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The 2016 SD pronghorn antelope season was a tough one to say the least! The kids and I scouted many areas and turned up a few good bucks with a couple on the top of the hit list living in very hard to hunt terrain.
My family and I positioned a couple of blinds at a known antelope fence crossing and awaited the outcome. We say numerous critters cross at those locations and it seemed as if they only crossed there when we were not in the blind. Timing wasn’t right for the most part but I eventually was given an opportunity but it wasn’t of a buck I wanted. Nonetheless, the kids had a great time watching the many numerous bucks pass by the blind that day. It was a successful hunt for sure!
It all finally came together towards the end of my season as I was able to locate Mr. Flair for another try at a spot and stalk. He was harboring many does and the rut was definitely keeping him busy! I inched forward as the unknown harem was on the other side of a long sweeping ridge. I propped up the decoy as I moved closer. It took me nearly two hours to stalk this close to them while being in plain sight most of the time. As I crept forward the does caught movement of the decoy and held their alert posture. Mr. Flair gathered them up and moved them along. Another stalk and an hour later I was again within 100 yards of his harem. This time as they came into view he was nowhere to be seen. I knew he was preoccupied chasing other bucks off and I just hoped I finally was able to get between him and his does!
It worked. As the does intently stared at me from 94 yards they suddenly looked past me. Much to my surprise there was Mr. Flair approaching my backside luckily 45 degrees to my right! He must have chased a smaller buck off and came around the back to ambush the other “challenger!” I slowly moved the decoy to get a good angle at the irritated buck.
It seemed like a 10 minute standoff and stare-down. My legs were cramping and my palms were sweaty against my bow grip and release strap. I ranged him several times as he inched closer blowing challenge calls in my face. He wasn’t sold on my presentation as I am sure he could see something strange hiding behind his adversary.
He finally closed the distance inside 60 yards and he turned broadside as if to go back to his does but it was too late. I was solid, at full draw, waiting to release as my pin anchored behind his shoulder. In an instant the arrow zipped through his chest.
Unfortunately my family wasn’t with me on this hunt but that didn’t change the feelings of accomplishment and the time that I put into taking this great buck!