I was extremely lucky to grow up in a family where both parents love to hunt. Most people have been amazed that my mom did just as much as my dad – she’s crazy over hunting. Both mom and dad would take turns bringing we kids out, and really went the extra mile to include us in every hunting adventure possible.
So now, almost 20-years later I got my mom a new bow for Mother’s Day and invited her to come out antelope hunting with me in Montana with Powder River Outfitters. This is an area that has become one of my favorite whitetail destinations, but also has incredible antelope hunting early in the season.
This was going to be my mom’s first antelope trip. Needless to say, she was pretty excited for the hunt. She had been practicing daily since spring, and was confident in her shooting ability to take a goat out to about 35-yards. I was hoping to bring a buck in nice and close. We setup in a blind, but I also put a buck and doe decoy right outside our window. The time was right and the bucks were rutting hard so I was hoping that not only would it bring them in close, but also that one of these bucks would put on an incredible show.
I had decided to film this hunt and show the fun a mother and daughter can have antelope hunting. Day after day we sat in the blind and were literally covered up in antelope. However, the only problem was none of the bucks would step inside that 35-yard range. My mom was extremely patient but the time was winding down - I could see the disappointment in her eyes. We had so many close calls, but for some reason the bucks just didn’t want to come in and fight our decoy. In hopes of drawing their attention, we even tried two different decoys – one larger and one smaller…but no such luck.
On the last evening, we finally had a nice buck head our way toward the decoy. He circled around at 45-yards, but then decided to leave! I couldn't believe it - we both figured the hunt was over as we watched the herd wander off to the alfalfa field nearby. As the sun began to set, that same group popped out back onto the field, and this time headed straight toward us. A small fawn came in next to our decoys, and bedded down. The rest looked like they were going to follow - in no time the entire group was in our decoys. I had laid sticks in the alfalfa at 35-yards so mom would know the exact moment a buck stepped into range. Finally, that buck walked up to the stick, smelled it and then walked toward the decoy. My mom drew, and within just a few seconds made an incredible shot. The nice buck barely made it off the field.
As fun as it is for me to hunt, this was probably the most excited I had been in a long time. We had worked so hard and been so patient - it was amazing to see it all come together, and watch mom’s excitement and sense of accomplishment come full circle. She’s taken some nice whitetail bucks in the past, but this was a memorable hunt for both of us. It wasn’t all about the nice antelope, but the time we spent together laughing in the blind, sweating it out through the heat, and then the incredible amount of patience that was needed to take the antelope. In the end, it was totally worth it and I can’t wait until our next hunt together.