Mathews Inc.
Buck under The Big Sky
Pronghorn
Contributors to this thread:
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
molsonarcher 06-Sep-23
Coop 06-Sep-23
Scoot 06-Sep-23
BOWNBIRDHNTR 06-Sep-23
njbuck 06-Sep-23
Pop-r 06-Sep-23
wildwilderness 06-Sep-23
Bowfinatic 06-Sep-23
t-roy 06-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 06-Sep-23
Supernaut 06-Sep-23
TGbow 06-Sep-23
Shug 06-Sep-23
midwest 06-Sep-23
MA-PAdeerslayer 06-Sep-23
tkjwonta 06-Sep-23
pav 07-Sep-23
HUNT MAN 07-Sep-23
Will 07-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 07-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 07-Sep-23
Fuzz 09-Sep-23
Treeline 09-Sep-23
JohnMC 09-Sep-23
Marty 09-Sep-23
BoggsBowhunts 09-Sep-23
Bou'bound 11-Apr-24
Treeline 11-Apr-24
Robear 12-Apr-24
06-Sep-23

BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
I was soon just a speck under the Big Sky that gave Montana it’s slogan, my little red pickup bouncing down countless miles of dirt roads en route to the waterhole where Eric expected some antelope to water over the course of the hunt. I was surprised by the subtle contours that were surprisingly efficient at hiding things from the sightline of passers-by, despite the water being in the middle of a wheat-stubble field, I was only a couple hundred yards away by the time it revealed itself. I got the blind set up on the public water early in the day, and had a few hours to burn before Eric would roll into camp. The time flew by, as did the fuel in my truck, as I covered every road within a 10 mile radius of camp and our blind looking for pronghorn bucks

06-Sep-23

BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
With a couple hours of light left, I set up a target in camp and took a handful of focused shots with my 50 yard pin, as I knew that would be the farthest shot I would take on a pronghorn, and was also nearly the exact distance to the furthest edge of water from out blind. The arrows dropped where I wanted them, and I put my bow up for the evening confident in my lethality if a buck was to decide to drink from our water. I saw a truck bouncing down the road towards camp and soon Eric and I were catching up on years of missed conversation - as it had been 2018 since we had shared a hunting camp and a lot of life can happen in 5 years. He brought Subway from the nearest town and we couldn’t help but laugh at what a rancher would think if they drove by at that moment - witnessing two fellas eating subway under the glow of headlights on the side of a gravel road about 50 miles from anywhere on a fold-out table and lawn chairs. Despite still having lots of catching up to do, we called it a night in hopes of resting up for the season opener the next day.

06-Sep-23
I crawled out of my camper shell just as the sun was painting the eastern sky and we headed for some public land west of camp in hopes of turning up a buck - as I’d seen a good one there the day prior. This particular piece of state land was oddly shaped, with a high plateau on the corner of an “L”, with two big bowls on either side. We were optimistic as we hiked up to the top of the plateau to gain vantage of the back bowl. At the top we spotted a buck in the perfect place for a stalk, feeding through the tall waving prairie grass on the side of a hill about 40 yards from the top of a plateau in the distance. The only issue was that the buck was a few hundred yards across a private boundary. We shrug off the bad luck, and are still optimistic in this spot, as it has some fairly steep contour that most public pieces don’t offer in this area. We slowly made our way around the hilltop in hopes of seeing an antelope right below us in a setting similar to the buck on private. A covey of sharpies flushed under our feet along the field edge and some whitetails fed their way along the grassy drainage below us, but no antelope were public and playable.

06-Sep-23
We drove by some public with some archer-friendly topography that I hadn’t explored the day before without seeing any bucks, turning around at the end of it to go back towards camp and knock some doors before sitting water. As we drove back by the coulee, I was almost speechless as right at the top of the coulee were the distinct orange and white blazes of an antelope, with two apparent jet black horns jutting up to the sky. We quickly parked and found ourselves sidehilling around the coulee right below the buck. We ease up the edge while trying to remember where exactly the buck was in relation to our location in the coulee. We know we are within a stone’s throw of where we need to be and slowly ease up the coulee looking for the unwavering black horn tips through a sea of waving prairie grass. Before long we were both locked up like a llewellin hitting a covey of tucked away sharptails. Eric picked up the buck’s horns through the coulee edge and began dissecting it for size and range. “All you, bud” he says, giving me the green light to knock an arrow and make the final approach - as we were now well within 60 yards of the antelope. The grass around the field edge made it nearly impossible to get a range on the buck, but Eric had estimated him at about 55 yards before I began to close the distance. I eased myself upright in hope of getting a range on his horntips and in a flash of unintelligence did so without waiting for him to turn away. Just as I got a good lane to range him he snaps his head our direction and bounds away with a huff, an inexcusable rookie mistake that I knew I would regret for days to come as I knew that opportunities that good were few and far between.

