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A Storm is Coming!

May 2022
Story by Jeff Murray
State: Wyoming
Species: Antelope - Pronghorn

A winter storm prediction for early October for the Rattlesnake Mountains and Casper Mountain area was forecasted to bring up to 12 inches of snow and wind gusts over 50 mph! Travel could be difficult. I didn’t have time for that. My trip was planned 12 years ago by accumulating points, and I had to burn them. You have all been there. I was itching to go hunting, and antelope was on the menu. Not just any antelope but a giant from Central Wyoming, land of giant antelope! This is where my story begins. My hunt was to take place just south of Jeffrey City, very fitting for me since my first name is Jeffrey. Jeffrey’s buck from Jeffrey City!

I made the decision to book with Extreme Outfitters WYO of Jackson, Wyoming. Chance Marshall and his dad, Kevin Marshall, run one of the finest outfitting operations in Wyoming. They are a no-nonsense operation, and Chance’s mom, Tammy Marshall, is the behind-the-scenes workhorse who makes you feel right at home with her cooking and hospitality.

My hunt started out like most antelope hunts, driving around admiring the sheer number of antelope that roam these hills of Fremont County. It’s truly an antelope hunter’s paradise. Chance and I spent Sunday afternoon driving around glassing and studying the topography of the unit and trying to find a buck that was going to be a quality representative of the area. We glassed up several possibilities, but with nightfall coming on strong, we made the decision to come back the next day and spend the entire day going at it. We headed back to our base camp and then sat down and had a great meal and planned out our strategies for getting on a great buck the next day.

Monday morning arrived, and one look outside and we could tell this had to be the day. The weather that was forecast was coming soon, and it was about to get ugly. We started out like the previous day and drove around, but unlike the day before, the antelope were extremely skittish, like they knew the weather was coming. We would drive to a point and get out to glass, but unfortunately this time around, these antelope were staring back at us from half a mile away. They blew out of the county before we could even get a peek at any of them. This game went on for better than half the day. Drive to a point, get out of the truck, and try and glass, only to have them blow out again and again. Chance decided we needed a change in plans. We needed to get to the northern part of the unit where it had some rolling hills and ditches we could use to our advantage.

Again, the antelope were beyond spooky. We decided to bail from the truck and get lower to use the ditches and hills to our advantage. We soon spotted a “shooter” and set up behind a small hill. If anyone has ever hunted in sagebrush, you know that bipods on a rifle don’t always work with the brush being higher than your bipod. “Storm,” as I had nicknamed him, was in a small group, and I set up as best I could but without a solid rear rest. My first shot rang out, and after a couple more shots, I was out of ammo. We had to high tail it back to the truck for more ammo, but not without Chance getting a good view of red running down Storm’s rear leg. His rear end was not white but a dark brown. Apparently, I had hit him.

We made it back with more ammo, and then the cat and mouse game started. We located Storm and his group over a couple more hills and made a stalk to another high point area. I took a long shot and missed this time. Not wanting to come back empty-handed and with a wounded buck, we made chase again and relocated him and his group over another hill and down in a small valley. This time, I set up and took a few calming breaths. I took the shot, and this time, it was dead on. Wyoming buck down!

All in all, Chance and I must have hiked and stalked over three miles up and down and around hills and ditches to get this beautiful buck. He was well earned! This buck had great mass and a beautiful coat and was a great example of Wyoming antelope. He may not be a book buck, but the experience was just over the top.

We made it happen and right before the storm! We quartered him up, and while doing so, we discovered I had hit him in the rear leg with my first shot and grazed his rear end, giving him the dark rump appearance which helped us know we were on the right buck in the group. We hiked back out and grabbed the truck. We made it back to base camp by dark. The clouds were rolling in, and it was turning windy and colder. We could feel the change coming. After a fantastic dinner and a well-deserved night’s sleep, we awoke the next morning to three to four inches of fresh snow. Not too bad, right? We said our goodbyes, and I drove back to Casper and spent the night. I awoke the next morning to over a foot of snow! The storm had officially arrived, but I had my great Wyoming buck and I was headed back to Texas. Memories were made, and the buck named Storm was the icing on the cake.

Thanks Chance and Tammy for making my Wyoming antelope hunt one to remember! If you need an experienced outfitter who knows the state and big game animals, I suggest giving Chance a call. Also, thanks to my wife for putting up with all of my crazy endeavors.