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HOYT Bowhunts: Decoying Antelope

FROM THE HOYT LIFE Blog For Jace Bausermen. Twenty-four years ago, I got a tag for bowhunting Antelope in Colorado. By luck, on that first pronghorn season, I harvest a not-too-bright Antelope buck. He was young, trying to rut. I made a move to get ahead in of him, and succeded. And then made the shot that put him down.

Antelope have fascinated me since then. A species all to themselves, the pronghorn is neither goat nor antelope. Surprisingly, it’s closest living relative is the giraffe. Look at the shape of the neck and face of both creatures. Do you see the resemblance? Pronghorn also lack dewclaws, just like a giraffe. The bottom line for me: pronghorn are amazing creatures and are very unique.

One of my favorite ways to bowhunt these prairie speedsters is with a decoy. You’ve likely watched a show on outdoor television, YouTube, or some social media platform of a buck coming in at warp speed to an imposter buck decoy. Yes, this does happen, but it’s nowhere near as easy as it appears on your screen. The window for this type of decoy activity is short. To get this type of reaction, a buck’s testosterone level must be close to or at its peak. Prime decoy time, when a buck will charge from his herd with the intent to fight, in most locales where pronghorn roam, is from the 10th of September through the first week in October. September 15-20 seems to be primetime.

What Are You Looking For?

You’re not going to be able to take a blood test to measure testosterone levels, but what you can do is use your truck, UTV, or whatever, to find dust trails on the prairie. You see, the mission is simple: Cover dirt and look for bucks chasing does and other bucks. When you see chasing, testosterone is on the rise. If you watch a buck breed a doe in his harem, you know he’s running at full tilt. If you witness a buck boil out of his herd to run off a pronghorn that’s far away that buck will come to a decoy. It’s not hard to take a buck’s rut temperature.



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