USA: Colorado Pronghorn DIY Hunt Oct 2022

TERMINATOR

AH fanatic
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
962
Reaction score
1,938
Location
West Michigan
Media
23
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
5
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA (Life), Safari Club Intl
Hunted
Namibia, RSA, Canada(Saskatchewan), USA (Michigan, Colorado, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska), Texas (Ya'll do realize Texas is a country right)
Day 1

My son Derek and I were successful on our DIY Pronghorn in NW Colorado.

Derek had never hunted anything but whitetail. It was his first western hunt, so I was semi-guiding him and then hunting myself assuming he tagged out.

The area we drew is not known for many Booners so we were just looking for a fun hunt with nice representative bucks. We were successful on both accounts

As always, Mother Nature did her best to screw us. The area had rare Sept rains the two days before the season opener. HEAVY rains that made many of the back roads unusable. We had to stop 3/4 mile short of our some ranch land I had permission to hunt and hike in from there in the dark.

Daylight came and found us climbing a large hill/small mountain on the ranch. We glassed the immediate area. We could see about 1/5 of the 1600 acre ranch from that hilltop and after 30 minutes we had not spotted any Antelope.

There was a road at the base of the hill we were glassing from that went along a ridge to the rest of ranch into the area we couldn’t see from where we were. We came down off the hill and started down the road to the remote area we couldn’t see as it dropped into a valley East of our position. We got about 1/4 mile down the road and Derek suddenly stopped in front of me and held his arm out. Looking to my right there was a valley we couldn’t see down into from the hilltop. At the base of the valley was a small waterhole with a Antelope doe at the edge. We dropped down and crawled to a big clump of sage brush to watch the situation.

Suddenly a 2nd doe emerged from a small crevasse leading to the waterhole. Then a 3rd…and a 4th. It was peak rut so by now we were expecting a buck to show up any minute.

A 5th doe emerged and our excitement level racheted up another notch. Finally out came a buck and it didn’t take Derek long to decide he was a shooter. He was tall and the horns went straight up not angled out. And the tips came straight in almost to the point of touching each other.

We ranged the buck at 225 yards. Derek gave his Leupold VX5 HD 3x15 scope 1 click of elevation and steadied on the buck over a pair of short shooting sticks.

The buck had been quartering away hard as he climbed a small hill to the waterhole, but when he had to go around a large boulder he turned broadside and Derek’s 7mm Wby roared.

The buck jumped at the hit and tried to run but his legs buckled and he tumbled down the small hill rolling 4 times until he came to a stop. Derek had already racked another cartridge into the chamber in case the buck stood up, but after a few kicks of his legs it was over. Derek had his first Pronghorn.

We walk down into the valley take pictures and cut up the Antelope. We skinned, quartered and caped the Antelope and threw the meat into game bags. We had a mile and three-quarter hike back to the truck and the first 275 yards was up a steep slope out of the valley. Luckily Derek is ex-military with two tours in the middle east, so he was up to the task. He carried all 4 quarters and the loins and the head/cape out in one trip.

But we were back to the truck and dropping Is meat quarters to be frozen in town before noon.

So we were off to a good start.


80A82B6F-010D-4CD7-9F35-BE8E9922D7CF.jpeg
3933C45C-6634-4127-B7C9-3796B0452FE9.png
B5E68ACA-6E2C-4A9E-B110-4E3AEA15BD06.jpeg
C698BF62-6017-46DC-A1CF-4B2CBF661B97.jpeg
 
Last edited by a moderator:
I did some work around Rangely, Colorado, in the extreme northwest corner of the state and I can attest to the fact that lots of antelope roam that part of the state.

Congratulations on your hunt and thanks for the report.
 
I did some work around Rangely, Colorado, in the extreme northwest corner of the state and I can attest to the fact that lots of antelope roam that part of the state.

Congratulations on your hunt and thanks for the report.
Thank you

We were by Craig hunting right up against the Wyoming border.

We were in Antelope nonstop. Was a fun time and Quality Time with my son.
 
Beautiful country! We hunt them in Limon, just boring hills and wind towers. Congratulations
 
Looks like a great time! Very happy for you both!
 
Thanks guys

Will add my hunt shortly
 
Beautiful country! We hunt them in Limon, just boring hills and wind towers. Congratulations
Yea, our area on the ranch was great for Spot N Stalk. Lots of elevation change.

I hot mine on BLM land that was a little flatter but still was rolling hills to aid in stalking after you targeted one
 
Congrats on a nice buck! Always good to see a "kid" get his first buck! Bet you're glad you brought your home grown pack mule along, lol! Looking forward to Part 2 of your hunt
 
Day 2

So after slogging through the mud on Day 1 and packing an antelope out for almost two miles we decided to give the ranch road another day to dry out. We had 4 more days before we had to head back to Michigan so we figured we could let the road dry out for a day and I would chase antelope on the Public land in our unit in the meantime.

