Contributors to this thread:
Pronghorn, Mtn. Lion, and a broken femur
Pauls recent antelope post on the main thread has inspired me to share my 2020 Oklahoma antelope hunt. Bear with me guy's never done this before.
It all started in 2017 when I drew one of the Cimarron county antelope doe tags through the wildlife department's controlled hunts. After a day in a half and several blown opportunities I was fortunate enough to harvest my antelope. All of my hunt took place on public land and I remember at the time thinking "this would be doable with a bow". I had always meant to come back and hunt on the archery opener, but life just got in the way. But last year I finally managed the time to get back.
I left the night of the 29th and after over 9 hours of driving arrived at hunting grounds right around sun up on the 30th. Being the day before the opener I thought I would see a few other guy's scouting but didn't see anyone. It didn't take me long to spot a young buck on public. As I pulled up to the water hole at the location I shot my antelope in 2017 I quickly spotted a herd of over 30. I was excited and quickly set up my blind at the water hole. The tank at the windmill itself was busted but they had run pipe to a small pond that was holding water and covered in tracks. After getting the blind setup I instantly began loosing confidence in the setup. Instead of bringing my one good double bull blind, that I had setup a week earlier on one of my food plots at home, I brought two of my cheap Ameristep doghouse blinds. Look at the blind in the photo and you can see the wind is almost blowing it over it didn't exactly look natural. Also brushing it in was a joke as there's no brush to speak of. After that I did a little more scouting before heading to Black Mesa state park to set up camp and get something to eat and some sleep, I had driven all night, before being back at the blind before first light.
The den and leftovers
The den and leftovers
The next morning I was in my blind well before sun up. Within the first 30 minutes of shooting light I had a mule deer doe and her fawns, a coyote, and a doe antelope all coming into the water. All of them came up short of the water hole and either left the way they came or went wide around the blind. Around 10 am I spotted the large herd on the Mesa to the south. They began working their way towards me but hung up at 400 yards giving me the stink eye. They eventually began feeding back the way they had came, except 4 who headed around the blind towards a large piece of public. At this point I'd had enough of the blind so I bailed out and headed to the truck to see if I could get in front of that group. As I got around to the piece and glassed I saw that the antelope were traveling down a fence line that if I could get to I might be able to get set up on and ambush them. Unfortunately for me I also saw two other guys already on this piece of public and it was obvious they had seen the antelope. Unfortunately for them they were in the middle of the property with no cover and the antelope had already seen them. Instead of turning around the antelope picked up the speed. Seeing this the two guy's decided the best course of action was to try and have a foot race with the fastest land mammal in North America. They began running for the fence line the antelope see this and really kick it into high gear. One of the guy's gets around 60 yards from the fence yanks his bow back and as the antelope go past at mach 2 sends one. Unsurprisingly he missed and the antelope run off the public and last I saw were damn near to Texas. Oh well I decided to take the opportunity to drive around glassing the public to see if I can find some in a decent area to stalk. Towards the end of my drive I found 2 bucks with a doe next to a cornfield on some private right next to some private. The bucks were fighting over the doe and each was trying to herd her around. In their running around they eventually ended up on the public. I decided to give it a go even though there was zero cover hoping the bucks lack of attention would help. I was around 400 yards away when the bucks started the fighting and chasing again. For a moment it looked like it was all going to come together. They began to head straight my way and eventually got to within 150 yards. Yet while the bucks seemed to be oblivious the doe spotted me and was done she ran off takin her boyfriend's with her back onto some private. After that I headed back to the blind for a uneventful evening. As I left I spotted 4 antelope on the private that borders the piece of public my blind was on giving me a little hope for the next day.
As I get back to camp I stopped by to talk to the group camped next to me. It was a father his two sons and his buddy who had came from the Tulsa area to antelope hunt. We swapped our stories for the day and then I headed back to my camp for dinner. About 5 minutes later one of them calls over to me and ask if I'd like to see a cougar that there's one next to their camp. I walk over half expecting to see a photo of someone's 50 year old girlfriend. When I get there one of them pulls a spotlight out shines it across the dry creek and sitting up on the bank under a tree is a mountain lion eating a racoon. I was blown away I've never seen one in the wild and to have it happen in my home state makes it that much more special. We watched it for several minutes with the spotlight on it the whole time it ignored us acting like we didn't exist. When it finished it's meal it stood stretched and walked straight towards us my amazement quickly turned into nervousness. The moment it reached the dry creek bed it began to head away from us using the dry creek bed. The last sight I saw was the long tail disappearing into the tall brush along the creek. The next day I called it into the game warden at first he was skeptical after I sent him a photo he called back and met us at the campground and confirmed the sighting. Last year Oklahoma had more confirmed mountain lion sightings than ever before and our sighting was one of the 7. Funny as I remember cracking jokes about the mountain lion warnings posted on the bathroom doors when I stayed in 2017.
Keep it coming William! I owned one of the Doghouse blinds but my draw length is 31" and really didn't have the room for me(6'4") so gave to someone smaller. I'd like to know what all you took to your blind and if you have any hunting pressure from others. May have to find one of those tags as I love the taste of antelope - if not from Wyoming and only eating sage that is.
