Do like what has already been said, use your binos a lot and be mobile. Don't waste time doing stock after stock, only focus on what appears to be doable. By this time a few hunts have already taken place, so keep that in mind.
After the first day of hunting the oryx may be impossible to find along roads. I would get up high and glass roadless draws. The oryx also disappear into the draws and tall mesquite when it's windy (which can happen a lot in that country!). Take advantage of every minute in the day because those hunts are short and over before you know it! If you run into any game wardens make sure to stop and talk to them...they likely will help point you in a good direction. Abide by all the rules and regs.....they are pretty touchy with that stuff. Have a great time!
monster muleys compasswest (12 posts) Click to EMail compasswest Mar-16-08, 09:20 PM (MST)
"oryx help for the few that are lucky"
Did this last year hope it helps again!
Since there were so many posts on the oryx hunts I thought I would try my best at offering a hand.
You need to take a deep breath and remember that the stress of the hunt for you is going to be almost unmanageable for that night before and even worse once you are on the base. Here is how it all works:
You’ll want to arrive the day before in time to drive out and find the gate that you need to check into. SR and SM are easy to find but the RC hunt gate was a little hard to find the first time. Once you have the location down head back to the hotel and check for, NO BEER in coolers, NO camera, be sure you have the permit and your ID in a folder along with your current registration and proof of insurance for auto and all in the folder, this is what they are going to check at the gate. You can stash a camera in the bushes in the AM outside of the main gate or I leave it with a taxidermist outside the gate. There will be taxidermists and butchers at most hunts outside the main gate. For photos SR has great areas jut out the gate to shoot photos, RC is more limited.
Lets say that the meeting time is 5am at the gate, don’t worry about getting to the gate at 4am, your just going to get in the base and wait for 1.5-2 hours as they check everyone into the gate, but you will get a better parking spot! (more on parking in a bit) Arrive on time and wait in the long line of cars waiting to access the base. Once on the base and after EVERYONE is in they will lock the gate and they have a meeting. The meeting will address where you can NOT go and where you can, be sure you understand the areas that you are NOT allowed to hunt! Meeting will run 20-30min then you are off to the races for the hunt. Don’t stress the closed areas too much they really mark the areas well on the main roads. Plus game and fish officers will be ALL OVER the base for the hunt to help!
PARKING remember when you park to get into a spot that you can drive out of easy, they will end the meeting and NO BS people will RUN to the cars and take off to race to the spot they want to hunt. Its un-nerving to say the least, you heart will be in your throat, you’ll feel your pulse pounding into your ears you’ll feel like a 15 year old on the first deer hunt with your Dad again, TAKE A DEEP BREATH and settle down. Your going to get one, if you are calm and remember what I have written!!!!
GETTING TO HUNTING AREAS. Drive safe and smart and you’ll have a great hunt. There are a ton of animals on SR and RC, SM has less animals but is still a great hunt. Harvest rates are 80-87% for the base and if you are willing to walk and glass you’ll be 100% (more on hunting later). Study maps and pick an area based on gut feeling or info from MM or other sites and dive to that area. It will be light out as you leave the meeting so keep an eye out you might shoot one 100 yds from the starting point…..
HOW TO HUNT: GLASS GLASS AND MORE GLASS, I cant tell you how important GOOD optics are going to be on the hunt. 10x42 at a minimum for the hunt you need to glass big areas and judge them. I will talk more about judging later in this post. They are not easy to see at first, just remember to look for white and black in the fields, the areas are open grass to thick brush, first thing I do is find a high spot to glass pull over park and start looking. Remember they will run in groups from 3-100 you just never know. Once you find a group start to look for bigger body’s first then start to look over the horns. The adults and sub-adults will run with like age groups for the most part, the babys are brown and black with little white, they bread all year so you’ll likely see a few in the cow groups, this will help you pick out the young animals as well as the cow groups. Bigger bulls will be in the areas but not always with the pack, I have shot 4 monster bulls that were bedded down all day all along in the middle of nothing….. Hunt like you would Antelope! 90% of people are LAZY the other 5% will walk a little giving you all the great animals that you need to walk to if you are in the last 5% that is willing to WORK FOR IT, hunt like it’s a once in a lifetime hunt, because it IS!!!
