Aubrynne and the Antelope
Hunting has been a part of my soon-to-be 5 year old daughter’s life since she was only 10 months old. Unfortunately, we had always come home empty handed, that was until opening day of antelope season this year. I work from home as an RN Admissions Coordinator where I monitor patients coming into the Emergency Room and then admitted to the hospital. I work nights, 7pm-7:30am. It just so happened that I worked the night before opening morning of antelope season. By around 8am, Aubrynne (pronounced Ah-bryn) and I headed out to try to fill my antelope tag that took 3 years for me to draw.
We headed south toward our land that consists of prairie and rolling hills. On our drive there, I had Aubrynne practice putting on ear muffs just in case I got to shoot. When we arrived, I was unexpectedly greeted by three other antelope hunters on my family's land. They told me that my dad gave them permission to be there so I immediately called him. He said, "No, they did not have permission to be there. They were supposed to be at the upper place not the lower place." Our property is split and the 'lower' place is prairie and full of antelope, and the 'upper' place is prairie and timber with a few antelope sometimes but abundant in elk, deer, bear and other woodland creatures. He told me to go throw them out and I did, gladly. While I was talking to them, they said that they were just hunting does and tried to convince me to shoot a small buck, maybe 5". I told them, "No, I did not want to shoot a small one." And, they said in a snarky tone, "Oh, you are a trophy hunter, huh?" I replied, "No, but I do not want to shoot a baby." With that I told them to leave and to call my dad, he wanted to talk to them.
I assumed my hunt was over as they had been riding 4-wheelers all over the place and there wasn’t a white spot to be seen for miles. Aubrynne and I sat on top of the largest hill, glassing for a while. She was getting restless and there was no sign of antelope. We decided to head down to the pond to take some pictures. I love photography and this time of year was perfect for beautiful fall color photos.
We got down to the pond and walked around it looking for tracks. Aubrynne is getting pretty good at identifying tracks and enjoys trying to decipher which is which. There were many antelope and cattle tracks as well as some coyote tracks around the muddy sides of the spring-fed pond. I took pictures of scenery and some with just Aubrynne and the amazing yellow and red-filled mountains in the background. After a while of playing in the pond, we decided to head back to the truck and I thought about going home and sleeping for a while then heading back out in the afternoon.
As we were walking, I noticed two antelope headed right toward us. I told Aubrynne to crouch down next to me and be as still as she could. I looked through my binoculars and saw that it was a buck and a doe. The buck was not as big as I had hoped for, but I just could not pass up this opportunity with my daughter right there next to me. I told Aubrynne to get her pink ear muffs on and she did very quickly. Her eyes were as big as saucers when I looked over to make sure her muffs were still on. I set up my shooting tripod, put a shell in my Remington 7mm-08 and found my target in my scope.
The buck was still walking right to us. He was about 100 yards away now; he kept coming closer and closer. I told Aubrynne I was going to shoot him and to make sure she kept her muffs on and not take them off. She said okay, still watching the antelope with wide eyes. I held off until he was about 50 yards away; I wanted Aubrynne to be able to see him well. He stopped and turned to look at his doe. I glanced at Aubrynne again to make sure her muffs were still on. With the buck's perfect broadside stance, I clicked the safety off, steadied on the tripod and squeezed the trigger.
He tipped over like nothing I have seen before; I will never forget it. I assume the close impact caused his legs to fly up in the air when he fell over. I turned to Aubrynne and said, "We got him!" She was initially shocked and repeated to me, "We got him?" I gave the buck a few minutes just to be sure and then we headed toward him. When I made sure it was safe and that he had expired, I picked up the head by the horns and Aubrynne held it up for a picture!
I called my mom and dad to have them come and take pictures of both of us. Aubrynne and I headed to get the truck and we drove back down to the buck. I went ahead and started gutting as it was unusually warm for October 1st in the mountains of Colorado. Aubrynne wanted no part of that; she did not like the blood at all and asked to sit in the truck. When my dad came, he helped me finish gutting and took pictures of Aubrynne and I with our "trophy" buck. I did not even measure to see how long his horns were; it did not matter. What mattered was my daughter and I for the first time came back with something on our hunting adventure. So this buck will always be a trophy, to both of us.