We had scouted the public the evening before we started hunting on Day 1, so I had a spot in mind and we were there before daylight.

We parked and walked up to a ridge looking over a large basin. It was still pitch black. We had spotted Antelope in that basin on the scouting trip the evening of our arrival. Just before daylight we could see the running lights of two other vehicles on the far end of the basin, a couple miles away. We knew we would have competition but at least all of it seemed to be on the other end of the basin so we were hopeful.

As daylight slowly brightened the basin up we could see 3 groups of pronghorn in our end. All of the groups were a buck with some doe. It was peak rut for the Pronghorn, so if you saw a group of doe there was almost always a buck with the group. One of the groups had a "shooter" buck but it was 450 yards out and moving toward a small hill in the basin.

We waited until they crested the hill and took off accoss the basin, hoping they would slowly feed over the hill and allow us to get there and have them be closer to the hill. We spooked the two other groups of antelope that each had a buck that was not what I wanted to shoot, and that was fine with us. They followed the plan and one grouip ran east while the other ran west...but we were hoofing it north to the hill the other group had creasted.

When we inched to the top of the hill, we were a little bummed. As Pronghorn tend to do, they had made it out into the next basin and were still 400+ yards away. Just then we saw a pickup truck coming down a BLM road from the other direction and we knew that it would soon spook them. So we backed down off the top of the hill and circled around the hill to a spot opposite of where the truck was coming from hoping our competition would push them to us. The plan kind of worked, as the truck did spook the antelope but they did not run toward us....they ran to the side and stayed 500-600 yards away.

By then, hunters had gotten out of that truck and were walking the valley we had been watching so we went back to the truck to look over some new country. Public land Pronghorn hunting is as much about outwitting and outworking other people as it is outwitting the Pronghorn. Unlike Wyoming, Colorado only has a 9 day season for Pronghorn. So everybody with a tag is hunting those 9 days. Most of the Pronghorn units in Wyoming have 6-8 week seasons so I usually let the other hunters battle it out the first couple weeks, then I go hunt Pronghorn after they have moved on to Mule Deer and Elk hunting. But we were in Colorado so we had to slug it out and just be better than the other hunters.

We moved to several spots throughout the day, usually just going where other hunters were not, parking the truck and hunting over the first hill. 90% of the people would not get out of the truck unless they saw antelope and would only see antelope between them and the first hill. We would always go past one hill till we could not see the BLM road and then start our hunting...and it constantly put us looking at Antelope.

We made several stalks on Antelope we had spotted but were not successful in getting close enough without spooking them in the flat BLM land, or having competition appear out of nowhere and foil the plan. Lots of lessons re-taught on those failed stalks. A couple times as we were hiking to a spot over the first hill, we jumped Antelope that were bedded. One of those times, a shooter buck popped up and ran over the first hill. We hustled to the hill and saw him...moving to our right, 500 yards out. For the next hour we played the game of us trying to head him off and him always keeping distance from us. Once you are in that game, where the Antelope knows you are after him, they are experts at staying just out of rifle range while keeping an eye on you. He was a real good one so we stayed after him, always hoping the next time we crested or rounded a hil he would be closer...but it was not to be. Finally we threw in the towel and headed back to the truck for lunch and waters.

Late in the afternoon, with maybe 90 minutes of light left we drove to the top of a tall ridge overlooking a large canyon. We got out and started glassing with our binocs and soon spotted a group of Antelope 700 yards away but moving towards the ridge. A quick peek through my spotting scope confirmed he was a nice, antelope with heart shaped horns that angled slightly back. He was no Booner but he was pretty and good enough. They were moving towards the ridge but would crest quite a ways to the side of us, so we popped back into the truck and quickly (as quick as you can on a non-maintained BLM roads) moved down the road that ran along the rim of the canyon.

We got to a spot short of but closer to the area we guessed the Antelope would be coming up and stopped the truck. I chambered a round in my 1980's vintage Colt Sauer .270, grabbed my shooting sticks and started hiking toward the area where we were guessing the Pronghorn would be coming out of the canyon, based when we last saw them heading our way.

We hadn't gotten 100 yards when a pronghorn doe popped over the ridge. We dropped to our knees in the sagebrush and I postitioned my rifle in the shooting sticks. Several doe antelope kept appearring so we knew the buck would have to eventually appear.

After being frustrated several times all day, Karma finally was on my team as the buck we had spotted appeared 125 yards away and was walking undisturbed past us towards an alphalpa field on some private land 1/2 mile away. He was slightly quartering away. I put the crosshairs just behind his shoulder and slowly squeezed off the shot.

