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Great Basin Archery Pronhorn, Part I

3359 Views 31 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  Al Hansen
The nice thing about taking three weeks to get your goat is you get oodles of pics along the way. These, along with the story, made the cut.

This P.E. was three months in the making. What started as an early July adventure in the deserts of western Utah, scouting and roving the endless expanses of the great basin, ended today with the notching of a limited entry archery Pronghorn tag.

I have always been fascinated by the American Pronghorn. The second fastest land mammal on earth, an ancient relic; last of an extinct race of super ungulates. So I patiently awaited six "unsuccessful" attempts at gaining a tag. Luck had it in 2007.

The deserts in July are devilishly hot and downright miserable; it amazes me that anything can survive in that inferno. But they do…

A Sego-lily, the Utah State Flower.

A family of Burrowing Owls peers from their lair.

August was spent constructing blinds and continually scouting for "the" buck. This area certainly wasn't a fabled Arizona trophy region…but I knew I could get a nice buck if I played my cards right.

As mid august rolled around I started to see these in the road. Pronghorn scrapes…a territorial challange. The Rut was beginning.

It also became starkly apparent that the desert was a dangerous place indeed.

To what doom did this buck fall?

I wonder how many Pronghorn fawns this little fella'd taken in the spring. Nature is cruel indeed...but she does round out the edges.

Another creature that evolved during the time of the Mega-ungulates; better watch your step. A Great Basin Rattlesnake.

But back to Pronghorn. The days were getting shorter and August 18th found me sitting in a blind looking for one of these, and wondering what kind of hand I'd be dealt.

The first weekend started off great. A hearty meal of bacon and eggs, toast and butter; cooked on a tailgate and served just right on a paper plate. We were in paradise.

But as afternoon rolled around things started to get ugly. Rain…an antelope hunters nemesis.

The rest of the weekend was wet and dreary, not like the squelching desert of before. The monsoon season had come. Things were about to get interesting, and a whole lot more difficult. Not only was I hunting over water, but I was also using archery equipment.

Every bend in the road held water, and as you can see, they were using it. Survivors indeed.

What's a archery Pronghorn hunter to do?

Part two forthcoming…

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Ah, the hell with it, here it is... :wink:

Part II

The upcoming weeks were rife with weird weather. Monsoonal moisture came about every 5 days, but that gave me enough time inbetween to get a few more days in the blind.

When we hit the dirt roads I knew we were back in business. Their oasis had vanished and mine had returned.

A little toke on the peace pipe before hand helped us get further into the mood. Tobacco only of course…

And then back to the blind, this time overlooking a different water source.

My View.

And Mr. Pronghorns' view.

Its been said by a few that archery hunting Pronghorn is a waiting game, and that patience is a virtue…well I must not have got the memo. After a few puffs on the 'ol peace pipe and a cup of Joe I could hard hold still…let alone sit in a blind for 12 hours.

But alas, I learned to pass the time. A classic.

And I'd get up to stretch my legs when the coast was clear. Walk around the desert with your eyes set on "small" and you'd be surprised what you'll find.

To the victor go the spoils. A Black Widow spider devours an unlikely adversary. I would have loved to see the battle.

Sometimes when you look small you can find something big. This black hornet was about the size of my pinky finger

I was able to take my head out of the clouds long enough to remember I was hunting Pronghorn. But then I decided the clouds were better.

Apparently this spot was unlucky for another archer. I hope they eventually made the shot.

Bucks like these came and went, but I held out for something bigger. In a few years this little speed demon will likely posses quite the head dress. Patience indeed.

Here a small herd of bachelor's do what they were born to do. Run.

Back in the blind your mind starts to wander. Or wonder. Hu?

Then the damned'est thing happened. I peered out of my blind when lo-and-behold a buck Pronghorn approached. The moment had come.

In characteristic fashion, time seemed to stop. The buck quickly approached, parched from tending does and weathering the rut; he started to drink. He was quartering towards me, not an ideal shot. I'd have to put the broad head a little into the front shoulder muscle to hit his vitals.

I took my time, concentrated on my breathing (couldn't do anything about the furious thumping of my heart though) and let the custom arrow fly.

And it flew true.

The approach.

The arrow angled as it should and pierced the right lung. He ended his journey, as did I, a mere fifty-three yards from the blind.

Archery truly is an amazing activity. Here a custom arrow, crafted with the help of good friends, lies atop the pelage of an American Pronghorn. Its job completed, its life also ended.

And the fixed blade broadhead met its match at the wits of a Pronghorns chest. Bloodied and torn, waxed and broken, a fitting and beautiful ending to such a fine tool.

With the hunt now over and the trials and tribulations now just memories, it gives me time to reflect. The journey is over, and for that I am both gratified and poignant. But when I reminisce of the time well spent in nature's warm and violent care, of the time with friends and family, and of the beautiful creature itself, the American Pronghorn, I can't help but smile. I hope you agree.

Here is to many more happy hunts for you and yours, I hope you'all enjoyed the trip.

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Congratulations. Great story and awesome pics.
That was a dandy play by play with photo's. Loved it and good job.
Nice job Zim! Way to stick it out 'til the end!

Fantastic hunt Mr. Zim. great story and photos, and it was very enjoyable to go along with you. whats next???
Nice job Zim. Thats a nice Pronghorn you got yourself there.... congrats.
zim great story it made me feel like i was there. great pic. by the way nice goat to.
Nice job zim loved it. But I think that picure of the snake is actually a western diamond back.

J/k. Thought you would get a kick out of that after being gone so long. *()*
nice to see you tag a lope, zim great pictures
Great story top to bottom Caleb. Was I there with you? Sure felt like it.

*()* *()* *()* *()* *()* :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
awsome job on both the story andthe hunt itself. kind of felt like i was on the hunt myself.
Now that was quite the adventure. Thanks for sharing.
Nice goat, I still am a little confused about the "peace pipe"??? :shock:
north slope said:
Nice goat, I still am a little confused about the "peace pipe"??? :shock:
No kiddin, I need to hunt with Zim!
Very cool story, and photos.

And congrats on a fine Speedgoat.
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