Jeff Gagnow’s Colorado Archery Pronghorn Hunt Report
Archery Pronghorn Antelope Hunt – September, 2017
Larry from the start explained the previous 2 weeks of weather issues and the added challenge that those will bring. He also explained in detail the animal, their patterns (or lack of), and the fact that listening to the guides is a crucial part of success on this type of hunt.
Sad to say many of the clients could not or would not listen to simple instructions and I believe that is what cost them opportunities. I honestly don’t think there was much more Larry could do…he answered all questions asked, answered those that weren’t asked, and made himself available at all times for any issues that may have come up during our hunt.
Just a Larry indicated; the Double Bull blind I was going to sit in was on a small two track ‘puddle’ and a travel route / staging area before heading to a ‘pond’. Like clock work on day 1 an 7 a.m. the pronghorn antelope came up over the hill…there were 2 ‘shooters’, 3-5 barely legal bucks and a few does. Since I have never taken an antelope before the first of the shooters to give me a shot; I was going to take that opportunity.
One shooter came to the water for a brief ‘moment’ and then walked off with the rest of the herd…out to what I thought was 50 yards….I shot, missed, and re-ranged with my Bushnell rangefinder…55 yards. I admit it happened right away on day one and they had me rattled more than I anticipated they would…it was GREAT!
However…‘best miss ever’ because they did not booger off…they walked away, fed and bedded around me for the next 2.5 hours before heading to the ‘big pond’. Then several hours before dark….they became coming back but not to water and right before dark an absolute giant walked around me at 75-100 yards…almost a complete circle but no shot.
I had animals around me (within 100-200 yards) when I was picked up…but staying in the blind until the ranger was at the door!
The following day…just as they did on day 1…7 a.m. they came over the hill but this time marching right to the water…1 good buck and the giant…the good buck came in first and presented a 40 yard shot…this is where I learned how ‘edgy’ these critters are as he ducked the arrow (I did literally shave his back). The buck jumped out another 20 yards…stared at the water for a minute…then marched right back in to 32 yards; this time I connected and he dropped in sight!
Following instructions and waiting for the guys I stayed in the blind till they did their drive by and they then allowed me to be part of the recovery!
Overall great hunt, great outfitter, and his guides are / were very personable.
The key was to mentally prepare for the hot box before the trip…knowing / asking questions, and understanding that this was going to be a mentally challenging hunt.
Key 2 was listening to the outfitter….getting out of the blind during the day (& walking around your water hole), changing the window configuration of the blind, etc. as a big no no…these animals are on edge, well aware of their surroundings, and they can see you for miles (not only due to their eyesight…but the terrain was wide open)…..
Because of Larry’s communication we all knew what to expect, where to tempur our expectations, and listening was key. I have been blessed to be on a couple dozen guided hunts over the years and Larry (& his crew) would definitely be in my top 3…since I am continuing a mule deer hunt with him…that rating could rise!