Preparing for Antelope Hunts: Antelope are one of North America’s most challenging animals to hunt for several reasons. First, they are FAST and they have amazing jumping ability. The Pronghorn Antelope can run 40 MPH for several miles and 60 MPH sprints. They also have incredible eyesight. The Pronghorn Antelope prefers wide open space and grassy plains, and they gather in herds. Antelope will quickly take cover under vegetation if they feel hunting pressure. Antelope Hunts are typically conducted in western states such as Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and western Texas. It is wise to be prepared for physically challenging antelope hunts simply because the terrain is very rugged and the antelope very fast – with great eyesight!
Unless you live near Antelope territory and have access to public hunting land or a private ranch, you will probably benefit greatly by using a professional hunting guide or hunting outfitter for your Antelope hunts. Each state has its own laws, license and tag rules and your pro antelope hunting guides and outfitters can assist you through the necessary paperwork and planning.
Scouting for Antelope Hunts: And as with any good hunt, year-round scouting is critical. Your pro Antelope hunting guide will have detailed knowledge of the movements and habits of the herds and years of experience from countless Antelope Hunts. Be sure to ask your guide what his antelope scouting habits are before you book your hunt. Doesn’t hurt to ask questions to make sure your antelope hunting guide is knowledgeable. When scouting yourself, look for tracks that are similar to deer, but Antelope do not have the rear “dewclaws” that make the small imprint behind the 2 big hooves on a buck. Also the Antelope track is a bit more narrow near the front. Antelope scat also looks similar to deer. It is about 1/2 – 3/4″ long and is light brown when fresh and almost black when sun dried.
Pronghorn Antelope tend to use open areas with little cover, and usually not too far from a water source. Antelope can run very fast and for great distances when they perceive a threat. During Antelope Hunts, it is a good strategy to keep the sun at your back and in their eyes. Pronghorn Antelope will bed down in wide open areas at any time of the day as they roam around nibbling. When they are together in a group not all of them will lay down because there will be antelope keeping a vigil as they feed around the other resting antelope of the group. The biggest one may be laying low or resting, so be patient during Antelope Hunts for the big one to show up.
Techniques for Successful Antelope Hunts:
Spot and Stalk During Antelope Hunts: By far the most common method for antelope hunts. Knowing this, it is vitally important to have quality binoculars and scope on a well-sighted, powerful rifle. Consider using shooting sticks to steady your aim for a long shot. On a rifle hunt, be prepared to take a shot as far as 250 yards. When traversing over the landscape, use saddles, ditches, holes and fence crossings to keep out of sight.
Hunters will improve their chance of success on Antelope Hunts by approaching down wind with the sun behind them and breaking up their silhouette by crouching and staying low. Keep your eyes pealed for low lying dangers when scooting or crawling (snakes, scorpions, cactus, etc…). Any of these could ruin your Antelope Hunt! Ask your antelope hunting guide if snake chaps are necessary for the area.
Still Hunting During Antelope Hunts: Again, scouting and placement of your blind is vitally important. For the bowhunter, muzzleloader or pistol hunter, range will need to be 20-60 yards. Sometimes silhouette and full-bodied decoys can be an advantage for drawing antelope closer. And at the right time of year, using a hunting call can also be effective. Check with your Antelope Hunting Guide to see if any special gear or camo is needed for still hunting antelope.
Weapons for Antelope Hunts: Hunters harvest the pronghorn antelope with rifles, blackpowder and bow and arrows. Experienced hunters often use Decoys (during archery season). Antelope Calling and Flagging to attract trophy Antelope, especially during the rut. Spot and stalk and still hunting from a blind are common methods, as well. Often times, the choice of weapon will determine the stradigies used on Antelope Hunts.
Your pro Antelope Hunting Guide or Outfitter will have a full understanding of all the methods and techniques needed for safe, exciting and rewarding Antelope Hunts. Ask questions before your trip to insure you know what hunting gear you need to bring. Binoculars, camo, choice of weapon and ammunition, etc should be on your list. Finally, it is important to be in good physical condition for Antelope hunts. The Antelope travel throughout their day and over great distances. You also may have quite a hike ahead of you in tracking your trophy Antelope – but the reward will be very satisfing!