Chasing the Montana Speed goat with both Bow and Camera.
As the last fine tuning of the bows wrapped up back in Iowa. I was unsure of exactly what to expect, once the truck was loaded full to the brim with hunting and camera gear. We headed west into the setting sun. After the dreaded 12 hour drive fueled by energy drinks and anticipation of the days to come, the Montana sign was truly a much needed sight. While in some states September 1 means the start of evening tree stand sits in search of the somewhat predictable whitetail deer, it meant a whole different species for us. Although I had a tag, I would be filming for Will Downard, as he tested out new products from KillerGear. We were going after the antelope of Montana with high hopes of pulling one in with the AntelopeFan.
The first morning we discovered the warm air we had grown so used to back in Iowa, was going to be with us on this trip, but slightly masked because of the 30+ mph wind. With a map in one hand and a camera in the other, we hit the gravel roads. It didn’t take long for our search to yield some antelope, and just like that, the stalk was on. The rolling terrain, along with deep cuts and creeks, made things easier for us to get close enough to pop up the decoy. While they weren’t being overly aggressive towards the decoy, it still provided enough curiosity to get the job done. Stalk after stalk proved to be the same thing. We were getting into bow range of the goats, bow ranges that exists in conditions other than 30-40 mph winds of course. As the sun started to sink down in the sky for the night, I found myself filming a beautiful goat that’s about to have an arrow released on it. My hands fighting to keep the camera steady in these unreal gusts of wind. After watching the arrow drift off target, we looked at each other in near amazement and could only laugh at the conditions mother nature had provided. Still, this was only the first day with many close calls and a good response to the AntelopeFan, our hopes were high for the next morning.
Prior to going on this trip, I had a predetermined image of what this hunt was going to be like from a filming stand point. Throw the camera on auto focus and zoom in and out, seems pretty simple right? It didn’t take me long to realize there was going to be a little more to it than I had originally thought. For starters, it is wide open, hiding myself and the camera in ankle high grass proved to be a task. Although on some of the stalks I was simply hiding behind the decoy, which turned out to work the best. With the predetermined vision that I previously spoke of, I saw myself staying way far back and videoing from a pretty far distance. What I didn’t think about was the heat waves rolling off of this wide open land. The reality of videoing from more than a few hundred yards was just not practical.
On day two, the morning started with wind fit for flying kites. Non the less, we were back on the gravel glassing goats in the rising sun. There seemed to be antelope everywhere. I knew it was just a matter of time before we had our hands on one of these awesome animals. With the camera and tripod over my shoulder, we continue pushing through the wide open landscape in hot pursuit. The fast paced stalks often resulted in somewhat shaky footage of our approach. The wind is our biggest challenge. It was so strong. I struggled to keep the camera steady and focused on the goats. The wind is starting to get to me, frustrating me with no possible way to avoid it. Although our attempts did not end up with an arrow in one, they did, however, yield great footage. Things were starting to come together. After all, the decoy is working so with a little luck we would draw blood soon.
The next morning started off just as the two previous. At this point we had a group of antelope that had become a thorn in our side. We chased them all over the area they were in, time and time again. With an eventful morning of nearly dulling a broad head, we decided to remove the thorn and find a new group of goats. It was at this point I got to uncase my bow, and was going to take a crack at slinging an arrow. It wasn’t long until we found a nice buck out by himself in the middle of the day. I grabbed my bow and the AntelopeFan to start the stalk. As we slipped into position and I presented the decoy to the antelope, you could immediately tell he was interested. With a little time, and a few steps closer, he finally committed. His curiosity was getting the best of him. When things were about to happen, a grain truck on the gravel road not far behind us stole his attention and sent him heading for the other direction. As I kicked myself for not shooting and replayed everything in my head of what I should have done differently, he turned back to us. Still unsure of the now passing semi, he cautiously made it back to comfortable bow range. At full draw, I settled my 50 yard pin on him just as the wind shut off like a light switch. The pressure on my trigger released a beautiful lighted nock quartering up into the goats chest. After a fast 125 yard run, he laid down to expire.
Having never shot an antelope before, the anticipation was killing me to get over to him to see what he looked like. I don’t think until you have an antelope in your hands, there’s a description of them that can truly make you understand. The wire like hair and almost ugly beauty is unlike anything I have ever hunted before. All in all I have to say I’m hooked on chasing these speed goats. With the wide open hillsides, it makes you feel like you’re constantly in the game as the antelope are scattered all around. Watching these animals react and work to a decoy was a unique adrenaline rush. Aside from the fun of the hunt and beauty of the animal, antelope may now be my favorite game species to eat. It’s safe to say we will be back hunting antelope again next year with bow in hand, behind an AntelopeFan awaiting the next rush at full draw.
Last modified: January 4, 2017