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"Jeffrey's Smokepole Antelope"
Photo provided by: Jeffrey Ginther

Jeffrey Ginther writes, "The short story on the Antelope is this; I applied for the Arizona tag for 9 years until getting drawn this year. I knew the general area I wanted to hunt after visiting the unit many times with work and other hunting trips over the past years. I traveled to the area 3 days in advance to scout out possible bucks to pursue. I found 4 bucks early on that I felt would be nice trophies for a first time antelope, 2 stayed together, 1 grazed by himself and the last one had 7 does with him. All feed in the same large prairie area throughout the day with the dominate buck fending off the others as needed.

I was told that antelope are like whitetail deer and that you can pattern their feeding habits, this ended up the case as I watched them religiously. I stayed with these bucks for 2 days watching them from daylight to dark except lunch and learned were the best place to set up might be. There was a fence line that ran through the prairie area that seemed to be a common meeting point multiple times throughout the day by all the bucks.

On opening morning in the dark, I slipped into a lone juniper tree some 300 yards from the tree line in the middle on the prairie field and laid wait for what I hoped would be an early opportunity before any other hunting pressure would begin. I did however plan to stay for the long haul, after watching the bucks for 2 solid days I was confident some time during the day they would come within range if, I would just use the same level of patience as I had while scouting.

Some 10 min. after the sun came up 2 bucks ran past me, went under the fence and began to feed about 280 yards away. The smaller of the two was full of energy that morning and randomly kept running around the pasture eventually crossing back on my side of the fence and behind me. It didn't take long, with his keen eye sight; he busted me and ran off. Much to my amazement the other buck paid no attention to this and continued to graze.

For the next hour I watched the buck in front of me feed slowly in my direction one yard at a time. When the buck reached the fence line, he began to graze down it towards me. When he reached a point that I felt he was not going to get any closer, I took my shot. The buck jumped forward, ran 15 yards, turned and came under the fence towards me. While waiting for the smoke to clear and not sure if I had hit him with a clean shot based on his body language, I began to reload. As I reloaded he just stood there looking in my direction and as I prepared to shoot him again, he finally fell to the ground and expired.

I don't have a score on him yet, he is 15 inches tall, the shot was 118 yards and the hunt was over by 6:45 in the morning. I used a 50 cal. CVA Optima Pro black powder rifle with a 245 grain bullet. He was taken in Unit 8 on 7 Sept. 07. As short as the actual hunting day was, the wait was well worth it."

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