06-Sep-23
We meet at the top of the coulee for a stalk recap and I notice the antelope just standing and watching us 200 yards away, still within shot distance of the coulee’s edge. I quickly come up with the idea for Eric to stay in view and mill around to keep the antelope’s attention while I dropped off into the coulee to hopefully get another opportunity by popping up right beside the preoccupied antelope. I’m not sure who the individual is who designed the Marine Corps combat boots, but shortly after dropping off into the coulee I was 100% sure they hadn’t stalked an antelope through prickly pear or they would have changed the design entirely. With ankles full of cactus spines, I finally got to where I needed to peak over and range the buck. I spy his horn tips and scoot as close to the edge as I can. For some reason, the range laser found it’s way through the waving prairie grass and I had a buck antelope at 47 yards with his attention elsewhere. I duck back behind the coulee edge and come to full draw after a quick prayer. I slowly rise up and see my 50 yard pin settle onto his vitals. I start to put pressure on the trigger of the release, knowing any second the arrow is gonna be on it’s way. Then he bolts. I’m still not quite sure why he bolted so fast without even a glance in my direction, but along the coulee he ran with no arrow sent his way. I shuffle down the bank of the coulee to try to repeat that, but each time I rose up to spy his horn tips further down the coulee he was further and further from the edge.

06-Sep-23
Eric and I headed back to the truck and I dig cactus spines out of my ankles as we soon found ourselves headed towards camp to stop by a local rancher’s house to try and unlock some private access before settling in to the blind I set up the day before. Not only was the rancher at home, he was incredibly enthusiastic about antelope hunting and promptly gave us permission, opening up a lot of spot and stalk options in case today’s set in the blind was uneventful. We drive to the blind and see a lone antelope and a pair pretty close to our water hole, hoping we can get to the blind without disturbing them as we knew they would eventually be taking a drink from our water. We settle into the blind at around 11:30 that morning. With temps already touching 100 degrees, the blind was a nice preheated oven by the time we got comfy - or as comfy as two adult men can be in a ground blind. With the wind coming from our direct rear, the little fan I brought was working overtime giving us the only air-movement possible, as the rear windows and door were sealed tight to limit the amount of light entering the blind.

06-Sep-23
An uneventful few hours resulted in me taking a quick nap, and jokingly waking up and asking Eric how many antelope had come to water during my slumber. Although we had only been in the blind for around 3 hours at this point, zero signs of life coupled with extreme heat have a way of zapping the optimism out of a guy. Nevertheless, I remained cautiously optimistic that we would get some action as the afternoon passed and temperatures held high. Not even 3 minutes later, Eric peaks out the back window and I hear him whisper “ANTELOPE. THERE’S AN ANTELOPE RIGHT BEHIND US.” I look to my left and immediately see a doe running to water on the north end of the blind. Assuming it was half of the pair we saw on our way to the blind that included a big buck, we anxiously await it’s approach as the doe circles the water directly across from us. It comes to a halt to our immediate front and begins staring down the blind as me and Eric turn to statues.

06-Sep-23
I’ve seen many whitetail does stomp when they see something out of the ordinary, and wasn’t caught too off-guard as this antelope doe stomped her front right foot out of aggravation that some funny looking structure was popped up next to her water hole. I was caught off guard, however, by her immediately stomping her front left foot. She then repeated this dance, adding in her back feet. Before we knew it, this doe was stomping all four feet seemingly at once, looking as though she was either a toddler throwing a tantrum or some sort of background dancer for a Michael Jackson music video. It might’ve been that we were delirious from the heat, but it was the funniest thing I had ever seen while hunting. Eric and I were both fighting the urge to erupt in laughter, quietly giggling like a bunch of schoolkids as she continued this dance for what seemed like 5 minutes. Eventually she calms down just enough to come to water. I witness what Eric had previously described as the fake-drink, as she slowly lowered her head almost to the water before jerking it up abruptly to scan for predators. She spends more time doing this charade than she does actually drinking, and then runs off after drinking only a few gulps. We were on edge for a while expecting the buck to approach after she deemed the water “safe”, but he never appeared. Nevertheless, seeing an antelope at all was a huge boost to morale, and nearly made us forget that we were sitting in an oven.