Russ they're definitely small I've got a 28 inch draw and I have to poke the end of the arrow out the window before drawing. When I set up the blind I left a comfortable chair, and a small cooler full of ice with a gallon of water and tea in it. Other than that I would just bring enough food for the day, a book, and battery pack and cord to charge my phone. There was definitely hunting pressure and things seemed a bit crowded but I will say not one person stepped foot on the piece I was hunting while my truck was parked there and everyone I met was very respectful. The antelope are definitely keyed in to the pressure dosen't help the controlled rifle hunts are the month before the archery season. I would definitely recommend putting in for both Cimarron county antelope hunts in the controlled hunts but would avoid the Texas county tags unless willing to pay a trespass fee. But if you want to hunt them with a bow it's OTC opener on October 1st.
I got to my blind a little before sunup on day two. The morning was pretty slow until around 9:30 when I spotted my first antelope of the day. A decent buck coming from the east. It looked like he was going to do what other antelope had and go wide around the blind. At this point I'd lost all confidence in the blind so while he was still a ways out and partially obscured by a rise I bailed out into the ditch/arroyo in front of my blind. I got low enough to be out of sight then headed east down the arroyo. After about 500 yards a smaller ditch ran in from the south I worked my way up it till I was back on the Mesa. The last I'd seen of the buck he was on the south Mesa around 800 yards out. I figured if everything went as planned we should be close to one another by now. Apparently he didn't get the plan as my glassing turned up zero antelope on the south Mesa and he was now on the north Mesa. Apparently shortly after I bailed he'd crossed the arroyo to the north side and was heading away. As I got back to the blind I realized that it had to go. It's hard enough to sit all day but impossible when you don't have confidence in the set. I decided to leave the blind go into town get some burlap blind material and wrap the legs of the windmill to try and have a more natural looking blind. I figured I'd take the scenic route and see if I could spot any antelope. I got lucky shortly into my drive and found a herd on a piece of public surrounded by private. The antelope were on the western fence line the eastern boundary for the public was a road and there was enough of a rise that I was able to park without being seen. Grabbed my bow and leather gloves and headed down the north fence line which fortunately had some decent cover from native sunflowers. Unfortunately the closer I got the less I was covered and I went from my hands and knees to my belly. I eventually was pinned down and decided the best choice was to just lay there hoping they'd work closer. Ranged one at 81 yards the closest I would get the whole trip and to far for me. After around 15 minutes they crossed the fence and began feeding away into the private to the north. I waited for a bit took some photos and headed to the truck.
You got some more story… ? Interested!
Have been checking in daily for the rest of the story!!
Sorry guy's the kid's went back to school this week things have been hectic. The ending isn't as fun as the rest of the story but here it goes.
Once back at the truck I headed to the closest town Clayton NM. Found some burlap blind material at the local sporting goods store and a green chilli burrito to die for at the local grocery store. Then I headed back to my blind it was around 3. Pulled the truck all the way to the blind tore it down and began hanging the burlap with zip ties around the legs of the windmill. I was able to gather some tumble weeds to help brush in the blind, after finishing I stepped back to inspect my work. It looked far more natural, and from the gate (about 600 yards) it was almost invisible, unlike the dark flapping blob that was the pop up blind. Instead of spending the last couple of hours in the blind I decided to see if I could find another group to stalk. As I drove around that evening I finally saw the pressure I had expected to see. It was Friday afternoon and the rest had finally showed up. Most of the better pieces of public had a truck parked at it and I saw 4-5 other guys cruising and glassing the public just like me. I was unable to find a group that already didn't have someone on it. So at sundown I headed to camp. I decided I would try my best to stay in the blind all day the next day, as I wasn't interested in drag racing around on gravel roads to see who could bump the most antelope. Although the hunting pressure was picking up my new blind had me optimistic.
As I was laying in my hammock trying to fall asleep I received a phone call from my wife. She was in a panic and told me her sister had been in a serious accident at my in laws and she was on her way to get my nephew. I called my mother in law and found out how serious the situation was and immediately began packing. My sister in law was unloading horse feed at her parents with her 4 year old using a kubota utv. She got out leaving the utv on and in neutral my nephew managed to kick it in reverse and stomp the gas pinning her between the utv and the truck. It shattered her femur and the utv tailgate left a large gash in her thight. I had everything in the truck in minutes ready to go I then remembered my blind and cooler. I didn't want to waste any time but also didn't want to leave my stuff to become trash or stop other hunters from using that public when I wasn't around. I decided to stop at the camp next to me and explained my situation they eagerly offered to help and even offered to mail my gear to me. I thanked them marked the location on one of the brothers onx and headed out. Not the end I had hoped for or even one I would have imagined but sometimes things are out of are hands.
I hope to make it back one year and give it another go but dosen't look like it'll be this year. Maybe I'll give it a go the next time opener is on a Monday. Definitely will have some sort of decoy maybe bow mounted before then. I did kill my largest antelope this September in Wyoming so I have no complaints.
Thanks for sharing! Oklahoma pronghorn hunting with a bow is some tough hunting.
Thanks for sharing! Oklahoma pronghorn hunting with a bow is some tough hunting.