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On range oryx with archery tackle?
Day dreaming while looking over my last draw applications. This got me thinking.
Have any of you killed an oryx on the missile range with a bow? Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but most of the stuff that has came up is private land oryx. Im sure people have done it, but I haven't seen anything on it.
Lot of naysayers everywhere saying it's not doable because of the open space, amount of roads, and other hunters going by. I imagine slider sights extending range have added to more people attempting it?
It can be done because it has been done. If you are committed to doing it, go for it. It helps some that they now, last I knew had orientation on Friday, which could give you an extra 3/4 of a day to get it done. I had a depredation tag on the Jornado area where I got close enough for a bow shot but I didn't have a bow. I didn't think they would allow a bow on that hunt. Live and learn.
In my experience, the Rhodes Canyon area has more cover and would be my first choice if I were to give it a try. I've been on enough hunts on the range to easily expect to shoot one with a rifle on the last 1/2 day after giving it 2 full days with my bow.
I shot my RC oryx at 80 yards (rifle) and I think I could’ve got closer. Doable, sure, but the biggest limiting factor is that the hunt is just 2 days. We lost one day due to high winds and weather too. That makes for a tough bowhunt, but definitely not impossible.
I hunted Rhodes Canyon the year they first started allowing archery for the first two days of the hunt. Several of us tried, but I don't think anyone got it done the first year. I came to full draw once on one at 36 yards, but didn't get the shot off before it took off. Regardless, it's a fun hunt and the meat is fantastic.
As mentioned there are only a couple days to hunt a species that has eyes, ears, and nose as good as bighorn sheep or possibly better! A lot of the terrain is flat and open but there are some areas with thick mesquite or hilly where you may get lucky. From my 2 experiences on range hunts is that it was tough even with a rifle. It sure would be nice if there were more days available but it obviously doesn't work that way. Those once in a lifetime tags are super expensive for nonres and also tough to draw. If it doesn't matter to you if you go home eating tag soup.....go for it but I know what I would do if I had a tag! Depending upon the weather and tag you may be able to be a little picky with a rifle but I don't think I would pass any oryx up within bow range if hunting exclusively with bow. If the weather is cold and windy you may hardly see an oryx because they are hidden in small draws and tall, thick brush. They blend in very well. They are gorgeous animals and make amazing mounts. It's also THE best big game meat I have ever eaten!
Personally it could be done...but you could flip a coin 50 times and get heads every time but not likely. I think it would be a foolish waste of a really rare once in a lifetime tag
My brother & I hunted their in 2001 or 02. We both got an Oryx w/ the rifle. My observation was that the animals were super - jumpy & often ran upon seeing anyone within 150 yards or so, possibly from being hunted or maybe that’s just their nature. The terrain is not what you’d call “bow hunter - friendly”; ie; it’s wide - open desert. The limited time frame definitely doesn’t help, either. Can it be done with a bow?? Well as they say “there’s always a chance......” but the odds are definitely not in the archers favor. That being said we had an absolutely awesome time. The animals make a gorgeous mount, the desert was beautiful, LEO people were super - professional, & the meat is delicious. Good luck & give it a shot. You can always switch over to the rifle on the 2nd day if need be.
The main limiting factor is the short duration. Heck guys kill pronghorn with bow every year spot & stalk. Oryx are not much different. But few guys kill pronghorn with a bow spot and stalk in only 2 days...
The other reality is FEW people are dedicated enough for "bow or nothing" on a once-in-a-lifetime relatively expensive hunt. I've been on-range with 2 hunters that wanted to "try" bow. Both of them tried bow-only on day one, passed up easy rifle shots but couldn't get within range with bow, and then ended up shooting much smaller animals with rifle on day two. Even that sort of method is not for everyone. Many wouldn't be able to pass a 34" bull on day one that they could easily kill with rifle, gambling they might end up settling for 23" cow on day 2 with rifle...
NO, don't do it because there are too many people running around in vehicles spooking them. I did the rhodes canyon hunt a few years ago. I saw don't waste your time and/or tag because it is a once in a lifetime tag. Not all rifle hunters kill so keep that in mind as well.
So I have hunted Rhodes Canyon twice. First time about 15 years ago. I killed a 39 3/4 cow mid day of the first day. Wonderful hunt with lots of animals. Fast forward to Nov 3 2020. I drew a broke horn tag on Rhodes Canyon . Not near the amount of animals were seen. I had 1 shot on a nice broke bull at 575 yards with a really nice crosswind. I declined trying a shot like that on a very tough animal to kill. That was my only actual shot opportunity. The animals very spooky due to the wind and by now they have been hunted a lot. We saw several in the no hunting areas that just stood there and watched you drive by. Pretty sure they have learned to read by now. This was my 5 th oryx tag. I have hunted Rhodes twice and the Jornado and MacGregor and once off range.
If it is a once in a lifetime tag, how are some people hunting more than once?
Medicineman, it's not o-i-l...
One factor not mentioned is the kill zone is much further forward and smaller on African game than N American game. Even though these “Gemsbok” are in New Mexico and called “Oryx” it’s the same animal, the point is still valid and will make a long range archery shot even more difficult since your placement has to be precise.
The off range hunt cost about the same and you can bowhunt that one in fact I received some info a while back on it.I saw a couple during my gun hunt several years ago.My hunt I was 2nd one done first day,weekend before was my daughters and it was tough hunting with lots of walking and glassing and snakes
Done off range public land...you better be ready to stare at some really ugly country for a week without seeing anything and then if you happen to see anything and yes they are super spooky and smart your sure gonna wish you had a rifle for any chance
Medicinemann, only some of the hunts are once in a lifetime. Broken horn hunts, youth hunts, security badge hunts, etc are all hard to draw, but not limited to once in a lifetime. I know folks that have had 6 or 7 on range hunts as a result. I myself have hunted Rhodes Canyon twice. I drew the once in a lifetime tag the first time I applied at age 13. NMDGF then introduced youth hunts, and I was able to draw a youth tag just before I aged out. Since then I've tried unsuccessfully for several decades to draw off range, broken horn, and security badge hunts. It's a fun hunt; I'm in the lottery again this year for a broken horn hunt.