PSE’s Emily Anderson- Tucked in a Ditch
By Emily Anderson
If you’ve ever experienced hunting antelope with a bow, spot and stalk style, then you know what a challenge it can be. The most common method for hunting antelope, is sitting in a blind next to a water hole, and waiting. When you think you’ve waited long enough, then you wait some more. It can be exhausting sitting in a blind, which feels more like some type of sauna torture device in extremely hot weather, while you wait for a thirsty antelope to come by. Typically those with the most patience win out. If you can sit in a hot blind all day, your chances seem to increase.
If hanging out in a blind for long periods of time doesn’t interest you, or if you are like me and think it feels more like torture than hunting, you’ll be happy to know there are other options for hunting antelope. The trick is to not get spotted by an antelope. They have extremely good vision, which makes sense for their survival on the prairie. But before you start thinking you have good ninja skills and stalking an antelope shouldn’t be that hard, let me remind you… keeping yourself hidden on an open prairie is not an easy task!
Last weekend, I spent the morning tucked into a ditch next to a water hole. After spying a nice buck on the horizon, Al and I watched and waited to see which direction he would feed to. He eventually dipped down out of sight and we assumed he made his way to the north of where we were sitting. After not seeing him appear where we expected, we figured he headed another direction. Here is a tip… the plains where antelope play are not flat even though the land can easily trick you in to thinking they are. For this reason, these animals can seem to appear from out of nowhere. But it can also play to your advantage. If you can work the drainage ditches that often run from waterhole to waterhole, it provides an opportunity to stalk these prairie ghosts. I had that very opportunity last weekend. I was able to get within 65 yards of a shooter buck and even pulled my bow back, hoping he would close the distance a few yards. However, it didn’t happen. Upon telling my brother of my close encounter, he promptly told me that I needed to practice my ninja skills. Maybe so. Or maybe I just need to try a call next time. (Did you know that antelope can be called in during the rut?)