The Worst Antelope Hunt Ever

I was recently on a public land antelope hunt in Colorado. Like most Colorado tags, I had waited several years to draw this tag; five to be exact. I was very excited and enthusiastic about getting out and chasing around some speed goats. Antelope hunts are not only fun, but they are usually full of opportunities and no lack of animals. This hunt was not like that at all. As a matter of fact, it was one of the worst hunts that I have ever been on. I thought that a hunt that required this amount of preference points would be relatively laid back, considering the amount of public land and the limited number of licenses. 

Our first day quickly put that thought to bed. The first morning was full of anticipation. We quickly found a large group of antelope which had two nice bucks in it. I was hunting with another hunter who had used 13 points to draw his tag. He also brought his two sons who were excited to just be along for the ride. Antelope hunting is a great way to introduce kids to the outdoors. 

Beautiful sunrise from a glassing nob on the first morning.

Once we located the bucks that we wanted to hunt through the spotting scope, we got prepared and made our way towards them. We weren’t in any hurry; the antelope were not worried about us and we had two sets of little legs that had to keep up. We managed to get the whole crew, four people, within 300 yards of the antelope. We were deciding how we could cut off a few extra yards when we saw a truck about 600 yards from the antelope come over the top of a hill and park. 

We had a great camp set up and were able to glass right from camp.

We assumed that he was going to watch us attempt to get a shot on these animals. However, he opened the truck door and three orange vests exited the truck. I figured that they were going to see if the spooked antelope would head their way after the shot and give them a chance. The “hunters” just sat by the road and the truck continued toward us and the antelope. The truck passed us at 100 yards, at this point all four of us were standing on the top of a small rise standing in hunter orange waving our hats at the truck. The driver just looked at us and waved as he drove by. He then proceeded to herd the antelope with his truck, which is very illegal in Colorado. He pushed the antelope within 200 yards of the people that he left sitting on the side of the road who then shot the two bucks out of the group. 

I was astounded by what I had just seen. The hunt continued like this for the rest of the short season. The unit was overcrowded and crawling with people. It is hard to stay positive in these kinds of conditions, but just when I was about to get down on experience, I noticed both of the kids were in great spirits.

No Antelope so we took the opportunity to check out what else the plains had to offer. We found a horny toad and saved him from being run over on the road.

They were having fun chasing around tarantulas and catching horny toads, they could care less about shooting an antelope. They were just enjoying the outdoors for what it was. It really placed how lucky I was to have the opportunity to be out hunting into perspective, regardless of the experience. We are so fortunate as Americans to have such large amounts of public land to hunt and fish. It may feel like they are overcrowded sometimes and in situations like this, it can be frustrating, but it still beats a day at work or not having the chance to get out at all. 

So, the next time you feel like you are overrun with the “orange army” on a hunting trip, just take a deep breath and realize how fortunate you are to have the ability to be out chasing around bucks and bulls on public land. Remember that there will be a next time, as long as we have the ability to hunt and fish on public land, and just enjoy being out in nature. Don’t let the ulterior motive of filling a tag cloud the experience. I mean, don’t get me wrong, filling a tag and the freezer is always the goal on my hunting trips. Sometimes I think we get so involved in accomplishing the task, that we forget to take in what is happening around us and miss some truly awesome experiences that nature has to offer. 

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About the author: Jake Wallace was introduced to the shotgun sports after breaking his hips when he was 11, which forced him into a wheelchair for 23 months. He saw a shooting program on one of the outdoor networks and thought that it was something he could do from a chair. Jake started shooting ATA from a chair and progressed to international when he was able to walk again. He loves being in the outdoors because nothing clears his mind like sitting in the woods or on a boat. Jake was part of Lindenwood University’s history of success having graduated from there in 2012 after being a part of four ACUI National Championships for the Lions from 2009-12. He currently resides in Colorado Springs where he’s a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete. JAKE WALLACE: Hunting for Trap Superiority Competition Highlights • 2018 World Cup Gold Medalist, Mixed Team • 2017 Fall Selection, Silver Medalist • 2017 World Championships Team Member • 2017 Qatar Open, First Place • 2016 Fall Selection Match Champion • 2015 Shotgun Team Selection, Silver Medalist • 2014 USA Shooting National Championships, Gold Medalist • 2014 Championship of the Americas, Silver Medalist – shot a perfect 125 in qualification to tie World Record • 2014 Fall Selection, Silver Medalist • 2014 Spring Selection, Bronze Medalist • 2013 Granada World Cup, Sixth Place • 2013 World Clay Target Championships Team Member • 2013 National Championships, Bronze Medalist • 2013 Spring Selection Match, Bronze Medalist • 2010 World Championships Junior Team, Silver Medalist (w/ M. Gossett) • 2010 World Championships Junior Team Member

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Big Al 45 September 3, 2020, 11:20 am

    I shoot prairie dog in the Pawnee area, I have seen just such shenanigans going on up there, and had to inform one moron he wasn’t allowed out there in his Jeep.
    He was very nasty, so I became nasty with him pointing out that we had been set up there for hours, and that he had wandered into our shooting zone because he had come over a hill off the track (road).
    NRA sticker on his Jeep and all, he was a regular self centered shit whom I reported, but never heard what became of it.
    He even demanded to know why we were there, so I informed him the two seasons overlapped, and it was his responsibility to stay on the road, and watch for other hunters and shooters.
    That really pissed him off.
    Slob hunters are a major issue here, and I’m sure elsewhere.

    • james September 3, 2020, 3:51 pm

      pointing out to the slob how close he comes to getting his hair suddenly parted does not one bit of good. of course, one could mistake a jeep for a prairie dog quite easily, but then my morals would certainly prevent me from firing on a target I wasn’t sure of. On the Pawnee, there are Federal Officers available and cell service usually up on the hill tops. those guys don’t like folks off the tracks.

