Pronghorn Antelope Hunting Blacksburg VA

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Hands On Soccer Academy
Nellies Cave Park
Blacksburg, VA
 
Roanoke Summer Sports Camps
Po Box 2033
Salem, VA
 
Tangent Outfitters
(540) 731-5202
1710 Hunters Rd
Radford, VA
 
Morris Hill Group Campsite #1
Covington, VA
Other Activties
Biking; Boating; Camping; Fishing; Hiking; Hunting

Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge
(703) 490-4979
13950 Dawson Beach Rd
Woodbridge, VA
Other Activties
Auto Touring; Hiking; Hunting; Interpretive Programs; Wildlife Viewing

Hokie Soccer Experience at Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
 
Backcountry Ski & Sports
(800) 560-6401
3710 S Main St
Blacksburg, VA
 
Elizabeth Furnace Group Camp
15618 Fort Valley Road
Fort Valley, VA
Other Activties
Camping; Fishing; Hiking; Hunting

Sunrise Cabin
(800) 628-7202
576 Cha Cha Ridge Road
Fries, VA
Other Activties
Biking; Camping; Horseback Riding; Hunting

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
(757) 986-3705
3100 Desert Road
Suffolk, VA
Other Activties
Boating; Fishing; Hiking; Hunting; Interpretive Programs; Wildlife Viewing

Field Judging Pronghorns

Pronghorn antelope can be difficult to judge on the hoof. I was reminded of this on a recent antelope hunt in Wyoming. Three younger bucks and one mature buck mingled with the group of a dozen does near a waterhole. My wife, Heather, and I had looked at so many that we were beginning to question our judgement... they were all beginning to look similar. I had to force myself to carefully analyze subtle features.

"Is that a 13 or a 14 inch antelope?" I asked myself. Secretly hoping for the elusive 15 inch or better buck, we continued our search. Off to the left we glimpsed a handsome buck. He was reasonably wide, had good prongs, appeared to be heavy, and his horns lay forward. A handsome trophy indeed, try as we might, we couldn't make his horns grow more than 12 inches in height. And so, our quest continued.

Sunrise, on the first day, had found us entering the Cole Creek Sheep Company Ranch at prime time. To shoot a buck in Wyoming isn't the problem; they are abundant. The hunt is about locating a sizable specimen, and that can require a trained eye to help accurately field judge trophy quality. After the first couple hours and the usual discussions about what to look for and how best to judge them, we spotted a nice buck as we crested a hill.

Our guide, Kelly Glause, of Cole Creek Outfitters is a seasoned antelope hunter and knew what to look for. Right off the bat, he advised us to look for height, mass, width, deep prongs, curled tips, and ivory tips if they're visible. If we could find one with non-typical characteristics, that might be desirable as well.

"You should try a stalk," I urged my Heather. "It's great practice. No pressure to shoot. Do the stalk, get him in your crosshairs and if you like what you see, well, you be the judge."

Reluctant at first, she finally agreed. In no time Kelly and Heather were scurrying across the prairie and I straggled behind. Fumbling to turn on my camera, I was hoping to capture some good action photos when suddenly things accelerated. Before I knew it, Heather had her Harris bipod in place and shouldered her rifle. At 250 yards the 160 grain Winchester Accubond hit its mark! As we approached, the reason became obvious. Her buck had heavy horns, measured just under 14 inches in height, and we taped him at 74 inches B&C - certainly a fine trophy in anyone's books.

The balance of the day was invested covering ground and evaluating what appeared to be an endless supply of pronghorns. I've taken several in my home province of Alberta but I've never managed to take anything over 76 inches. In Wyoming I learned that while monster bucks exist in that state, i.e., those measuring over 16 inches in height and scoring over 85 inches B&C, they are few and far between. Genetically speaking, I'm told a really big buck in the region we were hunting has horns measuring between 14 and 15 inches in length. The elusive 17-incher is rare indeed. But height isn't everything. What Wyoming pronghorns have is mass! W...

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