Skip to main content

5 Great Ways to Get Your Goat This Season

5 Great Ways to Get Your Goat This Season

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.

A Desert Oasis

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 scouting via aerial photos. 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. 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.


I know bowhunters who have climbed windmills or found alfalfa fields to set treestands on for antelope. Pronghorns can be ambushed via aerial perches, and they can be ambushed by natural ground blinds set in the right spot. Antelope are very predictable, and if you see them go through a gate or under a busted fence today, they probably will repeat that pattern tomorrow. This requires observation, but can result in a close-up encounter with an unsuspecting goat. If your other attempts fail, this can be a good plan but it can also be as boring as waterhole hunting. Hunters traveling west from the midwest or the east, who have grown up on whitetails, would always be wise to at least consider an ambush style hunt. It's not as intense as decoy or spotting and stalking, but can get fun in a hurry when an antelope breaks the horizon and starts walking in your direction.


If you time your hunt in say mid-September, you might be able to decoy an antelope into range. When things are really heating up, bucks will spend a lot of their day rounding up does and chasing off interlopers. A portable small-buck decoy that suddenly shows up 150 yards from a ticked-off goat might elicit a charge. This is best conducted with two hunters so one can handle the decoy and a rangefinder and the other can shoot. When it works, it's some of the most fun you'll ever have while bowhunting. If your mid-September schedules calls for whitetails or maybe elk, and doesn't leave room for antelope don't fret. You can bust out decoys during August as well, or even October if you can find a state that is still open to bowhunting. Cow decoys can work as well, but in my experience, they are best used to cover open ground at a distance like those times in a stalk where you just need to cross 50 yards of open ground to get to the next cover. Antelope put up with that well enough, but not so much when a cow gets too close. It can be done, but don't expect to be able to march right up on a feeding goat with a cow decoy. Use some subtlety, play the angles, and you might be able to squeeze into shooting range.


If voluntary blind confinement is not your thing, and you're not sold on your stalking abilities, finding an outfit that offers horse hunts might be a good option. I've done this twice and can say that it might be the easiest way to earn a shot at a goat, and I use the word 'earn' loosely. Antelope that spend their days cavorting with horses get awful use to them, and don't pay them too much attention if you sneak behind a horse into range of them. It's a truly unique experience. I spent a total of two days hunting this way and killed two antelope, so I'll probably never do it again but it's a great way to embark on an inexpensive, guided hunt, that will get you flinging arrows across the prairie.

The Belly Crawl

My favorite way to hunt antelope is by spot-and-stalk. The reasons for this are many, but two stand out. The first is that it's a true bowhunting challenge. We don't often hear about how hard it is to hunt antelope this way because most hunters don't do it, but I'm here to tell you it's no joke. Plan on plenty of stalks before you're anywhere near arrow-launching range. The second reason I love to spot-and-stalk antelope is they are terrible at hiding, much like my three-year old daughters. They stand right out in the open, or bed on open hillsides (antelope, not my kids), and they are visible from a long ways off. You're always in the game, at least from the angle that finding antelope is not difficult at all. Planning a route that will lead you to them undetected is a much different story. And then, of course, keeping your head together throughout the shot should you actually belly crawl your way into range is another story. But man, it's fun.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Curt Wells goes after all 5 species of deer in North America.  Here he reflects on a 2013 whitetail hunt in Kansas and an Alberta mule deer adventure in 2010.

Whitetail and Mule Deer Hunts from the Past

Curt Wells joins Andy Cardwell and Mark Land of Muzzy for some exciting nighttime bowfishing action in Kentucky.

Bowfishing with the Boys from Muzzy

Bowhunter TV Editor Derek Mleynek and Tony J. Petersen head to Texas on a mixed-bag hunt which includes hogs, whitetails and axis deer.

Texas Mixed-Bag Hunt

Bowhunter Equipment Editor Tony Peterson sees plenty of action while hunting whitetails and hogs in Texas.

Canyon Ranch Bowhunt

Christian Berg arrives at Whitetail Heaven Outfitters in Kentucky to kick off the beginning of his hunting season.

Season Opener: Kentucky Whitetail Bowhunt

Bowhunter contributor Matt Palmquist sets up shop for a turkey hunt in Kansas.

Kansas Turkey Bowhunt

Bowhunter contributor Matt Palmquist witnesses a hen trying to destroy one of his decoys while hunting turkeys in Kansas.

Turkey Decoy Beatdown

Curt Wells is with members of the Muzzy Bowfishing team as they set their sights on bighead carp during the day in Kentucky.

Daytime Bighead Carp Bowfishing

Bowhunter Editor Curt Wells has a friendly bowfishing competition with members of the Muzzy Bowfishing team on Kentucky Lake.

Kentucky Bowfishing Competition

Bowhunter Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Bowhunter App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Bowhunter stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now