Backup antelope landowner tag pays off big time
Over the last 15 years, I have been playing the point game like many fellow hunters. I am constantly managing my hunts and trying to fit everything into a schedule. Some years, things seem to work out great and I’ll get one of those coveted premium draw tags. Other years, I’m wondering what and where I will be hunting. One thing is for sure: having a great landowner to work with is an excellent backup plan. Why? It guarantees that you’ll get a tag.
Over the last few years I have been working with a landowner in Colorado. Before the hunt opens I try to arrive a day or two early in order to scout and have a buck picked out for opening morning. I usually arrive at dark. This is what the morning brings…a perfect desert sunrise.
Once our day starts, we hit the road and scour the unit looking for rutting bucks. One thing you need to be aware of are the two types of landowner tags in Colorado. One is called unrestricted, which allows you to hunt the entire unit. The other is restricted, which allows you to hunt private land only. I have had both tags and it is always best if you can have an unrestricted tag.
While scouting and looking for antelope this is the type of terrain we glassed. I always find it refreshing when hunting this area since it’s something I don’t get to see very often.
Not only is the trip about killing a great buck, but also about the adventure and the sights you encounter along the way. While I love hunting, I also enjoy photographing animals and scenery. This was a small buck I spotted while scouting.
After spotting a buck, I was able to capture a pretty decent picture of him in the distance.
This year my tag was for private land only. This is a view of the ranch where we could hunt. It is a giant ranch with plenty of ground to cover. I spent three days on it and still have a lot of ground left to explore.
Here is another small buck we spotted while scouting.
I captured this buck on film while he was running with does and chasing off a smaller buck. In the picture you can see he is all flared up on his neck and butt.
While outdoors, we often come across some very interesting things. This was an old homestead on the ranch. Finding things like this makes me wonder who lived there and what their story was. It also helps me to realize how blessed I am for what I have.
After scouting for a few days, we found a buck that exceeded the others. On opening morning we spotted him with his eight does. We made a mile-long stalk and got within 200 yards of him bedded down. I crawled on my belly to get closer and as soon as he stood up, I squeezed the trigger. Speedgoat down! What a great 2016 antelope hunt!
Here is a picture of my 2015 antelope that I shot using a landowner tag. The two bucks I killed are the best two bucks I have seen in the unit. For all those avid hunters out there, this is a great backup hunt when you haven’t drawn a premium tag.