4 Tips for Hot-Weather Pronghorns

When the temperature rises and pronghorns are thirsty, there’s no better place to arrow a mature buck than near a waterhole.

4 Tips for Hot-Weather Pronghorns

The author tagged this mature pronghorn by waiting near a water source.

A true symbol of the American West, the fleet-footed pronghorn is a worthy adversary for newbie and veteran bowhunters alike. Unlike nonresident mule deer and elk tags, pronghorn licenses don’t require you to take out a second mortgage.

There are multiple ways to effectively dupe a pronghorn, but none, when conditions are right, are more effective than waterhole hunting. Here are four tips sure to make your waterhole dream reality.

  1. Pronghorn are creatures of habit, and I’ve watched these prairie-dwellers walk past multiple drinking stations in route to their refreshment stand of choice. Jump on onXmaps or Google Earth and pinpoint likely water sources in your area. Next, burn up the dirt roads and make a trip to each water source. Look for tracks as well as droppings and buck scrapes. Tip: Keep a keen eye peeled for ponds and stock tanks that are running over and spilling out on the ground. Pronghorn love to drink without having to dip their eyes below the walls of a stock tank.
  2. Don’t crowd the tank. You shoot all year for a reason — hopefully — and now is the time to put this training to use. I like to set my blind 35 to 40 yards off the tank. Like regulars at a local pub, pronghorn take notice when something new arrives at their water source. Crowd them and they will take their thirst elsewhere.
  3. Ranchers often leave lots of equipment behind at these water sources: barbed wire, rusted out feed bunks (photo below) and tires to name a few. Do yourself a favor and put any and all of these items around your blind. It helps. Trust me.
  4. Be sure to get into your ground blind before the break of dawn. You might not see pronghorn yet, but they will likely see you, and if their eyes tell them something is awry at their waterhole, they will go elsewhere.
When possible, stake your pop-up blind near ranch equipment to help it blend in and not tip off wary pronghorns.
When possible, stake your pop-up blind near ranch equipment to help it blend in and not tip off wary pronghorns.
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