Pronghorn Antelope Hunting Joliet IL

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Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor
Headquarters 815/588-6040
201 W. Tenth St., #1-SE
Lockport, IL
Other Activties
Auto Touring; Biking; Boating; Camping; Fishing; Hiking; Horseback Riding; Hunting; Interpretive Programs; Picnicking; Visitor Center; Water Sports; Wildlife Viewing; Winter Sports

Dick's Sporting Goods
(630) 554-9061
2470 US Hwy 34
Oswego, IL
 
Dick's Sporting Goods
(815) 806-4952
7370 West 191 St.
Tinley Park, IL
 
Dick's Sporting Goods
(630) 553-5365
Route 34 and Cannonball Trail
Yorkville, IL
 
Enchanted Shores
(815)476-9433, (815)476-6686
11018 W. Wilmington /Peotone Road
Joliet, IL
 
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
(815) 423-6370
30239 South State Hwy 53
Wilmington, IL
Other Activties
Biking; Hiking; Horseback Riding; Hunting; Interpretive Programs; Wildlife Viewing

Dick's Sporting Goods
(708) 675-3100
Orland Park Place
Orland Park, IL
 
Dick's Sporting Goods
(630) 548-1476
Springbrook Prairie Pavillion
Naperville, IL
 
Guardian Angel Home
(815) 729-0930
1550 Plainfield Road
Joliet, IL
 
Days-Gone-Bicycle CO
(815) 726-0282
207 Ruby Street
Joliet, IL
 

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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