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Antelope hunt worth it on two fronts

Going to the Oklahoma Panhandle nets a buck, quality time with dad
BY JEFF PUCKETT, For The Oklahoman Modified: September 29, 2012 at 10:48 pm •  Published: September 29, 2012
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photo - Jeff Puckett of Norman poses with the antelope he killed earlier this month in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Last year, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation received 8,556 applications for the 315 antelope gun hunt permits that were available. Oklahoma allows restricted hunting of antelope with guns in Texas and Cimarron counties. Photo Provided
Jeff Puckett of Norman poses with the antelope he killed earlier this month in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Last year, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation received 8,556 applications for the 315 antelope gun hunt permits that were available. Oklahoma allows restricted hunting of antelope with guns in Texas and Cimarron counties. Photo Provided

I decided to pass on the buck but then began second guessing myself as soon as it was out of sight.

During the next three hours, several antelope came by for a drink, including a large group of does and the big buck I had seen earlier. They were so close I could hear them slurping.

As I watched the big buck, I kept asking myself how could I pass on him again? But as luck would have it, I was never presented a decent shot.

Soon after, the big buck left and two more small bucks appeared and chased two does around the blind for several minutes.

The biggest buck actually made a scrape in front of the blind at 55 yards. The antelope finally wandered off.

After seeing nothing for the next couple of hours, we decided to get out of the blind and walk over the ridge.

Once on top, we witnessed several antelope in the distance. With the temperature soaring, we decided to head in for lunch

On the ride in, I could not help but think what a great morning it had been. I had seen at least 20 antelope, at least six different bucks and had spent a great morning afield with my father.

The hunt for prairie goats: Day two

We returned to the blind later that evening. Although we saw several antelope, no bucks of any size came by. But we did see a great buck at a water hole ½-mile away.

Day two found my father and I back in the same blind an hour before daylight. As the sun came up, the wind shifted to the north and began to blow like only an Oklahoma wind can.

By 8 a.m., the temperature dropped several degrees. The dust was blowing so bad it made it difficult to keep our eyes open.

The antelope were not moving either, with the exception of three antelope in the distance.

About 8:30 a.m., we saw the first buck of the day but it wasn't a shooter. By 9 a.m., my dad nudged and excitedly said, “Right there.”

I looked in the direction he was pointing and there, not 200 yards away, was a dandy buck. I looked at him through my binoculars and it only took a few seconds to determine this buck was a stud.

The buck then suddenly trotted over to a large cactus and began raking it with his horns. By now, I was on the rifle and all I could see were his head and horns sticking up from above the cactus.

I was trying to concentrate on my breathing and holding the rifle steady, but the excitement was building and my heart was pounding. The buck finally began to walk away from the cactus.

I shot from 166 yards and the buck disappeared. My dad, always the wise guy, immediately quipped, “You missed.”

“No way,” I said, but I could not see the buck. Only when I stood up did I see the white belly and a black horn sticking up from the grass.

After pats on the back from my dad, we walked toward my once in a lifetime Oklahoma antelope buck.

As I held his horns for the first time, I felt grateful for the opportunity to hunt antelope with my dad, and more importantly, thankful that I live in a state where I can.