Sponsored by: Dead Down Wind
Continued from Part 1
I got my bow out in front of me, pulled an arrow out of my quiver and started to rise up. Just as I did, I heard something behind me. I froze and intently started listening to try to figure out what it was. It was getting louder and louder and closer and closer. “Is that something running” I asked myself? I turned my head just in time to see a doe and fawn antelope almost run right over the top of me at 40 mph! I hit the ground and they blew right past me and right past Barry. He was jolted from his nap just as they went by. Startled and not knowing why they were running like wildfire, he jumped up and followed them to escape the unknown doom from whatever they were running from. He went about 250 yards and stopped.
I quickly popped up my decoy hoping to convince him that they were running from another antelope. When he could find nothing else moving on that flat ground he bought it and came flying back toward me. Great plan that worked perfect, but now what? I was belly down, my bow on the ground and had a lot to do to be able to get off a shot. I decided my best bet was to just be still and see what happened.
He came within 50 yards twice. Running hard toward the decoy to challenge the smaller buck but never took his eyes off of it, not even to look back and see what happened to the doe and fawn. After about 20 minutes of this, I decided I had to do something. I planned to rise up behind the decoy and get ready for a shot as he moved back from his next advance toward it. I waited too long though, because he made one more ‘charge’ at the decoy and then turned around and headed off. We never saw Barry again on that hunt. I walked the two miles to where Rob was, laughing all the way.
Over the first two days we had a number of laugh moments. We decoyed, stalked, chased and otherwise bothered every buck we could find. I wanted Rob to have the opportunity to try all of the different methods of hunting antelope with a bow on this hunt. He surely received a proper archery antelope baptism! However, with the third day dawning and the halfway point of the hunt quickly approaching, it was time to get down to the business of filling those tags. We headed off to a different part of the unit and toward a true blessing that we had no idea was coming.
As we approached a portion of the lower part of the unit where I had seen numerous bucks while scouting, I pulled out the BLM Land Status map. This area had some private lands mixed into it and I wanted to make sure we were only on public lands. We found a road that had a couple of large water holes shown on the map and headed down it. After bouncing around on the road for about an hour not seeing much, we decided to go back to the main road and see what else we could find.
As we approached the intersection of this road and the main road, an older gentleman pulled up and got out of his vehicle. I pulled up and jumped out to say “howdy” and see what we could do for him. He informed me that the road we had just been on was a private road and we needed to stay off of it. Shocked, I apologized and told him that I must have read the map wrong. “Map”, he said? “You have a map”? I pulled out the BLM map and showed it to him, pointing out the road we had just been on. He looked at it for a minute and realized that I had not read the map wrong, the map was color coded wrong. A quick cell phone call to the BLM office confirmed that the land was private and the map was incorrect.
Again, I apologized for our error. He quickly apologized as well and thanked us for making the effort to make sure we stayed on public lands. After we introduced ourselves, he offered to allow us to hunt anywhere on his private land that we wanted to reward our ethical efforts! With much appreciation, we accepted and asked him where we could find a few water holes where we could set up some ground blinds. He pointed to a road on the map and told us where to go. After another big “Thank You”, we were off. It was time to get down to business.
We located three stock tanks that were close together and decided this would be the place. Quickly and as quietly as possible, we placed ground blinds on the two eastern tanks which had the greatest amount of tracks around them. Once placed, we drove back down the road about a mile and parked in an arroyo. After waiting about an hour, we snuck up the arroyo on foot for an afternoon of sitting in the blinds.
We were back to the tanks and in the blinds about 2:30 PM. Now remember, this was early August in New Mexico. Within 30 minutes I was far hotter than I have ever been in my wife Yolanda’s sauna and was really beginning to wonder if this blind thing was a good idea! If it was that hot in the blind, I was skeptical that any antelope would even be moving around. No way would any critter in its right mind be out in this heat. About that time I noticed the tips of some black horns coming my way on the hill above the blind. It was a nice 15” buck. I grabbed my bow and got set up. Could this really happen this fast? Uh, remember that Murphy guy?
The blind I was in was a new style and different from every other blind I had ever used. I honestly believe this one was actually made for someone about 5 feet tall to shoot out of. I realized the blind was not tall enough for me to shoot from my chair, or from my knees if I knelt down. I was going to have to shoot sitting on the ground. No problem, I practice those shots too.
