The alarm clock went off as I drove to the hunting grounds. Running on adrenaline in anticipation of the big hunt, I decided to eliminate areas and focus on the parcel of school property where I’d taken last year’s Pronghorn. With only a couple hours to hunt, speeding around the country side wouldn’t have been the best call. Plus, intel from a good buddy noted there was an abundance of critters on site.
Public land hunts aren’t always kind. As I slipped down the draw at first light, the Pronghorn fed a mere 250 yards away. If I had any other gun, that’d be an easy shot to make, but I love a challenge, so I carried a 300 BLK. This caliber is widely known as a fantastic round for wild hogs, but with today’s ammunition, it can easily handle Pronghorn, whitetail or even mule deer. Distance, however, is limited, and a close, well-placed shot is paramount.
A nice Pronghorn was within reach, but as I peeked over the mound of dirt I sat behind, two hunters were stalking from the east and two hunters closed in from the north. I was the closest gun to the group, but that didn’t matter as the four, orange-clad hunters gave chase. After ten minutes of what-the-hell is that walking towards us, the herd exploded south. I debated, albeit briefly, giving chase, but time was running out. That first, failed stalk was at 7:13 am MT. One hour left until I had to depart.
I hauled tail back to the Nissan Titan to get on another group of Pronghorns. It didn’t take long to find them. A small group fed in the wide open while I drove past, looking for an opportunity to bail out to give chase. For the life of me, I couldn’t get out of sight. However, it was a lucky day indeed because another buck violently chased a doe right toward the first group, which prompted a fight and chase to the other side of the hill. Perfect time for me to run.
As I crested the hill, five bucks gave chase to no less than fifteen does in the bottom below. I’d hit the mother lode. All I needed to do was stalk 550 yards of open ground. Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen—not with 18 sets of eyes tuned up just looking for a reason to truck it to the next unit. I decided to play the slow game with 45 minutes left on the hunt. It’s funny how at peace I was knowing I was going to eat tag soup. That is, until the chase led a great buck right into my lap.
I enjoyed watching the bucks chase the does and each other around, but one buck broke from the pack on the heels of a doe that didn’t want to be caught. I hit scramble mode since the Pronghorn closed rapidly to my spot. The rest was a blur. Thankfully, the moments were captured on the mounted scope. Otherwise, I would forget many details. I do remember the awe that came after, thinking about how fast it happened.