LAST EDITED ON Sep-08-17 AT 04:04 PM (MST)
After 34 years of applying, I was fortunate enough to finally draw my California pronghorn tag. Lucky for me I had been on this hunt seven times previously with other good friends. Utilizing the knowledge I gained from previous hunts, I formulated a game plan and began scouting several days before the season. Numerous good bucks were located, but I couldn't find that one great big cranker I had so hoped for. Opening day came and went with not much change. Still nothing but your basic run-of-the-mill bucks in the 10 to 12 inch class with little mass and short prongs. Even the herd bucks I was glassing with does were nothing special. Could it be that the better bucks in the area had either been taken or spooked off by the period-one hunters?
I stuck with my plan and continued the long journey every morning out to some high glassing points that overlooked a large area in Devils Garden that I had found some big bucks in the past. Three years ago, while helping a friend with the tag, we witnessed another hunter shoot a buck we have been watching for three hours that eventually scored 87 B&C.
Here's a photo of that monster:
I had high hopes of locating a buck in this class… But it was not to be. I did see several bucks in the 14 to 15 inch class, but they had little mass, and short prongs. They also lacked the large tell-tale black patches on the cheeks and muzzle areas, indicating that they were relatively young. I wanted something old. These guys simply wouldn't do.
After looking over upwards of 30 different bucks, I finally settled on one I knew I would be happy with. He's old and gnarly. Not as much length as I'd hoped for, but he makes up for it with character and mass. The stalk that we made was nothing less than epic. We covered over 2 miles to finally put ourselves in a position where we were surrounded by several other bucks that passed within 50 yards of us.
When the buck I had targeted chose to follow, I quickly got ready for the shot and when he turned broadside, it was over quickly. The shot was a mere 110 yards…not the typical long distant shot you would expect in such barron terrain. Although he isn't that grand monster that I had hoped for, I gotta say I am still mighty pleased with the outcome. Sharing this hunt with my younger brother, who still has max points and hasn't drawn yet, as well as one of my other good friends made it that much more special. I hope my brother drives the tag soon so that I can get back out there again!