The buck made his way down to the water and turned to walk to the east end of the tank. He was 35 yards away and moving slowly. I drew, gapped him and hit the release. I quickly learned that I was too short to shoot out of the blind seated as well! With a loud ‘thump’ my arrow ripped right through the lower zipper on the window, ricocheting straight up, hitting the bank about 20 yards above the buck. He turned to look at the arrow where it hit, then turned back to look at the blind. Remember that curiosity thing? He did not bolt off, but started walking toward the blind and that sound he had just heard.
I pulled another arrow out and nocked it. He was out of my open shooting window so if I was going to get another shot I was going to have to do some moving and make some noise. I decided just to wait. He walked within 10 yards of the blind, turned and headed over to Rob’s tank.
I had a number of smaller bucks come into the water hole between that time and sunset and a number of larger bucks moving around that did not come in to water. Maybe tomorrow would be the day. As Rob and I made the walk back to the vehicle, he told me he had no shooters in range but a number of good bucks walking all around (the buck I had shot at was over 100 yards away from him when he saw him). We both agreed that day four of the hunt would be renamed, from Tuesday to “Twos-day” and we would fill both tags the next day!
“Twos-day” morning found us in the blinds at daybreak with our HECS STEALTHSCREEN garments and Dead Down Wind on. Antelope in this country don’t start hitting water holes real early, so I was lounged out in the ‘midget-blind’ resting peacefully and enjoying the sub-100 degree temps. I knew full well that it would not take that sun long to turn the blind into a convection oven.
A coyote barked at the blind from about 45 yards, making sure to keep himself hid where I could not get a clear shot at him. Besides that, all was quiet until 10:00 AM. Once the temperature started climbing, the water holes became the featured destination.
Through the day, I had a few bucks come in groups, all young and small. The biggest buck I had seen the day before started coming in with a group of does later in the afternoon (he was the only buck we saw with does). They were coming right down the arroyo and I was getting ready to get to work. Just as he was about to step out where I would be able to get a shot at him, another buck came up behind him. The big buck whirled around and chased the smaller buck off. By the time he got back, the does were already headed up the hill away from the water. You could tell he really wanted to come in for a drink by his body movements, but his animal instincts convinced him to pass up his watering opportunity to get right back in with them does and protect his harem.
As they disappeared out of sight to the south I noticed the tips of two more sets of horns coming my way from the east. One smaller buck and one that looked promising. They were still about 150 yards off, but I started getting in position. As I got set I heard footsteps. Was I going crazy? Could this buck be coming up the trail to my blind? As I started to turn to look and see what was happening, the zipper on the door of my blind started unzipping as Rob opened the door and was trying to crawl in. In a very excited voice, he told me he had just shot an antelope. I was trying to tell him to stop opening the door and be quiet, but his excitement was keeping his ears from working.
My buck was almost to the water and I was running out of time. Once Rob figured out what was happening, he stopped talking. He laid down half in and half out of my blind. I can only imagine what that whole scenario would have looked like if someone had pulled up.
The two bucks in front of me had come right into my shooting window and stopped to drink. I waited until they were done and drew. As they turned to walk off I let my arrow fly. A loud ‘thwack’ let us know that my arrow had found its mark. “Twos-day” was almost complete! As I looked back at Rob lying on the ground, the upper half of his body inside the blind and knowing the rest of him was “sticking out” the other side, I busted out laughing.
No way should I have ever got a shot at that goat. The talking combined with the noise and all of the other commotion. The Dynamic Duo of HECS and Dead down Wind had proven itself once again; the noise, the commotion, the zipper, all completely offset because the goats sixth sense was completely offset by the HECS, and their sense of smell stopped with the Dead Down Wind products!
We trailed Rob’s buck up first. It had been about a half hour since he had shot his. The tracking job was fairly simple on both and all we had left to do was go get the vehicle and get them cleaned up. I laughed all of the way back to the truck. I really don’t think I will ever be able to forget Rob being zipped up in that door. Oh how the Good Lord provides for us. Without a lot of Divine intervention there is no way that all could have happened the way it did and turn out successful!
God Bless each of you in your outdoor endeavors. May He keep your arrows flying straight and your freezers full!
For complete Scent Control always depend on: Dead Down Wind
For the Evolution of concealment always wear: HECS STEALTHSCREEN