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  • Writer's pictureBridger Park

2020 Pronghorn

Updated: Mar 7

My 2020 Antelope hunt will forever be one of my favorite hunts. It holds a special place in my heart, not because it was action packed, thrilling, or a tag I've put in on for seven years, while it was all of those things, the reason it stands out is because I learned more about myself in one hunt than I ever had. It was a huge year for me in terms of growing as a hunter, but this one taught me a special lesson about patience. When it comes to hunting, patience is the hardest trait to learn, and the most important skill to have.

Early on in this hunt, I picked out a the pronghorn I wanted. It was the biggest we'd ever seen, and true to pronghorn reputation stalking this animal was not easy. Time and time again we'd make a move on him, and have to slowly back out as he took his herd miles from us. I only had one chance at this brute. We had caught this giant, and his herd, on their way to bed. We cut them off at 200 hundred yards, and when I squeeze the trigger, it hit me with a sickening click that haunts hunters. When I tried to jack another into the chamber, the faulty reloads I was shooting jammed up. And let me tell you, you don't know real frustration until you loose a trophy class antelope to reloaded bullets.

After spooking him, I was able to relocate his herd multiple times, but I never saw the buck again. After licking my wounds, and nursing my pride, I got back at it. I passed up tons of opportunity's on this hunt, in a desperate search for a buck of the same caliber as the one I had spooked. Late on our second to last day, we spotted a buck we had nick named 'nubs', we nicknamed him this for two reasons: first being that while he had deep curling horns, he had no prongs. The second reason being we are not creative. It was to late to stalk him that night, so we had to return in the morning for him. Early on our last day, we stumbled into his heard. And I mean stumbled into them. They where sitting in a cut in the flat land scape, and we startled them up.

This was where I lost my patience. I had quickly spotted nubs with my binos, and rushed into a position I could shoot. They where already spooked, and started to haul off. I rushed to find the goat in my scope, and shot. In the antelopes gregarious shuffling, and my foolish rush, I had shot the wrong goat. I had also placed a high shot on him, which was sickening. It was the first animal I hadn't killed on the first shot, and the first animal I walked up on that needed another shot. This is something that is inevitably going to happen to all hunters, and a feeling that wont leave them in a hurry. He was also much smaller then the one we had been chasing. While a much smaller pill to swallow then a bad shot, rough non the less. I found myself face to face with one of the worst flaws to have as a hunter. And had to dedicate myself to fixing it. Just remember, taking your steps a little slower, taking a little more time in your scope, or sitting in a spot for just a little longer, could be the difference in a successful or non successful hunt.

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