Starting out a post with a disclaimer probably isn't the best literary device. I don't regard antelope hunting as true hunting. There I went and said it. I know every year people come west in hopes of tagging an antelope. When I lived out east I had to content myself with deer and small game hunting. Back then I looked forward to other forms of big game hunting. I guess my first time "hunting" antelope I learned that you don't hunt them so much as you harvest them.
Bow hunters going after antelope are another story. Antelope can see great and are very wary of letting things that aren't antelope near them. A bow hunter that stalks and bags an antelope has accomplished something. Even when a bow hunter uses a blind, he has accomplished a greater feat of hunting then the rifleman harvesting an antelope.
I know I've blogged about my shooting hobbies before. Since I'm a semi accomplished long distance shooter I don't want you to be under the impression that I simply set out on the prairie and snipe whatever comes along. It's not that I wouldn't do that, its that I've never needed to. My absolute longest shot (and kill) on a big game animal is a laser rangefinder verified 297 yards. This year I didn't even come close to besting that. My shot was between 100 and 110 yards.
I don't shoot animals at longer range, not because I can't, but because I don't need to. I suspect that most guys if they would develop a bit of hunting skill would seldom need to shoot beyond 400 yards. Even then that's what I call bean field shooting. There is nothing wrong with bean field shooting. If I had crops to hunt over and the most effective method of harvesting my quarry was to set up in a fence row and shoot across the corner of the field I would do it. I have too. I used to have a deal with a farmer who would let me hunt pheasant in exchange for my reducing his deer herd.
That deal wasn't hunting either. I remember being very enthusiastic about the prospect of filling 65 population control tags. I was never able to bring myself to do it. That was just too much killing. There was no sport in it and I tried of the job before ever filling all the tags.
I have no idea of how many animals I've taken over the years. I can't even remember them all or what year I shot what in. I remember some special hunts. My first deer. My first hunts with Abby. The there are some unique hunts, like the time I had a dying whitetail charge me and I emptied my revolver "defending" myself. It was especially humbling to dress out the deer and learn that the first broadside shot hit it in the hart. The rest missed. The story wouldn't have been so bad, if no one had witnessed it. The whole thing took place at my in-laws right behind the house in the rows of Christmas trees. My mother in law was doing dishes. When she heard the first shot she started watching from the kitchen window. Everyone came out to watch me dress out the deer and ask to see the bullet holes.
Here is this years addition to the freezer.
My point of aim on an antelope is always either a head shot, or the place where the brown of the back and front leg makes a corner with the white of the belly hair. This point of aim nearly always scores me a clean hart shot. A clean hart shot produces a hart that looks like this:
As a side note all I could get this year was one doe tag. Antelope numbers are way down. Instead of getting a couple of buck tags and a couple of doe tags all game and fish would issue me was one tag. I know guys that weren't able to get any. Normally I don't shoot just does. Since I didn't have a buck tag, the alpha buck in this herd was the biggest one I've seen on my friends ranch. That's the way it goes.