Hunting Memories

Bomber-Assisted Antelope

I made a return trip to Kaycee, Wyoming for the 2005 archery antelope season. I was hunting with Charles (Chuck) Cureton and his crew from Ridgemaster Outfitting.

The prospect of harvesting an antelope seemed promising as Wyoming had a mild winter and good, wet spring. Upon arriving I was soon reminded of why I wanted to come back so badly — every field seemed to hold antelope. The opening morning, September 1, couldn't have come soon enough for me. Not a day had passed since last season that I hadn't thought about and prepared for this hunt.

Chuck and his guide Clint had scouted several promising spots and decided to place me in a treestand on a plateau adjacent to a field where a herd of pronghorns had been frequenting. The antelope would occasionally bed and chase each other around a huge sand pile near the cottonwood tree I would be sitting in.

That morning I quietly snuck into the stand. Although I fully trusted my outfitter, I would be lying if I didn't say I had some initial doubts about this spot. It seemed to me that a blind near a water hole would be more promising due to the hot, dry weather the area was experiencing ... Well, Rule #1: always trust your guide, stupid!

No sooner had I climbed into the treestand at 6 a.m., when I spotted two bucks, four does, and two fawns feeding about 200 yards over my left shoulder. They fed and then bedded down on and off for a couple of hours, but didn't move in my direction. In fact, they were feeding slightly away from me.

Then I caught a break… In the distance I could hear a low rumbling sound that quickly grew louder and louder. The ground began shaking, then the tree, and as I peeked through an opening in the branches to see what was happening, I made out a black dot in the distance coming directly at me super fast. In a nanosecond it was right overhead and then passed me. It was a B-1B bomber that had roared down the valley at about 500 feet above the ground. It was so low I could see the pilots' helmets. I grabbed branches on either side of me, braced myself, and held on just to keep from being shaken out of the tree like a walnut.

Needless to say, it was very cool to see. Even better yet, it got the antelope whipped up and they began to move in my direction. They all moved behind a small hill to my left, only about 125 yards away and stayed there. Soon the only animal to come into view was the dominant buck. He bedded down next to a barbed-wire fence on an elevated rise directly across from me at 75 yards, according to my rangefinder. He looked back at the does and then stared directly at me for minutes at a time.

I tried not to make eye contact and remain motionless, but I was sure he would bust me. After 45 minutes of this, he popped up and started walking down to the sand pile and toward my tree, possibly for shade. Each step he took made my heart pound harder, but I composed myself and at 35 yards he hesitated — I didn't wait any longer. While he was slightly obscured by a limb, I slowly adjusted my position in the stand and quietly pulled the string back on my Bowtech Patriot Dually. When he came back into view I found him in my peep sight, put my 30-yard pin on him, and squeezed the trigger on my release. The arrow zipped quietly through him, causing him to briefly bolt. After a short sprint, he was down.

I took a few moments to gather my thoughts and give thanks, and then slowly and respectfully walked up and proudly tagged my Wyoming pronghorn. And as excited as I was, Chuck was even more thrilled to see me with this animal.

Until next season, my daily thoughts and preparation will focus on Wyoming archery elk ... next season can't come soon enough.

Submitted by Michael Lindquist
Menlo Park, California

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