This year was my first year trying to hunt pronghorn. As an added challenge, I decided to do it with my bow. I knew of a good place in northeastern Colorado where a lot of pronghorn are; the only problem was you could only spot and stalk them.
I spent two weekends spotting and stalking and never got one close enough to close the deal. These animals are truly one of the toughest animals to hunt. You don’t have any cover, they spook very easy, and I’m hunting with a bow—three things that just don’t work well together.
It was a cool morning in the middle of August and I was down to the last weekend I could hunt because of my work schedule. (Unfortunately hunting doesn’t pay the bills.) But anyway, I got out to my hunting grounds where I had seen a good group of antelope and decided to just sit and watch them, not stalk up and try to get a shot. They obviously had an agenda, and they were making their way through the fields.
So, with this newly gathered information, I decided to get around them and get in position so that they would (I hoped) walk right through me. I must have waited for an hour—or so it seemed. Finally I had a nice buck working his way toward me. The winds were starting to pick up at this point, and then the unthinkable happened. The winds started to swirl, as they commonly do on the plains. At this point the buck was 55 yards away from me and, with one big swirl of the winds, he smelled me.
With him looking directly at me, I drew my bow back, which spooked him. I thought it was all over. I had come so far and never got to fling an arrow. With all this going on in my head and with my bow still at full draw, he decided to stop at exactly 80 yards, and it was like God was saying, “Here’s your chance. Make it happen.”
I never thought in a million years that I would ever take an 80-yard shot. I had been practicing all summer and got to where I could get a grapefruit-size group at 80 yards with my Mathews Z7.
So when the winds stopped, I let the carbon fly. The shot was perfect. He didn’t run 50 yards before the Carbon Express Mayhem arrow and Slick Trick broadhead did their magic, and he fell over.
I was ecstatic! All the hard work, long walks, and patient waiting had finally paid off. I gave the buck a few minutes, went and got my truck, and drove up to him. He was even bigger than I remembered.
One good thing about bowhunting is there is never any ground shrinkage. This has got to be one of the best hunts I have ever had. I have never put so much work into hunting an animal as I did for these pronghorn. And to have it pay off in the end is just incredible. These majestic animals have truly given me a new respect for how much work goes into hunting them. This chapter in my bowhunting book has been a big one.
“Practice played a major role in my success this year. I had never even thought I would ever have to make an 80-yard shot, but I practiced at least three times a week. You can never simulate what you will be feeling when you draw back on that animal of a lifetime. The only thing you can do is be confident in your shot. Once you get confident in your shot, the sky is the limit. I would have never taken this kind of a shot unless I was confident. Perseverance and preparation are key items in hunting. You really find out how important repetitions are when practicing at these distances. You really have to concentrate on your anchor points and your follow-through.”