Antelope hunts can take many shapes for the open-minded bowhunter. Watch Tony Peterson put an arrow through an antelope while horse hunting in this clip from Bowhunter TV.
I partially blame outdoor television for the general lack of interest in antelope hunting. It’s far easier to arrow an antelope on camera from a pop-up blind on a waterhole than it is to crawl into bow-range, so we are subjected to the same type of antelope show over and over.
And no matter how much fancy editing is done, it’s still pretty boring to see a bunch of cutaways of some dude sweating in a blind and telling the viewers how hard he is working at killing an antelope. Then the goat shows up, slurps some water, and catches an arrow in his chest. Lather, rinse, repeat.
This also leaves plenty of first-timers on the antelope prairie thinking they too need to sit in a blind to kill an antelope. This belief leads to a couple of quick speed scouting missions where pond edges are scoured for heart-shaped antelope tracks. It also leads to a lot of frustration as far as antelope hunting is concerned. Water-hole hunting is mentally draining and often unproductive, especially if you don’t have the means to scout before your hunt.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to kill a goat. And if you’re dead-set on shooting one on a prairie pond, that’s okay. We’ll cover that method too.
<h2>A Desert Oasis </h2>Okay, let’s get it out of the way. Water-hole hunting depends on a few things. The first is finding water the antelope are actually using because not all ponds are created equal. Tucked away seeps or small ponds, well away from the visibility of road-traveling scouters, are ideal. Both can be found by <a href="http://www.bowhunter.com/tactics/10-diy-tips-big-game-success-next-season/" target="_blank">scouting via aerial photos</a>. <p></p> Large ponds will also draw thirsty goats, but they are much harder to hunt. I’ve spent limited time in ground blinds hunting antelope, but I can say this — if this is your chosen method start working on your mental fortitude now. A good method for this would be to sit in your room and stare at the walls for roughly 10 hours or so without interruption. To make it more realistic, shut the air conditioner off and put on a snowsuit. <p></p> A couple of years ago I hunted public-land in South Dakota for antelope and had vowed to sit in a blind since I only had three days to hunt. After 12 hours the first day, a large prairie-dwelling spider crawled up the side of my blind. Then a garter snake slithered in and tried to eat him. I took that as a sign that it was time to spot-and-stalk, and I’ve never looked back. Plus, I had devoted WAY too much time to thinking about just how the hell muskrats and turtles find tiny ponds in the middle of the prairie.