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Season Openers By First Lite Team Member Nick Muche

Posted by Ryan Callaghan on
Pronghorn Nick Muche Idaho Pronghorn
Spot and Stalk Pronghorn
If you plan to take on the challenge of hunting Pronghorn spot and stalk with a bow you'd better be ready for some humble pie.  I remember the first few times I tried stalking goats, there was a lot to learn.
Finding the RIGHT animal...  If you are like me, any mature animal will suffice, especially on public land with an OTC tag.  What I mean about finding the RIGHT animal is try your best to hold off stalking a goat in a spot that you have little chance of getting close.  Some examples would be goats that are within a herd of doe's and other bucks (too many eyes), goats out in the middle of flat expanses or in the middle of Ag fields.  You'd be wasting your time trying to get into bow range of goats in these situations, especially in the early season when a decoy may not work like they do later on.  I am not saying don't do it, but your chances of success are greatly diminished in these cases.
Ideally you'd like to find a goat that is in a place ripe for a stealthy
stalk.  One bedded in a coolie or just on the other side of a hill.  Find a
goat that has some brush or sage in and around it that you can use as cover and concealment along your stalk.  These situations will provide you with a very good chance at getting an arrow into one and they will be high percentage stalks.
If you should find a buck worthy of a stalk that has a bunch of does and fawns with him, this could be a great opportunity for an ambush.  Last year I played cat and mouse with a buck that had 17 doe's with him.  I watched him for quite a while and then the entire situation made sense.  There was a lead doe in the group and the entire herd followed her.  Where she went, they went too.  In this case, it would be best to stalk her and then wait for the buck to come by.  I did this and was amazed at how well it worked, though I had picked the wrong location to set up had I been 30 yards closer I would have had a great opportunity.
Use any terrain feature possible to stay hidden along your route to the animal.  I've found that keeping some sage in between you and the animal will work.  Most times if you are hunting agriculture fields there will be ditches along the side that you can use.  Also, fence lines often provide ample overgrown brush that you can use as cover.
A tip that was told to me a few years ago has changed the way I hunt goats and I don't see many people doing it.  It seems that their eye sight is weakest at first and last light.  Use these times of the day to your advantage and slip in when they are susceptible to a stalk.  I like to find a buck and wait until the last few minutes of daylight and then move in for the shot.  It works very well.  The very first time I did this after being told it, I was able to get into 18 yards of a lone buck.  Mornings are great as well, especially if you have goats located the evening before, they shouldn't move very much at night and will be in the same general area at dawn.
The buck in the photo attached met his demise in a wide open Idaho prairie that had intermittent pockets of sage brush. It was bordered on a few sides by Alfalfa fields.  The buck was feeding in the Ag field when his doe's went to leave, heading towards the prairie and sage.  I got ahead of them and when they crossed a ditch, they came by at 45 yards.  The ditch allowed me to move freely without giving away my position and I used the does to pin point where he would eventually walk as well.
Good luck out there this summer, take your time, find the RIGHT buck and shoot straight.
Interested in following Nick?  Check him out on the team page.

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