06-Sep-23
We had thought they would approach from our direct front, which would give us plenty of time to decide who is shooting and get situated, but like most things - hunting never goes as planned and the doe did the exact opposite, approaching right along some steep contour which is unlike how a pronghorn would typically approach. This confused us a bit, and definitely put us on alert for antelope to take a similar unexpected approach. A couple more hours go by and around 3:30 I glace to the south, by far the most unexpected entry point to the water due to the steep contour leading down to the water and for that reason was the entry point we checked the least. I had been imagining that one of these times I glance that direction I would see a giant buck in the far right corner of the blind’s window. What was unique about this time, though, is that as I glanced to the right I soon saw that familiarly distinct blaze of orange and white standing tall near the edge of the water, with prominent black pipes stretching high above his ears. I tell Eric that there’s a big buck, in more than 4 words, just as the buck spins back to the right and runs out of my sight. My adrenaline had an immediate spike as I was absolutely amped that we had a big buck at our water hole. I assumed he had already drank and was exfilling the waterhole and had wanted to take a more squared-up look at our blind before leaving, and this was further assumed by the fact that when I last saw him he was running back to the south and away from our water. I see Eric is still peaking through the window and has his range finder up, and I assume that he hadn’t seen the buck at all since he had turned and ran almost immediately after I notified Eric. You can only imagine my surprise when I hear Eric ask “Can you shoot him right there?” I reply with a shocked “Right where?!” and Eric immediately says “52 yards, he’s drinking, shoot him!”

06-Sep-23
The buck had made a loop and was drinking just to the right of my field of view out of the far corner of the water exactly where we thought they wouldn’t. I quickly hit my knees to get centered in the floor of the blind and came to full draw, slowly leaning to the left with the buck soon settling into the middle of my sight housing. I ask Eric for confirmation that my arrow would clear the bottom of the window and settled my 50 yard pin on an antelope’s vitals for the second time that day. This one didn’t bolt. Eric reconfirmed the range and the arrow was away…

06-Sep-23

BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
Was able to take a lot of mementos from my old Marine Corps buddies along on this hunt that made it extra special. Was able to cape and quarter the goat with a knife handmade by my former squad leader
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
Was able to take a lot of mementos from my old Marine Corps buddies along on this hunt that made it extra special. Was able to cape and quarter the goat with a knife handmade by my former squad leader
Everyone dreams of spending the evening of opening day caping and quartering a beautiful buck on the tailgate of a pickup to a beautiful backdrop of rolling wheat fields and old barns as the sunset lights a blaze across The Big Sky. The difference is, we got to experience it.

06-Sep-23
This write up could’ve been about ten times as long, but you all have suffered through enough of my 20 page write ups so I figured I’d keep this one short and sweet.

Honorable mentions go to JohnMC, who was kind enough to give me a tour of what Colorado had to offer and showed me my first ever Shiras Moose as well as some giant elk.

The Laue family, parents of my mentee in the Marine Corps, who will never see this but were kind enough to house me for a night while I drove across Colorado.

Sergeant Romano, one of my Marine Corps Combat Instructors in ITB who I randomly bumped into in a gas station in Douglas, Wyoming and didn’t even recognize him until I asked him about his Delta Co ITB Instructor shirt. That was one of the craziest coincidences I’d ever experienced, as the chances of me running into one of four people in the world who were my combat instructors in the middle of Wyoming while he just so happened to be wearing his instructor shirt is lottery-level stuff that set the “luck” meter high early on in this trip.

