I let my mind drift back to last August's hunt at the Werner Ranch. I can't tell if that soothes my desire or only makes it grow stronger. I can almost smell and taste the wind and the dust. The smell of sage is wonderful in the blind, as is the group of antelope out on the distant horizon cautiously making their way to the small waterhole I'm sitting over.
As the nice antelope scrambled up the grassy bank, I released my grip on the string. I cautiously looked around before putting the bow down. Seeing no more antelope I began shedding some clothing and reached into my pack for a drink of water. Nothing ever tasted so good in that 100* heat I can assure you.
Antelope hunting over water holes may not test you physically but sitting there all day in those temperatures will try your mental toughness. As the sun climbed higher and with it the temperatures in a blue cloudless sky, I peeled off more gear. Before long 200 bucks of the finest camo gear lay crumpled in the corner of the blind!
After a bit it was clear it was another group of antelope making their way towards the water. As they will often do, they came into about 300 yards and spent over an hour checking out the water for any danger. Another 30 minutes and they were at 150. From this distance I could see 2-3 shooter bucks.
Another agonizing 30 minutes had them at 50 yards. I determined that although one was bigger than the other two potential targets, I would take any of the 3.
After the brief check at 50 yards they must have decided all was safe and they proceeded directly to water. The does hit the waters edge first, followed closely by one of the 3 shooters. From 10 yards I could hear them sucking water. The first buck at the right spot seemed to be the smallest of the 3. I made him to be the same size as my buck from my previous visit. Another bigger buck was approaching so I opted to stand down on the buck at the water.
He made waters edge and I was already drawing. I concentrated as if I was studying to take the BAR exam on a tiny spot on his dusty coat and let the string slip.
The shot looked good and he plowed through the water. He came out the other side already weak. He slowed, staggered, and went down within 60 seconds....I had the presence of mind to grab my camera and take a picture.
Below you can see him just before he goes down.
My antelope had seen his last Wyoming sunrise and he wouldn't taste that pond water any longer, but I felt reassured knowing the population is high and the money I spent to the Wyoming Wildlife Division and to the landowner would only help to ensure these and future populations of antelope have a voice and a future in those wild lands.
And oh yeah, it felt incredibly primitive to take an antelope with a trad bow in my underwear. True story!
No worries though...I got dressed for the photos.