Today (August 6th) was the first morning of my 2011 pronghorn hunt, so at 5:00AM I loaded up my best hunting buddy - my 7 year old son Connor - and we took a short 30 minute drive from our house to some State land east of Raton, NM.
After making a quick stop to get a McMuffin for my son, and topping off the fuel tank in my pickup in town, we made it to our favorite little chunk of State land by 6:00AM.
We unloaded from the pickup and started walking through the piñon and juniper, carefully minding our footsteps on the volcanic rocks.
While I was enjoying watching my son slip softly through the mix of piñon and rocks, the morning sun had broke through the cloud cover and I spotted six pronghorn feeding on the north slope of a hillside about 200 yards south of us. My son took a quick peek through my binoculars and his smile confirmed what I could already see: all six pronghorn feeding down the slope were bucks.
Having hunted this same spot for many years, I decided to try and get us to a little outcrop of rocks and piñon in front of where I hoped the bucks might travel - feeding down from the piñon to the shortgrass prairie.
We quickly started to make our way to that outcrop, and as I stepped out from behind a fat juniper, I saw the white rump of a lone buck feeding on grass less than 25 yards from me. In my haste to get to that outcrop and ambush the six bucks that had my heart starting to beat a little more heavily, I had not seen this buck feeding in the draw below us.
I motioned to Connor to stop and I mouthed the words "there's a buck" in the direction my finger was hurriedly pointing. Connor stopped where he stood and flashed me a huge smile. I started to sneak around the other side of the juniper, and as I peeked around I saw the buck was now standing broadside and looking up at me.
In retrospect, I think that because this was the first day of the archery hunt here, perhaps that is why the buck just dismissed me and put his head back down to feed.
I took one large step to the side, came to full draw, and watched my cedar arrow slip into the buck right on his left shoulder. The buck took off running down the grassy draw and from my vantage point I watched him disappear behind some juniper.
It was my son Connor who first saw the buck lying on its side, not 50 yards from where he took his last bite of grass.
This was my first pronghorn that I have ever taken with a longbow. I bought a Kohannah Fury here on TradGang a few years ago, and used the advice gathered here to back my Fury with diamondback skins. The fletched cedar shafts came from another fine TragGang member in the classifieds; come to think of it, the old green Bear Razorheads, my Kanati quiver, and the fanny pack resting above my rump all came from outstanding TradGang and TGMM members... So thanks to YOU guys/gals for helping outfit me for success.
Here are a few more moments from my hunt that I'd like to share with you:
In pronghorn country, expect a bovine audience to gather...
An old Razorhead still makes a lethal wound...
Over my right shoulder is the big juniper where the buck was feeding...
-------------------- TGMM Family of the Bow
"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it." - Thucydides Posts: 614 | From: Raton, NM | Registered: Dec 2007
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