I knew the shot was good, and the Pronghorn jumped and took off the way he was facing. But he only made it about 25 yards before he collapsed into the sagebrush.

I high-fived my son and we went over to collect my buck. The 140 grain Berger Hybrid Hunter bullet had entered tight to the near shoulder, shredded his lungs and blew out the shoulder on the far side. The Pronghorn was DOA in a large puddle of blood.

There would be no long packout today on my buck. We just took a couple photos in the late afteroon light, gutted the buck and together dragged him 50 yards to the rugged road, where we could drive the truck up and load him in.

In the one pic you can see how big the country was behind me. The pronghorn were in the large valley behind me when we spotted them

So we were 2-2 in two days and took him to get cut up and frozen.

Day 3, we were just waiting on the meat packers to do there thing and get the antelope frozen for our drive back to Michigan. Shout out to Mountain Meat Packing in Craig, CO...they do a tremendous job. We spent the day driving arount the unit, just getting to know the area and looking at Antelope and Mule Deer. We went to Baggs, WY just over the border to have lunch and stopped in Dixon, WY for a couple beers. Derek was amused that the bar sold ammo so he bought a couple of boxes of 30-06 for his whitetail rifle so he could say he bought ammo in a bar LOL.

Day 4 we picked up the antelope at 8am when they opened. All the meat was vacumn seal in serving size packages and frozen solid. Another shout out to Mountain Meat Packing in Craig CO. We grabbed 20# of dry ice, added it to the cooler and start off on the 20 hour drive home. The meat was still rock solid when we got home the next after noon.

So we had a really fun hunt and got to spend valuable father/son time together. Derek is shoulder mounting his first antelope and I am doing a skull mount on mine since I have a bigger one shoulder mounted already.

Next fall Derek and I are doing a drop camp elk hunt in Colorado in a limited entry unit and we can't wait
8646A588-CCF6-4960-B0F7-277944F1BE6B.jpeg
0D889ECB-8198-4009-8052-006977D0B0AD.jpeg
BF610826-55A2-4A4D-A401-286E8F046E67.jpeg
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Congrats on a nice buck! Always good to see a "kid" get his first buck! Bet you're glad you brought your home grown pack mule along, lol! Looking forward to Part 2 of your hunt
Yea...young lungs and backbone are valuable things to have with you when you get to be my age (62)

He lugged that bastard up that hill behind him just to get to the ranch road...then we had a mile 1/2 to the truck.

I carried his rifle, binocs, spotting scope tripod and hoodie that would normally be his pack which was now loaded with Antelope meat.
 
You have been TERMINATED

13B35264-3E5A-4D3A-A2F4-E55B5D2292AA.png
 
Last edited by a moderator:
It is a novelty to see someone hunting Antelope in hilly country. Seeing an Antelope next to a spruce tree in Wyoming had me doing a double take.

Our Antelope season is 6 days long, with the first three allowing trophy hunting and then day four the non-trophy season starts.

Congratulations on playing the public land chess match successfully.
 
Congratulations!
 
I was in baggs that weekend and can attest to the rain and bad roads. Glad you were successful on antelope!
 
I was in baggs that weekend and can attest to the rain and bad roads. Glad you were successful on antelope!
Yea, by Oct 4 it had dried out enough that we could drive into the private we had access to. But by then we had tagged out.

In retrospect Derek was even more proud of his Trophy because of the hike in and pack out. Added to the experience for him.

I was perfectly happy with a 50 yard drag thru flay sage brush
 
Nice shooting. Good job keeping with it throughout the day. Persistence pays off.
Bruce
 
Congrats on scoring in colorado. I’ve eaten several tags there either bc of poor weather, travel delays, airlines, or drawing a much harder LE tag in another state at the same time.

One of these days I’ll be successful
 
Nice job! It’s a small world. I’ve hunted Craig 3/301 for the last 20 years for either antelope, deer or elk. I’ve also used mountain meat. Heading there in 2 weeks for the deer/elk season.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
55,191
Messages
1,172,368
Members
95,923
Latest member
ChristiDea
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

Life is Short live it how you want...
jgraco33 wrote on 85lc's profile.
Is your 22HP still available? If so have the original case?
tacklers wrote on ianevans's profile.
Hi Ian, I'm contemplating my first outing, leaving UK via Dubai to Africa, taking rifles as you did.

I presume it went okay for you, would you have done anything differently? Cheers, Richard East Sussex
A.A. wrote on Msprenger!'s profile.
Are you still looking for a 375 H&H?
NRA Life, ASSRA Life, GGCA Life
 
Top