Basking in the sun with shoes kicked off, is typically the start of a summer beach tale. However, this time the hiking boots were ditched to keep silent, while belly crawling against the dusty, cacti ridden prairies of Big Sky Country with the late summer sun hammering down, all the while creeping inch by inch closer to wary pronghorn.
It didn’t take much convincing by my dear friend, Montana native and proficient Big Game hunter, Amanda Caldwell, that I needed to pack up my bow and join her for a DIY spot and stalk antelope hunt. This would be my first big game hunt out west. Right from the first stalk, it was clear, this was going to be a team effort. We were cohesive partners with one of us driving and one scouting the hills or one of us ranging with the other crouching behind some sage ready to draw.
THE EXPERIENCE HAS PROVIDED ME WITH LESSONS IN THE FIELD, MOMENTS THAT WILL STAND OUT IN MY MIND, AND A FRIENDSHIP MADE EVEN STRONGER, THAT I’LL HOLD CLOSE FOREVER.
Spot and stalk starts with stop and look. Jess and Amanda glass the hills for the opportunity that proves to have the best success rate; finding a solo buck.
After a few full days of relentless stalks, we each had a full quiver of clean arrows. We had seen plenty of antelope but hadn’t been afforded any shot opportunities. The few bucks that we had become familiar with were getting the best of us. The doubt was starting to build, fatigue was setting in (at least for me), but the mood was kept light with tailgate lunches and cracking jokes. Crossing our fingers, we traveled out further hoping to find a solo buck we could get in on. With Amanda in the driver’s seat and Jordan our cameraman extraordinaire to my right, we headed towards new ground, exchanging hunting stories and excessive amounts of jerky.
Tricks of the trade.
Being used to whitetail hunting in the same type of terrain back east, managing the varying landscapes of Montana was a success for me in itself. Amanda and I had scaled jagged rock faces with the wind ripping at our faces, crawled through endless prairies of swaying tall grass, darted between farm equipment like agricultural ninjas and made our way through mazes of sagebrush and dried up drainage ditches.
When hunting speed goats, you take every advantage you can get. even if that means putting on your fastest pair of running shoes.
Teamwork and friendship getting the job done.
Soaking it all up.
Two hands are better than one.