1-Day Crossbow Conquest
Back in February, Paul Vaicunas, vice president of sales for Horton Crossbows, invited me to participate in their annual pronghorn hunt that takes place in Gillette, Wyoming, at Miller Outfitting. I had never hunted pronghorn or shot a crossbow before and was dying for the chance to do both, so I eagerly accepted the invitation. The timing worked out perfectly since I'd be hunting only 45 minutes away in Sundance, Wyoming, the previous days. My proximity to Gillette made it easy for me to make arrangements to get there.
Before the hunt, Paul sent me the Horton HD 175 crossbow with all of the accessories. I had a good time sighting it in and learning how to shoot. I was extremely impressed at how accurately the Horton Crossbow shot.
ON TO GILLETTE
On September 6, after my whitetail hunt in Sundance, Wyoming, with Seven J Outfitters, my cameraman Nick Mundt and I drove down to Gillette. We were anticipating a great hunt. While talking to Paul on the phone several days earlier, he informed me that the hunting was fabulous and that every hunter in camp had already tagged out. He explained that the hot and dry conditions were creating great shooting opportunities around the watering holes.
After talking to Paul, Nick and I were ecstatic about hunting antelope out of a ground blind. We were looking forward to a fun and laidback experience.
We met Paul and Doug Miller, the outfitter, at Doug's camp just before daylight. Doug took us to the blind where we'd be hunting.
We climbed into the blind, got all of our gear ready and sat back to wait. As daylight broke, we were amazed at the number of antelope that dotted the prairie. Not long after daylight, several does, fawns and small bucks came in to drink at only 15 yards from us.
I was grateful that Nick was with me. Nick once worked as an antelope guide, and he could tell me which ones were good ones to shoot. As the morning progressed, we began to see bigger goats. At about 11 a.m., we spotted a goat that Nick said was definitely a shooter.
The big buck made his way to the watering hole very cautiously. He came in at such a close range that both of us got very excited. I had to be extremely careful with my movements, as antelope are known for their keen senses. Nick got some great footage as the antelope approached the water and began to drink. I waited for a few minutes so that the antelope felt comfortable, then I put the crosshairs behind its shoulder and squeezed.
The Horton crossbow combined with the G5 Tekan II 125-grain broadhead made a clean, swift kill. I had finally taken my first antelope. I was very proud of the pronghorn, which measured a nice 78 inches.
I thoroughly enjoyed shooting the crossbow and antelope hunting for the first time. I had always heard that both were a ton of fun, and they certainly lived up to the pre-hunt hype.
Doug Miller runs a fantastic antelope business in Gillette. He has so many antelope that the numbers are unbelievable. I also enjoyed hanging out with Paul who is one of the nicest people in the entire industry. Peter Crawford of G5 Outdoors and I got to spend some time together as well. Although I only got to hunt for one day, I had an absolute blast.
For more information on Miller Outfitting, check out www.milleroutfitting.com or call 307-682-5815.