Decoying Antelope with Elk Mountain Gear
Pronghorn antelope can be tough to hunt. With “speedgoats”, it is all about timing, and you have to adjust your hunting methods, to adapt to their behavior at any given time. There is a short window each Season, when the bigger bucks get very aggressive, and work at double speed to round up as many does as they can collect, and protect them from rivals. This is when the Elk Mountain Gear Pronghorn Buck Decoy can be a very effective tool.
This revolutionary new product is fast becoming the go-to gear for spot-and-stalk hunters, and it has been featured on several TV Shows, to include TNT Outdoor Explosion with Mossy Oak Pro Staffer Kenny Hollingsworth.
With decoying, like elk hunting, the rule of thumb is, never give up. You might get one successful encounter out of every 10 attempts, but it beats the heck out of sitting in a blind all day! Typically, the peak of the rut activity runs the last half of September, and these high-strung critters waste no time doing what needs to be done to re-populate the herd.
In the peak rut, antelope bucks will be seen running circles around groups of does, vocalizing challenge “roars”, posturing, and physically engaging other males that get too close to their ladies. If you can find a herd buck with any of these behaviors, it is time to make a move.
“Buck in Rut” Photo courtesy of Bill Allard
One of the biggest challenges of antelope hunting, is trying to get within shooting range, when there is nothing to hide behind. Fortunately, the SLIP System can provide frontal shielding, to allow an approach in the sparsest of cover. In fact, if you have two hunters, one of the most effective methods, is to have the shooter walk directly behind the “decoy guy”, and when the buck comes in aggressively, the decoy guy instructs the shooter to draw his bow, and the decoy guy drops to his knees, and the shot is taken over his head.
High Winds are a big factor on the plains, and the unit works very well when moving into the wind, holding its shape, and providing a windbreak for the shooter. Typically, it is best to crawl within 100 yards of the herd buck if possible, and then pop open the decoy, and quickly re-assemble it into a stalking blind, and stake it down. If you need to move in, it is best to approach in a semi-circle into the wind, rather that walking directly in. A subdominant buck will always attempt to circle the herd, to find an approach, and it is this subdominant behavior you are trying to simulate.
Shot opportunities can happen quickly; you should expect an aggressive buck to suddenly try to circle you to get your wind, and it is at this point that he will come into bow range. If you are hunting alone, spike down the decoy firmly with the front angled to the downwind side, and be ready. With two guys, it is easy to spin with the buck as he comes in, and just drop when the buck gets in range, allowing your shooter to smoke him over your back.
Using land contours to get under the 100 yard mark is a great technique. You can see in the video, that John from Sage Buck Productions did not really have that option from his position, there was absolutely no cover, on flat ground. But, using the buck decoy as a shield, allowed him to get within 100 yards of this buck, which was just starting to exhibit the aggressive behavior of the rut. If small land contours exist, belly crawling with the SLIP System folded up is a great way to get into a position to “flash” the buck with the Pronghorn Decoy. And, if you simply want to ambush, you can always quickly switch the cover to our Open Country Camo pattern, and you have a mobile blind ready to use instantly, and you can safely use it to rifle hunt when you apply the rifle rest to the top of the blind!
In conclusion, keep trying, and have fun. Eventually, you are going to get the right buck in the right conditions, and you will have success with this decoy!
Filed under: Hunting
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