Close Search

Antelope in the Pines

January 2020
Story by Ed Boero
State: Arizona
Species: Antelope - Pronghorn

Everyone knows that antelope are a plains game living in the wide-open spaces of the western United States. At least that’s what I thought until I arrived in Arizona to hunt antelope in ponderosa forest interspersed with grassy meadows - prime elk country. With 18 points, I drew my second choice in the random draw. Although surprised, I was thrilled to get a premium tag. I live in central Oregon and knew it would be difficult to scout the unit before the hunt, so I decided to hire a local outfitter. I also realized that the unit had good trophy potential, and I wanted to maximize my chances at getting a good goat.

After a fair amount of research and with the referral from a friend, I called Matt Schimberg with A3 Trophy Hunts. Matt referred me to his associate, Tyler Mott, who was familiar with the unit I had drawn. Tyler was very excited that I had drawn the tag. He had been watching a buck for the last three years that he thought was exceptional and we should target if we could find it. We spoke throughout the summer, and he sent me photos of the buck from previous years. It looked like a great buck.

My season was scheduled to start on October 4th, so I left central Oregon on October 2nd to drive the 1,100 miles to Arizona. I met Tyler on the afternoon of October 3rd, and we immediately went scouting. The country was unlike any antelope country I had seen before with large, open meadows surrounded by large tracts of ponderosa pines. It looked like elk country, and we saw more elk than we did antelope that first afternoon.

The next morning, we were up before light. Our plan was to glass from a large butte with a good view of the surrounding area. On the way to the butte, we spotted a nice group of antelope feeding on the edge of a meadow on their way to the timber. They were about 150 yards away. We saw one small buck feeding with the does. The antelope appeared to be very relaxed and in no hurry to get to the timber. Tyler was concerned that the big buck had broken off from the does, so we continued to the butte to get a better view.

We climbed the butte, set up our spotting scopes, and started to glass. I decided to take one last look at the group we had seen on our way in and immediately spotted an impressive goat. Tyler confirmed that was our goat, and the chase was on as they were heading into the trees. By the time we reached the meadow, the goats were gone. The bad news was that we had missed seeing the big goat with the herd on our way in. The good news was that the big goat was still with the herd. We spent the remainder of the day set up in the meadow, hoping they would feed out.

On day two, our plan was to get to the butte at first light and spot the antelope before they could move into the timber. We got to the butte and glassed for an hour from several locations but did not spot any goats. Tyler felt that the big goat was likely still in the woods with his does near where we had seen him the previous day. Tyler knew of a road that would circle back into the timber behind where the goats had gone in. We got about a quarter of a mile in and Tyler spotted a group of goats feeding at about 100 yards in thick timber. We crept through the trees using a small rise for cover. Tyler was able to confirm that the big goat was with the herd. At 6' 6", Tyler had a perfect view of the herd. I set up my sticks but could not see the goats over the rise. We moved up and waited for the herd to feed into my view. At this point, a few of the does started to get nervous and the herd started to move off. I was finally able to get the big buck in my sights and squeezed the trigger as he started to bolt. He went down immediately.

As I walked up to the buck, I realized he was better than I had thought. He had over 6 1/2" of mass at his bases, which carried up well above his prongs. His horn length was over 15 1/2", and he had decent prong length. We green scored him at 83 3/8". He was my best goat to date!

I want to thank A3 Trophy Hunts and Tyler Mott for a great hunt. He had scouted ahead of time and found what he considered to be the best goat in the unit. He was able to put me in a position to make a shot on the goat. I couldn’t be more pleased.