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November 2019
Story by Russ Davis
State: Nevada
Species: Antelope - Pronghorn

I had 15 points for Nevada antelope going into the 2018 draw. I had put unit 15 as my last choice. The draws came out, and sure enough, I had drawn unit 15. I made a weekend scouting trip with my girlfriend a couple weeks before the hunt. I discovered that a lot of the unit had poor habitat with little to no antelope, but I did find some lakebed areas that held some decent bucks.

I looked at some remote, big bluff country that had some watering holes. These areas were a good hour and a half walk up and down hills across lava rock. My plan was to return the day before the opener and glass the easy lakebeds first and see if there were any 80" type goats that I may have missed. If I didn’t see any shooters, I would then hunt the surrounding hills on the opener.

I arrived the day before season. There were camps all over surrounding the lakebeds. I glassed the lakebeds and saw the same bucks as before. The bucks were now acting really spooky. Opening morning came, and I hiked back into some hill country away from the lakebeds. I saw two bucks – one young buck and one mature, dark-faced buck that might have gone 75".

The next morning, I was up two hours before daylight. I planned on packing into one of the bluff areas. I had to cross a steep, nasty lava rock-covered canyon to get there. I arrived at the area and moved from one high point to the next and glassed a ton of country. I only saw a few average bucks and very few does. Just before dark and at about 1,200 yards, I spotted a buck in an opening in a juniper thicket. This buck’s horns went straight out to the side with his diggers pointing straight forward. The buck was looking straight at me. He had a very dark face and looked like a mature, older buck. He turned and started to walk away. I watched him go over the ridge, out of sight. I didn’t have enough light left to go after him, so I headed back to camp.

My alarm sounded two hours before daylight. I was off hiking for the bluff using my headlamp. I reached the ridge where I had last seen the wide buck. My mind was already made up that I was going to shoot him. He was extremely unique. I came to a nasty lava rock ridge. I climbed to the top and carefully peeked over to glass. I spotted a small buck feeding at about 400 yards. I sat there, hidden behind a rock, watching him and glassing out further for at least 20 minutes. Then a buck walked out from behind a juniper about 20 yards from the small buck. This buck got my attention right away. I quickly got my spotting scope on him. He had decent horn length, decent mass, and decent diggers. He had a very dark face and was a mature buck. I figured this buck would score in the upper 70s for sure and maybe even low 80s. I thought about passing on him and sneaking off to continue to look for the unique buck, but I ranged the buck at 420 yards, proned out, and held my crosshairs on him. He was totally broadside and had no idea I was there. It was a tough call, but I decided that I better shoot this buck. I squeezed off a round, and the buck went down hard. I made my way to the buck and was very happy with him. He met my goal. If any Huntin’ Fool members draw unit 15 antelope, I would gladly help you out.