It’s finally here! Rifle Antelope and Pheasant season in Montana starts Saturday October 7th.
Here are some tips on how to hunt Antelope:
Be warned, irrespective of the level of accuracy, standard, accessibility, or the flat shooting rifle you use, antelope may give you a tough time in employing your best skills. Hunting them may be difficult especially when you consider the habitat they live in. Antelope love to take cover under vegetation growth and if the hunter even makes his presence felt, they will soon disappear in the underbrush. However, most of the antelope species usually prefer open surroundings since their speed is one aspect that they can always capitalize on. Their jumping skills are incredible and necessary to escape from predators. Let’s take a look at the various ways for hunting these speed goats and what could increase your chances of bagging a trophy pronghorn.
The most important aspect followed by many hunters is to scout the hunting ground before the hunting season begins. This helps the hunter gauge the concentrations of the antelope population, observe their escape routes, document suspicious behavior, and evaluate the possible trophies to hold out for. High-quality binoculars and spotting scopes are vitally essential for this process. Both hunting optics allow hunters to scrutinize and effectually assess the movements of the animal from afar while judging its trophy quality.
While high-quality binos are used for general scouting, using a spotting scope comes into play especially when you locate your prospective trophy. In case of mirages while hunting antelope, you could get a better view from a moderate power spotting scope in comparison to high powered ones.
Rifle and Cartridge Selection for Antelope Hunting
When it comes dropping the buck, rifles like the .25/06, .243 or even the 6mm with bullets weighing 90 to 100 grains make good choices. Then there are other great cartridges such as the .257 Weatherby, and the .270 Winchester with 110-grain bullets. You should be comfortable with long shots out to 300+ yards when hunting antelope.
Every hunting technique is best adapted to the corresponding season. While a hunter with a flat shooting rifle could close enough at 250 yards, bowhunters need a good shot at the antelope from 20 – 40 yards. The same setup for deer will give you enough K.E. to successfully harvest antelope. In most cases, muzzleloader and pistol hunters have to be within bowhunting range. These and many other limitations tend to have a bearing on the kind of hunting technique that is chosen to pursue antelope.
If you are bowhunting, consider the option of hunting in blinds by water holes, it might be the best opportunity you will have. Constructing blinds near the water holes can be very productive to the hunter. These blinds should be constructed using weeds and other natural materials that you would find near the water hole. It is always best to construct a large blind so that you can be comfortable in that area since you might have to wait for the antelope for hours.
Antelope are very curious animals and when they come across any object that’s new to them, they are bound to investigate it. You can actually wave a white handkerchief to lure the animal closer to you so that you can get a perfect shot. Whenever the hunter spots antelope, they should plan a course for intercepting the animal.
Spot and Stalk Antelope Hunting
Camouflage clothing is a must for the spot and stalk hunter. However, make sure the proposed hunting ground legitimizes the use of the particular clothing. The clothing should to blend together with the surrounding terrain to bring about a much more realistic feel. For instance, camouflage clothing should blend with the variant hues of the fall-cured grasses if you are venturing into the grasslands. On the other hand, sage colored camo is comparatively more effective in high deserts. Make sure your camo breaks up your shape. Examples are ASAT and Predator camo.
If you are hunting antelope by the spot and stalk technique, hunters can approach the antelope at a much shorter distance if you have a non-human contour and are crouched low. Use scrub and brush to for cover. In addition, the hunter can also angle the approach to increase your odds at a successful stalk. If at all the hunter is spotted by the antelope, remaining still would be the best option. This usually occurs when the antelope senses some movement in close proximity and scans the area for any sign of danger. You can also scoot along in a sitting position, and take advantage of the possible cover. You could opt for a low crawl, but watch out for cactus and rattlesnakes. Dyed knee and elbow pads can prove to be very helpful under these conditions. You can also use gloves used by football linemen for keeping cactus spines out of your hands.
Here are a few tips for the various techniques for antelope hunting
- Use saddles, holes, escape routes or fence crossings to sit.
- Bow-hunters can use brush blinds or pits.
- Rifle hunters can use a tower or windmill for increasing their ability to spot the antelope in broken cover.
- You can use silhouette and full-bodied decoys for drawing the bucks within shooting range or attracting them to a particular area.
- Using hunting calls could be very beneficial to attract the antelope so that you can prepare yourself for the perfect shot. By the end of August, you will find that the bucks tend to produce sounds that are challenging in nature. Therefore, calling during this period could serve as the best opportunity that a hunter could have asked for.
- When it comes to using scents in order to make the antelopes curious, it is a good idea to apply some deer urine to get their attention.