I have a really good antelope hunt coming up Aug. 6th. I was wondering if antelope can be hunted with decoys this early in the year. I will sit water holes if necessary, but was hoping to get mine doing spot and stalk or decoy. There are lots if antelope in a small hunt area. Any suggestions other than" sit a water hole" (got that option covered) are appreciated.
In my experience they can definitely be hunted early with decoys. ...just not successfully! My early decoy experience went like this: 1) spot buck, 2) drive around and park a mile away, 3) walk 3/4 mile, 4) belly crawl 1/4 mile, 5) pop decoy up at 180 yards away from buck (which looked like 50 yards from the truck), 6) watch buck run or walk away, 7) 1 mile walk of shame back to the truck, 8) repeat.
After a couple full days of this one guy I hunted with described the experience as similar to how he'd imagine it would feel if he put his balls on the kitchen counter and beat them with a spatula.
I will throw in an experience that I had for what it is worth. I was hunting antelope early and since it was still a long time until the rut I didn't bring my decoy along. Well, it turns out that I would have had a great chance to use it. I spotted 2 big antelope bucks both on the dead run. It was apparent that the one buck was chasing off the other buck. It is probably the furthest I have seen a buck run off another buck. I would guess he ran him off at least 3/4 of a mile. If I had a decoy, I would have been able to position myself between the dominant buck and the rest of the herd and I am pretty confident he would have come over to kick my trespassing butt. That was the last time I have left the decoy behind. Of course, I have not had anything happen like that since other than when they are actually rutting.
Watching this very closely. I have an antelope hunt in New Mexico August 4th and have the same question. I have a Montana decoy and was hoping I could deploy it the way scoot described (with different results of course lol).
What other tactics would guys recommend? I am really not excited to sit in a hot blind all day over water. Looks like it might be the best plan though.....
Once in a great while it works. That being said I spooked off MANY before this one ran off another buck and I snuck down on his back trail between he and his does. He came stomping in starring at my decoy and I was 20 yds. off to the side. He didn't even see it coming.
You have to pick and choose your stalks...if you see a buck tending a "harem" or chasing off a subordinate buck he is decoy-able. That said there are times when even solitary bucks will come, they're social and curious. The key is to get to within 100yds or less, and if possible be on the other side of his harem like a subordinate sneaking in to take one of his girls. I decoyed in all of these above, but the lower left, and in a state with a herd of less than 2000 animals.
It's about the most fun hunting you can have in my opinion, yea it's hard work...but there's enough "easy" out there.
P.S. They aren't "Antelope" they are Pronghorn ;?)
Here's a buck coming to a Flambeau/Mel Dutton silhouette. I passed as I was after the buck that was chasing out to the right(watch second video to see why)...
And here's another with my buddy killing that buck, also in the second pic above...
Scoot gets my vote.. Different ball game that early. last year, Sept & Rut was "just" starting. Buddy had the shoot thru decoy & it spooked a few. 1 held long enough & let him get 50 yds & he killed him.. 2 others killed at 39 & 44 yds "without" decoy.
Thanks John, and yes...he spun at the shot and the arrow hit him in the upper neck.
The thing about hunting them with a decoy is that you'll never know how fast they will come, or which side they'll approach. There's usually no time to range them, but you can range the bushes/yucca/etc around your set up and you should if you can. Brian did a good job holding off until he thought the time was "right", not sure I'd have done anything differently myself. Heat of moment.