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An Antelope Honeymoon

By Mary Askew

Being new to hunting, I was excited to plan an adventurous honeymoon with my future husband. We decided to go to Wyoming to hunt antelope. He had never been there to hunt antelope, and I had only shot a turkey this past spring.

After hearing the details of what the hunt would be, I was eagerly on board. We had our wedding the week before. We rested up, packed our gear, and hit the road.

After two days of driving, we arrived at our destination. It was really exciting to see so many people from all over the country for opening season. Every one of them had the same excited look on their face. The landscape is high desert, rolling hills, ravines, sagebrush, and big mountains in the distance.

We set up our ground blinds and camp. Afterward we relaxed with some tasty burgers from a local diner before we called it a night. It was chilly in our tent, but I didn't care. The thought of my first harvest made for a sleepless night. We woke up at 5 am,
Great Buck!!!!!got our packs, bows and rifles, and then headed to one of our ground blinds we positioned near a water tank. The sun started to rise and it's on. We glassed the first herd about an hour after daylight and they were headed our way. The herd, now about 300 yards away, was slowly walking in with a nice big buck. Nervousness and excitement hit me at the same time.

My first harvest with my bow was all I could think about. I couldn't wait. Just as these thoughts raced through my mind, a truck pulls up on one of the access roads and stops. What? Out jumps 4 guys.  They lift their binoculars, then reach in the truck and grab a gun. That's my buck I thought. My husband Paul sadly stated, "sit back and watch the show". My heart sank. We glassed the hunter, and then glassed the herd. We heard a boom, the herd runs and then the buck stops by himself, stumbles and down he goes.

I am filled with several different emotions. Because all of the water holes were near the roads, and we were not the only hunters on the place, my husband Paul decided we would rifle hunt for the rest of the trip. Immediately following the buck being shot right out in front of us; we decided to grab our rifles and then headed out to stalk the same herd. There were several does and they were not overly spooked.

We used the terrain to conceal our movement and stalked quickly to cut the distance. At one point I was on my hands and knees and crawled over the top of a small rattle snake. My husband whispered, "watch out for cactus" and I whispered back, "and rattle snakes too".

We got to the top of a ravine, poked our heads over, and I spotted a nice doe antelope. It was my turn now. 200 yards was the distance. I was so excited and nervous at the same time, I didn't think I could make a successful shot. I kneeled down, got the .270 on the sticks, found the vitals in the crosshairs, settled in and squeezed off the shot. The herd ran off, but my doe just

 1st Antelope NICE!

stood there. I was getting ready for another shot when she went down. We gave her some time and then recovered her. I finally had harvested my first antelope! I was officially hooked on hunting. Using the gutless method, we processed her in the field, got her back to camp, and went on to do some more hunting.

It didn't take long to find another herd. We were on top of a ridge and Paul recommended that we drop behind the ridge, cut the distance, and pop out just in front of them. That is exactly what we did. When I poked my head above a dirt clump on top of the

 

ridge, the buck and 3 does were a mere 90 yards downhill and caught my movement. They took off running and Paul started doing a bahhh, bahhh goat sound and the buck stopped at 175 yards. I got my cross hairs on him and squeezed the shot. He took off running and I thought I missed, but when he toppled over within 40 yards, I jumped up and hugged my husband. I was extremely excited and so was Paul.  This honeymoon is off to an amazing start. 

We were exhausted from the first day of hunting. The weather took a turn for the worse that night. The temperatures were in the low 30's with high winds that shook the tent. It was a rough night of sleeping for sure. The second day of hunting was all about Paul and getting him some antelope. As with everything he does, it looks effortless. Calm, smooth, not jittery at all with so many years of experience, he's got it down. A buck and then a doe appeared in no time. We decide our tent had seen better days so with the winds worse than the night before, we drove an hour to a motel. It was so worth it. A great night's sleep, a shower, and Starbuck's and all of this in a honeymoon!

Day 3, the wind was terrible. Paul was able to harvest his third antelope. Meanwhile, I couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. Frustration had started to set in, so we decided some hiking and scouting in an area recommended by the land owner would be better time spent.

Day 4 arrived, fatigue had set in, and self-esteem was a bit down from a couple of unsuccessful stalks. I figured Paul should start hunting again today. We got onto a herd first thing that morning. I stayed at the bottom of the ravine while Paul went to the top to get the shot. I hear the shot and within a minute my phone rings. It's Paul and he says, "the herd didn't spook, crawl up here quickly and try to get one". That's the quickest I've ever crawled in my life. I got set up and on a nice big doe. With the doe in my sights, I kept my safety on and went through a couple of breathing sequences to calm my nerves. Relaxed as I was going to be, I pushed the safety off and breathed through the shot. The hit was solid and she dropped right there.

I lashed my tag on a beautiful horned doe my third and final for the trip. It was an excellent end to our honeymoon. We were both exhausted from the past six days. It was a two day drive home filled with laughs and reminiscing of a great hunt we enjoyed together. Of course a big part of our drive home centered on the conversation of planning another Wyoming trip next year.