Lastly, Eric Bachofner who is entirely responsible for this hunt. After he was kind enough to invite me on an elk hunt the year before I enlisted, he convinced me to start building points for multiple species in multiple states. I probably owe every tag I’ll ever draw to him, since if it wasn’t for him there’s no telling how many points I’d have or what tags I’d ever put in for since I would still be an ignorant Missourian with no guidance. Not only that, but he graciously invited me into his antelope camp and let me shoot a buck right out from under him. Selfless doesn’t do it justice, and he gets full credit for both my elk and my antelope - as neither would’ve been possible if it wasn’t for his gracious invitations.

Thanks for reading and hope you all enjoyed!

From: molsonarcher
06-Sep-23
Awesome write up Chase! You never dissappoint with your tales of the hunt. Congrats again!

From: Coop
06-Sep-23
Awesome article. Thanks for sharing.

From: Scoot
06-Sep-23
Loved it! Well done and congrats!!!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
06-Sep-23
Awesome x 10! So much more to a hunt than just the kill. Congrats on the goat and thanks for a great story!

From: njbuck
06-Sep-23
Well done, congrats!

From: Pop-r
06-Sep-23
You'll shoot one at least twice as far as I will.

06-Sep-23
Congrats and thanks for the story, pronghorn are fun

06-Sep-23
Really cool Well done and thanks for the write up

From: t-roy
06-Sep-23
Very nice. Congrats!

06-Sep-23
Thanks guys!

From: Supernaut
06-Sep-23
Great buck and an even better write up.

Congrats and thanks for sharing with us!

From: TGbow
06-Sep-23
Awsome story!!! Beautiful country.

Thank you for your service.

From: Shug
06-Sep-23
Good stuff... congratulations

From: midwest
06-Sep-23
Loved it! Congrats man!

06-Sep-23
Awesome! Congrats dude!

From: tkjwonta
06-Sep-23
Fantastic, thanks for sharing!

From: pav
07-Sep-23
That was an incredible opening day adventure...close spot and stalk encounters and later sealing the deal from the blind. Congrats!!!

From: HUNT MAN
07-Sep-23
Very nice

From: Will
07-Sep-23
Congrats - that's awesome!

07-Sep-23

BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
Didn’t want to “blow the hole” by butchering an antelope on the water’s edge, so we decided to carry the goat out full of guts. Not sure how heavy a goat is, but they’re heavy enough to make a fella immediately puke at the truck in 100 degree heat
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
Didn’t want to “blow the hole” by butchering an antelope on the water’s edge, so we decided to carry the goat out full of guts. Not sure how heavy a goat is, but they’re heavy enough to make a fella immediately puke at the truck in 100 degree heat
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
This “21 Guns” zippo and the RMEF hat were both gifts from my Firing Party team before we all went our separate ways
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
This “21 Guns” zippo and the RMEF hat were both gifts from my Firing Party team before we all went our separate ways
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
No shortage of stars in that part of the country
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
No shortage of stars in that part of the country
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
A better view of “the butcher barn”
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
A better view of “the butcher barn”
Have some photos that didn’t really fit this write up, as they were taken after this one wrapped up, but figured you all might like to see them so I’ll add them here

07-Sep-23
EDIT: This pic is having trouble loading for some reason. After class I’ll try and get the right picture to go through.

And finally, a picture of the whole gang. Derek (who joined us the day after the opener), Eric, and me! If we had any musical ability, this would undoubtedly be our album cover. Had a blast with these fellas over the course of the week chasing lopes while mine was at the local processor

From: Fuzz
09-Sep-23
Congratulations and thank you for the write up! Great story!

From: Treeline
09-Sep-23
Congratulations on another hunt of a lifetime In Montana! Excellent recap! Thank you!

From: JohnMC
09-Sep-23
Fun to hear the story again and was great meeting you. Chase is nice of a guy as he seems on here in person.

From: Marty
09-Sep-23
Great goat and thanks for sharing!

09-Sep-23

BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
BoggsBowhunts's embedded Photo
Let’s see if it ends up posting the right picture this time or another one I’ve never seen before

From: Bou'bound
11-Apr-24

From: Treeline
11-Apr-24
Thanks for bringing this one up again, Bou! Chase sure can put together the story!!

From: Robear
12-Apr-24
Great write up. I must have missed it the first go round. I also get the feeling Mr Boggs could tell us stories from other dry, arid parts of the world where the outcome of the hunts are much more serious.

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