t for the people I share them with. Those bonds and memories will last for an eternity.
Hunting trips are more than just about the animals we chase. The friendships we strengthened are the true trophy.
Oh, those trout we were so jacked up to catch? We didn’t completely forget about them! We were able to get to the mountains and catch a few, share even more laughs and finish off an unexpectedly amazing trip with great friends.
We were even able to squeeze in a little trout fishing. John with a beautiful mountain brown trout.
A big thanks goes out to Daniel Peak for letting us cut up our antelope in his garage and open up his house to a few strangers that he didn’t know. Thanks again big man and I look forward to the day when our paths cross again! Hopefully with you packing an elk out for me!
Our host, Daniel Peak was able to tag this beautiful antelope while we were in Wyoming. Congrats and thanks again Daniel!
The sun may set on one adventure, but it always rises again to begin another.