OUTFITTER REPORT: Idaho Antelope Season
Last years’ Idaho Antelope season was a short one, but a fun one. It started with long time OI client, Kyle Hawkins. This guy is an absolute riot to have around. Our area has very little hunting pressure during archery antelope season, so finding bucks is definitely not a problem.
Day one and two were both full of action with numerous stalks on some great bucks. Day three was even a little more exciting. We were set up in a natural blind and were surrounded by goats. There were a couple bucks in particular that we were holding out for. One of the “good ones” seemed to stay about 500 yds out the entire day. I’m horrible at sitting still, so the decoy came out. The buck came in so fast that Kyle didn’t even have time to draw until the buck stopped at 90 yds on his rage run. Arrow loose but the buck jumped it.
The last afternoon of our last day (it’s a common thing with me) was already here. We had to make it happen. Naturally, the light was leaving and our buck was still at 150 yds and showing no interest in a decoy and we were out of cover. Our archery permit is for an either sex antelope. We had a dry doe that seemed to constantly walk circles around us. After a perfect shot at 65 yds, Kyle was taking home his first cooler of antelope meat. A long time friend made.
DAVID AND MIKE MAXWELL
Second were another group of OI clients, father and son David and Mike Maxwell. What great people. Hunting with these kind of people make it very easy to get out of bed at 3:00 a.m. We just couldn’t seem to buy any luck in these four days. We tried it all….sitting in blinds, decoys, an ambush, numerous stalks…you name it. Some antelope hunts just go this way. As outfitters/guides, it makes you feel worthless. We try not to get frustrated, but you want every single client to be successful and have that “hunt of a lifetime“. We had goats that needed to take those last couple steps, but it never happened. We had the opportunity to hunt with two great individuals and can only hope we get that privilege again.
The third hunt was with the wild Ukrainian, great friend, and well respected Outdoors International client Brian Best. What an incredible hunt. Brian was booked for a 15 day North American Safari. He had every tag that he could purchase over the counter. Brian is a very accomplished bow hunter who enjoys the gnarliest, most remote hunting we offer. Although the antelope hunt didn’t fall under the “hard core” category, we only had two days until the season ended. I have the utmost respect this guy. Even though Brian had never taken an antelope, he had no intentions of settling for any goat.
Day one ended with three arrows loosed, and the conclusion that his bow had been wrecked out on the trip from Ukraine, and I mean really wrecked out. We had two giant bucks locked down and a bow that could not have been more out of tune. A very special thanks to my good friend Mike Seal for dropping everything and getting Brian’s bow dialed in. 2AM the next morning found us back in business.
With the two monsters in a rut rage, it was only a matter of time before they made a mistake. At noon that next day, the buck we dubbed “CC” made one. After a 68 yd shot, Brian was holding all of CC’s 86″. Highs and lows, ups and downs, or whatever you want to call them…Bryan did what all of us wish we could do on every hunt….he stayed confident, persistent, and didn’t let a little set back cloud his mind. Congrats to BB.
Our last hunt was with another OI client Jason Wolin. “Big Cat” has the most easy going, laid back personality I’ve ever been around. Words can’t explain how fun it is to hunt with this guy. At times it’s even pointless to attempt a stalk because you’re laughing so hard. Jason had drawn a limited rifle antelope tag, and his hunt opened the day after our archery elk hunt. Adam and I had several great bucks that we’d been watching, we just needed to decide which one it would be. We took our time and looked at over 30 bucks for the first few hours. It wasn’t long after and we had our buck picked and stalk planned. The buck had an insane amount of mass and was in a prime spot although we didn’t have all day to make it happen due to other hunters. A mile stalk had us at 284 yds and it was game over. Once again, long time friend made and many more hunts together.