My senior year of high school my dad and I both got drawn for doe and buck antelope tags. This year was a little more special to us. This was the last year I would be going before I went off to college. I would still end up meeting my dad to go hunting but it wasn’t the same. Skipping school, loading up hunting gear and camping gear, my mother would pack us just about half of the local grocery store in food … just in case. The chevy truck with the topper was packed with everything you could imagine plus pulling the 4-wheeler on the trailer.
Like I said this year was different we drove 127 miles to our turn off at the historical ghost town and we kept driving as it was turning into shooting light of opening morning. Going several miles down an awful washboard dirt road, we suddenly came to an abrupt stop.
Off the road about 400 yards was an antelope that was shaking his head and falling down. We saw an older couple up the road with the binoculars on the antelope as well, so drove up to them to see what the deal was. They explained that the antelope was a doe and it had its face blown off. I looked through my binoculars to see the awful sight of what was left of the face of antelope. At this point in the story everyone jokes about the zombie antelope. Well, if you were there you wouldn’t joke, the poor thing had no nose left and one eye. Magpies were landing on the poor creature and they started to peck. My dad turned and looked at me but I was already thinking what he was about to say.
I walked up slowly to the antelope because at this point it had fallen down over some sage and decided to stay down. The animal couldn’t see but still heard me coming so it hoped up and stumbled to get its stance. This point I placed my crosshairs behind its shoulders and squeezed the trigger. It ran not too far since it could not see and stumbled and eventually laid down. From what I could see is the shot was a perfect lung shot. This put me at some ease, I squatted down and watched the doe finally take its last breath. Most hunts I am excited but this time I was more relieved. My dad walked up as I wrapped my b tag around it’s ankle. With the sickening feeling we both silently dragged the animal back to the truck.
The older couple was there still and went on to explain how proud they were I put it out of its misery. I responded by saying “there was no other option”. As a hunter there should be no other option.
I understand that the antelope are moving at very fast speeds and at very far ranges which makes hunting them so much more exciting but I would like to emphasize and remind you of the importance of making the best first shot possible. This holds true with all the animals that are hunted, that’s the least they deserve.