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The hardest shot corrected to bring down Wyoming antelope

By BOB HANNA Published: December 6, 2012 5:00 AM

This is a story submitted by Bob Hanna of Millersburg about a recent antelope hunt he took with his wife in Wyoming.

I met John Geiman of G-man Outdoor Adventures a couple years ago at our Northern Ohio Safari Club International Banquet in Akron. He had come from Rapid City, S.D., to advertise his outfitting business and had donated an antelope hunt in Wyoming to be auctioned at our club dinner. I was the highest bidder and made plans to go on Oct. 4-6 with my wife, Taryn, who came along to video and take pictures.

Antelope are normally plentiful in most western states, but we learned that a hard winter kill in 2010 had reduced the amount of tags allocated, and we were actually lucky to have drawn on our first try. An article I read said that although antelope numbers were down, the trophy quality was up.

G-man's Mallo Camp is located on the west edge of the Black Hills National Forest just north of Newcastle, Wyo. Since this is an area I'd heard so much about, we decided to make this a sightseeing/hunt vacation. Limited on time, we flew from Columbus to Rapid City and rented an SUV to drive to camp. Our lodge was a ranch-style motel in the mountains at about 6,300 feet, which was used mostly for hunters during the winter months.

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After checking in and sighting my rifle, we met Todd Weig, our guide, and had dinner with the other hunters and guides.

The next morning it was evident that the weather had changed, as a strong cold front moved in and had changed the patterns of the antelope. We were hunting Unit 7 just west of Newcastle, a 42,000-acre cattle range, but also had a 200-acre irrigated alfalfa field in it, which really attracted the antelope and deer. Because of the cold wind, there were only a few bucks and does in the field, which meant they were tucked in under the ridge lines for cover.

We crossed several

ridges, glassing as we went, and found a few "sentinel" antelope. For protection, a herd of antelope will have one lone "sentinel" to stand guard and watch for predators (coyotes, mountain lions, humans). The rest will stay in low cover.

By late morning, we had seen some potential shooters, and as we hiked to the edge of one draw, we saw a small herd bedded down with a couple bucks, including a real nice one. He was faced away from us, which gave me a chance to slide to an edging to glass him better and set up for a shot. I settled my 7mm Remington Mag against a rock and spread out sniper style waiting for him to stand up. We judged him at 200-plus yards, as we had left our rangefinder in the truck, but at a steep 40-degree down angle.

For all you shooters, whether it be rifle, bow, or shotgun, you know how deceptive this shot can be. Even with practice, it is one of the hardest shots to calculate, given angle, distance, bullet/arrow weight, then add in thermal and wind speed. Most often the shot will go high on downhill and uphill shots. Until recently, with the creation of compensating rangefinders and scopes, it is/was a shot a lot of us miss.

And that is exactly what happened. As the antelope stood up, my first shot sailed high. Not knowing where we were, he and his friends bailed to the right, around the end of the ridge finger, and we hustled around our high point to intercept them on the other side. As they appeared, I realized I had no spot or time to set up in any other position than standing freehand. As he cleared the ridge, I didn't make the same mistake twice, as I circled the buck with the scope, stopping 4-inches below the chest and squeezed the trigger. Immediately the buck hunched, took three steps and flopped.

As we approached the buck, we realized it was the perfect angled heart shot.

Over the next few days, we enjoyed our "tourist" part of the trip, as we visited Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Mountain, Custer's Park and Devil's Tower. Even though short, it was one of our best trips.

I encourage all sportsmen/women to support our conservation organizations to protect our 2nd amendment rights. The NRA, SCI, and numerous other organizations are constantly battling to keep our freedoms intact. These organizations have purchased hundreds of thousands of acres to preserve them for us and future generations to come.

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