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Spot/Stalk in N.M. -Tips
Very fortunate to arranged a private ranch hunt in New Mexico this year with a few friends, to try something different.
Anyone have any great advice or tips on a spot and stalk hunt for these critters?
Other than the guy advising us to have the ability to shoot long range, I thought a predator decoy or hat may be useful.
Any tips or shared experiences would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance. It’s going to be a blast.
The first antelope I killed with a bow was spot and stalk. For five straight days I saw him bedded on a high point that overlooked my camp. Each day I tried to stalk him, but he'd inevitably bust me before I could get into range. Each time he busted me, he'd run off and do a wide circle. By the time I'd get back to camp he'd be back in the same spot watching me.
On my last day, he was back in his usual spot. This time I decided to try a different tactic. I walked straight at him, not attempting to hide myself at all. When he spooked, I ran to the exact spot where he was and sat down behind some tall sage brush. Just like the previous blown stalks, he ran in a wide circle and returned to the same spot, only this time I was waiting for him. I sent an arrow thru him at 50 yards.
I'm not sure if there's a tip in my story, or not, but I thought I'd share it anyway.
Personally, I think a Moo Cow decoy would be more effective, in most wide-open situations. If you get the "right" buck, he might charge a rival, but oftentimes, they will just push their does away over the next hump. "Feeding" your way in slowly, indirectly with a Moo Cow, might get you close enough for a shot, or, allow you to get to contours you can use to get into bow range. Just my 2 cents, as an avid decoy user.
As with any animal in my experience… if they get past you don’t be afraid to walk directly at them from behind. I wouldn’t do it with several animals but two has worked for me in the past. My theory is they already walked through the area behind them and are less likely to expect danger from there… As I said I walked directly behind Mike deer and Antelope within 100 yards for a long distance in the wide open. You may have to crouch on occasion when you get a side of the head…
Terrain makes the difference. I have a friend that has done it so many times,, He's arrowed A Buck every year we've gone (6 trips). His average kill is in the 50-60 yd range. I took my son in 2019, his 1st & there were 4 of us. Public land every time, on our own. In 2019 my son took his Buck at 39 yds & on the 3rd day after half dz busted stalks & 1 miss. The other 2 in5 days were busted several times, stacked up 4 misses & took 2 Bucks & a Doe. It's fun for sure. Last time they were "just" starting to rut & my good friend did use a decoy (Front of bow type). He said he felt it helped him get a few yards closer.. Plan your stalk & know terrain markers when Antelope is out of view. If it's DRY, have a waterhole to fall back on. Photo-My sons 1st on his 1st trip, public land, spot n stalk.
It is number game. Lots of tries might get lucky sooner or later. More terrain to use to your advantage probably the biggest thing that will increase your odds. A Ultimate Predator decoy is good to use, but don't expect them to come running from 500 yards away or to let you walk up to them because you're behind it. Get as close as you possibly can before showing it to them. Sitting waterholes is probably the highest percentage of killing so long as it is dry.
Guys think antelope are this critter than should be shot at further than anything else. When in reality they have got one of the smallest vital areas of big game animals, will jump the string more than a whitetails, and your often hunting in more windy conditions than average. Don't throw your know effect range out the window because it is a antelope hunt.
Have fun and good luck.
+1 on the knee and elbow pads!
I do a lot of crawling to get up on them.
They can be very curios so if ya get busted don't be surprised if they walk towards you and get pretty dang close too.
Those dang desert/sagebrush spiders are scary.
Never have crawled up on a Badger and I'm happy about that.
Practice crawling with your bow sling over your shoulder, bow hanging under your chest/belly and see how much clearance ya have to touching the ground beforehand.
Good luck, Robb
A pair of thin leather gloves, or mechanics gloves…..and tweezers.
T-Roy, Good tip there also. I have thin Kuiu set that should work. TY
The best tweezers are the style that are like little pliers with finger holes. Much better grip on nasty thorns. Find them in any beauty supply section or online.
I tried a moo cow decoy 35 years ago several times on my first antelope hunt. Long story short, it didn’t work. Antelope are apparently really scared of a 1/4” thick cow walking sideways toward them! We did have minimal luck with an antelope decoy but the Nevada archery season is before the rut so we’d only get bucks to come within 100-200 yards out curiosity but they wouldn’t get nearly close enough for a shot. As others have said, try to find a buck in a spot you can you terrain to your advantage to stay completely out of sight until you’re close to your effective range then crawl on your hands and knees to close the last few yards.
The only time I've even remotely come close to success with moo cow decoy was when me and buddy walked it, then a herd of real cows got curious and began trotting toward us from behind so we really did look like an approaching cow. We got within 50 yards of some bucks but things fell apart too quickly when it came time to try and shoot.
I think part of why it may not work is a handful of times I've seen other hunters jump out of a truck, then charge toward a group of antelope with a moo cow decoy or antelope decoy, which is already suspicious enough. Then when they fail, they just drop the decoy and march back to the truck, fully exposing the fakery. I'm sure in many areas pronghorn have seen this time and again, so they don't need to wait around and be curious. In a remote area, or private, where these shenanigans don't go on regularly, a decoy might work.