WHERE TO HUNT: I am willing to share info about the where to hunt more in private email and phone calls. Took me years to learn where to hunt and how to judge these great animals and public forums and blogs are just not the place to talk about it 100% openly, but I am more then willing to attempt to offer the same quality of information I am putting in this post even if we are not going to guide you. This is a once in a lifetime hunt, it is also one of my personal favorite hunts I have ever been on in the US for a great animals!!! I want everyone to have a wonderful time and help you be a 100% harvest hunter for this special once in a lifetime hunt!!!
HOW TO JUDGE: The first oryx hunt I did was with a friend, I have guided elk and mule deer in NM for years so he asked more my help in judging and glassing. I did all the same that you are doing right now, hunting for all the info I could find on oryx and how to judge and pick the right animal. I was able to find limited info at best on judging them so I decided we would be OK and just look for a big one. Well all the stress and confusion affected us just like it will you, we found a big group about 30min into the hunt in a location a friend had told me to hunt. Of the 30 animals 3 were much bigger then the rest, we looked them over picked the biggest bull and shot it. 34” bull in a group of 30 other sub-adult animals, we were MORE then happy with the hunt but we did what so many people do, we rushed with the stress of a once in a lifetime hunt and all the worry about only 2 days to hunt. If you just half ass work at it you will harvest one, do you need a guide, not really but judging is the HARD part, since that hunt I have not harvested a cow under 38” or a bull under 36” including some 40” bulls and cows as well!! Take a deep breath and calm down your going to do fine and harvest a great animal!
BULLS: The mature bulls will polish there horns in the brush, so as a result they will tend to have shinny horns more so then the cows. Bulls tend to have less visible rings on the top of the horn and have rings that are more spaced out and bigger gaps, and like I already said the horns shine in the sun! The bases are going to be 2-5X bigger then a cow this is where you need to be looking. Some of my best bulls have been 36-37 but HUGE mass on the base. Body mass is the second thing to look for. If there are a bunch of animals in a group look for the largest body first THEN look at the horns. Check for polished horns first then at the bases, then compare over all length. This spring I had a client who had never seen an oryx in the field, and was really nervous about the hunt and only 2 days. About 2 hours into the day we glassed up a big group walking in the direction of a road, we drove to cut them off, parked and got out and hid in the bushes and waited. About 15min later they all walked into a big opening, I glassed them all over and told steve they were all immature I knew this because the bulls in the group all had dull horns. Dull horns does not always mean they are not adult (I have killed adult bulls with dull horns) but all the body sizes in the group were the same, cows and bulls allowing me to make a quick decision not to shoot a bull, so as I pull Steve back to the truck almost kicking and screaming about only 2 days to hunt a second truck showed up, they asked if we were going to shoot the animals we said no but I told them 5th from the front was the largest in the group but a cow about 34”, they asked if they could harvest a bull from the group, we said no problem they shot the biggest bull in the group that we were looking at, it was a great bull but 31.5”. Later that day we glassed up a small group of adults about a mile into a flat, stalked into 400yds glassed them for 45min to pick the right one, Steve choose to harvest a huge cow in the group because the animal had great LONG horns and just was a beautiful animal. That 45min got steve in a grove and we shot a 38 3/8” cow at 427yds with a 300 WSM. Remember look for the biggest body then- bases- horns (dull or polished) - over all length of horns, a 40” animal will have horns that almost reach the rump of the animal, but also remember cows for the most part have longer horns.
COWS: They have longer horns as a rule, and thin horns compared to bulls. Look for tight rings and dull horns compared to the bulls. Mature animals tend to run in groups, don’t let the biggest of the group fool you unless they are all adult animals!!!
We have killed 7 oryx in our household. Have been on many more than that both on range and off. If you shoot one in tight behind the shoulder, it will be a lung shot. We have killed several with .270 and 7mm calibers so don't worry, they are not the most tough North American game animal but are just like anything else - shoot them bad and they can go.
A little tidbit nobody else has said that when they are looking at you, they will swish their tail just before they run and they run in a straight line. They will not zig-zag like elk and deer do. This will help you in getting ahead of them if you need to.
When you shoot one, if it is in a group of them, it will break off from the others and go in a different direction.
What has been said about the rush to cars after the orientation is correct. Let everyone mad dash rush out and then leave. As you drive down the road, you will see people stopped on the side of the roads and that's fine.
Have been on Stallion more than once. PM if would like a few more in depth details and places to look first. I think I still have a map laying around someplace...