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Ivory Tips and the Giant

April 2020
Story by Chance Marshall
State: Wyoming
Species: Antelope - Pronghorn

August 15th is one of my favorite days of the year. In Wyoming, it marks the first day of archery antelope season. However, my season truly starts much sooner with scouting and prepwork for the upcoming season. My family owns and operates Extreme Outfitters in Wyoming. Guiding occupies a lot of my time from September to November, so August is a great time to hunt a big antelope for myself.

I was ecstatic to find out that I had drawn an antelope tag in one of my favorite units. I started my scouting in late June. My first few trips out, I was seeing some nice bucks but nothing too exciting. However, on July 8th, I located an absolute giant buck. It had it all – huge upper/lower mass, 6"+ prongs, and was 15-16" long. I was able to take a lot of good pictures of the buck that morning.

Throughout July, I made several more trips to the unit. To my amazement, the big buck was in the same exact spot all by himself almost every single time I checked it. I had located a few other quality bucks, but he was by far the biggest. With archery season only a few weeks away, I decided to concentrate my efforts on this buck and try to figure out where he was watering and set a ground blind.

The closest water that I could find was a perfect-sized dirt tank about a mile and a half away from his hangout spot. I decided to set a ground blind and a game camera on the water on August 3rd, hoping to get lucky. The day before the opener, I checked the SD card and was happy to see a lot of antelope activity. One buck in particular appeared to be really long with huge ivory tips unlike I had ever seen before. Unfortunately, there were no definitive pictures of the giant buck I had hoped for.

I was in the blind opening morning, and antelope were hitting the water soon after sunrise. At around 11 a.m., the tall buck with the huge ivory tips hit the water and was drinking 25 yards from me. With an arrow nocked, I uncharacteristically froze. This buck was beautiful. I figured he was 82"+ and would easily be my best archery buck ever, but it was the first morning and I knew there was an absolute giant lurking close by. I knew it was a crazy 164 decision, but I let him walk that morning. I regretted the decision almost immediately and decided that I would try to take him if I was ever given another chance.

After a few days in the blind, I decided to check the spot with the big buck. He was still there. I made an unsuccessful stalk attempt and ended up bumping him. The next few trips out after that, I did not see him. I decided to go back to sitting in my blind. Over the next 10-day period, I didn’t see any sign of either buck.

On August 31st, I made it to the blind and was devastated to find that the wind had completely destroyed it. Also, something had bumped my game cam and I had no recent pictures of the water. I had a roll of camo Gorilla Tape and was able to MacGyver it back together enough for that day. The morning was slow with only a few antelope coming to drink. At about midday, a truck drove up to the water and bumped all of the close-by antelope away. Even so, I decided to stay and sit that afternoon.

At 3 p.m., I caught movement of a lone buck making his way to the water. As he got closer, I recognized his long ivory tips glistening in the sun. This time, I was ready! As he lowered his head to take a drink on the back side of the tank, I drew and settled my 30-yard pin on his vitals. I saw the arrow hit almost perfectly behind the shoulder, pass completely through him, and tumble through the sage behind him. He ran about 150 yards and was down.

I knew right away that this buck was even bigger than I had expected. He was 16 4/8" long on his long side with excessive ivory tips over 2" long. He was everything a guy could ask for and more. He gross scored 83 1/8".

The morning before the rifle opener, I checked to see if the big buck had reappeared. To my amazement, he was there. Our first client of the year was Willie George who had found us through a referral by the Huntin’ Fool crew. Willie made a great shot on that buck-of-a-lifetime. It gross scored 87".

This hunt could not have turned out any better, and we are beyond grateful for these two bucks. Antelope hunting doesn’t get much better than that.