Editor’s Note: Paul Connelly of Gillette, Wyoming, a Mossy Oak Pro Staffer, actively works with the PCBA (Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America). Mossy Oak Pro Staffers are far more than just hunters, seminar speakers and representatives for Mossy Oak. They're also heavily involved in community service. Often no one knows what these men and women of the Mossy Oak Pro Staff do for others. A hunt of a lifetime doesn’t always have to involve someone taking an animal. Connelly, his friends and his community have learned that providing a hunt of a hunt of a lifetime is far more rewarding than receiving a hunt of a lifetime.
On the first day of the hunt, Dayton from Maryland took a buck antelope with his bow. The buck’s horns were was 12-1/2 inches long and super heavy and had numbers of knobs on the inside of each prong. This was 17-year-old Dayton’s first antelope hunt, and he said, “The hunt was awesome!” One of the things that impressed me about Dayton was that the night before the hunt I had told the young men, “Don’t take a shot beyond your comfort zone (the distance you think you can make an accurate lethal hit). Just because we’re in the wide open spaces doesn’t mean you should try to shoot long shots just to see if you can hit them.”Dayton then had raised his hand and asked, “How far can we shoot?” I asked Dayton, “How accurate are you?” Dayton responded, “I can shoot accurately out to 60 yards.” I said, “Okay, 60 yards with a crossbow, is that right?” “Yes sir, 60 yards with a crossbow,” Dayton told me. His mom looked up at me and explained that Dayton already had taken deer at ranges of 60 yards and more. So, I told Dayton, “Okay, you can shoot that far. But remember, you have to consider the wind when you're shooting at that distance.The wind will blow your arrow off target. If you're uncomfortable with the shot, don’t take it, because a wounded antelope will go miles and miles and miles before he goes down.”
When the antelope came into the water hole, he drank water, brought his head up and turned slightly. Dayton was hunting with Scott Koerber, who ranged the buck at 58 yards. Dayton held right on the antelope’s shoulder and released the bolt (arrow). The wind caught the arrow just a little bit and moved the arrow forward into the neck area, but the broadhead took out the antelope’s windpipe and cut his jugular vein. The buck only went 10 yards before he tipped over. “We were both really excited and gave each other high fives,” Koerber said. As soon as the antelope was down, Scott texted me, “You don’t have to come pick up the animal. I will load the antelope and take it to Olds Processing (307-682-3385) in Gillette to get the antelope processed for Dayton.”
Later that afternoon, John Brod, who was Samuel’s guide, called me and said, “We've got one down.” I jumped in my truck and went over to their blind where Brod told me, “The buck was feeding in an alfalfa field and was out of range. But a car driving by the alfalfa field apparently spooked the buck back toward Samuel and me. The buck ran past the blind and stopped about 20 yards from the blind. When Samuel took the shot, the antelope disappeared over an embankment. I knew the arrow had flown a little high, but we walked over to the spot where the antelope had been standing when Samuel took the shot with his crossbow. We saw blood. Then we looked over the lip of the hill, and we saw the buck was dead. Although the arrow went a little high, it hit the spine and one of those main arteries running down the spine.”
Samuel’s buck’s horns were 14 inches and had 3/8-inch ivory tips. The horns had a bunch of bumps on the inside of the horns. It had one cutter that was curled in and cupped, and the other cutter went straight out. The horns had a lot of character, and the buck was a real dandy. So, we had two bucks down on the first day.
To learn more about hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ new eBook and print book, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows.” You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or Smartphone.
For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from http://johninthewild.com/free-books.
Day 2: The Antelope Hunt Plan for PCBA
Tomorrow: Second Day of PCBA Youth Hunt