View Full Version : Experience with Antelope?

Arizona Fusilier
May 29, 2001, 10:41 PM
My hunting buddy wants to try something different, and we are considering an antelope hunt here in Arizona. Anyone have some practical advice for a beginner with this species? I have no other specifics right now.

May 29, 2001, 11:06 PM
I haven't hunted AZ but I've hunted my share of 'lopes mostly in Wyoming. Once you get thier tricks figured out its not hard but the wise old trophy bucks can still be pretty cagey. Rifle with good optics and good binocs. I've used .243 and .270 with good results, both wear vxII 3x9 leupolds. I think even a novice could have a good hunt w/out a guide. What kind of info are you looking for?
If it is hot weather I never get too far from the truck with couple 5gal cans fresh water and couple bags ice in a cooler. I find the quality of 'lope meat to be excellent but very heat sensitive. Kill, clean, and cool- the quicker the better for my meat. Most of my shots have been in the 150-200 yrd range. I don't believe I've had to shoot more than 275.
Great fun, good luck!

Arizona Fusilier
May 30, 2001, 12:15 AM
Thanks for your response, Kingcreek. How about some basic tactics, i.e., get high and glass things out, set up surviellance along known trails, are they early risers, etc.? What pays off for you most of the time?

May 30, 2001, 12:04 PM
On Antelope there are a few things to remember.

Most new shooters overestimate range to target, esp in wide open antelope country. Most shots will be made at less than 200 yards. Put the cross hairs ON the body, or higher up on the body, not "Over" it.

You don't need a 500 yard rifle to kill an antelope, or a whole lot of gun. You do need to place your shot through the vitals or you can have a long chase on your hand wheter you are using a 243 or a 45-70 or a 7mm magnum. With a clean shot most centerfire rifles will shoot right through an antelope and barely expand while killing nearly instantly. I use a 30-06 with a 165 gr sierra game king spbt for all my hunting needs. But a 270 or even a 30-30 is enough gun.

When shooting does how to tell a big one from a little one at 200+ yards? Look at the length of the snout in relation to the width of the neck. A fawn will have a 'short" snout and a an a adult will have a long one. Be careful as some big does will have tiny horns and a cheek patch too. A big buck's head will look completely black to the naked eye, a BIG buck's horns will be three times longer than his ears.

Antelope can jump over barberd wire but they don't like to. Antelope prefer to scoot under fences, particularly the 3 wire kind. You can stake out a 'slide through" under a 3 wire fence, just hide on the fence line. ( A fence post makes a good shooting rest too) Antelope can get "trapped" by a 4 wire fence. they don't like to jump but if pushed they will jump it.

Antelope need water too, but they drink at night being near water early in the morning or at dusk is a good place to be.

Antelope can run at 50 mph for an hour they are the second fastest land animal on earth. (trying a running shot at a herd at 400 yards is a waste of ammo for most shooters) unless you were a sniper or a camp perry champ i'd NOT recommend shooting at running animals at long range. Even at short range a running antelope is HARD to hit.

Listen for your bullet impact, often you will hear a solid hit. ALWAYS use a 'spotter' ie your buddy watches through his binos or scope while you shoot and vice versa.. he can score a hit while you are still recovering from recoil and can redirect your fire if need be. Many cartidges can develop wind drift even at 200 yards, so using a spotter is of real importance.

Carry water. If not on you make sure you have a lot in the truck. You will get thristy. Carry some snacks at least for a quick lunch, jerky, an apple some cheese etc.

I can completely clean and ice down an antelope with about 5 gallons of water but I prefer 10 just in case. Colman sell huge "coffin coolers" which you can fit a whole (field dressed) antelope. A second cooler may be needed for your trophy buck's head and cape/antlers. Use chemical ice packs instead of wet ice on the cape/head.

Antelope hide and hair is tough, get a wyoming knife, you'll go through a blade in 2 animals but its a really handy tool to have.

Range finders , bipods, shooting sticks etc are neat acessories but unnecessary.. a good pair of binos and a spotting scope in the truck are good ideas. i just use a military sniper sling to steady my shots or shoot from a kneeling position. Also don't be afraid to use a rock or a fence post to steady your aim.

Antelope aren't very big, and they can hide in remarkably shallow cover, even 6 inches of rising ground between you and them at 300 yards can totally hide a herd, watch the creases in the topography carefully and be SURE you have a backstop. Its MORE than possible to kill 2 antelope with 1 bullet.

The smell of an antelope's insides can be a bit overpowering to some, and a gutshot will make it worse. its easy to accidently perforate the animal's ruminant digestive system with a shard of bone or bullet fragment even with a clean shot. A bit of vicks vaopr rub or an aromatic cigar can be a REAL life saver if you get one that has had its digestive tract ruptured. Wipe a lil vicks under your nose or light a backwoods mild and black cigar before you start.

Antelope bone is VERY brittle and makes sharp nasty shards be careful not to cut your hands on the bone.

You will need 2 different saws, on small "meat saw " to crack the pelvis (which you can also do with a knife) and another to remove the legs.The legs are hard to cut through. Use a good stiff bone saw for this.

Hope the tips help. I've killed more antelope than I can easily count in Colorado and Wyoming in the past 15 years.

May 31, 2001, 12:49 AM
Pronghorns are VERY gullible on the first day of the season, but they wise up fast!

Be sure to get out there on the first day! And don't screw up your first and possibly only shot.