Pronghorn Antelope Hunting Cleveland TN

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Cherokee National Forest
(423) 476-9700
2800 North Ocoee Street
Cleveland, TN
Other Activties
Auto Touring; Biking; Boating; Camping; Fishing; Hiking; Historic & Cultural Site; Horseback Riding; Hunting; Interpretive Programs; Picnicking; Recreational Vehicles; Visitor Center; Water Sports; Wildlife Viewing; Winter Sports

Nantahala Outdoor Center - Ocoee Outfitting Store
(828) 488-2176
Highway 64
Ocoee, TN
 
Academy
(423) 490-2300
2220 Hamilton Place Blvd Suite 150
Chattanooga, TN
 
Floating Mill Park
(931) 858-3125
158 RESOURCE LANE
Lancaster, TN
Other Activties
Boating; Camping; Fishing; Hunting

Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge
(731) 772-0501
6772 Highway 76 South
Stanton, TN
Other Activties
Auto Touring; Boating; Fishing; Hunting; Interpretive Programs; Wildlife Viewing

Dick's Sporting Goods
(423) 892-3122
Hamilton Village
Chattanooga, TN
 
Rock Creek Outfitters Inc
(423) 338-1075
1680 Highway 64
Benton, TN
 
Academy
(423) 870-7930
5993 Highway 153 (South of Highway 27)
Hixson, TN
 
Old Hickory Lake
(615) 822-4846
No. 5 Power Plant Rd.
Hendersonville, TN
Other Activties
Boating; Camping; Fishing; Hiking; Historic & Cultural Site; Horseback Riding; Hunting; Interpretive Programs; Picnicking; Recreational Vehicles; Visitor Center; Water Sports; Wildlife Viewing

South Holston Lake
(423) 467-3800
106 Tri-Cities Business Park Drive
Gray, TN
Other Activties
Boating; Camping; Fishing; Hiking; Historic & Cultural Site; Hunting; Picnicking; Recreational Vehicles; Visitor Center; Water Sports; 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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