Jim Zumbo - Everything Outdoors

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A Mauling on my Antelope Hunt

Posted by on in Hunting
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So I was out hunting for an antelope yesterday, any antelope. I had an either sex license and wasn't trophy hunting. I was meat hunting, so a small buck or doe would work nicely. My neighbor Rick was with me.

We spied a small group of antelope within five minutes of entering the hunting unit. They were in a field, about 200 yards away. There was a buck who, with a little exaggeration, might have had 12 inch horns, along with three does and a fawn. The rut is in full swing and the buck was chasing the girls around the field, Wyoming law does not allow you to shoot from a road, or within the road right of way. To get to where I could shoot I had to cross a deep gully with a small creek in the bottom.

photo 40It appeared that I could drop down into the gully, sneak up the other side, edge up to the rim, and fire from a prone position. I had forgotten my tripod rifle rest at home, and cussed myself. Prone is ok, I'm not fond of shooting from a kneeling or sitting position, and never offhand unless the quarry is within 100 yards and I'm not winded.

So I cross the creek and wade across icy cold water that's well above my ankles, ease up to the top, and realize that tall grass doesn't allow me to lay prone. I look back at Rick. He suggests I come back to the truck and use his rifle which has an attached bipod rest. Nope. I wanna shoot my Mossberg .308 that shoots sweet for me. A Swarovski scope and Timney trigger rounds out the package. All this while the antelope are still cavorting in the field, oblivious to the truck.

I whisper loudly to Rick and ask if there's anything in my truck he can toss over to me across the gully that I could use for a rest. I was thinking cardboard box, duffle full of game bags, anything. He produces my 8 pound wood-splitting maul.photo 41

"Catch," he says. "This might work." Now then, Rick is a jokester, but he was serious. In fact, I thought it might work. So with a mighty heave he flings it across the gully where it thuds into the bank. The antelope are still 200 yards out, paying no attention to our little circus.

I crawl over, get the maul, slip up to the top, place the maul vertical, rest the Mossberg rifle sling on the flat handle for cushion and stability, and, by golly, I have a great rifle rest.

I take aim at the buck and the rest is history. But as well as that maul worked, I don't think I'll be carrying it around on future hunts. Just a tad heavy.

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