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“Second Chance Antelope” by Frans Diepstraten

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SECOND CHANCE ANTELOPE

Second Chance Antelope! – Chasing antelope in foot-access-only country must be one of the most enjoyable hunts you can do, unfortunately in Alberta, tags are hard to draw. I finally collected a sufficient number of priority points to make a hunt reality.

MODICUM OF SKILL

In the morning I had spotted this small herd a few times until they disappeared on the other side of a very wide creek valley. Somehow I managed to forget both my binoculars and lunch in camp, so after a quick run back and forth I headed back in. About 2 miles from the road I glassed a group of antelope, possibly the same little band, about another 2 miles further West. I hiked closer, but got disoriented, until with a modicum of skill and a whole lot of luck I found them again. I had to circle around to stay out of the wind, but after a little while I found myself ditching the pack and putting a round in.

PACK ON THE TAILGATE

Just as I was ready to peek over the ridge I saw them below me, 400 yards away, going towards the creek valley; and I thought I was being so sneaky. I figured the gig was up, but the lead buck took his party down into the valley at an angle. That was my second chance! By the time I got to the edge the biggest buck was at the far end of my comfort zone and moving, but another buck lingered just a little too long. After the initial excitement had worn down a bit, I checked to find that I was over 4 miles from the truck, daylight was fading fast, and rain clouds rolled in to cover whatever moonlight there might have been.

With no features on the landscape and no moon I was very happy that I managed to take a GPS reading at the truck. After finishing butchering and loading the pack, the next two hours were spent with my headlamp pointed at the GPS screen, watching the yards count down. I was thankful for the second-chance buck, but almost just as happy to cross that last fence line and drop that pack on the tailgate. #solostories #solohntr #antelope #hunting #alberta

Frans Diepstraten

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