  • Mark September 1, 2020, 2:31 pm

    So, considering there are no native Antelope in North America, it’s not surprising you didn’t have a good hunt for them. Now, if you were hunting Pronghorn (which are NOT related to Antelope), you experience is typical in Colorado on pubic land hunts, especially on the plains.
    From your photos, I’m guessing one of the Grasslands, maybe Commanche? The Pawnee has the same issue with people driving all over hell and back, though I haven’t seen people herd them. When I contacted Colorado Parks & Wildlife and the US Forest Service (the folks responsible for the grasslands), the answer I get is staffing and they can’t be everywhere. It’s unfortunate and my solution (a hint given to me by a senior FS person for the grassland) is to skip opening weekend. Pressure drops to near nothing on Monday.

  • Slim September 1, 2020, 2:00 pm

    Heardimf sounds better than pulling of the paved road about five feet max and left it loose a complete pickup bed of horribly condiced dogs these losers never give a bit of attention to the rest of the year and use them to do ALL the real hunting as multiple trucks and people sit there in their own dog prison cells ibn the backs of their trucks and wait getting drunk the entire time and when the dogs who did all the work drive the deer to the now wasted drunk fully armed group of idiots that then unload on everything moving(zero bs or added info here just facts in the Ocala national forest!)and don’t care at all if they shoot their own or another’s dog or dogs and then it’s all hacked up and what they don’t want which is a LOT is just left there minus the rack is there was one since they all shoot females too and then they tag ONE and leave with one that they turn in with the ONE tag they got and pretend they didn’t just butcher multiple deer that day as most will resend the poor dogs who again do all the work for more illegal deer hunting. And to be very clear this is the standard! Beer cans in one hand as they have their rifle in th other or next to them all of which can easily be seen at fifty five miles and hour and nobody cares it’s fully Illegal to hunt drunk and the fact they are killing every deer possible and pretending they killed just the one they turned in with the ONE tag they were supposed to use for ONLY ONE deer! If it wasn’t the woods out here they’d all do the same as this guy dealt with regarding hearding and at least that way they hopefully wouldn’t be as drunk but surely turnpike be since its basically party day with guns! And don’t get me wrong, I love guns of all kinds, but in these days we ALL have grocery stores and NOBIDY NEEDS to massacre the entire deer population in a short hunting season just because every red neck is greedy! To put my thoughts into perspective, if your grocery store is closer than the hunt is then you don’t need to shoot a deer! I’d say now with covid this is the ONLY time the TRUE AND REAL hungry people that will it make it a year due to no income should be able to apply for a deer permit which they will get hands down and if ONE HUGE deer downer feed a family of at LEAST five then you need to lose weight and stop eating so much! Hundreds of pounds of meet per deer! And most all people get tags in their kids names who has never once shot a gun let alone went hunting and killed a deer so they have possibly thousands of pounds of meet potentially for a single family home! There used to be actual bucks out here with actual antlers you could see from a long distance and now all that’s left are babies that barely have a rack forming and it’s gunned down in first sight when a logical and respectful hunter that care about the upcoming years and the deer population woule absolutely let those type deer walk away so they could have some kind of a life and allowance more breeding and more meet in the end, but sadly that’s never the case! I feel sorry for people who have all kinds of money and take their poor kids to watch an innocent deer get gunned down and then are called all kinds of PC incorrect names to their own kids if they don’t want to be what amounts to I think it’s a psychopath that can kill something and not feel remorse and expects the kids to take a knife and cut into a still warm deer as if it’s a “right of paasege!” SICK in my mind! Also if you can afford a tag and guns, then you can afford to buy groceries! I have lots of guns, and if I was truly hungry I’d simply sell one that could buy myself and family much more food and not just meet from one kind of animal(meaning we don’t eat JUST deer all year long!)as with cash I can buy things like you know… Veggies and fruits and other things a human body NEEDS to be HEALTHY! And before I get any replies or comments about the deer that are hunted are used to obtain th meet for the year and then they buy all the other stuff I mention above and more since I’ve been to numerous houses and in their freezer is JUST deer meet! All in zip locks and cut up into sizes they’d need for a meal or few max so most all I’ve seen have really nothing to eat except the deer they and the pathetic part is every person I’ve ever seen with this exact situation didn’t at ALL NEED th deer meat and could easily but their own groceries all year long and not at all be worried about your broke or initiating a bill to eat… Again, very pathetic in my mind!

  • Jim Winters September 1, 2020, 12:37 pm

    This is exactly the reason I quit hunting public lands 30 years ago. Way too many idiots with high power rifles and whiskey. I’ve witnessed far too many morons glassing me with their rifle scopes. Never again! I’m still alive, unwounded and finished with public land hunting forever!

    • james September 3, 2020, 3:58 pm

      first hunt in CO back in 1969 on the northern front range, got shot at. shot back. surprise! deer that shot back probably aren’t deer. stayed in a hide until dark and left. Hunt Montana now.

  • Rob September 1, 2020, 8:33 am

    So Jake,

    As you mentioned in your article, the use of a motor vehicle to take wildlife is illegal in Colorado…

    Since you failed to mention it, I’ll assume you did NOT report this activity?! How difficult would it have been to read a license plate w your binocs and provide eye-witness testimony plus location to wildlife officers?

    Doing nothing is doing something… allowing this type of behavior to continue doesn’t stop it!

    Colorado has an Operation Game Thief program that is highly successful. Or just make a call!!!

    Please, if good writers like yourself can take the time to write great stories, offer some advice to others that can contribute to stopping the bad/illegal behavior!

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